Garlic Common Cold Treatment

by Sam Malone

Garlic is a spice and has been used as such since time immemorial. It has a unique flavor and is used as a flavoring agent in cuisines around the world. It is only lately, however, that garlic has started to be known for its health benefits. Garlic is a very powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent. It is considered that one pod of garlic eaten raw a day will prevent a number of infections. Cooking, however, seems to reduce the potency of garlic, making it milder and preventing extreme reactions.

Garlic and Common Colds


Garlic has an active ingredient called allicin. This allicin is what gives garlic its traditional flavor as well as smell. Unfortunately, it is this very same smell that causes garlic not to be used too much in the Western world. Garlic was never well-known as a home remedy for the treatment of cold in the West. In the East, however, garlic has been considered to be very effective at preventing colds. Scientific studies have, however, not proven this conclusively, and there is only one study that has been conducted on the effectiveness of garlic as a cold cure. Because of the short duration of the study (just 12 weeks) no conclusive inference can be drawn.

Traditionally, however, garlic has always been considered a very good medication against cold. Although garlic may not be very effective at curing the illness, it has been shown to be a powerful preventive agent, and people eating garlic regularly have three times less likelihood of contracting cold compared to those who do not. The main active ingredient in garlic is what gives it its smell. So when people dry out garlic to reduce the smell before use, it results in a reduction in the potency of garlic.

Other Uses of Garlic as a Home Remedy

  • Garlic is known to be effective not only when injected but also when applied topically. Garlic paste is considered to be an effective antifungal agent and can be used to treat fungal diseases such as ringworm and jockey itch.
  • Garlic has also shown to be effective at reducing high blood pressure, reducing atherosclerosis and even colon, rectal and stomach cancer. It is also known to prevent tick bites and seems to have a positive effect on diabetes.
  • Applying raw garlic to cold sores may be effective because cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and garlic is known to be an effective antiviral agent. The treatment is, however, not guaranteed.
  • Using garlic in food is probably one of the best ways to use garlic; it is a tried and tested method and when cooked properly does not leave much of a smell either.

Drawbacks of Garlic

Garlic is very powerful and using too concentrated a dose of garlic can result in severe problems. While most garlic in food is considered safe, garlic extracts taken in high doses can result in internal bleeding and other similar problems. In fact, when garlic extract is applied to the skin in concentrated doses, it leaves a mark very similar to a burn. It is, therefore, not recommended that garlic be used topically. When consumed, it is recommended that the recommended dosage is not exceeded and it is always consumed after meals and not on an empty stomach.
The biggest problem with regards to garlic use as medication is that only traditional and anecdotal information is available. Scientific tests have not been conducted on its medical efficacy and therefore a lot of information is arbitrary including dosage.

References
  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697022
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22419312
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/pmh0013804/
  4. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/300.html

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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