A species closely related to the onion, shallot, leek and chive, with multiple culinary and medicinal uses, extremely common in the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa and Europe. While the leaves can also be used, it is the bulbous base that is usually eaten, either raw or cooked. The papery skin that ranges from cream to brown in colour is removed to reveal a number of segments called cloves, whose papery skin is also removed. The flesh within the cloves has a pungent and spicy aroma and flavour that sweetens with cooking, and are thus used as seasoning. In addition garlic has been found to bolster the immune system, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.