Five Forbidden Pungent Roots
Radish, leek, onion, garlic, Asafoetida and a few other herbs are Aphrodisiacs, a substance that increases libido when consumed. If eaten raw, these herbs will incite people to anger and disputes. If eaten cooked, these herbs increase one's sexual desire.
Buddhists are advised to avoid these herbs, as they tend to disturb the peacefulness of the mind. In Buddhism, garlic, three kinds of onions, and leek are the five forbidden pungent roots. "The breath of the eater, if reading the sutras, will drive away the good spirits."
From the Shurangama Sutra:
"Ananda, all beings live if they eat wholesome food and die if they take poison. In their search for Samadhi, they should abstain from eating five kinds of pungent roots ; if eaten cooked, they are aphrodisiac and if raw, they cause irritability."
Standing in another point of view, does anyone know that for organic food, farmers are not allowed to use chemical pesticide? To prevent animals and insects eating their valuable crops, farmers would use garlic or onion as a natural pesticide. They are the best organic insect killer, and that's why no bug will eat garlic or any of the onion family. When we chop onion into pieces, the secretions, either the liquid or gas, would cause us tear. Five pungent roots are actually poisonous. It's just we don't realize it. In fact, by consuming garlic or onion, animals can get food poisoning by developing diarrhea, vomiting, elevated heart rate and so on. If animals dislike or cannot handle garlic, why should we consume garlic into our bodies? We become what we eat, and smell like what we have eaten. Would you want to become a person that insects and animals try to stay away from?
If the point above is not strong enough to refrain you from satisfying your tongue, ask yourself this question: why do my sweat smell terrible after garlic consumption? How come there are no unpleasant smell with vegetable or fruits consumption? The answer is simple. Our bodies don't need and don't like garlic, and our bodies will remove these pungent roots as soon as our systems discover them. Sweating is one type of detoxification. Releasing garlic by breath through your mouth is also another way of detoxification. Basically, our bodies don't want to have this substance linger in our bodies.
Also, scientific researches show that garlic can desynchronize your brain waves! Garlic is toxic to humans because its sulphone hydroxyl ions penetrate the blood-brain barrier and are poisonous to our brain cells. It also destroys the mind synchronization of the two hemispheres. As far back as the 1950s, it was known that garlic reduced reaction time by two to three times when consumed by pilots taking flight tests. Therefore, pilots are not permitted to consume any garlic 72 hours before any flight. This is because the toxic effects of garlic affect the brain fucntioning proerply.
Therefore, every Buddhist should stay away from these five pungent roots because they are harmful to our bodies and are obstacles on practising Buddhism.