Is garlic good for you when you have the flu or cold?

Does eating garlic help when you’re sick? If you have a cold, a fever or the flu, what will garlic do for you?

The answer: probably. A few online resources mentions garlic boosts immunity and with a more active, stronger immune system, it should help in fighting off (but not curing) the flu.

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WebMD: Garlic for Colds and Immunity… Like a number of other supplements, garlic seems to stimulate the immune system. Garlic may also help fight viruses. Also, there is some preliminary evidence that garlic may lower the risk of catching a cold. Garlic works best when consumed raw, either crushed, diced, or minced.

And a couple articles from NYTimes:

…researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow… researchers extracted juice from supermarket garlic and added small amounts to human red blood cells. The cells immediately began emitting hydrogen sulfide, the scientists found.

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In one double-blind study, published in 2001… 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.,.. One possible explanation for such benefits is that a compound called allicin, the main biologically active component of garlic, blocks enzymes that play a role in bacterial and viral infections. Or perhaps people who consume enough garlic simply repel others, and thus steer clear of their germs.

The Daily Mail: A study recently conducted by the Garlic Information Centre in East Sussex proved that a virus fighting ingredient in garlic can help reduce the symptoms of a cold, speed up the time you take to recover and can reduce your chances of catching another virus… The therapeutic ingredient in garlic is allicin, which is produced when raw garlic is crushed. Allicin encourages white blood cells to reproduce which boosts your body’s defence system. Unfortunately allicin is destroyed when garlic is cooked so experts recommend eating half a clove of raw garlic to get the full benefit. If you can’t stomach it, garlic tablets are available from most major chemists.

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Prevention.com: Garlic The same oils that give garlic its unmistakable scent are deposited by the bloodstream into the respiratory tract. There, they inhibit cough and cold microbes, and they are effective decongestants.

We all know that there’s no cure for the common cold, so it’s all about doing what you can to heal up faster. Stay hydrated. Sleep. Eat some garlic.

Whether it’s hydrogen sulfide, allicin or enzymes, there’s supporting data that indicates garlic can help alleviate flu symptoms, boost immunity, speed up the healing process and even prevent colds from happening in the first place. What do you have to lose?

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