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Article: Allium Sativum (Lahsun, Garlic) | Allium Sativum Medical Advantages

Allium sativum (Lahsun, Garlic) 

Author:

Dr. Veena

Allium sativum (Lahsun, Garlic)

A nutritionally balanced diet is key to good health. Everyone should try to understand the importance of a balanced diet and natural home remedies to enjoy a healthy life. One benefit of natural home remedies is that they have negligible side effects. People who maintain a balanced diet generally do not require medicines, as mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic text, Kashyap Samhita.

Let us discuss the medicinal value of Allium sativum and its uses in food recipes.

The Sanskrit name for Lahsun (Garlic) is ‘Rason’ because it contains five Rasa (tastes) except Amla (sour). Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes and cooking since ancient times.

The active constituent of Allium sativum is Allicin, which has hypolipidemic action. It inhibits cholesterol biosynthesis in the liver. Allicin is produced when garlic is crushed for medicinal value or culinary purposes, so it should be used after crushing it when preparing food.

Benefits of the Contents of Garlic

- Allicin: Contains sulfur, which helps prevent infections, kills bacteria and has antifungal properties.

- Salicylate: Acts as a blood thinner.

- Selenium: Known to fight cancer.

Action of Garlic in Body Systems

- External Use: Poultice is used in sciatica, paralysis, swelling, and backache to relieve pain.

- Digestive System: Indicated for loss of appetite, indigestion, colic, worms, and piles.

- Circulatory System: As a stimulant, it can be used to treat heart problems.

- Respiratory System: Useful in treating chronic cough and asthma.

- Reproductive System: Used for dysmenorrhea.

- Urinary System: For intermittent urination.

Medicinal Uses

Garlic has medicinal uses as a carminative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, stimulant, anthelmintic, and antirheumatic. It acts as an anthelmintic, expelling roundworms. The oil of the seeds is also a stimulant. Allium sativum is a natural cleansing and disinfecting medium. Its extract shows activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria due to its allicin content.  

Ref: Wealth of India Rev Vol 1, 1985, CSIR, 184-185.

Results of a study by Sevendsen L. et al., Laboratory of Cellular Ageing, Aarhus University, Denmark, show that garlic extract has youth-preservative and anti-aging effects on humans.  

Ref: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, v43(2), 1994, 125-133.

Clinical Trial

In my practice, I observed that Lashunadi Bati, given one Bati twice a day to 10 patients for about 15 days, exhibited significant results for patients with gas, belching, indigestion, and nausea.

Natural Home Remedies

- Tubercular Affections of the Lungs: Garlic juice often diminishes obstinate cough and expectoration.

- Anthelmintic Property: Can be given to children to expel worms.

- Ear Pain: Add 2-3 garlic cloves to boiling water. Allow the oil to cool and then put 2-3 drops in the ear.

- Dandruff: Add 2-3 cloves of garlic to shampoo to treat dandruff and relieve scalp itching. Do this only twice a month.

- Impotency: Remove the outer covering of four garlic cloves, crush them, and add to one glass of milk. Boil until it reduces to half. Filter and add sugar. Give this twice a day.

- Elongated Uvula: Apply expressed juice for beneficial effects similar to silver nitrate.

- Hairline Fractures: Eat 2 cloves of garlic.

- Heart Problems: Eat one raw clove of garlic daily.

- Joint Pain and Backache: Add 5-8 crushed cloves to sesame oil, boil, cool, and massage the affected area.

- Fungal Infection: Crush 2-3 pods of garlic, extract the juice and mix with equal parts white vinegar. Apply to the affected area.

- Sinusitis: Extract the juice of 3 garlic cloves, add two teaspoons of honey, and give twice a day.

- Weight Management: Take two crushed cloves with honey and lukewarm water.

- Cold and Flu: Prevents recurrent attacks without side effects.

- Constipation: Eat 1 clove of garlic daily.

- Atherosclerosis: Prevents this condition.  

  Ref: Kumar A. et al., 1979, Indian J Pharmacology, 11, 61; Saxena KK et al., 1980, Indian J Physiol and Pharmacol, 24, 223.

- Toothache: Crush 2 cloves of garlic, make a paste and apply to the affected area with a bit of salt.

- Pleurisy: Take one garlic clove on an empty stomach with water.

Uses in the Kitchen

Garlic is extensively used as a spice in India. It is used in chutneys, curries, and while preparing spicy vegetables. It can also be used to flavor pickles, garlic bread, and garlic toast.

Side Effects of Garlic/Allicin

- Sweating, Fatigue: Can cause burning sensation in the mouth and stomach, stomach upset, and blood thinning.

- Allergies: Skin rashes, acidity, and vertigo.

- Interactions: Do not take garlic with some medications used for HIV/AIDS as it may decrease their effectiveness. Garlic may interact with warfarin and saquinavir.

Dose:

- Crushed Clove (Balb Kalka): 3g for adults.

- Oil: 1-2 drops.

Contraindications

- Pregnant women.

- Persons with Pitta constitution.

Note: The constituent of garlic, allicin, gives a typical smell to garlic. To avoid this smell, people use aged garlic in products, but such products are observed to have less efficacy. Take all these remedies with the consultation of a doctor or Ayurvedic physician.

References

- Effect of Garlic on Blood Pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis, BMC Cardiovascular Disorder 2008; 8: B.

- Chan KC, Yin MC, Chao WJ (March 2007). "Effect of diallyl trisulfide-rich garlic oil on blood coagulation and plasma activity of anticoagulation factors in rats". Food Chem Toxicol 45 (3): 502–7. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2006.10.005. PMID 17123684.

- Borrelli F, Capasso R, Izzo AA (November 2007). "Garlic (Allium sativum L.): adverse effects and drug interactions in humans". Mol Nutr Food Res 51 (11): 1386–97. doi:10.1002/mnfr.200700072. PMID 17918162.

- Indian Materia Medica Vol 1.

- Ayurvedic Texts: Bhavprakash, Dravyagun Nighantu.

- Ramanujan: Leprosy of India, 34: 174-76.

- Amba V. et al., 1981, Indian J Pharmacol, 13, 64.