Ayurveda On Rajasic and Tamasic Foods: Onion and Garlic

Onion in Ayurveda

Ayurveda Training / March 26, 2016

You‘ve often heard of the no onion and garlic diet that lot of people follow. Often, food prepared for the deities is also without onion and garlic. Wondering why Ayurveda recommends a no onion-garlic diet, even though onion and garlic have several health benefits? We asked Ayurveda specialist Dr. Rahul Dogra, Operations Manager, Kairali Ayurvedic Centre to share with us the reason. Here’s an excerpt from it:

Ayurveda looks into food based on rasas (taste) and gunas. Ayurveda defines nutritional properties of food based on six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent as well as their Gunas or qualities – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

Onion and garlic are considered as Tamasic and Rajasic which means they are pungent in nature and result in an increase of bile and heat in the body. Those who practice meditation or wish to follow a spiritual path avoid consumption of onion and garlic as it results in anger, aggression, ignorance, over stimulation of the senses, lethargy, anxiety and increase in sexual desire. Rajasic foods distract individual’s focus and the presence of mind and can also result in over stimulation of senses and an unstable intellect. Eating onions and garlic has adverse effects on one’s consciousness.

Ayurveda recognizes onions and garlic as blood purifiers. Garlic has healing and medicinal properties and falls into the category of Rajasic food. It carries a heat energetic effect in the GI tract and is drying in nature. The taste is pungent too. Onions are Tamasic. They have cooling energetics and are a great summer food. They are sweet in taste and promote proper digestion and reduce the burning sensation by cooling the digestive tract. Here are 9 home remedies for better digestion.

Owing to the healing benefits, onion and garlic are more of a medicine than food in Ayurveda. It is recommended to avoid onion and garlic for those who are practicing meditation and individuals who are Pitta Prakruti (Bio-energy) or have Pitta dosha or the heat element in the body. You can also try these herbs to balance the Pitta dosha. While there is no particular rule regarding eating or not eating particular food but the guna and doshas definitely help keep you healthy.

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