Herbs > Ayurvedic Herbs and their Healing Power > Garlic (Allium sativum)
By Dr. Satish Kulkarni
The colloquial (India) name of Garlic is
lasoon, while its botanical name being Allium
Sativum. Garlic is an erect, underground herb
belonging to the onion family. Garlic is very
commonly used as a spice in many Indian recipes. It
is believed that garlic adds to taste of the food as
well as it helps in making them digestible.
Garlic is grown as an annual herb. It
grows well in cool climates and dry weather. It has
irregular roots, condensed thick stem and narrow,
flat leaves with a very peculiar smell. The bulb of
the garlic is formed by a bunch of bulblets which a
most useful part of the herb. Each bulblet is wrapped
in a thick, whitish and shiny skin.
Garlic is world famous for its
contribution to human health from centuries.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine(470-358 BC) has
mentioned this herb in his medical notes and
recommended use of this valuable herb in treating
infections. Literature says that garlic has
originated in Central Asia and then spread to
remaining parts of world. Garlic was known to Chinese
health providers before 3,000 BC and is a part of
Chinese diet and medicine till today. It was also
known to Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Africans from
ages and was used as a medicine for several common
Traditionally garlic is used for asthma
and bronchitis. Many Indian families prepare a chain
of bulblets of garlic by threading them and put it
around the neck of children who are suffering from
congestion of chest due to cough. This is especially
done in conditions like whooping cough. Garlic
contains allyl propyl disulphide, diallyl disulphide
and few sulphur compounds which are supposed to have
inhaling properties and thus help in liquefying
accumulated cough in chest. Cloves or bulblets of
garlic boiled in milk are recommended in asthama,
bronchitis and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Garlic has definite role in
arteriosclerosis i.e. hardening and narrowing of
arteries which ultimately results in reducing blood
supply of heart. Garlic is good for heart and it is
believed that maintains toning of cardiac muscles. It
is a good appetite stimulator, vigor and strength
donor and metabolism improviser.
In deafness, medicated oil (prepared out
f garlic) is recommended for local use. Sanhitas i.e.
ancient ayurvedic texts have suggested use of garlic
in skin diseases like leprosy, skin conditions like
leucoderma. Few ayurvedic physicians use garlic in
repeated worm infections. Its a good worm
expeller according to them. One ayurvedic school has
recommended use of garlic in haemorrhoids i.e.
bleeding piles but recent medicinal trials taken
havent given needful proof for this. Few say,
garlic has some antiseptic properties but more
research is necessary to prove this.
Recent studies suggest, garlic has some
properties which help in reducing high blood
pressure. It slows down fast pulse and improves heart
rhythm. In some countries garlic is used for treating
rheumatism and associated symptoms. One center of
trials of alternative medicines in US is busy in
taking trials of garlic against cancer and results
A smell of garlic is given to hysteric
patient has shown some effect like cooling down. It
is also used in unconscious patients for smelling in
a view to bring them out of the condition.
To summarise, garlic is used in
respiratory as well as digestive disorders. Its
b smell has some effects on central nervous
system also. It can be directly added to food as a
spice or its juice can be consumed as a
medicine. It is also used in the form of medicated
oil singly or with other ingredients.
More on Garlic
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