Garlic and Honey for Cold and Seasonal Flu

April 10, 2024 7 mins to read

Have you tried garlic and honey for colds? Garlic and honey have been used for centuries because of their culinary and medicinal properties. Garlic contains various bioactive compounds, including allicin, sulfur compounds, and flavonoids, which contribute to its numerous health benefits. While honey, contains compounds with potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, as well as antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds to boost immune function. This old folk remedy is scientifically valid, and a powerful herbal remedy for cold and seasonal flu. In this article I’ll go over the properties and health benefits of this dynamic duo.

Garlic for Cold and Flu

Oversimplified viruses infect users when the immune system response is insufficient, and the virus is able to push past the front line of defense and begin replicating; garlic helps fortify that first line of defense. There’s a reason Garlic is sometimes referred to as a “natural antibiotic”.

Garlic Properties

  1. Antibacterial: Garlic exhibits antibacterial properties, which may help combat bacterial infections.
  2. Anti-viral: Garlic has antiviral properties that may help inhibit the growth of viruses, including those responsible for colds and flu.
  3. Antioxidant: Garlic contains antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
  4. Anti-inflammatory: Garlic has anti-inflammatory effects, which may help alleviate inflammation and symptoms associated with colds and flu.
  5. Immune Balancing: Garlic can help regulate immune function, potentially enhancing the body’s ability to fight infections.

Benefits of Garlic for Cold and Flu

  1. Reduced Severity and Duration: Some studies show garlic supplementation can reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu symptoms. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has been shown to have antiviral properties that may help shorten the duration of respiratory infections.
  2. Immune Support: Garlic helps support immune function by stimulating the activity of immune cells and enhancing the production of immune-related molecules; two actions that can help the body better defend against cold and flu viruses.
  3. Symptom Relief: Garlic may help alleviate symptoms associated with colds and flu, particularly the big three: cough, congestion, and sore throat; due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  4. Cold & Flu Prevention: Regular consumption of garlic may help prevent colds and flu by boosting the immune system against these viruses to reduce risk of infection.
  5. Natural Remedy: Garlic serves as a natural remedy for colds and flu, offering an alternative to over-the-counter medications. It can be easily incorporated into meals or consumed raw for maximum benefit.

Side Effects of Too Much Garlic

  • Bad breath
  • Digestive upset (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Allergic reactions (rare)
  • Interference with blood clotting (with high doses or in combination with blood-thinning medications)

Honey for Cold and Flu

Honey is a natural sweetener produced by bees from the nectar of flowers. Just like Garlic, honey has been used for centuries as both a food and a traditional remedy due to its various properties. Honestly honey has a pretty incredible nutrient profile…Here are some properties of honey and its potential benefits, specifically for cold and flu:

(Unpasteurized) Honey Properties

  1. Antibacterial: Honey contains natural antibacterial properties, primarily due to its low water content, acidic pH, and the presence of hydrogen peroxide and other various antimicrobial compounds. These properties can help inhibit the growth of bacteria and help prevent infections like cold and flu.
  2. Anti-viral: Certain types of honey, particularly raw honey, have been found to possess potent antiviral properties that can help combat viruses, including those responsible for colds and flu.
  3. Antioxidant: Honey contains antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body; oxidative stress is a driving force behind disease and severity of symptoms in cold and flu.
  4. Anti-inflammatory: Honey has anti-inflammatory effects that can help alleviate inflammation, another driving force behind disease; and helps to sooth cold and flu symptoms, such as sore throat and cough.
  5. Immune Support: Honey can support immune function by promoting the activity of immune cells and enhancing the body’s ability to fight infections like cold and flu.

Benefits of Honey for Cold and Flu

When it comes to cold and flu symptom relief…honey is a powerful natural remedy. A sore throat and the dreaded cough are arguably the worst symptoms for seasonal colds and honey helps relieve these in a powerful way!

  1. Soothes Sore Throat: Honey’s thick consistency and soothing properties can help coat the throat to alleviate soreness and irritation associated with colds and flu.
  2. Cough Relief (Suppressant): Honey is often used as a natural cough suppressant. Again it’s ability to form a soothing coating on the throat, can help reduce the frequency and severity of coughs, particularly in children, be relieving some of that throat irritation.
  3. Immune Booster: Regular consumption of honey may help support immune function and reduce the risk of colds and flu. Its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties contribute to its immune-boosting effects.
  4. Healing Salve: Honey’s antibacterial properties can help prevent secondary co-infections and promotes wound healing, which may be beneficial for individuals with colds or flu-related complications and to help prevent those complications in the first place!
  5. Natural Remedy: Honey has served as a natural remedy for colds and flu in many cultures around the world from aboriginal medicine to Chinese medicine…It offers relief from symptoms without the side effects associated with some over-the-counter medications.

Side Effects of Too Much Honey

  • Weight gain (due to high sugar content)
  • Risk of tooth decay (due to high sugar content)
  • Allergic reactions (especially in individuals allergic to bee products)
  • Potential contamination with botulism spores (in infants under one year of age)
  • Rise in blood sugar levels (in individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance)

Caution! Infants!

It’s essential to note that honey should not be given to infants under one year of age due to the risk of botulism. Additionally, while honey can provide symptomatic relief for colds and flu, it is not a substitute for medical treatment, especially in cases of severe or persistent symptoms. If you have underlying health conditions or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before using honey or any other natural remedy.

Caution! Interactions

Garlic interactions

Garlic can cause allergic reactions in some people. Taking garlic supplements or eating garlic in larger doses can thin your blood and increase the risk of bleeding. For this reason, garlic can cause a negative interaction with medications that thin your blood. These include:

  • salicylate (Aspirin)
  • warfarin (Coumadin)
  • clopidogrel (Plavix)

Garlic may also interfere with an antiviral drug called saquinavir that’s used to treat HIV.

Honey Interactions

Honey can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you’re allergic to bee pollen, ask your doctor if eating honey is safe for you. Honey may also contain other kinds of pollen that can trigger reactions like:

  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • face or throat swelling
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • fainting
  • sweating
  • skin reactions
  • irregular heart rhythms

Recipe | Garlic and Honey for Colds and Flu

Don’t use the wrong amounts of these powerful herbs; you can get to much of a good thing…check out my garlic and honey recipe for colds and flu.

Conclusion | Garlic and Honey for Colds and Flu

The science confirms that garlic and honey for colds, is an effective remedy to help prevent, shorten, and easy the symptoms associated with colds and flu. So why not try it? Check out my garlic and honey recipe for colds and flu with a bonus garlic and honey recipe that includes two other immune supportive herbs – garlic and lemon.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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