Since Ancient Egypt, Garlic has been considered in many cultures a plant of purity, and was used to ward off evil, illness, and disease. In southern Slavic regions and other European regions, it was believed not only to protect from vampires, but also witches, demons, and even werewolves.

However, garlic is traditionally more of a repellant than an actual method of killing a vampire. It could also be stuffed inside a corpse to prevent it from becoming a vampire.

Many areas of Eastern Asia also believed in rubbing garlic on their bodies to keep vampires at bay.

In Dracula , the flowers a garlic plant produced could also keep vampires at bay with its smell.

Spiritual and religious uses

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In myths, garlic has been regarded as a force for both good and evil. In Europe, many cultures have used garlic for protection or white magic, perhaps owing to its reputation in folk medicine. Central European folk beliefs considered garlic a powerful ward against demons, werewolves, and vampires. To ward off vampires, garlic could be worn, hung in windows, or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes.

In the foundation myth of the ancient Korean kingdom of Gojoseon, eating nothing but 20 cloves of garlic and a bundle of Korean mugwort for 100 days let a bear be transformed into a woman.

In Iranian countries that celebrate Nowruz (Persian calendar New Year) such as Iran, the Caucasus countries, Afghanistan, and Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, garlic is one of the items in a Seven-Seen table, a traditional New Year's display.

In Islam, it is recommended not to eat raw garlic prior to going to the mosque. This is based on several hadiths.

In both Hinduism and Jainism, garlic is thought to stimulate and warm the body and to increase one's desires. Some devout Hindus generally avoid using garlic and the related onion in the preparation of foods, while less devout followers may only observe this for religious festivities and events. Followers of the Jain religion avoid eating garlic and onion on a daily basis.

In some Buddhist traditions, garlic – along with the other five "pungent spices" – is understood to stimulate sexual and aggressive drives to the detriment of meditation practice. In Mahayana Buddhism, monks and nuns are not allowed to consume garlic or other pungent spices such as chili, which are deemed as being "earthly pleasures" and are viewed as promoting aggression due to their spiciness and pungency.

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