The cure for the common cold eludes us, the influenza virus mutates from West Nile to Bird Flu to H1N1, and still we seek solace and comfort in the promise of garlic.
For as long as home remedies have existed, garlic has been lauded as a medical miracle. The curative powers of garlic are born out by science and tradition and loving moms in kitchens everywhere. Many of us in Vermont seek those powers right about now.
According to the CDC, Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. So our pursuit of garlic is quite timely. Right about now, we need allicin, garlic’s biologically active ingredient, because it is known to block enzymes that cause bacterial and viral infections. An article supporting the claim that garlic helps ward off colds appeared in the New York Times:
Scientists followed 146 healthy adults over 12 weeks from November to February. Those who had been randomly selected to receive a daily garlic supplement came down with 24 colds during the study period, compared with 65 colds in the placebo group. The garlic group experienced 111 days of sickness, versus 366 for those given a placebo. They also recovered faster.
While there is a great deal of debate about whether or not garlic can help if taken during a cold or flu, it has been shown to lessen their duration. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you consume copious amounts of garlic before during and after the cold and flu season.