Allium Sativum Linn

Botanical Name: Allium Sativum Linn

Sanskrit Name: Rasona

Family Name: LILIACEAE


Vernacular names :

  1. Hindi – lahasun
  2. Bengali –rasuna
  3. Malayalam –veluthulli
  4. 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).

Varieties :

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.).

Botanical details

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.

Chemical constituents

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

Vipaka –katu

Karma –vata- kaphahara, balya, brimhana, rasayana, vrishya, netrya


Vatavyadhi, Sula, Ajirna, Vibandha, Gulrna, Hrdroga, Svasa,   Kasa, Asthibhagna,   Rajayakshma, Sotha,   Krimi

Part used

Bulb, oil


Paste 3-6gm, oil 1-2 drops

Therapeutic uses

(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

Digestive system

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.

Water metabolism

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.

Respiratory system

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.

Circulatory system

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

Rheumatoid arthritis

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.

Skin disease

It should be used in kilasa, vicharchika, shvitra, it causes Digestion of skin penetrated vitiated Kapha and pacifies vyanavayu.

Complexion improvement

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.

Nervous system

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).

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.

Uses in Detail View

At homes

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).

As treatment

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].

In Cholesrtol

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

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