I heard a supposedly Puranic story that onions and garlic originated from meat and bone of a cow respectively after her death. For this reason, onions and garlic are therefore considered as non vegetarian food.

I couldn't get the full story from some of my villagers from whom I heard this from.

I wish to know the full story. It might be written in some Purana.

  • Can we call them Non Veg even if they are born from bone and meat of cow?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 16:17
  • 1
    Onions and garlic may be considered Tamasic food but I don't think they are non-vegetarian.
    – Pandya
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 0:41
  • 1
    You listened it from some one. What is the authenticity of that Someone. Kindly do not keep on believing everything people say.
    – user9392
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 6:05
  • In Hinduism those things which are favorable to self realization are recommended & others are not. favorable-Unfavorable is a better criteria then veg-Nonveg. Onion-Garlic even though vegetarian are aphrodisiac i.e. they stimulate the nervous system and increases the bodily conception which goes ill with spiritual conception. On other hand things like cows(Indian) milk(pure) is recommended because it purifies our consciousness even though it doesnt really fall in category of "Vegetarian". Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 7:56
  • I feel it is a poorly researched question Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 3:26

4 Answers 4


Why No Onion and No Garlic in Goodness Diet?

Once, in Satya Yuga the rishis were performing gomedha and asvamedha sacrifices for the welfare of the whole universe. A cow or a horse would be cut into pieces and placed in the fire. Afterwards the rishis would utter mantras and the same animal would come alive in a beautiful young body. One time the rishi who was about to perform a gomedha sacrifice, his wife was pregnant. She had a very strong desire to eat and she had heard that if, during pregnancy one has a desire to eat and does not fulfill this, then the baby that will be born will always have saliva coming from its mouth. Very strangely, she desired strongly to eat meat, thus she decided to keep one piece of meat of the cow’s body that was offered in sacrifice. She hid it and was making a plan to eat it very soon. At that time the rishi was finishing the sacrifice and uttered all the mantras for the new young cow tocome to life. However when he saw the new cow, he noticed that there was a little part missing from her left side. He went into meditation and realized that his wife had taken away a piece of meat during the sacrifice. Now his wife also understood what happened and quickly threw the meat far away in a field. Due to the effect of the mantras uttered by the rishi there was now life in this piece of meat. Then the bones in that piece of meat became garlic and the meat became onions in that field. Thus these foods are never taken by any Vaishnava devotee because it is not vegetarian. Plus it is in the mode of ignorance.

Don't know which purana it is from.

From practical/scientific standpoint, they are considered non-vegetarian because they have similar effect on body - they incite nervous system & stimulate sexual desires. In fact, garlic is prescribed as medication for men for sexual imbalances.

  • 2
    Do you even realize whar is the definition of vegetarian ? Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 0:58
  • 1
    @RakeshJoshi, do you understand what practical/scientific standpoint means ?
    – ram
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 1:22
  • 2
    Yes i am a postgraduate in life sciences Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 1:37
  • 3
    @RakeshJoshi, and i'm a post graduate in spirituality. that doesn't answer the question. judging solely by effect on body & mind, onion/garlic are similar to non-vegetarian food.
    – ram
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 2:27
  • 1
    Its not about effects but classification. It has nothing to do with spirituality Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 2:46

Well, there are certain food items which are considered as Amisha Dravya. They are prohibited to be consumed during Vratas or while performing Purascharana or during Asaucha (birth-death impurity) period or on the day before a fast or other similar times.

And, there are certain food items called Havisya Dravya which are just the opposite of Amisha and which are fit to be consumed during the aforementioned times.

I have the book "Nitya Karma PujA Paddhati" (similar to the Hindi book Nitya Karma PujA PrakAsh) which describes "Amisha Dravya Nirupanam" (Determination of Amisha substances) as follows:

Meat, fish, betel leaves, onion, garlic, red spinach, a kind of lemon and all smoked/burnt food items are considered Amisha for Hindu purpose.

Few Havishya Dravyas, on the other hand, are:

Rice (the "Atap" variety). ghee, cow's milk, curd, barley, certain root vegetables, mango, sugarcane, amlaki, haritaki, banana, red salt etc.

Now, the problem will arise if you translate "Amisha" as non-vegetarian. Clearly, for example, betel leaf is not non-vegetarian by the definition of the English words, but it is still considered as Amisha substance for Hindu purposes.

NOte- This is only a partial answer.

  • Is it आमिश (āmiśa) which means mixed?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 6:30
  • @TheDestroyer I am not sure what exactly Amisha means but it is certainly wrong to translate it as non-veg. Although in Bengali Amisha is loosely translated as non-veg food.
    – Rickross
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 6:31
  • No @TheDestroyer This one- spokensanskrit.org/…
    – Rickross
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 7:09
  • Ok. I didn't get results with ष Sha previously. :)
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 7:25

Just answering the title Qn. Not sure about any other stories.

Onion & Garlic are vegetarian food, even more than milk & honey, which are animal byproducts. Onion-Garlic are vegetables & also biologically related to each other.

Vegetarian food = Food derived from vegetation

However, onion and garlic in their row forms are not considered sAtvika. Hence, they are not offered to god's idol during worshipping. As discussed in this answer, they can be termed as rAjasika foods due to strong taste & smell; which also boosts certain emotion in the body.
Anything stale (veg or non-veg) can be termed as tAmasika food.


Please find the link here, which describes the food which is we need to accept and description from the link says as Onion and Garlic are very pungent. So they are not considered as satwik food. But they are vegetables.

--Jai Jagannath

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