One hundred forty-six volunteers were randomized to receive a placebo or an allicin-containing garlic supplement, one capsule daily, over a 12-week period between November and February. They used a five-point scale to assess their Health and recorded any common cold infections and symptoms in a daily diary. The active-treatment group had significantly fewer colds than the placebo group (24 vs 65, P<.001). The placebo group, in contrast, recorded significantly more days challenged virally (366 vs 111, P<.005) and a significantly longer duration of symptoms (5.01 vs 1.52 days, P<.001). Consequently, volunteers in the active group were less likely to get a cold and recovered faster if infected. Volunteers taking placebo were much more likely to get more than one cold over the treatment period. An allicin-containing supplement can prevent attack by the common cold virus.
The common cold is the worlds most widespread viral infection, with most people suffering approximately two to five colds per year. Over 200 different viruses cause infection and cold symptoms; the most common,rhinoviruses, account for 30% to 40% of adult colds. Reinfection is prevalent because of this wide variety of infectious viruses. Published literature on the activity of Garlic against viral infections is sparse.2,3 One report describes that during an influenza epidemic, the former Soviet Union imported more than 500 tons of garlic cloves for acute treatment.
Among the viruses sensitive to garlic extracts are the human cytomegalovirus, human rhinovirus type 2, herpes simplex types 1 and 2, and influenza B. Evidence points toward allicin and its condensation product ajoene as the main components in garlic responsible for this antiviral activity. Recently, an allicin-containing supplement (Allimax® Liquid and Capsules) has demonstrated efficacy against herpes simplex type 1 and molluscum contagiosum infections. Many consumers take garlic supplements as a preventive and report an absence of colds or symptoms associated with viral replication. A cure for the commoncold would substantially reduce the number of workdays lost each year as a result of the classic symptoms of infectiontiredness, headaches, a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and impaired concentration.
The many garlic supplements marketed in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe vary widely by type and definition of active constituents. Increasing evidence has shown that certain forms of a supplement may have significant beneficial properties, provided that the universally recognized active constituent (allicin) is made available to the body.
This survey was designed to determine whether a unique garlic supplement that contains only stabilized allicin could prevent colds in healthy volunteers. The supplement chosen for study is the only product that claims to contain allicin as a starting material.
Peter Josling, B.Sc. Garlic Centre Battle, East Sussex United Kingdom