Several clinical works have shown the value of garlic.
Several clinical works have shown the value of garlic. Picture:
Dr. Tamlyn Govender
Dr. Tamlyn Govender

GARLIC, an annual and powerful rejuvenating herb, is native to Asia and is also known as the “stinking rose” or “noble onion”.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, mentioned the use of this herb in treating infections. It is also called rasona, which means “lacking one taste”, as it contains all six tastes mentioned in Ayurveda, except one, which is sour.

* The active compounds of garlic show a high concentration of sulfur-containing compounds. The thiosulfinates, including allicin, appear to be the active substances in garlic. Allicin is formed when alliin, a sulfur-containing amino acid, comes into contact with the enzyme alliinase - when raw garlic is chopped, crushed or chewed.

* Several clinical works have shown the value of this herb. One such study showed that garlic was superior to a placebo in reducing serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

* Some of the other benefits include a reduction in clotting tendencies, which helps eliminate heart attacks and strokes. It is effective in reducing cardiovascular and metabolic risk by normalising abnormal plasma lipids, oxidised low-density lipoproteins, abnormal platelet aggregation, high blood pressure and cardiac injury.

* Garlic also lowers blood pressure, which mimics the effects of antihypertensive drugs and it eliminates the toxic and undue side-effects that they exhibit.

* There is also evidence that garlic can inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in gastric cancer cells, as well as colon cancer cells.

* Due to its antiviral and antibacterial properties, it is one of the best remedies for the common cold or flu.

* Garlic is especially indicated in Ayurveda for treating diseases of the nervous system, such as facial paralysis, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, and hemiplegia, etc.

External Precautions

* A stinging sensation on the skin from handling fresh or dried garlic.

* It can cause blisters if applied to sensitive skin.

* Handling may also cause the appearance of skin lesions.

* Contact dermatitis (skin rash).

Internal Precautions

* Due to garlic’s blood-thinning properties, it should not be used by people with bleeding disorders, such as haemophilia platelet disorders.

* An excess intake can increase the risk of bleeding during or after giving birth or if you are undergoing surgery; it should be avoided at least two weeks before the surgery.

Health Tips

* It can reduce hiatal hernia as a dietary supplement.

* To treat ear infections, one can cut a small tube, or a plug-shaped piece of a fresh garlic bulb, wrap that piece in tissue, and place the wrapped garlic into the ear canal. Do not shove it down deeply, you just want it resting in the opening, like an earplug.

* Eating fresh garlic helps ward off colds or flu.

* Please consult an Ayurvedic physician before taking or applying any prescribed medication.

Govender is registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa to practise Ayurveda. Her Ayurvedic practice is located in Pretoria East. Visit