Why no onion and Garlic?

 In Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna states that all foods can be classified according to the three modes of material nature - goodness(sattvik), passion(rajasic), and ignorance(tamasic). Milk products, sugar, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains are foods in the mode of goodness and may be offered to Krishna. As a general rule, foods in the modes of passion and ignorance are detrimental to meditation and devotion. Krishna says in the Gita that such eatables "cause pain, distress, and disease" and are "putrid, decomposed, and unclean." As may be guessed, meat, fish, and eggs are foods in the lower modes. But there are also a few vegetarian items that are classified in the lower modes - garlic and onions, for example. Onions and garlic are botanical members of the alliaceous family (alliums) - along with leeks, chives and shallots. Onions and garlic, and the other alliaceous plants are classified as rajasic and tamasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance.They should not be offered to Krishna. Coffees and teas that contain caffeine are also considered to be in the lower modes. Hence we use bevareages like caffeine-free coffees and herbal teas. 
“Garlic and onions are both rajasic(passion) and tamasic(ignorance), and are forbidden to yogis because they root the consciousness more firmly in the body”, says well-known authority on Ayurveda, Dr.Robert E.Svoboda.
Some branches of western medicine say that the Alliums have specific health benefits; garlic is regarded as a natural antibiotic. In recent years, although many studies have been done in detail on the cardiovascular implications of onion and garlic, their clinical implications from this point of view are still not well understood. 
It should be pointed out that Garlic and onion are avoided by spiritual adherents because they stimulate the central nervous system, and can disturb vows of celibacy. Garlic is a natural aphrodisiac. Ayurveda suggests that it is a tonic for loss of sexual power from any cause, sexual debility, impotency from over-indulgence in sex and nervous exhaustion from dissipating sexual habits. It is said to be especially useful to old men of high nervous tension and diminishing sexual power.
Tsang Tsze a buddist Taoist, described the Alliums as the "five fragrant or spicy scented vegetables" - that each have a detrimental effect on one of the following five organs - liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys, and heart. Specifically, onions are harmful to the lungs, garlic to the heart, leeks to the spleen, chives to the liver and spring onions to the kidneys. Tsang-Tsze said that these pungent vegetables contain five different kinds of enzymes which cause "reactions of repulsive breath, extra-foul odour from perspiration and bowel movements, and lead to lewd indulgences, enhance agitations, anxieties and aggressiveness," especially when eaten raw.
Similar things are described in Ayurveda. They are harmful physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

Back in the 1980's, in his research on human brain function, Dr Robert [Bob] C. Beck, DSc. found that garlic has a detrimental effect on the brain. He found that in fact garlic is toxic to humans because its sulphone hydroxyl ions penetrate the blood-brain barrier and are poisonous to brain cells.

It is widely accepted among health care professionals that, as well as killing harmful bacteria, garlic also destroys beneficial bacteria, which are essential to the proper functioning of the digestive system.

Reiki practitioners explain that garlic and onions are among the first substances to be expelled from a person’s system – along with tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical medications. This makes it apparent that alliaceous plants have a negative effect on the human body and should be avoided for health reasons.

Homeopathic medicine comes to the same conclusion when it recognizes that red onion produces a dry cough, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose and other familiar cold-related symptoms when consumed.

These are some of the reasons why we don't include leeks, chives, shallots, garlic and onions in our cooking. Hing, sometimes called asafetida, is an acceptable substitute for them in cooking and is available in most Oriental or Indian specialty shops. 

*These are excerpts from the article by Kurma Dasa, Krishna Devotee Chef, teacher, author and TV star.
* If you have questions or comments regarding this post please feel free to write to us at akarmafood@gmail.com or leave your questions or comments in the comments column of our recent post.