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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Maryam Kara

What is the trending garlic honey flu remedy?

Fermented garlic and honey has gone viral on social media as a way of remedying flu this winter.

There's no avoiding colds unfortunately, especially with recent figures of rising flu cases "creeping up". While this time of year usually sees a spike in sales in over-the-counter medicine, the seasonal flu has recently led people to seek out different, natural alternatives, including honey and garlic, to combat sore throats and colds – despite it being a long-time remedy for many households.

In the past month alone, Google searches around the words 'honey' and 'garlic' have seen an overwhelming 94 per cent increase worldwide and a 90 per cent increase at some point every day for the past week. The remedy has also reached millions of TikTok viewers, who were quick to call it an "immune boosting powerhouse".

Garlic and honey are each known for their medicinal properties and the social media platform at large has welcomed variations of the two-ingredient recipe, including one from British epidemiologist Tim Spector.

In a caption beneath an Instagram post and reel he wrote: "All you do is add peeled garlic cloves to raw honey and shake. Leave the mixture in a dark place to ferment, flipping the jar every day to ensure the garlic cloves remain submerged..."

Dr Spector noted it would take the mixture more than a week to ferment during colder months.

He added: "For combatting sore throats and sniffles, you can eat the fermented garlic honey as is but it’s also a delicious ingredients to add into salad dressings, drizzle over roasted vegetables and so much more."

According to ABC News, the mixture will be "done" and ready when the honey has thinned and minimal or no air is released when cracking the lid or seal. Garlic skins may be kept for soups, tea, or making bone broth. They are high in quercetin, which is anti-inflammatory.

Separately, the benefits of garlic and honey should not be underestimated.

Garlic has been known to:

Honey has been known to:

  • Soothe coughs and alleviate allergies with its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Prevent cellular damage within the brain and boost memory because of its antioxidants.
  • Increase insulin, releasing serotonin (making you feel good), which is then converted into melatonin (improving sleep quality)
  • Treat eczema, dandruff, and other skin conditions caused by dry skin
  • Lower cholesterol and blood-sugar levels
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