Garlic, a Traditional Tuber with Many Hidden Benefits

Garlic (Allium sativum), also known as Kasuna in Balinese, is a commonly used tuber as an ingredient or seasoning in various cuisines. However, besides its culinary uses, this tuber also possesses health benefits that are not widely known. In the Lontar Taru Pramana, it is mentioned that this tuber has various medicinal properties and can be used to treat a wide range of diseases. For more information, let's explore the following article.

Oct 15, 2023 - 08:17
Sep 25, 2023 - 12:05
Garlic, a Traditional Tuber with Many Hidden Benefits
Garlic (Photo Source : Private Collection)

Usadha is a system of traditional medicine based on the use of herbal remedies and is believed to have originated from the concepts found in the Ayur Weda scriptures. The Ayur Weda scriptures are part of the Weda Smrti and cover the fundamental principles of medicine, techniques for examining sick patients, disease diagnosis, drug preparation processes, and ethical aspects of medical practice.

In Bali, Usadha is regarded as the assimilation of knowledge from the Ayur Weda scriptures, which has been adapted while taking into consideration the natural resources and cultural context specific to the Balinese community. Etymologically, the word 'Usadha' can be traced back to the ancient Javanese language, meaning 'medicine'. It is also derived from the Sanskrit language, referring to plants, spices, and natural ingredients used in the healing process.

Kesuna, also known as Garlic, is a plant frequently mentioned in one of the Balinese Usadha manuscripts, namely the Usadha Taru Pramana manuscript. Usadha Taru Pramana is a manuscript containing knowledge about herbal medicine and the use of plants for medicinal purposes. In the Taru Pramana manuscript, it is stated that Kesuna plays a vital role in treating various diseases. Here are various methods of treating illnesses mentioned in the manuscript that involve the use of Kesuna:

  1. Beteg Disease (Beri-beri) can be addressed using various ingredients such as leaves, roots, bark resin, Kesuna, Jangu, and Vinegar. The processing involves grinding, straining, and consumption as medicine, or it can be used as part of a paste by mixing it with the bark of the Bila tree and vinegar.

  2. Puruh Disease (Vertigo) can be treated using ingredients like pengeng-pengeng leaves and Kesuna. The processing involves gentle grinding of all the ingredients, which are then applied to the forehead.

  3. Rangsek Disease (Breathing difficulties) can be treated using ingredients like Kuanta leaves, Kesuna, Jangu, and temu tis. The processing involves chewing these ingredients until they become fine and then spraying them onto the chest of the afflicted.

  4. Cough Disease can be treated using Bunut Bulu leaves, Kesuna, and Jangu. The processing involves chewing these ingredients until they become fine and then spraying them on the chest.

This bulb is readily available, usually found in local markets and vegetable shops. Moreover, many farmers, especially in Indonesia, produce this bulb in abundant quantities, and its price is quite affordable.

If you wish to cultivate garlic plants at home, the process is quite straightforward. You only need a single clove of garlic, and simply plant it in fertile soil (it can be in a pot or elsewhere). Pay attention to a few key factors: ensure the soil remains moist and provide the necessary fertilizer if available. Additionally, protect the plant from pests and diseases. With these simple steps, you can easily grow garlic in your home.

From a scientific perspective, Kesuna or Garlic contains various beneficial compounds, including Allicin, Vitamin C, Selenium, Sulfur, Fiber, Manganese, and Flavonoids. In terms of its health benefits, garlic assists in enhancing the immune system through its vitamin C content and antimicrobial compounds, effectively combating infections.

Furthermore, Allicin compounds aid in reducing the risk of heart diseases by regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing artery plaque formation. Allicin also possesses antimicrobial properties, while the anti-inflammatory compounds in garlic help reduce inflammation associated with chronic illnesses.

Garlic also plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Sulfur compounds in garlic contribute to body detoxification, and several studies link garlic consumption to protection against various types of cancer.

The fiber content in garlic supports a healthy digestive system and reduces the risk of constipation. The combination of these compounds makes garlic an excellent choice for overall health maintenance.

Although Kesuna, or garlic, offers abundant health benefits, it is also known for its unpleasant odor and strong taste, which can be off-putting for some people. It's no wonder that some individuals are hesitant to consume this bulb directly. However, there are methods to prepare and consume garlic more conveniently while still reaping its full benefits.

The Process of Making Garlic Infusion Water (Photo Source : Private Collection)

One such method is by making garlic or Kesuna infusion. The required ingredients are minimal, including a small saucepan, a glass, a spoon, a stove, drinking water, honey or granulated sugar, and garlic cloves that has been peel. Here are the steps to prepare it:

  1. Pour 300ml of drinking water into a small saucepan.

  2. Turn on the stove to medium heat and place the saucepan filled with water on it.

  3. Wait until the water comes to a boil.

  4. Add garlic cloves (around five to six cloves).

  5. Wait for approximately 2 minutes.

  6. Turn off the stove and pour the infused water into a glass.

  7. Optionally, add honey or granulated sugar to the garlic water to taste.

  8. Stir the mixture with a spoon.

  9. Your garlic infusion is ready to be consumed.

Please note that you shouldn't boil garlic for too long, as this can reduce its maximum potential benefits. The boiled garlic can also be eaten, in addition to drinking its water (if you prefer), which can provide you with even more substantial benefits. After consuming Kesuna or garlic preparations, you may typically experience strong garlic breath. To alleviate this, you can use mouthwash, eat apples, candies, and more.

Garlic Infusion Water (Photo Source : Private Collection)

Usadha is a traditional herbal remedy system found in Bali. Garlic, or Kesuna, plays a vital role in Usadha treatment, offering various health benefits. However, garlic is known for its strong odor. Therefore, proper preparation is essential to mitigate its odor while retaining its maximum benefits.