Garlic: Curiosities, Properties and Much More

In this blog we’ll show you what are the characteristics of garlic (both the fruit and the plant), its main types, properties, history, main exporters and importers, how it is cultivated and some products made from this vegetable. Don’t miss it!   

What is garlic and what are its characteristics?    

Scientific nameAllium sativum
Common nameGarlic
Place of OriginCentral Asia
Habitat  Template or warm climates
DistributionSpain, North America and Asia

Characteristics of the garlic plant  

Garlic is a vegetable belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family of Allium longicuspis.  

Its plant consists of a green branch that sprouts from the garlic and can reach a length of about 40 centimeters; however, it doesn’t have the same function of a stalk since it is not the support of the fruit as it is usually the case. This ramification is usually not taken into account, only the garlic is consumed.  

The branching tends to be very thin, about 0.5 mm wide. Not having a trunk or similar structure for flowering, the roots grow from the fruit or bulb itself and these have a size that can reach 50 centimeters.

Characteristics of garlic

Garlic has a white or white bone color that varies to a more yellowish tone on the inside. Its external part consists of a fairly light shell that is easily removed. Each head There can be from 6 to 12 cloves per head.  

It tends to have a rounded shape and measures 3 to 8 centimeters in diameter.

Distribution of garlic

The distribution of this crop occurs in countries such as Spain, more specifically in regions such as: La Cuenca, Granada, Cordoba, Badajoz, Cadiz, Jaen and Albacete. In North America in the US in states such as: California, Nevada, Oregon, New York and Washington, and in Asia in the countries of China, India, Bangladesh, Burma and South Korea.

Types of garlic  

There are 4 types or varieties of garlic in general:

  1. Rosy garlic
  1. Violet garlic 
  1. White garlic 
  1. Black garlic 

All these types have the same fruit size, branching and roots described in the characteristics of garlic.

Pink garlic  

Scientific nameAllium roseum
Common namePink garlic and rosy garlic
Place of OriginCentral Asia
Habitat  Ditches, roadsides and sunny climates.
DistributionFrance (Lautrec)

This type of garlic has 10 to 15 cloves with a pink exterior. It is usually eaten raw. There are some cultivars within the pink garlic which are:  

  • Argentine Pink
  • California Late   
  • INIA Pink

When this cultivar was first distributed in France, it was used more for its healing properties than for its culinary applications, but nowadays it is the opposite, because it is often used raw to flavor salads or fried as a condiment for fish.

Snake garlic

Violet garlic  

This garlic is known for having a much stronger flavor than the original garlic and can sometimes be considered pungent. It is also known as brown garlic.  

As its name suggests, it has a violet aspect and is attributed with some medicinal functions like having antioxidants that fight diseases in our system and being hypoglycemic, which means that it helps to lower the sugar in our blood when it is very high. Used in the culinary world to make recipes such as garlic bread or garlic chicken.

White garlic  

Usually when you search for this garlic on the internet 2 things come up: the first is a flower that is called “white garlic” but has nothing to do with the vegetable in question, and the second is a recipe for a typical soup from the regions of Extremadura and Andalusia in Spain. But here we refer clearly to the food that is divided into cloves or segments as we mentioned previously. This variety is distinguished by its whitish color, for being the most traditional use and for having a milder flavor.

Normal garlic

Black garlic  

Actually, this type of garlic is the same white garlic only caramelized. It is used as a condiment mainly in Asian cuisine and has been spread in Europe and Asia. To obtain this garlic, it is exposed to heat for weeks until its cloves are roasted to the peak and hence its cloves are black in color. Its flavor is mostly umami and only slightly sour and sweet.

Properties and benefits of garlic  

Garlic nutritional profile  

We invite you to see the nutritional profile of garlic per 100g, taken from Vegaffinity.  

CompositionQuantity (gr)CDR(%)
MineralsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
VitaminsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
Vitamin A00%
Vitamin B10.1613.3%
Vitamin B200%
Vitamin B31.020%
Vitamin B1200%
Vitamin C1415.6%

Properties of garlic  

Remedy for respiratory illnesses  

It is known that certain home remedies include garlic to treat colds, coughs and other conditions of the respiratory system. This is because several studies indicate that garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties. In addition, it is said to be useful in treating these diseases because it dilates the bronchi and softens mucus.

Boosts the immune system  

If you consume garlic daily it will increase your defenses exponentially, as it is able to reduce up to 63% the chances of getting a cold, and if you get infected, it will reduce the duration of this discomfort. It is popularly said that, in the best case scenario, an average cold of a week can be reduced to 3 days by consuming garlic.

Improves your physical condition   

This property is attributed since garlic decreases physical fatigue and at the same time increases the body’s resistance. On the other hand, it makes the heartbeat have a proper rhythm, preventing diseases.  

It also provides a large amount of protein for ligaments, bones and tendons that are worn out by physical activity when they lack enough of this mineral, which is why it is so beneficial to consume it when doing sports constantly.

It eliminates fat  

It’s advisable to ingest garlic frequently when you have problems with cholesterol because it lowers total cholesterol and bad cholesterol by reducing these components, so does the fat in the blood and thus also purifies the arteries. This action occurs due to the presence of allicin that is a compound that eliminates these toxins from the body.  

It regulates blood pressure

Garlic is key when it comes to preventing heart and cerebrovascular conditions because it has components such as allicin, so it works as a natural alternative to treat conditions such as hypertension.  By consuming this food daily, you avoid suffering from these diseases in the future and, therefore, having to use medicines with chemicals that make you suffer side effects on some occasions.  

History and origin of garlic  

As we already mentioned in the characteristics of garlic, this food came from Central Asia a few centuries ago. Its most popular variety today, Allium Sativum, comes from Allium Longicuspis whose cultivation gave rise to the common garlic we know today. Almost immediately after, its harvest spread to India, across the Mediterranean Sea and reached the Greek country, where garlic was given a number of medicinal uses, such as the prevention of cholera and typhus.

This food was not only important for the Greeks, but also for the Egyptians, in such a way that eating it meant the union of humanity with the universe. For this nation, the peel of the garlic symbolized heaven and hell, while the cloves represented the solar system.

Another part of the history of garlic goes back to Italy in the southern part of the country, where there were hundreds of garlic crops in the Middle Ages and where they created a great variety of recipes that included this food, the most popular of which was Bruschetta, one of their typical dishes today.  

This dish consists of no more and no less than garlic bread, only that over time they added other ingredients such as basil and tomatoes taken from the American culture. Nevertheless, this delicious appetizer hides a history of classism, and is that since ancient times there has been a prejudice towards the people of southern Italy that says they are of lower class being the opposite for the people of the north.  

Because of this prejudice, the cultivation of garlic was considered inferior for the upper class just because it grew in the southern region. This prejudice was so strong that royal chefs had to come up with a way for garlic to be accepted by people of high status, so they mixed it in recipes with “high class” foods such as meats, aged cheeses and expensive spices and in this way it started to be consumed by all classes.  

Global garlic industry  

Meet the main garlic producers and importers in the world.   

Top 5 garlic producers in the world

According to data collected by FAO, there is a world garlic production of more than 28 million tons per year in 2018.  

Below, we’ll look at the 5 countries with the highest amount of tons produced of garlic:

Country  Tons of Oatmeal
South Korea331.741


The production of garlic in this country amounted to 20’939,244 tons. This figure represents 80% of this crop worldwide, which is why China is the #1 producer and exporter of garlic.  

Most of this harvest takes place in Shandong province, located southeast of Beijing, and especially in the Jinxiang region, which is often referred to as the world’s garlic capital.


The annual Indian garlic production figure was surpassed in 2018 with 1’611,000 tons being produced.  

Despite this figure makes it the second highest producing country, its Kilo per hectare yield level is disappointing, with a small figure of 5’364 when compared to countries below, but with higher crop yields.


This Asian country has a per capita production rate of 2,312 kilograms and an area of 71,411 hectares under cultivation of garlic.  

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, although India is ahead in the list than Bangladesh, the latter has a higher figure for its Kilogram per hectare yield at 6,282.  


This nation had a decrease in its garlic production figures in 2020 compared to the ones presented in the list of countries in 2018. This decrease was 15,157 tons, giving a total of 333,543 tons produced in 2020.

Its production area also decreased in 2020 from 17,004 hectares (2018 figure) to 15,719.

South Korea  

In addition to the figures exposed in the list of producer countries, we will give to know part of the situation of the crop in the country. In the Korean country it has been an excess of production that causes many of its crops to spoil because they are not sold on time. It is due to this that the Korean government has intervened 57,000 tons of this crop, which exceeds the excesses previously recorded of 45,000 tons.

This intervention is expected to stabilize the demand and supply of garlic so that it can be used to its full advantage and not go to waste.

Top garlic importers in the world    

According to the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia with its Ministry of Productive Development and Plural Economy, the countries with the highest garlic import figures for 2018 are the following.

garlic imports in the world

How is garlic cultivated?    

To grow this vegetable there are a series of requirements that must be taken into account. Below, let us show you what they are:   


The soil must be fertile and light, preferably with a pH between 6 and 7. It should not be waterlogged because it cannot stand excess humidity. In general, it flowers optimally in soils where onions can also be grown.


Garlic adapts to a great diversity of climates, however, it prefers temperate climates without aggressive changes such as frost.  

This crop will grow at its best in areas with longer days, that is, where it takes longer to get dark so that it receives as much sunlight as possible. This is especially important when its segments are forming.

Garlic sowing method  

To sow garlic you don’t need to make a lot of effort to prepare the soil. As long as you follow the requirements we explained for the soil, you can start with the crop without any problems.


Before planting garlic, make sure that the soil has sufficient fertility, for this you can add a layer of manure as fertilizer, especially if it is a soil that has not had this crop before.


The hole to grow garlic is quite small, its size ranges between 2 and 2.25 centimeters.

In case you want to plant more than one garlic, leave a space of 20 to 30 centimeters between each one. After that, you just need to put a clove with its rootless tips facing upwards and bury it in the soil.


Once the garlic is planted, it has to be watered every 10 days or every 2 weeks maximum. However, if it is planted in rainy seasons, this watering should be omitted so that the soil is not too wet and affect the growth of the vegetable.


When its branching begins to flower, it cannot exceed 10 centimeters because it would hinder the growth of the garlic. For this reason you must prune it when it reaches this size to optimize the development and quality of the garlic.

Garlic harvest

Once you have done all the planting process, you can harvest the garlic approximately 3 months later. The bulbs are harvested when the branch leaves have wilted.

Garlic  post-harvest

Once they have been harvested, they are left exposed in a place where they receive enough sun and air and then tied together in a braid with string. Once tied, they should be left outside so that they have more contact with the air and can be preserved longer.

Uses and products made from garlic  

Garlic is usually used as a condiment by adding it to savory foods such as chicken or rice, but it can also be eaten whole without the company of other food, although it is less usual since many people do not find its flavor pleasant when it is not mixed with other foods.  

Certain products made from garlic, such as sauces and other spices, have also been launched in the market. Below, we’ll show you some of them.

Industrial products made from garlic

Garlic oil  

This oil is made by crushing garlic cloves and mixing them with olive oil. This oil is acclaimed in the kitchen because it is the one used by most Italian restaurants to flavor dishes such as garlic bread or bruschetta as mentioned in the history of garlic.

It is said that this oil is not only beneficial for cooking, but also for the properties that are preserved from the garlic in this oil, in order to preserve these properties it is necessary to achieve a proper balance between the crushed garlic and the olive oil.  

To date, there is no established measure to achieve this purpose so each user determines, according to his criteria, what is the right percentage of garlic and olive oil that should be in this product.

Oil and garlic

Garlic powder  

This product is made from dehydrated garlic which is pulverized with industrial machinery or household appliances.  

This powder is used as an alternative to traditional garlic because of its convenience of use. To use conventional garlic, you must first remove the peel, chop it and mix it with the food while cooking to release its substance. On the other hand, garlic powder just needs to be sprinkled on top of the desired dish and as it cooks, it will mix with the food.

Garlic powder
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Photo by kiliweb by Open Food Facts

Medicinal products made from garlic

Garlic capsules  

This garlic is prescribed as a drug by doctors. These capsules concentrate garlic components such as allicin, which not only subtracts bad cholesterol, but also promotes the production of good cholesterol in our body. In the same way, it regulates triglycerides, thus contributing to cardiovascular health by preventing heart attacks or conditions such as atherosclerosis.

These pills are also used in immunotherapy to fight diseases such as cancer.   

Garlic pills 

Garlic extract

It consists of a product that is taken by drops, therefore it has its own dropper included. These drops have inhibitors of the bacterium Helycobacter pylori, which is responsible for causing ulcers in the small intestine and stomach.  

Another benefit is its anticoagulant properties, which prevent thrombocytes or platelets from sticking to the walls of veins or arteries, thus reducing the possibility of heart attacks.

Black garlic extract   

Unlike the previous substance, this one is made purely from black garlic which makes it keep its black color and adds other properties, in addition to those mentioned above, such as the production of glutathione. This substance is responsible for preserving the body’s cells and delaying their aging. Every time we age, our body produces less of this substance and that is why it is a good option to consume this extract.

To conclude, garlic is a vegetable with a great variety of uses, not only for culinary but for medicinal purposes as well, either with home remedies or directly in a pharmacological way, which is why it is a remarkable food around the world today and since centuries ago, as we explained in its history.  Now that you have learned all this information, don’t you think that garlic is much more important than you think? Wouldn’t you like to consume more garlic now?