The stinking rose, aka garlic, is more than just the secret to your awesome sauce. Garlic can heal and even ward off pests (not to mention vampires). Read on for some facts about your favorite bulb.

garlic photo: Lotte Grønkjær via flickr

Garlic has been used for centuries all around the world to treat many conditions. It has antibacterial properties and is used to treat infections, stave off colds and flus, lower cholesterol, promote heart health and more.

It is a member of the Lily family.

Garlic bulbs are full of Vitamin C, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and more. It also has 17 amino acids.

Of all the garlic grown in the United States, 90% is grown in California. China produces more than 60% of the world’s garlic.

Gilroy, California is the site of the world famous Gilroy Garlic Festival. Held each year at the end of July, it’s one of the biggest food festivals in the US and features delicies such as garlic fries and garlic ice cream. If you, don’t forget your toothbrush!

Gilroy is also home to an amusement park, Gilroy Gardens, which includes a spinning-garlic ride.

Garlic has historically been used to treat snakebites and bug bites, and it is said if you eat enough garlic mosquitos will leave you alone (perhaps that’s why it’s believed bloodsucking vampires will be kept at bay?).

Add garlic to your pet’s diet to help repel fleas and ticks.

Rub marshmallows in garlic powder to make fish bait.

Garlic can be used as a natural pest repellent in the garden, especially to get rid of aphids, foe to many roses, flowers and herbs. Check out this recipe.

If you crush the cloves enough you will produce a sticky substance that you can use as glue. (Weirdly and randomly, a hand covered in garlic will attract leeches faster. Coincidence? We think not.)

Chicago gets its name from garlic. The word “Chicago” is derived from the French version, “chicagaoua,”of a Native word. In the Miami-Illinois (Algonquin) language wild leek or wild garlic was called “shikaakwa” which grew abundantly in the area now known as Chicago.

Know any cool facts about garlic? Tell us in the comments below! 

—Amber Guetebier