Common ColdGarlic

Garlic for the common cold?

 This Cochrane review tells us if it’s effective for prevention or treatment of the common cold.

First, the details.

  • Of the 5 studies identified as potentially relevant for review, only 1 met the authors’ inclusion criteria.
    • 146 volunteers were randomly assigned to take a garlic supplement (180 mg of allicin) or placebo (once daily) for 12 weeks.
    • The study relied on self-reported episodes of the common cold.
    • Neither patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

And, the results.

  • There were 65 occurrences of the common cold with placebo vs 24 with garlic — a significant difference.
  • The number of days of illness was significantly longer with placebo vs garlic (366 vs 111).
  • Symptoms lasted significantly longer with placebo vs garlic (5 vs 1.5 days)
  • The number of days to recovery was similar in both groups – 4 to almost 6 days.
  • Adverse effects included rash and odor.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold, but more studies are needed to validate this finding.”

7/13/09 17:44 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.