Kick a Cold — Garlic Tea

For booting unwanted invaders out of your body, there’s almost nothing better than Garlic Tea. Particularly when combined with a good sleep that gives the body a chance to heal.

Garlic has long been known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties besides its qualities as an aromatic flavoring. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and, as I learned from Dr. Oz on Oprah the other day, it is the only aphrodisiac food that actually works for encouraging and maintaining an erection — a natural Viagra. No wonder the Italians are so passionate!

The superstition of wearing leis of garlic around ones neck to ward of vampires likely came from the practice of using garlic to ward off the plague in the middle ages. It could have been fairly effective, too, as garlic can be used as an insect repellent in an organic garden and the plague was spread by fleas.

Busy Cook's Guide to SpicesMy favorite spice book, A Busy Cook’s Guide to Spices: How to Introduce New Flavors to Everyday Meals, even claims that you can rub it externally on corns, bunions, warts and bites. I must admit, I’ve never tried this, but I plan to on my very next mosquito bite. I’ll let you know the results.

But back to the Garlic Tea… I learned about this during the summer I spent waitressing on the Greek island of Rhodes. I was hanging out with an Australian woman who was steadily feeling worse one day; by nightfall she had a headache, stuffy nose, cough, fatigue and just generally didn’t feel well. At dinner that evening, she ordered a glass, 3 garlic cloves, and a lemon. She sliced and ate the raw garlic and drank the lemon juice and went to bed. The next day she was completely well. It was amazing.

I’ve taken this concept and made it a little more palatable by steeping crushed garlic in boiling water and adding the fresh juice from 1/2 lemon and honey. The garlic/lemon combo is surprisingly sweet and sippable, though add some local honey if you have a cough or need to alter the flavor.

The tea seems to be as effective as eating the garlic raw, however if you need a more powerful remedy you might try some raw, too. I’ve been known to drink Garlic Tea two or three nights in succession when necessary.

The first question I always get when I tell people about this remedy is: Won’t you just reek of garlic? Who will want to be around you?

My response: You’re sick! You don’t want anyone around you anyway! Who cares if your breath stinks! Let’s just focus on getting well.

If you’re that concerned with stinky breath, eat some parsley afterwards. But know that the scent of garlic will emanate from your pores as your body flushes toxins from your system. I consider this a good thing, personally.

I recommended this remedy to my stepfather last week when he was fighting off the current mega-cold. He didn’t have any fresh garlic in the house so he substituted garlic powder. After he said, That was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted, he did say he thought it had helped his recovery. It sounds pretty gross to me, and I’m not sure how much of the nutritional properties are retained once garlic is dried and ground. I wouldn’t suggest using garlic powder: stick with the fresh cloves and you can’t go wrong!

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  1. […] I made some garlic tea for him with the goal of knocking the buggers out of his body and restoring him to […]

  2. Sarımsak Çayı at |

    Thanks for garlic tea recipe. Garlic tea is my favorite tea for weight loss

  3. Sarımsak Çayı at |

    I’ve been drinking hot lemon water with some raw honey for a bad cold. I didn’t know that ginger was good for colds. Ginger and honey. I’ll try that. Thanks.

  4. Garlic Tea at |

    Thanks for garlic tea recipe.. Good article really..

  5. […] Garlic tea has an amazing anti-viral properties and couldn’t be easier to make. Mince or smash a few cloves of garlic and place in a mug. Fill with boiling water and allow to steep for 10 minutes covered with a plate. Add the juice from 1/4-1/2 lemon and enough honey or cane sugar to sweeten. […]

  6. […] a few approaches before finding the right one to counteract that ailment. My regular stockpile of garlic tea, Sinus Rinse, and homeopathic remedies were not effective against this particularly nasty bug, but […]

  7. Rahul at |

    Pepper also goes very well with Garlic Tea… Try it!!!

  8. […] an antiviral, prepare and take immediately: -Garlic tea. Peel and crush several cloves of garlic and place in a mug. Pour in 6-8 oz boiling water and let […]

  9. Monina at |

    good one. i also have something to share… i used to take one tablespoon of honey with crushed garlic whenever i have cough then after that i have a cup of tea with lemon juice … that’s the best against the bad cough.

  10. James Boelter at |

    I wish I’d seen this post about two weeks ago when I caught the nuisance I am currently fighting. Raw garlic upsets my stomach too much to use effectively, so I used to mix up minced garlic in honey and use it that way…but this tea sounds much more pleasant and agreeable.

    Keep up the great work, Ms. Yarnell!

  11. Jan DeCourtney at |

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Garlic tea sounds novel…. I’ll have to try it sometime!

    I’m more familiar with ginger tea, which is also very warming. I learned about it from Oriental people. Ginger does not have the “fragrance” issues that garlic has and is medicinal, as garlic is.

    I’ll have to try the garlic tea… sounds really interesting! I always enjoy trying new things. What a great suggestion.

    Best wishes,


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