Allium sativum

Allium sativum L. (Alliaceae)

(2n = 16)






English name: Garlic.

Sanskrit names: Arishta, Lashuna, Mahausada, Rason.

Vernacular names Asm : Naharu; Ben: Rasun; Guj : Lasan, Shunam; Hin : Lashun; Kan : Belluli; Kon : Lossun; Mar: Velluli, Velluthulli; Mar: Lasun; Ori : Rasun; Tam: Vellaipundu; Tel: Tellagadda.

Trade names: Rasun, Lashun.

Traditional use : UPAVARHANA SAMHITA : good for health; AGNI PURANA: a mixture of this plant, ginger and Moringa oleifera is helpful for eye and also as eardrop.

MATSYA PURANA : of great medicinal value, should be stored in forts.

UNANI: an ingredient of 'Seer (Lahsan)'.

HOMOEOPATHY: Mother tincture, a good remedy for cough and cold, pain in the chest, swelling of glands, psoas, iliacus and erosion of old diseases at the adimanic stage.

Modern use: Bulb: antidiabetic, antiinflammatory, anticancer, effective in rheumatism, catarrhal conditions; Raw garlic: decreases glucose, cholesterol, phospholipids, triglycerides, useful in dyspepsia, cryptococcal meningitis, rickettsia; applied externally as resolvent to indolent tumours, internally given with common salt in nervous diseases, headache; Liniment: beneficial in infantile convulsion and other spasmodic affections; Juice: applied to bruises and sprain, relieves earache, allays pain in otorrhoea; preparation have been given to pulmonary phthisis, bronchitis, gangrene of the lung and whooping cough; Garlic juice: good for treatment of laryngeal tuberculosis, lupus and duodenal ulcer; Inhalation of fresh garlic juice: useful in pulmonary tuberculosis, dyspep­sia, flatulence and colic; in external application, the juice is used as a rubifacient; in skin diseases, as an eyedrop and in earache.

Phytography : Hardy perennial bulbous scapigerous herb; stem flat, dry, lower portion of the plant forms bulb which consists of several smaller bulbs called cloves, surrounded by a thin white or pinkish sheath; leaves flat, narrow green; heads bear small white flowers and bulbils.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: Winter.

Distribution: Cultivated throughout India since ancient days; also cultivated in Pakistan, Bangladesh and almost in all tropical countries.

Ecology and cultivation: It favours a richer soil and higher elevation (1000-1300 m), well-drained, moderately clayey loam is best suited for cultivation; requires a cool, moist period during growth and a relatively dry period during maturing of the crop; takes 4-5 months to mature, harvested during February to April. Yields good results, if treated with farmyard manure and top-dressing of ammonium sulphate mixed with superphosphate. It grows as a late irrigated crop; in South India, it is rotated with ragi.

Chemical contents: Garlic: protein 6.3%, fat 0.1 %, carbohydrate 29%, Ca 0.03%, Fe 1.3 mg/100 g, vitamin C 13 mg/100 g, and also Cu-peptides, 2 mercapto-L-cysteins, anthocyanins, glycosides of kaempferol and quercetin, polysaccharides, allinase, sterols, hydrocarbons, alliin (nonvolatile sulpher amino acid), sativin I & II, scordinines A & B; Essential oil: the bulbs, on distillation, yield 0.06-0.1 % of an essential oil containing allyl-propyl-disulphide, diallyl disulphide and two sulphur containing compounds.

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