For centuries, garlic has been used as a traditional remedy for ailments of all kinds. It’s probably most famous as a remedy for cold and flu symptoms – which is why many people reach for it when they feel a sore throat coming on.
So… is Garlic Good for a Sore Throat?
Because of its fame, there have been numerous studies that examine what garlic can really do… and what makes it so effective.
The conclusion is that garlic is definitely a powerful remedy and may even be preventative. One study shows that participants who took garlic supplements during the typical cold and flu season were less likely to get sick – and recovered more quickly when they did get sick.
Science says you can thank allicin for most of garlic’s benefits. Allicin is the main active biological compound in garlic. It’s been shown to block enzymes that play a role in infections from pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
How to Use Garlic for a Sore Throat
Garlic has amazing potential as a sore throat remedy, but how you use garlic can play a role in how effective it is.
Raw Garlic May Not be the Answer
Bioactive compounds like allicin are destroyed during the cooking process, so adding garlic to your recipes will provide minimal benefits at best.
Because of this, a lot of sore throat remedies focus on raw garlic – specifically crushed garlic, since crushing releases the compound allicin. However, this isn’t always the most helpful way to get the benefits of garlic.
First of all, the taste and smell of raw garlic can be overwhelming (even stomach turning) when you eat a lot at once. Second, raw garlic can be rough on your digestion. Even 1-2 raw cloves can cause digestive irritation for almost anyone. But if you have a digestive condition like SIBO, garlic needs to be off the menu completely (read why here).
If your digestive system can handle raw garlic, keep the doses small and spread throughout the day (like in the sore throat syrup recipe below).
However, even if you can handle raw garlic, there’s another problem: allicin isn’t a stable compound. Once it’s been released, allicin quickly breaks down into other sulfur compounds. Research has shown this happens so fast, you can’t even detect allicin in blood or urine tests after eating fresh garlic or taking garlic pills (source).
That’s why I recommend stabilized allicin if you really want to get the most powerful benefits garlic has to offer.
What is stabilized allicin?
Stabilized allicin doesn’t break down in the GI-tract and is absorbed by the body so you actually get all the benefits.
The bonus? Stabilized allicin is safe for SIBO and other gut health conditions because it’s non-irritating for even the most sensitive digestive system.
That’s why I only recommend using a high-quality stabilized allicin supplement. It’s simply the safest, most effective way to get the natural benefits of garlic.
The Garlic and Honey Syrup Throat Remedy
If you’re clear to eat raw garlic (meaning you don’t have SIBO or other digestive conditions) this honey garlic syrup can be soothing and cleansing for a sore throat.
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
1. Mix honey, cayenne, ginger, and lemon juice in a glass jar until well blended.
2. Add crushed garlic and stir until mixed.
3. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Take 1-3 teaspoons of the honey garlic syrup as needed (up to 3 times daily).
5. The syrup should be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The Bottom Line
Garlic might be the key to getting through the cold and flu season unscathed. For sore throats, crushed raw garlic is good but stabilized allicin beats it by a long shot.
Note: If you are sick, don’t forget self-care basics: rest, hydrate, sleep, eat well, reduce stress as much as possible, and get some fresh air and sunshine if you can. If it gets serious or home treatments aren’t working, call your doctor.
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