Garlic, Good for the Body, But Not for the Mind?

Via Ramesh Bjonnes
on Sep 17, 2010
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No doubt, garlic has many health benefits, but the yogis also discovered, thousands of years before Western science, that garlic is bad for your brain, both on and off meditation. It’s a brain toxin! In this snippet, from a lecture by Dr. Robert C Beck, you’ll learn why.

“The reason garlic is so toxic, the sulphone hydroxyl ion penetrates the blood-brain barrier, just like DMSO [Dimethyl sulfoxide, a solvent you may taste in your mouth shortly after it touches the skin] and is a specific poison for higher-life forms and brain cells.

We discovered this, much to our horror, when I (Bob Beck, DSc) was the world’s largest manufacturer of ethical EEG feedback equipment.

We’d have people come back from lunch that looked clinically dead on an encephalograph, which we used to calibrate their progress. “Well, what happened?” “Well, I went to an Italian restaurant and there was some garlic in my salad dressing!” So we had’em sign things that they wouldn’t touch garlic before classes or we were wasting their time, their money and my time.

Well, we didn’t know why for 20 years later, until I owned the Alpha-Metrics Corporation. We were building biofeed-back equipment and found out that garlic usually desynchronises your brain waves.

So I funded a study at Stanford and, sure enough, they found that it’s a poison. You can rub a clove of garlic on your foot – and you can smell it shortly later on your wrists. So it penetrates the body. This is why DMSO smells a lot like garlic: that sulphone hydroxyl ion penetrates all the barriers including the corpus callosum in the brain.

Any of you who are organic gardeners know that if you don’t want to use DDT, garlic will kill anything in the way of insects.

Now, most people have heard most of their lives garlic is good for you, and we put those people in the same class of ignorance as the mothers who at the turn of the century would buy morphine sulphate in the drugstore and give it to their babies to put’em to sleep.

If you have any patients who have low-grade headaches or attention deficit disorder, they can’t quite focus on the computer in the after-noon, just do an experiment – you owe it to yourselves.

Take these people off garlic and see how much better they get, very very shortly. And then let them eat a little garlic after about three weeks. They’ll say “My God, I had no idea that this was the cause of our problems.” And this includes the de-skunked garlics, Kyolic, some of the other products.

Very unpopular, but I’ve got to tell you the truth.”

Source: From a lecture by Dr. Robert C Beck, DSc, given at the Whole Life Expo, Seattle, WA, USA, in March 1996, Nexus Magazine.

In another study of garlic’s physical side-effects, it was found that it generates “pain signals” in the spine. From a yogic point of view, one wonders: what does this do to my kundalini?

“What are the side effects of garlic?
Although health benefits of garlic are frequently reported, excessive intake can have harmful effects.
In a rat study, allicin, the main pungent ingredient in garlic, was found to be an activator of TRPA1.

The neurons released neurotransmitters in the spinal cord to generate pain signals and released
neuropeptides at the site of sensory nerve activation, resulting in vasodilation as well as
inflammation. [2]

Other side effects include headache, itching garlic odor on breath and skin,
occasional allergic reactions, stomach disorders and diarrhea, decrease in serum protein and calcium
levels, association with bronchial asthma, contact dermatitis and complaints of garlic smell [5A] ”

See both the positives and negatives here:


About Ramesh Bjonnes

Ramesh Bjonnes is the co-founder of the Prama Institute, a holistic retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the Director of the Prama Wellness Center, a retreat center specializing in detox by incorporating juice fasting, ayurveda, meditation and yoga to cleanse, relax and rejuvenate. Bjonnes is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He lived in India and Nepal in the 1980s learning directly from the traditional teachers of yoga and Tantra. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra: The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India). He lives and practices in an eco-village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.


15 Responses to “Garlic, Good for the Body, But Not for the Mind?”

  1. AMO says:

    Wow, see, this is why no one can take this nonsense seriously. Did you just seriously compare eating garlic to giving babies morphine to put them to sleep? This is the kind of behavior that makes people relegate you to the junk science heap. Billions of people have eaten garlic for 10s of 1000s of years and have been clear thinking, creative, meditative, healthy living into old, old age. I know lots of people (everyone) who eat at least some garlic and some of the smartest, healthiest most capable people I know eat lots of it. My grandmother, who lived to be 94, had a clear mind until the end, died peacefully in her sleep after a nice meal with family – she loved garlic. She outlived 9 of her 11 children, all of her friends and family including her husband and she frankly wouldn't have wanted to live any longer. She was a huge garlic eater. I'm one of the healthiest people you'll ever meet and I eat it EVERY DAY. It tastes good, it's good for you – so say the REAL SCIENTISTS.

    I know Waylon doesn't stop his writers from writing nonsense, and I think that's good, because it gives us a chance to have these discussions openly. Personally, I know there are lots of people in the yoga community who follow Ayurvedic diets and they will likely buy into some of this, but garlic is just a food plant and like other herbs and plants is filled with wonderful healthful properties. I for one refuse to buy into this junk science. Permeates the brain/blood barrier indeed….

  2. Ramesh says:

    It think you are jumping too quick to conclusions here. That is also junk science. Yes, that example with the morphine was a stretch. I agree. But that does not mean the science is bunk. Nor that the yogic science is bunk.

    There are smokers who live into their 90s as well. Clear thinking, healthy smokers. Does that mean smoking is healthy? NO. It just means that some people are healthier than others and can live with poison in their system longer than others.

    So, I am not promoting the view that all people eating garlic are "zombies". The question is, can we function at a more optimum level of brain and meditative health without garlic? It seems that both yogis, ayurvedic practitioners and some scientists are saying a resounding YES.

    I do not disagree that garlic has many physical health benefits. But according to personal experience and the yogi literature, garlic has adverse effects on the mind. To some these adverse effects may be minor or n,ot at all, to others they may be so strong as to adversely effect their yogic lifestyle.

    Since yoga is not a dogma. It is best to use your own body, heart, and mind as the laboratory and then make your own conclusions. But it is also part of the yoga tradition to consult the authorities in the field, the yogic and ayurvedic literature.
    I have done both.

    Coffee and tea certainly have adverse mental effects. So why not garlic?

  3. Ben_Ralston says:

    AMO, I appreciate and commend your passion, but… there is a big difference between what Ramesh is saying and what you are saying. You're both absolutely right!!
    You're right to say that Garlic has beneficial health problems – if you are feeling sick (for a variety of different ailments) garlic can be very helpful
    Ramesh is also right to say that Garlic CAN interfere with meditation (the main thrust of his original article).
    My perspective as a yoga teacher and meditation teacher is that i eat garlic if I think I need it (which I never do because I never get sick actually, despite not eating garlic!), but I generally avoid it in order to have deeper meditation. I advise all my students that unless they meditate daily they may as well continue to eat garlic in moderation (as all things should be taken).
    There is a good reason that the ancient yogis and sages of India (who knew many things that our modern doctors and scientists are only now discovering for themselves) warned that garlic could interfere with meditation. That knowledge has survived 5000 years – it would have gone by the wayside long ago if there was no truth in it.
    With love, Ben

  4. Ramesh says:

    Ben, very sound advise. Yes, I don't dispute the health arguments about garlic, but there are other yogic sources for antioxidants–turmeric, blueberries, ginger, etc etc. Most people eating garlic never experience much of any side-effects, but it does, according to personal and a long lineage of yogis' experience, effect concentration and the ability to go deep in meditation.
    The beauty of yogic and ayurvedic science is that they observe and include the whole human being–body, mind and spirit–when making conclusions about food. Whereas many health sciences still mainly look at the physical side only.

  5. […] yesterday, Ramesh Bjonnes posted an article here at the Elephant entitled, “Why Garlic Is a Brain Toxin!” I eat a lot of garlic, and I regularly recommend it to my clients for controlling […]

  6. elephantjournal says:

    AMO, you'll like this one, a rebuttal to the above:

  7. Khaki says:

    I think Dr Beck is having a personal vendetta with Garlic Breath simply because he does not want his yoga students to eat that before entering his class. There is no doubt he hates the smell.
    Or maybe the excessiveness of Yoga itself is having some adverse effect on his brain.
    Garlic is good for your brain because anything that is good for your heart is good for your brain.
    I eat Garlic and feel the positive effect regularly, so Dr, you need to get you mind straight.

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  12. Gretchen Axelson says:

    I have some anecdotal evidence to support your theory. I used chopped garlic in an olive and coconut oil based homemade salve on my feet and chest 2 days ago. It absolutely improved my cold symptoms about 90%. Today as I tried to accomplish several tasks, I found my memory severely impaired. I had to look up my bank account password, something I use frequently and never forget. Names escaped me. I tried to fill an application and just had to stop. If you had not posted this article, I would never have put this together. When my wits return I will subscribe to Elephant.

  13. wallace says:

    vampires dont like garlic

  14. Fely says:

    I have history of high blood pressure and attack me for 6 days I did not go to the hospital instead I take 3 gloves of fresh garlic everyday and thanks God I feel better now.