Along with toilet paper and eggs, garlic was often MIA on supermarket shelves when the pandemic began. Knowing the medicinal benefits of this ancient, Biblical herb, consumers were snapping it up, hoping for extra protection against the coronavirus.
As the old folk rhyme goes:
Eat onions in March and garlic in May
Then the rest of the time, your doctor can play.
Garlic has been used for centuries as both a food and as medicine. It contains powerful compounds that trigger a disease-fighting response from the white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses such as those from the common cold or flu. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, garlic extract was effective in inhibiting infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), a coronavirus.
The authors of the study said that since there is no effective treatment for IBV, "it is logical to use medicinal plants for treatment of the disease for which the only way to control is vaccination and the vaccination in some regions is not always effective."
Garlic boosts the immune system, and some studies have shown that eating the herb or taking supplements such as aged garlic extract can help prevent you from getting sick in the first place, according to Healthline.
Garlic has been shown to reduce the duration of illness and lessen the severity of symptoms. One study involved 146 healthy volunteers who were given either garlic supplements or a placebo for three months, says Healthline. The garlic group had a 63% lower risk of getting a cold, and their colds were 70% shorter.
Most of the studies showing the benefits of garlic in fighting off colds and flu used aged garlic extract, which is made from raw garlic that has been preserved in 15-20% ethanol for a year and a half.
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