Garlic (Allium sativum, Lashuna) is a legitimate super food. It’s been used for a variety of health care needs for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine due to its enormous benefits. In this article we reveal several important aspects of garlic – ayurvedic properties, benefits, dosage, side effects, precautions along with three popular quick and tasty garlic recipes.
READ MORE: 50 Ayurvedic Herbs You Need To Know (Including Garlic)
According to Ayurveda, garlic (Lashuna) possesses five tastes, sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent (pancharasa). It doesn’t possess the salty taste. It is unctuous (snigdha), heavy (guru), strong (tikshna), induces mobility (sara), and has a hot potency (ushna virya). Its post-digestive effect (Vipaka) is pungent (Katu).
It is nourishing (balya), improves eye vision (Chakushya), ignites the digestive fire (deepana), acts as a heart tonic (hridya), brain tonic (medhya), aphrodisiac (vrashya), rejuvenator (rasayana) and antimicrobial (jantughna). It purifies the blood (raktadoshhar), improves complexion (varnya), aids in healing of fractures (bhagnasandhankar), balances Vata and Kapha dosha but increases Pitta dosha.1
Based on its action, garlic is also known as mahoushadha. That means, it treats disorders due to Vata imbalance. It is known to have positive effects on many diseases.
The ancient Indian Ayurvedic physician Kashyapa said that garlic is born from nectar. What he meant was, it has a rejuvenating (rasayana) property. This herb clears the channels (srotas), produces sperm and spermatic fluid (shukra) along with ovum and ovarian hormones (shonita). It also nourishes the breasts.2
In the classical Ayurvedic text book Charaka samhita, this herb has been indicated in skin diseases (kustha, kilasa), disorders due to Vata (vata roga), and in increasing sperm count and sperm motility (vrushya).3
Another ancient Ayurvedic physician Vagbhata considered garlic (lashuna) the best Vata pacifier. He emphasized that garlic is the best remedy for vataja disorder. It acts as a rejuvenator to remedy all types of obstructions (avarana) except those caused by Pitta dosha and blood tissue (rakta).4
According to the Ayurveda Pharmacopoeia of India, 3 to 6 grams of peeled garlic paste can be taken twice a day. Garlic is a little spicy and pungent in taste. Garlic milk is a nice way to take garlic. It has several additional health benefits. Scroll down to learn about Garlic Milk recipe.
Here are some important uses of garlic as mentioned in the classical Ayurvedic texts.
READ MORE: How To Breastfeed The Ayurvedic Way
Garlic is low in calories. One clove of garlic (3 grams) contains the following nutrients.
Carbohydrates: 1 gram
Total Fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Protein: 0 grams
Sodium: 1 mg
Potassium: 12 mgs
Calcium: 5 mgs
Vitamin D: 0 mcg
Iron: 0 mg
1. Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure
Research has shown that garlic significantly helps in reducing high blood pressure.11 Research also found that aged garlic extract in the amount of 600-1,500 mg was just as effective as the drug Atenolol in reducing blood pressure over a period of 24 weeks. The study concluded that garlic could be a good addition in combination therapy for hypertension.12
READ MORE: Will Turmeric Lower Blood Pressure?
2. Garlic Has Cardioprotective Effects
Research has shown that garlic supplements have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and counteracting the oxidative stress. It offers cardio protection in essential hypertensive conditions.13
Another scientific study concluded that the administration of garlic for 12 weeks prevented cardiovascular complications in individuals with Metabolic Syndrome.14
3. Garlic May Improve Cholesterol Levels
Hypercholesterolemia is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Research shows that garlic supplements have an important role in the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia, as dried garlic powder preparation significantly lowers serum triglycerides by 0.31 mmol/l compared to placebo.15 Another research also showed that garlic lowered LDL level specifically but had no reliable effects on HDL.16
4. Garlic May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease And Dementia
Aging is the cumulative result of oxidative damage to the cells and tissues of the body. It primarily arises as a result of aerobic metabolism. It is seen during research that garlic contains antioxidants and also increases the activities of some antioxidant enzymes, that protect against cell damage and aging.17 Research concluded that the antioxidant effect of garlic may be helpful in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well, which are common with aging.18
5. Garlic May Protect The Liver
Acetaminophen toxicity is considered one of the major causes of acute liver failure. A research study found that fresh garlic extract prevented histological changes in liver induced by acetaminophen overdose and thus concluded that it could potentially protect against hepatitis as well.19 Studies also found that the diallyl sulfide from garlic shields the liver from chemically induced hepatotoxicity. In addition to this, the selenium and allicin present in garlic make it an effective liver cleansing agent. It stimulates the production of liver enzymes that help the body to flush out toxins. 20
6. Garlic May Prevent Cancer
Garlic has shown effective results in research studies on cases of cancer such as lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. It was seen during a study conducted in China that those with intake of raw garlic twice a week had a 44 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer. The research also concluded that garlic may potentially serve as a ‘chemopreventive agent for lung cancer’.21
During a French study conducted on 345 breast cancer patients, it was found that increased garlic, onion, and fiber consumption were associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk.22
Another research study concluded that the organo sulphur compounds present in garlic such as diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl trisulfide were found to be effective in destroying the cells in glioblastomas, a type of deadly brain tumor, and provide significant protection against brain carcinogenesis. The author of this research said, “This research highlights the great promise of plant-originated compounds as natural medicine for controlling the malignant growth of human brain tumor cells”. 23
7. Garlic Found Effective In Common Cold
Research has noted that garlic boosts the immune system and its daily consumption lowers the chances of developing cold and flu. A study conducted for 12 weeks came to the conclusion that the group of clients consuming garlic were less likely to get cold and recovered faster if infected with common cold.24
Another study found that a high amount of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) in the diet may enhance immune cell function, reduce the severity of cold and flu, and reduce the number of sick days with cold or flu by 61%.25
READ MORE: How To Fight The Flu With Ayurveda
8. Garlic May Help You Overcome Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction or impotence is one of today’s most serious lifestyle and stress related diseases. Ayurveda offers natural remedies with proven efficacy for treatment of erectile dysfunction. Garlic is one of them, used traditionally to enhance sexual power. 26
9. Garlic Has Performance Enhancing Capabilities
It was seen that garlic improves exercise performance in clients with heart disease. During a research study, it was observed that clients with heart disease that took garlic oil for six weeks, had a reduction in peak heart rate of 12% along with a reduction in workload, upon the heart resulting in better exercise tolerance. The study further said that garlic is a good adaptogen and can be used in those with coronary artery disease. 27
Another study has also shown that garlic intake promotes exercise endurance and produces symptomatic improvement in a person with physical fatigue, systemic fatigue due to cold, or lassitude of indefinite cause, suggesting that garlic can resolve fatigue through a variety of actions. 28
READ MORE: In An Exercise Rut? Find A Workout For Your Body Type
10. Garlic Reduces Lead Toxicity And Related Symptoms
A four week study conducted on employees of a car battery plant (excessive exposure to lead) found that garlic is effective in reducing blood and tissue lead concentrations. It also reduced many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches, and blood pressure. Garlic was considered safer clinically, and as effective as d-penicillamine, an allopathic medicine used for this condition. The study said that garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.29
11. Garlic Benefits For Women
Research has shown that the phytoestrogenic efficacy garlic oil extract prevents bone mineral loss, by overcoming ovarian hormone deficiency.30 One study conducted on menopausal women also found that a daily intake of dry garlic extract (equal to 2 grams of raw garlic) significantly decreased the marker of estrogen deficiency, and therefore helped in improving bone health.31
READ MORE: Menopause Age, Signs Of Menopause, Natural Menopause Treatments, Hot Flashes, Night Sweats
12. Garlic Benefits For Skin32
Research suggests that oral administration of garlic has immunologic properties and is effective on cutaneous microcirculation, protection against UVB rays, and in skin cancer treatment.
13. Garlic Antioxidant Effects
During research it was seen that, due to the presence of organosulfur compounds, garlic prevented oxidant damage by scavenging reactive oxygen species, enhancing cellular antioxidant enzymes, and protecting DNA against free radicals. It so defends against UV-induced damage.
14. Garlic Immunomodulatory Effects
Several studies have shown that garlic exhibits immunomodulatory actions, maintaining homeostasis of the immune system. The organosulfur compounds of garlic possess anti-cancer activity and is found to be effective in cutaneous cancers such as melanoma.
15. Protection From UV Rays
Garlic has shown to stimulate the proliferation of macrophages and lymphocytes and protect against the suppression of immunity by ultraviolet radiation. In addition to this, research has also shown that topical application of garlic extract is effective on skin conditions such as psoriasis, alopecia areata, keloid scar, cutaneous corn, viral, fungal infection, wound healing, and also in skin aging and rejuvenation.
There are a few possible side effects of garlic supplementation.
Garlic is generally safe when taken in a limited quantity in the form of spice in your food. But consumption of excessive amounts of raw garlic, especially on an empty stomach, can upset gastrointestinal tract and cause flatulence.33 Topical application of garlic can cause skin irritation, blistering, and burns in some individuals.
When taken in a limited amount in your food, garlic is safe to eat. But intake of high amounts of garlic supplements is likely to be unsafe in the following conditions.
1. Bleeding Disorders
It has been suggested that individuals on allopathic anticoagulant medicines should be cautious while taking garlic because of its antithrombotic properties.34
2. Prior To Surgery
It is better to stop taking high garlic supplements 7 to 10 days before surgery, as it can prolong bleeding time and has been associated, in one case report, with spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma.35
The use of garlic as a flavoring agent, in a limited quantity, is considered safe and is invariably beneficial for health.But before taking garlic in high quantity in the form of a supplement, it is best to talk to your doctor, if you have any medical conditions, are suffering from allergies, or in case of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Here are three tasty, healthy, and quick recipes made with garlic.
This Garlic Milk Recipe nourishes the whole body and aids in digestion by reducing gastric disturbances related to Vata. It is also indicated to help reduce abdominal bloating, chronic fever, heart problems, edema, healing of wounds, painful conditions like sciatica, and musculoskeletal disorders like rheumatoid arthritis (Amavata) and osteoarthritis (saindhigatavata). It can be taken at night before bedtime.
According to Ayurveda, herb processed in milk (Ksheerpaka) has cooling and anabolic properties. Apart from the therapeutic action of the herb-processed milk (ksheerpaka), the recipe also nourishes the tissues, has anabolic effects, and reduces the hot (ushna), penetrating (tikshna) properties of the used herb (which is garlic in this recipe). In addition, it enhances the efficacy and specific target action.
Other advantages of herb-processed milk (ksheerpaka) include better palatability, the ability to administer large amounts of the herb, and in this form it may be suitable for all types of clients.
20 grams peeled, dried garlic
80 ml milk
80 ml water
Sugar, to taste (optional)
Make a paste of dried garlic cloves by mashing them with a fork. Take equal amounts of milk and water in a pan, under medium-high heat. Add the dried garlic paste and boil this mixture uncovered over a low flame.
Continue stirring and boil until all the water is evaporated and is reduced to half. Add sugar to taste. Next, turn off the flame and strain the contents.
Please Note: Peeled dried garlic clove, milk, and water are always taken in a ratio of 1:4:4.
READ MORE: Golden Milk For Joints, Does It Work?
15-20 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 cup dry coconut flakes
3-4 dried red chillies
1tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp tamarind pulp
Salt, to taste
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the garlic and stir, make sure they do not become brown. Transfer the sautéed garlic into a container and set aside. Next, add the dry coconut slices to the same hot pan and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the fried coconut slices to the garlic and allow it to cool. Once cooled, transfer the mix to a blender. Add dried red chilli, red chilli powder, sesame seeds, coriander powder, tamarind pulp, and salt to the mixture. Grind all the contents into a coarse powder.
Store up to 15 days in a dry container.
1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
3 tbsp mustard oil
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp jaggery, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp split fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the garlic cloves and turmeric powder, and sauté over a slow flame for 3 to 4 minutes or until they turn soft. Next add the lemon juice and cook over a low flame for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the garlic is cooked, add the chilli powder, jaggery, and salt and cook over a low flame. Keep stirring until the jaggery dissolves.
In a spice grinder, grind the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds, and asafoetida. Add it to the pan and mix well, cooking for one more minute. Turn off the flame, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Store in a sterile glass jar in a cool, dry place for one week. You can enjoy this pickle for 3 months.
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