Fighting colds with garlic
According to the WHO, there is no evidence that garlic can fight the coronavirus. It has simply never been investigated. But where do those stories about the virus-inhibiting effect of garlic come from? Well – they are based on a study published in 2001 in Advances In Therapy. In that study, conducted by British biochemist Peter Josling, a supplement containing a compound in garlic protected people from the common cold.
Without exaggeration, we can label Peter Josling as a garlic expert. He wrote a book about the positive health effects of garlic, The Heart of Garlic. [amazon.com] On the web you will find quite a few conversations and lectures with and from him. [YouTube]
Josling founded the Garlic Center in the 1990s, from which he conducted the research on which this web report is concerned.
Josling experimented with 2 groups of 73 subjects each. For 12 weeks, subjects in one group took a placebo capsule every day, while subjects in the other group took an allicin capsule every day.
Allicin is a sulfur-containing compound in garlic, which is also found in onions, leeks and chives in lower concentrations. The breakdown products of allicin cause the typical smell of garlic. Allicin and its metabolites are also thought to be responsible for the suspected positive health effects of garlic. You can read more about these here and here.
The supplement that Josling used is called Allimax. It is still on the market.
The subjects who took the garlic supplement reported 24 cases of a cold during the experiment. In the other group, there were 65.
In the garlic group, the subjects were ill for an average of 1.52 days when they caught a cold. In the placebo group, the colds were sick for an average of 5.01 days.
Click on the figure for a larger version.
“This study is the first to use a double-blind, placebo-controlled design to investigate prevention of viral disease with a garlic supplement”, Josling writes.
“The results overwhelmingly favored the supplement as a preventive measure, demonstrating accelerated relief, reduction in the severity of troublesome symptoms such as sneezing, cough and runny nose, and recovery to full fitness. A reduced likelihood of becoming reinfected with other viral strains indicated general improvement in the immune system with the active supplement.”
“The results also suggest that infection and reinfection may be effectively prevented by its daily use throughout the year, with an enormous potential savings to national industry in terms of reduced sick days. This product clearly exhibits excellent antiviral activity and warrants further investigation to determine the nature and method of its viral destruction.”
It all sounds good, but we still want to raise a few criticisms. If you use allicin or garlic, you will notice. Therefore, the placebo group is actually not a real placebo group. That’s point 1.
In addition, Peter Josling is not only an expert in the field of garlic, but also an entrepreneur. According to his LinkedIn page, Josling also markets the garlic supplement he studied. Therefore, as interesting and promising as it is, we consider this research a sponsored study.
And that is point 2.
Adv Ther. 2001;18(4):189-93.
Survive the flu season with Aged Garlic Extract 27.04.2012