Garlic was an important part of Ancient Greek medicine and used throughout antiquity for various purposes beyond flavor enhancement of meals.
Ancient medical texts are full of garlic’s prescribed medical applications, as well as other ways it was used, which may surprise you.
Hippocrates, the revered Ancient Greek physician whose oath is still used by physicians to this day, prescribed garlic for a variety of conditions including pulmonary ailments and abdominal issues, to aid in the release of the placenta, to treat sores, to name only a few.
There is evidence that during the earliest Olympics, garlic was fed to the athletes before they competed as a performance-enhancing agent or an ancient version of doping.
Garlic has been unearthed at numerous excavations of Ancient Greek temples, including well-preserved bulbs at Knossos in Crete, which was the center of the Minoan Civilization.
Garlic was an important part of the military diet of almost all Greek city-states’ armies and was fed to soldiers when they were sent to war. It was believed to be associated with strength and stamina and correlates to the uses for athletes.
Although garlic can be eaten raw, it’s much tastier roasted with Greek extra virgin olive oil.