Kick influenza and colds to the curb with garlic

An easy, inexpensive and beneficial remedy for the cold and flu season could be as near as your food pantry. Commonly known as "Russian penicillin," garlic has been used throughout history for everything from stomachaches to parasites and leprosy. In fact, the ancient Ebers Papyrus documents no less than 32 illnesses that respond to the herb. However, garlic really shines when we use it to stay healthy and flu-free while the rest of the masses sneeze and cough away. And what better way to reap the benefits of this odorous bulb than with a traditional 52-clove garlic soup or gingered garlic tea?

Garlic has a reputation as a powerful germ-blaster -- and for good reason. When crushed, a chemical reaction takes place which produces allicin. This compound is a boon for health, tackling issues like high blood pressure along with bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Studies suggest that garlic can also help prevent the onset of certain types of cancers. Moreover, the ancient Greeks used it to treat infections as well as disorders of the lung and blood, while the ancient Egyptians held the herb in high esteem for supporting stamina and general well-being.

As a potent antioxidant, garlic was shown in this study to inhibit Campylobacter jejuni. Researchers discovered that the extract is 100 times more effective than antibiotics in fighting the bacterium, which is a common cause of intestinal distress.

How to use

The debate continues on whether it's better to consume garlic raw or cooked. Here are a few tips on how to use the bulb both ways during our current season of illness and beyond.

Remember: always crush or chop garlic and let stand for 10 minutes to fully activate the allicin.

Gingered garlic tea. Peel and grate a 2-inch chunk of ginger and simmer in 3 cups purified water for 15 minutes. Add 1-2 cloves of garlic and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Sweeten to taste with raw honey. For ultimate benefit, do not strain. Drink up to six cups per day.

Cold and flu shot. For rapid relief if you've caught a bug, blend 1-2 cloves garlic with 1/2 cup purified water. Drink down entire glass quickly, followed by a second cup of plain water. Can be taken every few hours throughout the day. If the garlic proves to be too much for your stomach, you can add a bit of honey.

Garlic and honey soother. This blend is especially helpful if dealing with a cough. Mix together 1 clove garlic with 1 teaspoon pure raw honey. Swallow down quickly, followed by a glass of water. Take up to 3 times per day.

Lastly, a potent 52-clove garlic soup recipe can be found here.

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About the author

Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through ThriveLiving she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.

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