Allium Sativum Linn
Botanical Name: Allium Sativum Linn
Sanskrit Name: Rasona
Family Name: LILIACEAE
Vernacular names :
- Hindi – lahasun
- Bengali –rasuna
- Malayalam –veluthulli
- Tamil –pundu
Ugragandha, yavanesta, lasuna, mahousadha, mlechakanda
Allium Sativum Linn is described in Atharva Parisista and other contemporary texts. The term ‘Lasuna’ is more used than ‘Rasona’ by the BrIhatTrayiIt is extensively described them for VatarogaChikitsa and as Rasayana, However, it is not included in the ganas and vargas of BrihatTrayi. Its synonym Yavanesta probably indicates that it is an exotic plant.
Vagbhata consideredLasuna as the best among the Vataharadravyas. He emphasized the role of LasunaRasayana in the treatment of VaraAvaranas. However it should not be administered in case of Pitta and RaktaAvaranas.
Bhavarnisra forbidden the following while consuming garlic: Madya (alcohol), Matra (fish), Amla (sour substances), Atapa (exposure to hot son), Vyayama (heavy exercise), Rosa (anger), AtiNirarn (excessive intake of water), Payah (milk) and Guda (Jaggery).
Kasyapa mentioned two varieties viz., Girija and Ksetraja meaning that garlic grown in the mountain areas and that cultivated in the plains respectivvely.
Usually theNighantus quoted two kinds of Lasuna viz., Lasuna (A. sativum) and Maha Kanda/Grfijana(A. ascalonium Linn.).
A bulbous herb, 60cm high.
Leaves -long, flat, acute, sheathing the lower half of stem. Flowering scape slender, smooth, shining; spathes long, beaked.
Flowers- small, white, prolonged into leafy points. Flowers during winter
Cultivated throughout India. Mainly in Ludhiana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, U.P. and Gujrat.
Alliin; Carbohydrates (arabinose, galactoseetc); vitamins (folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vit.c); amino acids (arginine, asparagic acid, methionine etc.); enzymes (allinase); volatile compounds (allylalcohol, allylthiol, allylpropyldisulphide etc.): thioglycosides (scordine, scordinine A1, A2 & B etc.);
Rasa –madhura, lavana, katu, tikta, kasaya
Guna –snigdha, guru, tikshna, sara
Virya – ushna
Karma –vata- kaphahara, balya, brimhana, rasayana, vrishya, netrya
Vatavyadhi, Sula, Ajirna, Vibandha, Gulrna, Hrdroga, Svasa, Kasa, Asthibhagna, Rajayakshma, Sotha, Krimi
Paste 3-6gm, oil 1-2 drops
(1) Amavata-Rasona, Sunthi and Nirgundi as decoction(B.P.).
(2) Yoni Roga- Juice of garlic is given early morning with milk and meat soup as the diet (S.S.Ut. 38).
(3) Plihavrddhi- Lasuna, Pippalimula, Haritaki are given with cow’s urine (Y.M.)
Use in various diseases
It should be used in low fire, tastelessness, indigestion, constipation,pain, worms and Kapha – Vata diseases due to condensed doshas, being fire stimulant,digestive and analgesic due to pungent and hot qualities. Laxative due to oily and heavy qualities and liver stimulant and wormicidal due to tastes. Should be used in Kapha – Vata piles being laxative, anti-pruritic and anti-spasmodic as it is liver stimulant and removes stasis in the portal circulation. Should not be used in haemorrhoids.Kapha aggravation caused in stomach causes low fire,indigestion and spasm due to Kapha covered samanavayu. Rasona baked with ghee eliminates Kapha and causes onward movement of samanavayu to give relief. Kapha-Vata condensation is eliminated by removing accumulated Kapha and causing Vata onward movement by the use of rasona medicated milk. Rasona medicated buttermilk is used in diarrhea, cholera, sprue and colitis to pacify samanavayu.
Generalised Edema caused by lateral movement of vitiated micro wastes and Kapha by aggravated vyanavayu is eliminated by the use of rasonawich removes vitiated micro wastes and pacifies vyana.
It should be used in cough, asthma, hoarseness of voice,rhinitis,tuberculosis and hiccups to cause Kapha liquefaction and expectoration by its oily,penetrating qualities. The oil prevents the growth of tuberculosis bacteria. Medicated milk should be used in Chest trauma (INTERNAL/EXTERNAL) to heal the cavity. Rasona causes prana onward movement and pacification in Vata-Kapha diseases of the chest. Rasona and pippali gives immediate relief in rhinitis associated with tuberculosis. It should be used as diet and a garland made of it be worn by children to pacify dormant Kapha present in the chest.
It stimulates Heart and circulation due to its hot and penetrating qualities and eliminates edema. It pacifies Vata and Kapha by its hot and penetrating qualities and helps nourishment of heart and increases its strength.
Accumulation of vitiated meda and Kapha in the vascular walls is cleared by rasona and thus, it reduces blood pressure by reducing periheral resistance. It digests meda also.
Arteriosclerosis & Cholesterol
Numerous clinical trials have shown garlic to be good for your heart by lowering total cholesterol and blood pressure. Garlic has the ability to combat plaque formation in the arteries. Its ability to lower serum cholesterol in the blood can in turn reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Garlic lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. Garlic can not only prevent, but also reverse the signs of arteriosclerosis
It digests ama circulating in the body and lodging in the joints. It pacifies vyanavayu and removes joint edema and pain. Digstion of rasa penetrated ama reduces fever also.
Sciatica and similar diseases
In these diseases initially apana onward movement is carried out by dissolution of Kapha by its pungent taste and hot and penetrating qualities and lateronapana is pacifed by hot and penetrating qualities. However, it should not be used in Pitta covered apana.
It should be used in kilasa, vicharchika, shvitra, etc.as it causes Digestion of skin penetrated vitiated Kapha and pacifies vyanavayu.
Bluish black pigmeatation appearing on the face due to obstruction of channels caused by Kapha to the movement of udana is cleared by its juice given with ghee. It gives strength to bhrajakapitta also.
Vata diseases – It removes obstruction of channels by its hot and penetrating qualities and causes onward movement and pacification of pranavayu and nourish it. Hence, used in bell’s palsy, paralysis, monoplegia etc.
Hysteria, Epilepsy – These are caused by weakness of intellect and memory. Causative tamas is removed by rasona which should be ingested with Seasame oil
Lasunadivati, Rasonapinda, Hingutrigunatailam, Rasonasura, LasunaKalpa, Rasonarasayana, Rasonastaka, Rasonavatka, LasunaKsira, Lasunadighrta.
(1) Alliinwas found to be useful clinically in the treatment of RA (N = 45). 32 patients had relief from symptoms. A change in the mucoprotein levels and ESR was observed (Sreenivasamurthyet al., 1962).
(2) Allisatin (200 mg/100 g/day) showed slight inhibitary activity against formalin-induced arthritis (Prasad et al., 1966).
(3) The alcoholic extract of bulbs showed anti-inflammatory activity against, carrageenin-inducedrat hind paw oedema in albino rats (Bhakuni et al., 1969).
(4) The effect of the juice of garlic on glucose utilization was studies in rabbits by using GTT. The hypoglycaemic effectwas compared with that of tolbutamide and control groups (on distilled water) (Jain et al., 1973).
(5) Garlic juice and essential oil extract were found to have significant protective action against fat-induced increase in serum cholesterol and plasma fibrinogen and decrease in fibrinolytic activity as well as coagulation time (Bordia &Bansal, 1973; Bordia et al., 1974 b).
(6) Allium Sativum Linn caused marked improvement in systolicand diastolic arterial tension in l 14 hypertensive and otheroscloratic patients. It bad beneficial prophylactic action. It had definite bactericidal effect on pathogenic micro-organisms (Deut. Apoth.Ztg. J 966,106, 1861 ).
(7) Extracts of leaves, stem and bulb produced a stimulating, followed by inhibitory, effect on the uterus of non-pregnant guinea pigs; conversely, it produced stimulating effect on uterus of guinea pigs (Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 1969, 19, 1).
(8) Blood cholesterol level was significantly decreased in all human subjects after two months of ingestion of garlic (Ind. J. Physiol. Pharmaeol.1979, 23, 1979).
(9) Diallyltrisulphide showed antimicrobial activity (Chem. Abstr. 1981, 95, 86205a).
(10) Enhancement of phospholipid metabolism, an initial action caused by tumor promoter 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol-l 3- acetate, inhibited by plant extract; it also suppressed the first stage of tumor promotion in 2-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis in vivo (Oncology 1989, 46,277).
(11) Platelet adhesion to polycarbonate film surface was decreased by 0.05-0.5ml garlic oil/ml of platelet-rich plasma; thus, extract inhibited platelet aggregation (Thranb.Res.1985,
History And Origin
Allium Sativum Linn is native to the mountainousregions of Central Asia from where it spread in pre-historic times to the Mediterranean region. Clay models of garlic have been excavated in Egypt. It reached China at an early age and was probably carried to the western hemisphere by the Spanish, the Portuguese, and the French. It has been suggested that the wild ancestor of garlic was a flowering form producing seeds on aerial bulbils. Under different soil and climatic conditions, and due to different methods of cultivation in the ancient centres of civilization different varieties arose. The non-flowering varieties are thought to have arisen as a result of interference with the natural life cycle caused by storage (Jones & Mann, 210; HortAbstr, 1965, 35, 384).
- 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.
Uses in Detail View
Garlic is most commonly used as a condiment and for flavouring and seasoning of food products such as soups, dals ,pickles, etc. It is also used for flavouring vinegar or oil for dressing. Incorporation of garlic in the diet at moderate levels is likely to shift the balance of the microflora in the intestines in favouroflactic organisms, which generally have a favourable effect on the absorption of minerals present in the diet [Dhesi&Padda, loc. cit.; Ayyangar, loc. cit.; Mathieu, Gdn J, NY,1952, 2, 99; Subrahmanyanet al, Food Sci, 1958, 7, 223; Subrahmanyan et al, Indian Spices, 1969, 6(4), 10].
Garlic has a pungent smell due to the presence of unsaturated sulphides. Several methods have been patentedfor the deodourization of garlic. An odour-free strain of garlic has been developed in Japan by continuous selection breeding. This strain tastes and smells like garlic until it is eaten, when for still unknown reasons, the odour disappears. This mutant strain of garlic does not revert to its original “smelly” strain even after six generations (ChemAbstr, 1972, 76, 139272; 1964, 60, 6144, 8565; Malcolm, The Times ofIndia, December 6, 1977).
Garlic is an effective long term preventive treatment for all rheumatic and catarrhal conditions. It produces anti-inflammatory activity against formalin induced arthritis in albino rats. A concentrate containing the active principle, allicin and allinase proved effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Garlic juice containing allicin has been used in the laboratory experiments to stopthe growth of cancer in mice. Synthetic allicin also had inhibitory effect on the development of cancer cells (Turner, Actaphytother, Amst, 1964, 11, 141; Dickinson, ibid, 1962, 9, 41; Prasad et al, Indian J med Res, 1966, 54, 582; Food Sci, 1963, 12, 122; ChemAbstr, 1964, 61, 15206; Pakist J Sci, 1958, 10, 248).
In rabbits with mild alloxan diabetes orally given garlic extract exhibited hypoglycaemic activity comparable to that of tolbutamide. It improves glucose tolerance significantly and increases serum insulin. Metalliccomplexes of allicin are reported to be active against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, and also against some of the fungi. Garlic is also used in the treatment of industrial lead poisoning [Mathew &Augusti, Indian J BiochemBiophys, 1973, 10, 209; Jain et al, East Pharm, 1970, 13(151), 51; ChemAbstr, 1965, 63, 8948].
Supplementation of garlic to cholesterol-fed rabbits revealed significant lower levels of total, free, ester cholesterol and phospholipids resulting in a lower degree of atherosclerosis. The essential oil of garlic or garlic juice as such had significant preventive action on fat-induced alimentary hyperlipaemia and prevented decrease in fibrinolytic activity and coagulation time. The hypolipaemic activity of garlic is supposed to be broughtabout by the increased excretion of cholesterol end products in the faeces; and by the diminished endogenous synthesis of cholesterol (Jain, Indian J med Res, 1976, 64, 1509; Bordia et al, J AssocPhysns India, 1974, 22, 267; Sharma et al, Indian J NutrDietel, 1976, 13, 7).
Garlic therapy in the treatment ofleprosy significantly alters the bacteriological index and improves the clinical condition of the patients. Garlic is a powerful natural cleansing and disinfecting medium. Garlic extract showed anti-bacterial activity inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhosa, Shigelladysentriae and Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus. The anti-bacterialactivity has been shown to be due to the presence of allicin. It is, therefore, widely used both in intestinal disorders and in a number of infectious diseases. Garlic extract also has an anti-fungal effect on yeasts and moulds (Indian J Pharm, 1963, 25, 104; Dickinson, loc. cit.; Al-Delaimy& Ali, J SciFdAgric, 1970, 21, 110; Subrahmanyan et al, Food Sci, 1958, 7, 223; Sreenivasamurthy et al, J sciindustr Res, 1960, 19C, 61). A highly effective pesticide has been developed from garlic extract. Field trials carried out on mosquito breeding sites in Bombay have shown that garlic oil is 100 per cent effective on several species of mosquitoes. It may also prove a killer diet for houseflies, and certain other major insect pests of the world, while being free of thehazards of DDT. The active principle identified as diallyldisulphide and diallyltrisu!.phide and synthesized at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre proved larvicidal even at 5 ppm. The compound also had an inhibitory effect on the mycelial growth and spore germination of plant pathogenic fungi [SENDOC Bull, 1974, 2(3), l; Sci&Cult, 1970, 36, 97; Seminar Rep, BARC, 1972, 2(2), 57; Amonkar&Banerji, Science, 1971, 174, 1343; Murthy &Amonkar, Indian J expBiol, 1974, 12, 208].
Garlic powder as such, or in the form of tablets or capsules is more handy for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. Garlic can be economically converted into powder, using the technique developed bythe Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore. For preparing garlic powder, hot-air drying by the through-flow method is preferred, as it is more economical and time-saving. The critical temperature for dehydration of garlic being 60°, the temperature during dehydration should be less than 60°. Maintenance of low moisture, packing of the powder in hermetically sealedcontainers, and storage at low temperatures (0-2°) areessential/to prevent non-enzymatic browning of garlic powder (Pruthi et al, Food Sci, 1959, 8, 429, 436, 444; 1960, 9, 243; Pruthi et al, Indian Pat, No. 65318, 1958). The oil from the seeds is used as a tonic, stimulant and vermifuge. It is also used in alopecia. The dry leaves and stalks of garlic crop are eaten by goats and sheep [Indian Spices, 1969, 6(2), 2; Roia, Econ Bot, 1966, 20, 17; Joshi, Indian Fmg, NS, 1961-62, 11(9), 33].
Courtesy : The Wealth of India series , DravyaGuna by Dr. J.L.N. Sastry , InidanMateriaMedica by VaidyaBhagwan Dash , DravyaGuna by Dr. GnjanendraPandey