Healthy Life: Garlic, the Common Cold, and the Flu (Chapter 9)

Garlic at Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Mike Kenneally

Garlic, the Common Cold, and the Flu (Chapter 9)

by Valerie B. Lull

Chicken soup is good for the soul.

Picture this scenario. You are in bed and thoroughly miserable. Then your mom comes in and gives you some homemade chicken soup spiked with fresh raw garlic. You enjoy some of this soup and then fall asleep feeling better.

Garlic is a time-honored remedy for colds and flu. When mixed with the proverbial chicken soup, they make a great combination to fight off your virus or bacterial infection and get you well.

Another amazing fact is that garlic can help you to prevent getting sick in the first place. My father was a great fan of garlic and would eat whole cloves at a time. Rarely, did he get sick.

Eating garlic can reduce the symptoms of illness.

There is some promising research showing that eating garlic can reduce the symptoms of illness. Cooking the garlic kills allicin, which is the ingredient in the garlic that fights infections and is used as an anti-wrinkler as mentioned in a previous chapter.

I’ve mentioned the power of garlic when it’s eaten raw. Did you know that the exposure to the air allows the substances and enzymes in garlic to work so that allicin is produced? All you need to do is take the garlic clove and smash it with a knife, then let it sit for ten minutes.

When I feel a cold coming on, the oils from smashed garlic help stop coughing and open the respiratory passages. For colds, chewing on a raw clove of raw garlic every three to four hours is helpful. (1) It also reduces fever.

Remember, if the odor of garlic is an overwhelm for you, eating green beans, fresh parsley, mint, drinking green or cinnamon tea, or eating a lemon will mitigate the smell.

If eating raw garlic is what you decide to do, I would suggest you combine it with something else, such as chicken soup, otherwise my stomach is upset, causing me to vomit. You can also mix the garlic with honey, which also has antiviral effects. (2) There are many recipes, like guacamole and salsa, incorporating garlic. These items can be used to fight illness or help prevent it in the first place.

In a controlled study, one hundred forty-six volunteers received either a placebo or a garlic supplement containing allicin daily for twelve weeks. On a five-point scale, they recorded if they had cold symptoms and infections. The group that took the garlic had fewer colds and they did not last as long. The placebo group had more colds that lingered for some time. (3)

Summing Up

The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” could easily be altered to a clove of garlic a day keeps the doctor away.


About the Author

Valerie Lull at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Valerie B. Lull, author of Ten Healthy Teas, is an herbalist and wellness coach. At the age of 45 she was diagnosed with Diabetes and staying in good health became her passion. She studied at the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon. Valerie has always had a passion for staying healthy and for the health benefits of teas and the various ways they can be prepared. Valerie’s passion for tea started in childhood, when she experienced a traditional-style teatime with her Canadian relatives.

Read about tea, herbs, spices and nutrition on her blog. Visit her at her website and on Twitter. You can contact Valerie via email as well.

Valerie’s new book, Glorious Garlic! is now on Amazon. Check it out.

You can read her “Healthy Life” column on the 4th Monday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.

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