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Verify: Can garlic soup beat the flu?

Recipes gone viral this flu season claim you can forget the flu shot and opt for garlic soup instead

ATLANTA — In the midst of flu season, a recipe has popped up in our feeds shared thousands of times online.

Verify: Can garlic soup beat the flu?

Recipes online range from a concoction of garlic and ginger to one soup with a whopping 52 cloves.

Posts claims garlic soup can defeat the flu and more so we turned to 11Alive Medical Correspondent Dr. Sujatha Reddy to verify.     

“There's some data that may be slightly antiviral and may act as a mild blood thinner. None of those effects are in small amounts of garlic,” Dr. Reddy said. “Even with multiple cloves of garlic in the soup, we can't say that you're going to get any benefit from eating it.”

Researchers have studied the medical use of garlic, with one study in The Journal of Nutrition tracing its use back to the start of recorded history and Hippocrates. While a 2012 trial published in American Family Physician did find garlic may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but not how long symptoms lasted. According to the 2014 issue of Cochrane, researchers say more studies are still needed.  

But no need to toss the soup just yet.

“Natural remedies may help you,” Dr. Reddy said. “If you get a cold and want to try the garlic soup, you're going to make yourself feel a little better because we know warm liquids are soothing.”

But while a bowl can be soothing, Dr. Reddy said claims garlic soup can protect or beat colds and flu cannot be verified.  

“Those posts make me cringe. There's no scientific proof and I’m going to say I don't think there's any way garlic could fight viral illnesses like a cold or a flu. The only thing that prevents is the flu shot.”


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