Srinagar: Adding a dash of garlic to eggs (Rouhan Thool) is often believed to keep cold and flu at bay in Kashmir especially in Chillai Kalan.
Interestingly, Kashmiri garlic locally called “Rouhan” also referred to as the Himalayan Single Clove Garlic or the Snow Garlic is considered to be a magical ingredient. It is one of the most effective herbs in the world and is known to be “seven times” more effective than the normal Garlic in terms of health properties.
Let’s find out what makes Kashmiri garlic so special?
A native plant of Kashmir, it is considered as the most purified form of garlic. It is only harvested once a year from the high altitudes of the Himalayas and is well-known throughout India for its health benefits. It is one of the few plants that survive the intense cold of the high-altitude environment.
Kashmiri garlic has a hard, golden-brown husk and looks like an individual clove of garlic. It has a rounded, bulbous shape with a stiff, flattened portion on one side coming to a point at the tail end of the clove. The clove beneath is a bright white to creamy-white colour and offers a strong, pungent garlic flavour without the acidity present in other varieties.
What do health experts say about Kashmiri garlic?
Dr Rabbanie Tariq, Preventive Medicine Physician promoting Lifestyle Medicine in Kashmir said certain published studies have shown that garlic derived compounds may lower the risk of developing lung and Brain Cancer.
“Further, there are studies which show dietary garlic has a protective effect in hip osteoarthritis and in fact delay onset of Osteoarthritis,” Dr Rabbanie said.
He noted that it has other protective roles in Cardiovascular diseases due to its antioxidant potential which is still under study. “Overall, they have various protective roles in benefiting humankind and if consumed in moderation, ” Dr Rabbanie added.
Dr Shazia Lone, Nutritionist at Modern Hospital Rajbagh said Kashmiri garlic is a great source of minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron and copper.
“It is also a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). The presence of vitamin C and iron in garlic helps in boosting the immune system naturally and gives ample strength to the body and helps in building resistance against seasonal infections. Thus, adding garlic to your daily diet can help in keeping your body warm during winters,” Dr Shazia said.
How much garlic should I eat?
“One to two cloves a day should be the maximum consumed by anyone. Eating more than that may cause an upset stomach, diarrhoea, bloating, or bad breath,” Dr Shazia said.
She recommended eating one to two cloves of raw garlic on an empty stomach can help in reducing the cholesterol level. “According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, aged garlic supplements can prevent the clogging of arteries and improve heart health. Raw garlic contains a component called Allicin, which helps in thinning the blood and reduces the cholesterol levels,” she said.
She added, thus, the best way to consume garlic is by eating raw garlic on an empty stomach as the fresh garlic contains Allicin and this component gets diluted during the process of cooking. “So to retain maximum nutrition, gobbling down raw garlic with a glass of water is the best remedy to improve heart health and also manage diabetes,” Dr Shazia said.