Earlier this year I was laid low by what my family calls an "oookie foonkie" disease -- copious nasal secretions, coughing, and so on.. I knew it was not influenza because (a) I'd been vaccinated, (b) not so much in the fever department --under 100 degrees F and (c) not so much with the overall body aches and malaise. While I was ill I saw this:
Savvy health experts increasingly promote eating whole foods as a foundational healing method as opposed to taking supplements, especially when it comes to garlic. Eating fresh, raw garlic is by far the best way to ensure garlic’s numerous health benefits. The very best way to eat garlic for health purposes is to first press a fresh clove with a garlic press, or chop it, or smash it with the back of a knife. Then wait about 5 minutes or so before consuming.
At the time, I did not feel like eating anything, let alone the amount of garlic peeling and processing the recipe required, so I thought, "I'll put it off for another day. " Besides, I was pretty sure what I had was not bacterial (ie, responsive to antibiotics) but viral. But I digress.
It turns out this "52 clove garlic soup" recipe is ubiquitous on crunchy or natural health pages.
So today I decided to make the "Healing Garlic Soup recipe". I followed the recipe to the letter (well, except for the organic butter from grass-fed cows). Cut to the chase: the end result is not particularly edible (and I love ginger and onions and garlic). I ask you, a half-cup of ginger? It might make an edible soup base, though -- about 1 cup of the broth with maybe rice and some chicken and some celery... I'll get back to you.
Can consuming garlic stave off illness or reduce symptoms? Looking through PubMed for research on garlic's antibiotic properties reveals a few in-vitro studies and some animal studies that do seem to show that garlic can inhibit microorganisms. But the claim that this garlic-ginger-tumeric-lemon broth is "100 times more efficient than conventional antibiotics" is clearly woo.
I think I will stick with my go-to soup for feeling poorly: Hot and Sour.
I am fortunate to have a good Chinese restaurant within walking distance, Yat Sing. Their version is just fine. If you want to make it at home, though, I recommend the version from Serious Eats: Hot and Sour.
My other go-to Chinese restaurant locally, Su Hong, closed last fall; the new Palo Alto location is out of my usual orbit...but I might have to take a drive just for TanTan noodles...
Updated to add: Cochrane Review looked at garlic pills for the common cold.
There is insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in preventing or treating the common cold. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor-quality evidence.