Garlic Allium sativum; Liliaceae
Part used: bulb
Effect of Dosha: VK- P+
Post digestive effect: pungent
Tissues: plasma, blood, fat, majja, shukra.
Systems: digestive, immune, respiratory, circulatory, nervous, reproductive, urinary.
Properties: anti-cancer, anti parasitic, decongestant, expectorant, stimulant, aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, anti-microbial, anti-biotic, sedative, anti-viral.
Indications: respiratory infections, asthma, colds, cough, congestion, flu, bronchitis, staph infection, boils, ear infections, gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, low libido, candidiasis, parasites, dysentery, hypertension, high cholesterol, poor circulation, joint and muscle pain, arthritis, lumbago.
Preparations: infused oil, apple cider vinegar extract, decoction, pill/capsule, herbal oil.
Dosage:1-3 fresh cloves daily. Elixer Extract: 1-3 Tbsp. daily
Precautions: high pitta, bleeding disorders.
Garlic has a specially affinity to the heart, lungs and digestive tract. It has carminative (anuloman) and digestive stimulant properties, which aid in digestion and redirecting the normal downward flow of gas and waste products. It is used in vata related digestive complaints such as gas, bloating, low appetite, constipation, poor absorption, candidiasis, and intestinal discomfort. It is the main herb in the Ayurvedic formula Lasunadi vati, used for such complaints.
Its powerful anti-microbial action makes it useful in the treatment of a wide variety of bacterial infections and is also used to rid intestinal parasites, fungal and yeast infections. When taken in frequent doses, fresh garlic can affectively treat staph infections and reduce the risk of blood poisoning and even cancer. Its hot and penetrating qualities help to burn impurities from the GI tract, thus encouraging beneficial bacteria to flourish in the gut. One of the gifts of garlic is that it works as good as many antibiotics, but without destroying the garden of beneficial bacteria needed for good digestion and healthy immunity. The trick is in taking enough, 3 cloves a day. A good way to get a high dose is to make a garlic/honey/apple cider vinegar elixir. (there’s many recipes for this on-line)
Traditionally, it is used in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections and asthma. Here, a clove can be eaten along with a teaspoon of honey several times daily to clear dampness, and ease breathing. Taken in small amounts daily, garlic can play a significant role in boosting overall immunity and preventing common colds and flu.
For ear infections, garlic can be prepared into olive oil and applied into the ears. There are several good garlic ear oils available on the market for this purpose. Traditionally, garlic was chopped and lightly sautéed in sesame oil until golden brown, strained well, and administered into the ear, or rubbed on so joints. Although this method is affective, it is not as potent as when it is infused in oil without heating. According to the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, studies show that heating garlic destroys active allyl sulfur compound formation, which may be responsible for much of its anticancer properties.
As a warming and stimulating tonic to the heart, it improves circulation and helps to lower blood pressure in vata and kapha related of hypertension. Here it calms vata in the mind and nervous system, and also stimulates stagnant kapha by increasing metabolism. When combined with fresh ginger it can lower cholesterol. A simple home remedy for lowering cholesterol can be made by mixing 1 tsp each of shredded garlic and fresh ginger, with a squeeze of lime juice, which then can be eaten along with a meal 2 times daily.
Garlic pacifies vata in the joints and aids in the relief of low back, rheumatic and osteo-arthritic pain. Despite its hot energy, its prabhava, (specially potency) gives it an anti-inflammatory action on the joints.
To induce a sound sleep, chop a clove of garlic and light boil it in 1 cup of whole milk for 5 minutes, strain and drink before bedtime. It actually tastes like chowder or delicious soup, and its sedative effects are profound.
Last but not least, garlic boosts the libido, both as a tonic and a stimulant to the genital organs. It nourishes shukra (reproductive fluid) and enhances blood and energy flow to the genital organ. The flip side is that over consuming garlic stimulate sexual passions. So if you are observing celibacy, it is better to moderate its use.