Stories, Myths and Legends
In the modern western world the most well known garlic lore is probably its use against vampires, however there’s a lot more lore associated with it.
- European folklore gives garlic the ability to ward off the “evil eye”.
- Dreaming that there is “garlic in the house” is supposedly lucky; to dream about eating garlic means you will discover hidden secrets.
- The herbalist Culpepper linked garlic with the planet Mars, a fiery planet also connected with blood.
- Roman soldiers ate garlic to inspire them and give them courage; Egyptian slaves were fed garlic to keep their strength up.
- Homer reported that Ulysses owed his escape from Circe to “yellow garlic”.
- There is a Mohammedan story that when Satan left the Garden of Eden, garlic appeared where his left foot rested and onion under his right. The Christian Bible also mentions garlic – [Numbers 11: 4-6] and the Talmud recommends it to be eaten on a Friday night.
- Indian legends tell of battles between the devas and the asuras with garlic being a source of argument. The Laws of Manu forbade eating garlic – along with leeks, onions and mushrooms – as unclean. Garlic was forbidden from certain sacred places.
- Tibetan monks were forbidden from entering the monastries if they had eaten garlic. These prohibitions against garlic are possibly connected with its long- standing reputation as an aphrodisiac. This is presumably a result of its tendancy to “inflame” rather than its smell!
Garlic thus occupies an ambiguous place in world lore. It is generally recognised as healthy – but often apparently considered too healthy for polite society.