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Can garlic help prevent colds?


While garlic has been believed to treat the common cold, the research is less than robust. 

In a study of over 145 individuals, those who took garlic daily for three months suffered with a cold the same length of time as those taking a placebo.  However, if you want to add it to chicken soup for a little flavor, it certainly won't hurt.

Picture of garlic
Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Medicine
Garlic is a commonly used food and folk remedy for preventing and treating colds. However, there is still insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in prevention or treatment. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold, but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Other studies haven't shown effectiveness of garlic as a treatment for the cold, and claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor quality evidence.

Nevertheless, garlic and onions are immune-enhancing foods. They may not rapidly change your immune function quickly enough to make a difference once you become ill, but eating this family of foods on a regular basis is one of the components of super immunity.

My advice: continue to eat onions and garlic throughout the year and throughout any illness.
Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

More About this Book

Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

In Super Immunity, world-renowned health expert and New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live Dr. Joel Fuhrman offers a nutritional guide to help you live longer, stronger, and disease...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.