Authored by: Emily Cuthbert

Latin Name: Allium sativum

Standardized Common Name: Garlic 

Sanskrit Name: Lasunah- meaning “drug quickly absorbed in body”, Rasinah

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Parts Used: Bulb

Botanical Description:

Allium sativum is an herbaceous, perennial plant that grows about 1-1.5 feet tall and is native to Asia. The leaves and stem sprout from an underground bulb. The bulb, usually 2-3 inches wide, contains around 5-15 yellow-white, strongly aromatic bulblets, covered in a thin papery layer around it. The bulbs are what are used medicinally and in culinary. The long green leaves are aromatic, flattened and grass-like. They grow off a “softneck” stem of overlapped leaf sheaths. Flowers bloom in the early spring and are pink or white in color. Harvesting the bulbs usually happens in the late summer when the leaves are turning brown.


  • Taste (Rasa): Sweet, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent
  • Potency/Action (Virya): Hot
  • Post-digestion effect (Vipaka): Pungent
  • Doshas: VK-P+


  • Sulfur containing compounds
  • Alliin (active form when crushed: Allinase); anti-microbial, antioxidant, cholesterol reducing
  • Volatile oils
  • Volatile compounds
  • Minerals: Zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus
  • Carbohydrate
  • Vitamins: Folic acid, Thiamine
  • Amino acids: Arinic, Asparagic acid

Actions: Allium sativum has a heavy, pungent and heating effect on the constitution that can be beneficial especially for Vata and Kapha doshas. The strong actions work well to bring heat and create movement in the body systems. Garlic is also one of the oldest known medicines for coughs, bacterial and viral infections.

  • Antiviral
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Analgesic
  • Diuretic
  • Cardioprotective
  • Expectorant
  • Rubefacient
  • Cholagogue

Indications: GI infections, asthma, eyesight, colds and flus, digestive upset, diabetes, UTI, colic, arthritis, plaque buildup, infections, viruses, bacterial infections


  • May interfere with anticoagulants, cholesterol- lowering drugs, and other drugs.
  • May increase iodine uptake- avoid in hypothyroidism and early pregnancy.
  • Long term use may irritate the mucosa.
  • Avoid in acid reflux.
  • Increases Pitta dosha.

Preparations and Doses:

  • Fresh: 1 clove up to 3x daily
    • Allow bulb to oxidize for 3 minutes for best results
  • Dry: 2-4 grams 3x daily
  • Oil: 1-2ml / dose
  • Juice: 10 ml up to 2x daily


  • Allium sativum – Plant Finder. Accessed May 10, 2021.
  • Chauhan DM. Rasona, Garlic (Allium Sativum) – Practical Uses, Benefits and Dosage. Planet Ayurveda. Published May 7, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2021.
  • Garlic. Garlic | Diseases and Pests, Description, Uses, Propagation. Accessed May 10, 2021.
  • Marciano M, Vizniak NA. Evidence Informed Botanical Medicine. Canada: Professional Health Systems Inc.; 2015.
  • Sanjay, MD(Ayu) DJVH, Sharma D, et al. Garlic Benefits, Research, Usage, Side Effects. Easy Ayurveda. Published April 20, 2021. Accessed May 10, 2021.
  • Skenderi G. Herbal Vade Mecum: 800 Herbs, Spices, Essential Oils, Lipids, Etc., Constituents, Properties, Uses, and Caution. Rutherford, NJ: Herbacy Press; 2004.
  • Tilgner S. Herbal Medicine: from the Heart of the Earth. Creswell, OR: Wise Acres; 2020.