An annual or perennial, bulbous plant with numerous white bulbs enclosed in common white or pink sheath. Flowers are white in color.
Bulbs and oil
Diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, alterative, digestant, carminative and stomachic.
Actions and uses in ayurveda
It is both Kapha and vata rejuvenator. It is brahmanam, vrishyam, pachanam, tikshnam, rasayanam. It is used in swas kasam, kushtam, krimi and agnimandayam.
It is used in asthma, dyspnea, tuberculosis, whooping cough, fever, typhoid, diphtheria, amoebic dysentery, duodenal ulcers, rheumatism, otorrhea, staphylococcal infection, high lipid profile and hypertension.
The active properties of Garlic depend on a pungent, volatile, essential oil, which may readily be obtained by distillation with water. It is a sulphide of the radical Allyl, present in all the onion family. This oil is rich in sulphur, but contains no oxygen. The peculiar penetrating odor of Garlic is due to this intensely smelling sulphuret of allyl. Garlic contains three S-alkylcysteine sulphoxides capable of producing thiosulphinates. Ajoene -Originally discovered after incubation of chopped garlic in methanol with remarkable activity towards inhibition of blood platelet aggregation. Allicin - A pungent oil, yellow brown in colour. Alliin - Alliin or S-2-propenylcysteine sulphoxide constitutes approximately 85% of the three sulphoxides
Properties and action
Rasa: all rasas except amla
Guna: snigdh, tikshana, picchil, guru, sar.
Karma: vatakapha hara, balya, rasayana, vajikarna.
Tablet, powder, pearls, oil, capsules, liniment and decoction
Therapeutic classification index
- Central nervous system: An infusion of the bruised bulbs, given before and after every meal, has been considered of good effect in epilepsy.
- Cardiovascular system: it lowers down blood cholesterol and is effectively useful in high blood pressure.
- Respiratory system: Syrup of Garlic is an invaluable medicine for asthma, hoarseness, coughs, difficulty of breathing, and most other disorders of the lungs, being of particular virtue in chronic bronchitis, on account of its powers of promoting expectoration. It has been proved to relieve whooping cough if rubbed on the chest and between the shoulder blades. Laryngeal tuberculosis is relieved on using garlic. Inhalation of garlic is useful in pulmonary tuberculosis.
- Digestive system: it is used in intestinal worms, amoebic dysentery, flatulence and indigestion. Duodenal ulcers have been treated with lasun. It is useful in atonic dyspepsia and colic.
- Skin: it is widely employed in the control of suppuration in wounds. The raw juice is expressed, diluted with water, and put on swabs of sterilized Sphagnum moss, which are applied to the wound. Garlic was employed as a specific for leprosy. It was also believed that it had most beneficial results in cases of smallpox, if cut small and applied to the soles of the feet in a linen cloth, renewed daily. It is sometimes externally applied in ointments and lotions, and as an antiseptic, to disperse hard swellings, also pounded and employed as a poultice for scrofulous sores.
- Hair Garlic in a quart of proof spirit is a good stimulant lotion for baldness of the head.
- Genito- urinary system: locally it is used in vaginitis and leucorrhea. It is also a mild emmanogogue.
- Musculoskeletal system: A clove or two of Garlic, pounded with honey and taken two or three nights successively, is good in rheumatism
- Ear: it is used as eardrops in earache and deafness.
Garlic as lipid lowering agent - a Meta analysis
The largest study so far was conducted in Germany where 261 patients from 30 general practices were given either garlic powder tablets or a placebo. After 12-week treatments period mean serum cholesterol levels dropped by 12% in the garlic treated group and triglycerides dropped by 17% compared to the placebo group.
Silagy CS, Neil HAW, 1994, The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians, Vol 28 No 1:39-45
Garlic and Pregnancy
New research shows that taking garlic during pregnancy can cut the risk of pre-eclampsia (raised blood pressure and protein retained in the urine). Studies reveal that garlic may help to boost the birth-weight of babies destined to be too small. The research was carried out by Dr D Sooranna, Ms J Hirani and Dr I Das in the Academic Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London UK. Experiments by the research team showed that adding extracts of garlic to cells from the placenta of women likely to suffer from these conditions was able to quickly stimulate growth. Furthermore, the activities of key enzymes that are reduced in the abnormal pregnancies were significantly increased when garlic was added.
Garlic and Cancer
Researchers in Pennsylvania have shown that by injecting a compound called diallyl disulphide (formed when raw garlic is cut or crushed) tumors can be reduced by half and that a further compound (S-Allylcysteine) can stop cancer causing agents from binding to human breast cells.
Recent findings support a growing body of evidence that garlic works as an anti-carcinogen in both prevention and treatment, and that garlic and related foods play an important dietary role in the cancer process. For instance, scientists have correlated garlic intake with reduced nitrite levels in people and fewer deaths from stomach cancer are recorded
Garlic and Impotence
Garlic has always been known as an aphrodisiac and from a medical point of view it can improve blood circulation significantly. Now it appears that an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is primarily responsible for the mechanism of erection. Studies have recently shown that garlic in certain forms can stimulate the production of NOS particularly in individuals who have low levels of this enzyme
Garlic as an antibiotic
Garlic is the only antibiotic that can actually kill infecting bacteria and at the same time protect the body from the poisons that are causing the infection. It is known that the most sensitive bacterium to garlic is the deadly Bacillus anthracis that produces the poison anthrax. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is also sensitive to several of the sulphur components found in garlic.
Garlic in claudication
Study in Circulation, the prestigious journal sponsored by the American Heart Association, suggests that garlic may help maintain the elasticity of aging blood vessels. (Blood vessels, like old rubber bands, lose their stretchiness with time. This is why many elderly people have high blood pressure.) In the Circulation study, the average garlic intake was five; 100-milligram tablets (a little less than half a medium garlic clove) a day.
Dose: paste: 3-6g
Oil: 1-2 drops
Capsule garlic contains pure and concentrated garlic
Dosage: one capsule twice a day.
Package 60 capsules
- Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol II, pg 72-75
- Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg 65-71
- The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India, Part I, Vol.III, pg 108-109
- Dr. Narian Singh Chauhan, Medicinal And Aromatic Plants Of Himachal Pradesh, pg 88
- Planetary Herbology by Dr Michael Tierra pg 305-306