A clove of raw garlic has long been a traditional home-cure for colds. UK scientists this week reveal strong evidence to suggest that people who take a garlic supplement each day are much less likely to fall victim to the common cold than those who do not.
Researchers, led by Peter Josling, at the Garlic Centre, East Sussex carried out a study on 146 volunteers. They found that a daily garlic supplement containing allicin, a purified component of garlic considered to be the major biologically active agent produced by the plant, reduced the risk of catching a cold by more than half.
Half took one capsule of Allimax, an allicin-containing garlic supplement, each day, while the remaining volunteers were given a placebo.
Over a 90-day period during the winter when most colds occur, just 24 colds were recorded among those taking the supplement, compared to 65 amongst those taking the placebo.
The study also found that those taking the supplement who did catch a cold were more likely to make a quicker recovery than those taking the placebo and the chances of re-infection following a cold were significantly reduced.
The common cold is the most widespread viral infection in the world with each person suffering between two and five colds each year.