The Ayurvedic View, Medicinal Qualities and Risks of Onion & Garlic (2nd Biggest Myth Of Ayurveda) | Dylan Smith #082

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When ancient wisdom gets popular, confusion and misunderstanding tends to arise within.
The essence and authenticity tends to blur, and this has happened with the knowledge of Ayurveda - the Sacred Science of Healing and Higher Consciousness.
Ayurvedic practitioner and educator Dylan Smith, known for his authenticity and devoted role to keeping the purity of Ayurveda alive and thriving, dispels the 3 Biggest Myths of Ayurvedic medicine.
These MYTHS are:
  1. “You have to be vegetarian” according to Ayurveda - or even that “Vegetarian is the best diet.”
  2. “Onion and garlic are prohibited”.
  3. “Ayurvedic medicines are commonly contaminated with heavy metals.”

In this Episode we Discuss:

The Principle of The Three Gunas

The three maha gunas (great qualities) are: 
  • Sattva: purity, harmonious, creative & virtuous. 
  • Rajas: passion, acceleration, agitation. 
  • Tamas: trapped light, inertia. 

The Emergence of This Myth Being Rooted in The Realm of Yoga

Yogis and Brahmacharis typically avoid onion and garlic in their food because they are high on the rajas guna
  • They stimulate the nervous system and can possibly lead one to break bows of austerity like celibacy or brahmacharya which require the enlivening of the sattva guna instead of rajas

How to Purify Onion and Garlic to Facilitate Digestion & Reduce The Rajas Guna

It is very important to purify these foods in order to make it easier for your body to digest them, and to also enliven the sattva and simultaneously reduce the rajasic qualities in them. 
Purifying garlic: 
  1. Take out the inner green sprout (in GMO Garlic it tends to either be white or indistinguishable) and discard it. 
  2. Fry the garlic in ghee
Purifying onion: 
  1. Remove the skin from each side of the layers. 
  2. Fry it in ghee. 

The Medicinal Qualities of Garlic

Garlic is a very powerful medicine in Ayurveda, prized as a rasayana (literally meaning “that which spreads the elixir of life [rasa]” or anti-aging elixir). 
  • In India, they even call garlic “poor man’s gold”. 
Garlic is good for boosting immunity, fever, sore throats, asthma, various heart conditions and acts as a powerful blood purifier. 
When experiencing a cough/cold: garlic with chili powder and rise is a recommended food. 
It is used in the patra poultice treatment (Ayurvedic massage with boluses of herbs that help with joint pain and various other conditions). 
  • To learn more about this treatment click HERE.
According to the Aṣṭāṅgasaṅgraha of Vagbhata Sutrasthana (Ch.7), garlic is good for:
  • Heart and hairs
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Unctuous
  • Improves taste and digestion
  • Helps unions and/or fractures
  • Gives strength
  • Vitiates blood and pitta (caution here!)
  • Cures lucademia, leprosy and other skin diseases
  • Abdominal tumors, hemorrhoids and diabetes
  • Worms
  • Diseases caused by kapha and vata
  • Hiccups
  • Nasal cataracts
  • Dyspnea and cough
  • Rejuvenates the body 
A very rare feature of garlic is that it has all 5 out of the 6 tastes. 
  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Bitter
  • Pungent
  • Astringent
Using the gunas (qualities) of garlic to heal certain imbalances in the body.

The Medicinal Qualities of Onion

Onion is cooling
It pacifies pitta when it’s cooked because it turns from pungent (raw) to sweet (cooked). 
Onion gives you energy and enlivens healing when the body feels drained. 
Onion acts as a breast milk purifier & increases sperm count in semen. 
Onion is an aphrodisiac and invigorates strength in the body. 
Good for the respiratory system: congestions and colds. 
Good for nausea.
Good for nose bleeds: cut an onion in half and give it a good sniff. 
It has a sweet post-digestive effect which is very nourishing for the body. 
Great for pitta and kapha

Why Onion And Garlic Tend to be Hard to Digest & How to Amend That

They have certain carbohydrates called fructans.
These fructans react with the gut’s flora and produce gas & bloating. 
Onions also happen to be really high in sulfurous compounds. Sulfur tends to smell quite bad, so it stands to reason that any ‘byproduct’, released as these compounds are digested, will smell quite bad too. 
Onions contain a natural sugar called fructose. Like raffinose and sorbitol, fructose contributes to gas when bacteria in the intestines break it down.
The key to solving “intolerances” to these foods is to improve your digestion. You are not really intolerant to anything! It simply is a matter of teaching your body to digest a certain food! 
  • To learn more on how to enhance your nutrition with Ayurvedic principles you can check out our Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition course.
  • If you are interested in overcoming a specific “food intolerance” you can book a consultation with Dylan HERE
  • To read more about overcoming food intolerances check out our article: "How to Overcome Food Intolerances".

Resources

The Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition -  Online Course

Aṣṭāṅgasaṅgraha of Vagbhata Sutrasthana (Ch.7)


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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Mung Dahl Recipe

Mung is an easy to digest lentil that provides adequate protein. Used for both cleansing and building in Ayurveda, one can eat mung dahl everyday and not only will you gain complete nutrition and satisfaction, but soon this will be the stuff you crave!

Anti-Flatulence

Mung is the only legumes that is “vata balancing.” This means that, unlike every other type of beans or lentils, they will not produce any intestinal gas. They naturally are much easier to cook, digest, and assimilate.

Promotes Sattva ("Purity")

Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows back to us in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding or loving hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. Fresh, seasonal whole foods are predominately Sattvic, thus increases the Sattvic quality in us, based on the Ayurvedic law of “Like Increases Like.”

This is why Mung Dahl is considered to facilitate spiritual growth and effectively detox the body. It has long been used to nourish babies and the elderly, the sick, and the healthy during special times of detox, cleansing, and deep spiritual practice.

Ingredients

serves 3-4

  • 3/4 cup of whole green mung dahl (with green skin on) (green gram)
  • 2 or more types of any fresh seasonal vegetables finely chopped - e.g. zucchini, kale, silver-beet, spinach, dandelion, cauliflower,  broccoli etc. - by using seasonal foods, nature is providing the antidote to the harsh qualities that the season may manifest.
  • salt to taste

Spices:

  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1-2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • leeks, spring onion or onion - all finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped - make sure to purify by removing the inner green sprout.
  • Ghee - Approx. 1-2 tablespoons.

Method

  1. Wash mung dahl and soak in a generous amount of water it for 2 hours. Even 1-6 hours of soaking is ok. The longer you soak the quicker it will cook.
  2. Boil mung dahl in a pot of water - allow water level to be about 1 inch above the food. You can need to add more water as you go.
  3. When the mung dahl is getting more soft (test my squishing a lentil with your fingers), add vegetables that take a bit longer to cook (e.g. thick leafy green stems, broccoli stems, cauliflower, carrot etc.). (add as many vegetables as you like).
  4. After the "vegetables that take a bit longer to cook" are basically cooked, add turmeric + black pepper + salt + hing + quicker to cook vegetables such as leafy greens.
  5. Once the dahl and veggetables are cooked, in a separate pot fry the other spices in ghee along with onion, garlic and curry leaves.
  6. Add the spices in the main pot, mix well for 5 minutes to infuse the spices in the dahl.

You are adding the vegetables in the pot in a timely matter so that when the vegetables are finished cooking so are the lentils.  (Everything is ready and cooked by the end).

Garnish with fresh coriander and fresh lemon.

Make the Meal a Complete Protein

Serve with a carbohydrate such as fresh bread and/rice or quinoa etc.
When you mix grain + legume you have all nine essential amino acids which make up a complete protein.

This explains how ancient cultures like India and Africa have been living off beans and rice for decades.

General Ratio:

  • 50% vegetables (at least)
  • 25 % protein
  • 25 % carbs

Enjoy this warming, comforting and super tasty dish that leaves you feeling energetic and satisfied after you eat.

Less cravings, sustainable energy levels and moving towards perfect health.