Raw garlic + honey is the safest and most effective magic pill against illness. It’s nature’s best display of “food as medicine” and its potent medicinal properties will battle anything from colds, flu, viruses, or infections. Two raw garlic cloves have the same antibacterial strength as one dose of antibiotics, but without the gut-harming effects of it!
Since I’ve learned of this trick a few years ago while going through the Culinary Nutrition Expert program, I’ve eaten more raw garlic than I care to admit. Anytime I’m around someone who has been sick, or feel like I’m getting sick, I preemptively take a spoonful of chopped raw garlic with local honey. I won’t say it’s good, but I will say it WORKS! At the risk of jinxing my luck, I have never taken this and proceeded to get bed-bound sick. I also believe it has shortened the duration and severity when I have ended up coming down with something.
Don’t just take my word for it, science has confirmed it too. There are a few keys to make the medicinal magic happen:
- The garlic must be RAW, FRESH, AND CHOPPED. Don’t pull a clove out of your freezer, don’t use garlic powder, don’t use minced garlic from your fridge. Get it in the most natural, fresh state. Garlic come from the sulfur family along with onions and leeks. The potent gases these give off (like the gas from onions that make your eyes water) are the same health building compounds that fight illness.
- Chop the garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes. The main compound in garlic that gives its signature scent is allicin. When garlic cells are disrupted either by chopping, chewing, or crushing, it releases allicin. The key is that it must sit for allicin to further activate two stronger constituents in garlic; ajoene and alliin. These are strong antioxidants and have been found to affect immune responses in the blood. Ajoene has broad-spectrum antimicrobal properties and has even been studied in it’s effectiveness at treating athlete’s foot, lukemia, HIV and has been shown effective at inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing blood pressure. Talk about fighting fire with fire… and here we are just hoping not to catch a cold.
- Add honey. Honey alone acts as an antiviral, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. When paired with the potency of garlic, the two powerhouses work synergistically to fight whatever stands in its way. It also mellows out the heat of garlic so makes it palatable even for the faint of heart. Quality matters when it comes to honey, so buy local. Many of the generic plastic honeybears you buy in grocery stores are watered down stickyness shipped from China.
I also layer my illness prevention with a few other foods that serve as natural medicine. In my “medicine cabinet” during flu season you will likely also find the following:
- Bone broth
- Elderberry syrup
- Turmeric (golden milk) tea
- Fire cider
- Cod liver oil
Here’s to good health and a dose of nature’s strongest medicine.