Garlic Benefits, Research, Usage, Side Effects

Garlic is anti aging spice. It is hot, cleansing, cardiac tonic, digestive, good for eyes, improves hair strength and quality, useful in cough, asthma etc. But needs some precautions while administering it.

Botanical Name- Allium Sativum Linn.
Family- LILIACEAE

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Lahasum
English Name- Garlic
Telugu Name- Vellulli
Bengali Name- Rasuna
Marathi Name- Lasuna
Tamil name – Puntu

Allium Sativum Linn

Sanskrit Synonyms
Mlechagandha, Ugra Gandha – Having strong pungent odor
Yavaneshta, Lashuna,  anda
Mahoushadha – Great medicine having immense health benefits
Rasona – Rasa + Una – having all the six tastes, minus one (sour taste) – Garlic has all the five tastes, except sour.
Arishta, Mlecchakanda, Mahakanda,

Allium Sativum

Different Varieties-
Kashyapa mentioned two varieties –
Girija – Garlic grown in mountains and
Kshetraja – cultivated in lands.

Nighantus mentioned two types
Lashuna  – Allium sativum and
Maha Kanda/ Grunjana – Allium ascalonium Linn.

Distribution- Cultivated Throughout India. Mainly in Ludhiana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, U.P and Gujarat

Garlic bulbs

Allium sativum chemical Constituents
Alliin; Carbohydrates(arabinose, Galactose etc) Vitamins (folic acid, Niacin, Riboflavin, thiamine, vit c); Amino acids (arinic , Asparagic acid, methionine etc); enzymes (allinase); volatile compounds (allylalcohol, allylthiol, allylpropyl disulphide etc. Thioglycosides(Scordine, Scordinine a1, A2, & B etc. prostaglandins A2, D2, E2 and F2; allylmethylselenide, Ajoene proteorubosiside B.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)

Garlic inflorescence

Garlic – medicinal properties
Raw garlic is one of the very ancient spices used in Ayurveda. Even Sushruta has appreciated the benefits of raw garlic. Sweet, salt, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent are the six tastes according to Ayurveda beliefs. Garlic is one of those rare herbs which has five tastes except sour.
Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet), Lavana (salt), Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (astringent)
Guna (qualities) – Snigdha (oily), Guru (heavy), Teekshna (strong, piercing), Sara (mobile)
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Vata and Kapha. Increases Pitta Dosha.

Part Used- Bulb, oil
Dosage- Paste 1-6 g in single or divided dose per day.
Garlic oil 1-2 ml in single or multiple dose per day

Garlic pearls

Garlic benefits:
क्रिमिकुष्ठकिलासघ्नो वातघ्नो गुल्मनाशनः|
स्निग्धश्चोष्णश्च वृष्यश्च लशुनः कटुको गुरुः||१७६||
krimikuṣṭhakilāsaghno vātaghno gulmanāśanaḥ|
snigdhaścoṣṇaśca vṛṣyaśca laśunaḥ kaṭuko guruḥ||176|| Charaka Sutrasthana 27

Jantujit, Krumighna – Relieves worm infestation, useful in infected wounds
Kushtaghna – useful in skin diseases
Kilasaghna – useful in spreading type of skin disease
Vataghna – useful in treating disorders of Vata Dosha imbalance  such as neuralgia, paralysis, constipation, bloating, etc
Gulmahara – useful in abdominal tumors
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor

Garlic benefits

Medhakrut – Improves intelligence
Svarakrut – improves voice tone and quality
Varnakrut – Improves skin tone and complexion
Akshikrut, Netrya, 
Chakshushya – improves vision, good for eyes, useful in eye disorders
Bhagna Asthi Sandhanakara – causes quick healing of fractured bones
Bruhmana – Though lahsun being pungent, because of its nutritive values, it is also nourishing.
Pachana – Digestive, relieves Ama Dosha
Pittakrut – Increases Pitta Dosha
Asrakrut – Causes or worsens blood vitiated disorders
Keshakrut – improves hair quality and quantity
Hikkahara – relieves hiccups
Kasahara – useful in cough and cold
Jwarahara  – useful in fever
Shwasahara – useful in treatment of asthma and chronic respiratory disorders.
Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases
Mehahara – useful in urinary tract disorders and diabetes
Amahara – Relieves ama – a product of indigestion and altered metabolism.
Peenasahara – useful in running nose, sinusitis
Shwitrahara – useful in treating leucoderma – vitiligo
Arshahara – useful in piles, hemorrhoids
Shoolahara – relieves abdominal colic pain
Shophahara – relieves swelling, edema, anti inflammatory
Rasayana – anti aging, causes cell and tissue rejuvenation
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Jeernajvarahara – relieves chronic fever
Kukshi Shoolahara – relieves abdominal colic pain
Vibandhahara – Relieves constipation
Aruchihara – useful in relieving anorexia

Garlic uses

Lahsun for relieving Avarana – blocking:
Excluding Rakta (blood tissue) and Pitta Dosha, for all types of Avarana (blocking of channels, covering of channels), Garlic is very useful. Because of its pungent and piercing qualities, it helps to clear open the body channels. Because of its hotness, it is not useful in Pitta and Rakta conditions.

Garlic root is pungent, leaves are pungent, stalk is astringent.

Garlic arthritis: Garlic is used in treatment of fractures, and to strengthen bones. Garlic is known to assist in regeneration of bone mass. Hence raw garlic is useful in rheumatoid arthritis and osteo arthritis.

Maha Kanda/ Grunjana – Allium ascalonium Linn.
It has similar properties of Garlic.
Madhura – sweet in taste
Katu – pungent
Stalk is astringent, leaves are bitter

Garlic and dietetics:
It is good to have non veg food, sour foods, drinks and alcohol with garlic.
Garlic with milk –
To counter the spiciness and hotness of garlic, it is boiled with milk and the milk is consumed. This is especially beneficial for people with Pitta body types. This also has many other benefits. Read more – Garlic Milk remedy

External application: Applying garlic paste improves blood circulation, relieves pain and inflammation.
Hence, its paste is applied over joints to relieve pain and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis, osteo arthritis and sciatica.
It is also useful against insect bites and itching skin disorders.

Effect of garlic on heart:
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart.
It stimulates heart, improves blood circulation, reduces cholesterol deposition inside the blood vessels.

Effect against cancer:
American Institute For Cancer research enlists garlic as a potential spice useful in cancer prevention. Its key ingredients  quercetin, allixin and a group of organosulfur compounds – allicin, alliin and allyl sulfides have shown effect against growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, colon and stomach tissue.

Research on Garlic:
Anti-diabetic effect
anthelmentic activity
virucidal effects
Anti oxidant activity
Anti bacterial activity

Garlic side effects:
Limit the amount of garlic intake during summers.
Not suitable for people with Pitta body types.
It is better to avoid hot Sun exposure, exercise, anger, drinking water, milk with jaggery, soon after eating garlic.
It is safe for children, pregnant and lactating mothers.
Garlic may cause or worsen bad breath problem.
For women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding, it is advisable to stop using garlic from 5 days before onset of periods till it stops.

Garlic a Tamasika food with health benefits:
Garlic has Rasayana properties – It means, if you take it for long period of time, it has anti aging effects on your health. But garlic is a Tamasik food. Tamas means darkness. It means that it is not suitable for those seeking celibacy and spiritual success.
However, if you have any disease, the concept of Tamasik food does not apply to you.
The benefits of garlic outweigh its Tamasik side effects. Unless you are a very serious spiritual seeker, you may continue enjoying immense health benefits of garlic.

How to consume garlic?
For those who can tolerate its offensive smell and taste, they can remove the skin of garlic pearls and consume it readily, after food in the morning.
People with Pitta imbalance can fry garlic in ghee or boil 1 – 2 garlic pearls in milk and then consume it.
For regular use, best method is to use it as part of ingredients to prepare food items.
Its extracts are also available in the market.

Ayurvedic medicines with Lahsun as ingredient:
Lashunadi Vati –
used in diarrhoea, dyspepsia and such other stomach and intestine related diseases.
Rasonadi Kashayam –
used in Ayurvedic treatment of bloating, vomitting, nausea, cough etc
Lashunadi Ghrita – Herbal ghee used in abdominal disorders, neurological conditions, etc
Vettumaran Gulika –  used in Ayurvedic treatment of fever, vomiting, abdominal colic pain

How to use garlic for cold?
Q: Kindly advise suitably about the use of garlic in case of cold. Is it proper to swallow two three cloves with water or it can also be baked in ghee.
Answer: Dear sir, during cold, it is best to swallow 2 garlic pearls or make a paste of garlic pearl, to it, add a pinch of each of turmeric powder and black pepper powder and have it with water. This will be more effective in cold, than frying it in ghee.

Dr JV Hebbar is an Ayurveda Doctor, Assistant Professor, From Mangalore, India. Click here to consult Dr Hebbar
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Comments

  1. Hi Sir How to take Raw Garlic

  2. Hi Sir
    i have heard that garlic is used in sex remedy
    is it true?
    then
    How can we use it?

    • Yes, garlic is known to improve sex power. The method of usage is – to boil 5 garlic pearls with a glass of milk for a five minutes, filter and drink it with a little honey or sugar.

      Daily usage of garlic in diet is also one of the natural methods to improve sexual health.

  3. hiya is raw garlic good for poor leg circulation and feeling cold all the time if so how to eat it

    • Yes. Raw garlic is one of the natural blood thinning agent and is also useful to get rid of feeling cold, as it is naturally hot in potency.
      1. If you are accustomed to eat raw garlic, you may go ahead with eating the de-husked garlic pearls as such – one pearl in the morning, after food, preferably with cow milk.
      2. If you want to reduce the hot potency by a bit, take half a cup of milk, boil two garlic pearls in it and drink it (along with garlic)
      3. If you do not like the taste and smell, you can go for garlic capsules that are readily available in the market. For a healthy person, one garlic pearl will be good.

  4. Sir,

    I would like to introduce as a regular eater of raw garlic. From net I got your id. I have some quarry, as garlic is having some property for thinning the blood, and in net I read that as Garlic can also thin the blood so caution is advised to people with blood disorders. So does intake of raw garlic cloves every day for a longer duration have any effect/create any chance for creating blood cancer among human population?

    Personally I experienced two such instances, where persons suffered and ultimately died from blood cancer, were regular consumer of raw garlic when they were normal.

    So, Sir, my question is that did you ever found any scientific finding regarding this. What is your personal comments/opinion/suggestion on this, regarding garlic consumption and blood cancer..

    Do you suggest me to continue consuming raw garlic cloves (2cloves) every morning in empty stomach? if so how many cloves in a day for a normal person.Pl also inform whether intake of raw garlic is better or garlic pearls?

    Hope to have your kind suggestion in this regards

    Thanking you,

    With personal regards,

    Dr. J. Roy
    Jabalpur 482003 (M.P.) India

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Dear sir,
      If two people get blood cancer and were drinking water everyday, that does not mean that they got cancer due to water.
      In contradiction, garlic has anti-cancer effect. reference: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/garlic-000245.htm
      But still how those two got cancer? may be genetical predisposition with other factors overcame the good effects of garlic.

      Raw garlic is better than garlic pearls. Why drink apple juice extract, when you can get apple in the market :)

      Two garlic pearls are fine, if you are accustomed to it. However, for others it may be a little too hot. So, normally one garlic pearl or garlic milk home remedy is quite sufficient to enjoy full health benefits. – Here is how to make garlic milk remedy – http://easyayurveda.com/2011/07/04/milk-garlic-home-remedy-for-stomach-abscess-and-fever/

  5. Dear Sir, Is eating garlic beneficial for pregnant women and the fetus. What is the procedure to eat it.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Yes it is beneficial. It can be used as an ingredient in food recipes. Eating it alone just for the sake of it, is not really necessary unless your doctor thinks so.

      • mani singh says:

        Sir
        kya garlic ko bina khush khye le skte hai.koi side ifect to nhi hai.agr hai to kaise khana chahiye.

  6. is raw garlic effective in vertigo, BP and ortho arthritis

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      In some cases of vertigo, raw garlic is helpful, but in some, it may worsen it.
      Garlic is useful in controlling BP.
      Because it has got anti inflammatory effect, it is also useful in osteo-arthritis.

  7. hi sir , we use garlic to reduce uric acid in blood

  8. Sir, Is garlic can boost men’s sexual power,
    How can we use it to boost up sex power.

  9. hi sir…
    I’m 20 years old and i have acne… I was wondering if consuming two cloves of garlic a day would help my acne.. Also i have weak stomach acid which results in a lot of belching and discomfort.
    Can garlic reduce that too?
    Thank you.

  10. sir, i would like to know how to consume raw garlic in the morning…. simply chew it or gulp the crushed garlic paste with water?? i would also like to know how to use garlic as a remedy for hair thinning or hair loss,,should it be directly on scalp(cut into half and rubbed on scalp), as various sites suggest or should it be mixed / crushed with some kind of oil,, then apply on scalp and then rinse hair in the morning…… please reply soon.

  11. Shailendra says:

    Sir, I eat 3, 4 cloves of raw garlic everyday (anytime). I dip them in salt and swallow with water, so there is no breath in my mouth. But, there is a garlic smell in my sweat and on other parts of body. How do I avoid this smell?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, boiling the garlic in milk for a minute and then taking it reduces the body odor.

  12. Shailendra says:

    Sir, thanks for your reply. You mean that I shall put some 3,4 garlic cloves in 1 cup milk, boil it and then drink it? And can it be done anytime in a day?

  13. Puneeth says:

    Dr Hebbar,

    Is raw garlic useful for stomach ulcer ????

    Regards,
    Puneeth

  14. Hello Sir,

    I have heard that garlic is used to improve sex power ?
    What is the best way to take this for such this problem ?
    And can you please tell me the positive side to take raw garlic ?

    Thank You.

  15. Dear Sir,

    I read articles on Internet and also your site and started eating 3-4 cloves of raw garlic everyday. But, now I have got severe problem of amlapitta (which I had previous also). For the time being I have discontinued eating garlic cloves. Shall I reduce the quantity (meaning 1 or 2 cloves) per day after I get cured from amlapitta? Your advice is very valuable…

  16. Dear Sir,

    Thanks very for your reply. I want to consume garlic for sexual health (and for general purpose as well). How much shall I have it everyday? And will it increase amlapitta?

  17. AMRIT JAIN says:

    Dear sir

    I am a paitent of a high cholestrol
    Everyday in the morning when i take 2-3 cloves of garlic with water then as its result i get
    irritation in chest and pain in my stomach for 5 minutes.
    SO should i continue taking it or how should I take it??

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      1. Try frying a little with ghee before taking it.
      2. Or boil it in a cup of milk and eat it along with the same milk. This reduces the burning sensation.

  18. Sir i have hyperacidity and hypertension can i take raw garlic +lemon juice in empty stomach at morning . Pse reply

  19. Doctor,
    Whether the garlic can be swallowed instead of eating/chewing? If yes, what quantity to be swallowed each day and whether it should be in the morning or night?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, direct swallowing of garlic pearl may not be comfortable. Better to at least make it a paste / small pill and swallow it. There are also many garlic oil capsules available in the market. Daily 1 – 2 garlic pearls can be consumed, better to do it in the morning.

  20. Taking Garlic with Milk is not suggested as it causes skin diseases.
    Is it true?

  21. Is garlic use useful in treatment of gout or are there any other treatments available?

  22. Kunwar Singh says:

    Dear Dr Hebbar,

    I have the honour to add the following:

    Wrap one pealed garlic clove in a piece of wet dates (Geela Khajoor) and eat them daily before breakfast for one month to treat high level of cholesterol and triglyceride to bring them under normal limits. Garlic being good source of Maganese, Vitamin B1, B6, Selenium, Calcium, Vitamin C, Phosphorus, Copper, Protein and Sulphur, it makes it a potent natural antibiotic against toxic bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungus. Garlic is anthelmintic and having anti-clotting properties, it is considered one of the most popular herbs to prevent blood cells (Platelets) from becoming too sticky and by checking stickiness in blood; the risk of formation of blood clots in blood vessel is prevented. Garlic is also effective in treating muscle and joint pain, cough and cold, Asthma, Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B (HBV), HIV and critical skin diseases. Garlic is an effective herb to treat various parameters of sexual weakness.

    Best regards,
    Kunwar Singh
    close2health@yahoo.com

  23. nice

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