Can onions and garlic kill the Influenza virus?
Traditional natural remedies for flu and influenza
Sumerians, Chinese, ancient Indians, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Tibetans, Slavic, Arabic and the list goes on and on naming hundreds of cultures that used garlic not only for its known culinary properties but for its health benefits and as a well-trusted universal folk remedy for the treatment of various illnesses and ailments. Some cultures still know garlic as ‘Russian penicillin’, ‘natural antibiotic’, ‘vegetable viagra’, ‘plant talisman’, ‘rustic's theriac’ and ‘snake grass’ [5,6].
In the past, garlic was used as a folk remedy during various epidemics such as typhus, dysentery, cholera, influenza, and whenever an epidemic has emerged. Garlic has been the first preventive and curative remedy [5,6]. Now, back to the subject, who didn't heard about the saying that onions and garlic collect and kill the flu (influenza) virus spread since its origins time ago in the 1919? I found it interesting enough to enter a little bit deeper and see if there were probably other reasons to believe garlic and onions really got this claimed anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. But let's see what we found about Garlic (Allium sativum) and onion (Allium cepa), it may surprise some of us at the end. Image: Red onions & garlic by Anna Majkowska under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0).
Common name: Garlic.
CURIOSITY: In early 18th-cnetury, in France, gravediggers drank crushed garlic in wine believing it would protect them from the plague that killed many people in Europe .
Onions are rich in vitamin C, folic acid, zinc and Quercetin and prostaglandin, having also a considerably big content of allicin, a very strong natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent that can resist up to a certain level minor viral infections of influenza and other similar viruses.
In fact it is quite easy to find allicin in onions and garlic, and not so difficult to extract it from onions puree using ethanol and following a few simple steps, but remember to keep it cold, allicin doesn't survive more than 12 hours at room temperature. But OK we are diverting from the main subject, let's come back to the point with one question:
WHAT ELSE APART FROM ALLICIN DO GARLIC AND ONIONS HAVE IN COMMON?
Yes, you are right, both onions and garlic are rich in Selenium (Se), an essential micro nutrient that can be lethal at high doses but that in moderate quantities can help to fight influenza and other similar viruses, as several studies on the subject have proven it.
Garlic has also been named among other botanicals including Inflaminat (calendula, elder and violet), phytoestrogen-rich Karinat (garlic powder, extract of grape seeds, green tea leafs, hop cones, β-carotene, α-tocopherol and ascorbic acid) on atherosclerosis where it has been revealed that some botanicals might represent promising drugs for anti-atherosclerotic therapy .
ARE THERE ANY OTHER ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS OF IMPORTANCE ON GARLIC AND ONIONS?
Last but not least Phytoncide, the final active constituent from garlic and onions that will justify why those two are believed (and by now you can say scientifically proven), to be able to fight bacterial infections. Phytoncides are an active substance with anti-bacterial properties that can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi and protozoa. This was the last prove we needed to affirm without doubt that:
Onions and garlic can help to fight flu viral infections!
 Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Josling P. Garlic Centre, Battle, East Sussex, United Kingdom.
 Selenium deficiency increases the pathology of an influenza virus infection1 MELINDA A. BECK,*,†,2 HEATHER K. NELSON,* QING SHI,† PETER VAN DAEL,‡ EDUARDO J. SCHIFFRIN,‡ STEPHANIE BLUM,‡ DENIS BARCLAY,‡ AND ORVILLE A. LEVANDER§ Departments of *Nutrition and †Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7220, USA; ‡Nestle´ Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland; and §USDA, ARS, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland, USA
 Antioxidant effects and antimicrobial activites of phytoncide. Abe T, Hisama M, Tanimoto S, Shibayama H, Mihara Y, Nomura M. TOYO BEAUTY CO., LTD, Higashinakamoto, Higashinari-ku, Osaka 537-0021, Japan.
 The phytoncide activity of several varieties of garlic stored for different periods of time. Borukh IF, Kirbaba VI, Barabash OIu, Demkevich LI.
 Toplak GK. Zagreb: Mozaik Kniga; 2005. Domace lekovito bilje; pp. 50–51.
 Extracts from the history and medical properties of garlic Biljana Bauer Petrovska and Svetlana Cekovska1
 Anti-Atherosclerotic Therapy Based on Botanicals.
Orekhov AN, Sobenin IA, Korneev NV, Kirichenko TV, Myasoedova VA, Melnichenko AA, Balcells M, Edelman ER, Bobryshev YV.
Dr. Yuri V Bobryshev, Faculty of Medicine, SOMS, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia.
- Tags: 'BLANC DE LA DRÔME', 'VIOLET DE CADOURS', 2 HEATHER K_ NELSON, AGLIO COMUNE, AGLIO ROMANO, AHUS, AIL BÂTON 'ROSE DE LAUTREC', AIL BLANC, AIL BLANC DE LA DRÔME, AIL BULBIFÈRE, AIL CERTIFIÉ 'FRUCTIDOR', AIL CERTIFIÉ 'ROSE DU VAR', AIL COMMUN, AIL CULTIVÉ, AIL D'ESPAGNE, AIL DE PRINTEMPS, AIL DES GRAPPES 'ROSE DE LAUTREC', AIL DES TRESSES 'ROSE DU VAR', AIL GÉANT D'ESPAGNE, AIL ROCAMBOLE, AIL ROSE, AIL ROSE À BÂTON, AIL ROSE SANS BÂTON, AIL ROUGE DES PROVENÇAUX, AIL TRADITIONNEL 'BLANC DE LA DRÔME', AIL TRADITIONNEL 'ROSE DE LAUTREC', AIL VIOLET, AJO COMUN, AJO ROJO, AJO VULGAR, ALLICIN, ALLICIN IN ONIONS AND GARLIC, ALLIUM PEKINENSE, ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR FLU, ANTI-BACTERIAL, ANTI-BACTERIAL PROPERTIES THAT CAN KILL OR INHIBIT THE GROWTH OF BACTERIA, ANTI-VIRAL, ARABIC: KURRÂTH ISBÂNYÂ, ARABIC: THAWM, ARMENIAN: SEKHDOR, AT OPHIOSCORODON, BACTERIA FUNGI AND PROTOZOA, BAWANG PUTIHBAWANG PUTEH, BULGARIAN: ЧЕСЪН, BURMESE : CHYET THON PHEW, CHESNOK, CHINESE: SUAN DA SUAN, CHINESE: SUAN, CHINESE: YING PI SUAN TOU, CHINESE: 大蒜, CLUSIUS, COLD, COMMON COLD, COMMON GARLIC, CROATIAN: ČEŠNJAK, DA SUAN TOU, DANISH: HVIDLØG, DANISH: PERLELØG, DUTCH: KNOFLOOK, DUTCH: SPAANSE KNOFLOOK, ECHTER SCHLANGENLAUCH, EDENROSE, ENGLISH: HERITAGE GARLIC 'ROSE DE LAUTREC', ENGLISH: MARBLED PURPLE STRIPE 'METECHI', ENGLISH: SILVERSKIN GARLIC 'ROSE DU VAR', ENGLISH: TRUE ROCAMBOLE GARLIC, ENGLISH: ARTICHOKE TURBAN GARLIC 'CHINESE PURPLE', ENGLISH: CREOLE GARLIC 'AJO ROJO', ENGLISH: CREOLE GARLIC 'BURGUNDY', ENGLISH: GARLIC, ENGLISH: HERITAGE GARLIC 'FRUCTIDOR', ENGLISH: PEKING GARLIC, ENGLISH: SERPENT GARLIC, ENGLISH: STANDARD PURPLE STRIPE 'CHESNOK RED', ESTONIAN: SILMUS-KÜÜSLAUK, FINNISH: HELMIVALKOSIPULI, FINNISH: VALKOSIPULI, FLU, FOLIC ACID, FRENCH: AIL À MANOUILLE 'ROSE DE LAUTREC', FRENCH: AIL BLANC ARGENTÉ, FRENCH: AIL DE TERROIR 'FRUCTIDOR', FRENCH: AIL ROUGE, FRENCH: AIL VIOLET DE CADOURS, FRENCH: AIL, FRENCH: AIL À TIGE MOLLE, FRENCH: AIL D'AUTOMNE, FRENCH: AIL DE TERROIR 'ROSE DU VAR', FRENCH: AIL ROCAMBOLE TYPIQUE, FUNGI, GARLIC, GEMEINER KNOBLAUCH, GERMAN: CHINESISCHER KNOBLAUCH, GERMAN: ECHTE ROCKENBOLLE, GERMAN: ECHTER KNOBLAUCH, GERMAN: GROßER SCHLANGENKNOBLAUCH, GERMAN: VIOLETTER KNOBLAUCH 'ROSE DE LAUTREC', GERMAN: GEMEINER KNOBLAUCH, GERMAN: WEIßER KNOBLAUCH, GERMIDRÔME, GEWÖHNLICHER KNOBLAUCH, GOULUROSE, GREEK: SKORDA, GUJARATI: લસણ, HARD-NECKED GARLIC, HARDNECK GARLIC, HEBREW: SHOUM, HERBAL REMEDIES, HINDI: LAHASUN, HU, HU SUAN, HUMAN NUTRITION, HVITLÖK, HYPOCHOLESTEROLEMIC, IBÉROSE, INFLUENZA, INFLUENZA VIRUS, ITALIAN: AGLIO, ITALIAN: AGLIO D'INDIA, ITALIENISCHER KNOBLAUCH, JAPANESE: HIME NINNIKU, JAVA), KHMER: KHTÜM SÂÂ, KILL FLU, KNOBLAUCH, KOREAN: MA NUL, KRATHIAM, LAHSAN, LAOTIAN: KATH'IÈM, LARSAN, LASAN, LASUN, LUK CHESNOK, MADURESE: BHABANG POTÉ, MAEKAWAALLIUM SATIVUMPEKINENSE, MALAY: (INDONESIA, MESSIDRÔME, METECHI, NORWEGIAN: HVITLØK, ONION, ONIONS, ONIONS AND GARLIC, ONIONS AND GARLIC CAN HELP TO FIGHT FLU VIRAL INFECTIONS, ONIONS GARLIC KILL FLU, OPHIOSCORODON BURGUNDY, PEKING-KNOBLAUCH, PERSIAN: SEER, PETER VAN DAEL, PHYTOCIDES, PHYTONCIDE, POLISH : CZOSNEKCZOSNEK POSPOLITY, POLISH: CZOSNEK ROKAMBUŁ, POLISH: ROKAMBUŁ, PORTUGUESE: ALHO, PORTUGUESE: ALHO DE HESPANHA, PROKHANOV, PROS LANDIN, PROTOZOA, PUNJABI: LASUN, QUERCETIN, RESEARCH CENTER, ROCAMBOLA, ROCAMBOLE, ROCHENBOLLE, ROCKENBOLLE, ROKAMBOL, ROKAMBUŁ, ROSE DE LAUTREC, ROUGE À FLEURS MAUVES, RUSSIAN: ISPANSKY CHESNOK, RUSSIAN: ЧЕСНОК, SANSKRIT: LASHUNAA, SARIMSAK, SARMUSAK, SAUM, SCHLANGENKNOBLAUCH, SERBIAN: BELI LUK, SHUM, SINHALESE: SUDULUNU, SIR, SKORDO, SKORDON, SKORTHO, SLANGELØG, SLANGERLOOK, SLOVENIAN: ČESEN, SOFT-NECKED GARLIC, SPANISH GARLIC, SPANISH: AJO, SPANISH: AJO PARDO, SUNDANESE: BAWANG BODAS, SWAHILI: KITUNGUU SAUMU, SWEDISH: SPANSK HVITLÖK, SWEDISH: VITLÖK, TAGALOG: BAWANG, TELUGU: VELLULLI, THERMIDRÔME, THOUM, THUM, TOOM, TOP-SETTING GARLIC, TOUM, TRUE ROCAMBOLE, TURKISH: YILAN SARIMSAĞI, TURKISH: ÇIN SARIMSAĞI, TURKISH: SARMESAK, URDU: LEHSUN, VIETNAMESE: TỏI, VIRAL INFECTIONS, VISAYAN: AHOS, VITAMIN C, VITLOEK, ZINC, ZIND, ΣΚΌΡΔΑ ΣΚΌΡΔΟ, ЛУК ПОСЕВНОЙLUK POSEVNOI, ЛУК-ЧЕСНОКЧЕСНОК, ՍԽՏՈՐরসুন, שום, الثوم, ثوم, سیر, لھسن, लशुनम्, लसुन, लसूण, लहसुनलहसन, ਲਸੂਣ ਲਸਣ, வெள்ளைப்பூண்டு, వెల్లుల్లి, ಬೆಳ್ಳುಳ್ಳಿ ಲಶುನ, กระเทียม, ガーリックニ ンニク, 大蒜, 蒜, 마늘