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Garlic Honey Throat, Cold and Flu Remedy

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This is a great cold and flu remedy to have on hand!

Garlic is a powerful immune-booster.  It is very effective against nasty bacterial, viral and fungal infections.  The antibiotic qualities of garlic appear to be a direct result of the allicin produced from raw, crushed garlic.  This is destroyed by age and cooking – cooked garlic has virtually no antibiotic value although it still retains other benefits.

Honey also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, so when you combine the two, you’ve got a great aid to help you fight sore throats, colds or the flu.

So here’s a tip: when infused in honey, raw garlic becomes far more palatable.  Tasty even!  So keep a jar of this on hand at all times.  At the first sign of a sore throat, cold or flu, start popping  honey infused garlic and try to eat one clove every hour or two all day long.  Decrease the amount the next day, but continue to eat a couple of cloves a day until all better.

So make up a jar of this and keep it in your fridge so that you will be all set for winter (or the next time you start to feel sick).  The garlic is ready to eat after a few days but tastes even better over time.  You can replace the garlic cloves with fresh ones whenever you take some out, so the jar remains pretty much full at all times.

WARNING: The consumption of honey during the first year of life has been identified as a risk factor for infant botulism.  Infant botulism occurs when a baby eats living bacteria or its spores and they grow in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract.  The most common cause of infant botulism is eating honey or corn syrup.   Please research this for more detailed information.  Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it as well.

Recipe adapted from: Healthy Green Kitchens


  • 1 pint jar
  • 1 cup of peeled garlic,  separated into cloves
  • raw local honey to fill your glass jar of choice (raw honey is more nutritious than store-bought honey)


  1. Fill jar with garlic cloves and then pour the honey over the garlic.  Allow mixture to infuse for several days before using, then store in the refrigerator where it will keep for a year or more.
  2. At the first sign of illness, start eating a clove every hour or two.  Aim for about 6 cloves per day.  The honey can be taken on its own by the spoonful as a cough syrup.  You could also mix a teaspoon of the honey with some raw apple cider vinegar and hot water and drink this as a tonic when you’re sick; feel free to add a dash of cayenne pepper, too- this is excellent for your sinuses.


I had a reader send me a private email asking about botulism and if a person runs a risk of that when soaking garlic in honey.  I spent a great deal of time searching Google to find a specific answer, but I couldn’t find anything black and white regarding it.  There are a lot of warnings out there about botulism when it comes to soaking garlic in olive oil but not much about garlic in honey.  As mentioned above I found this recipe on Healthy Green Kitchen.  This site is ran by a woman who has a degree in naturopathic medicine.  I contacted her to see what her take is and she felt that there wasn’t an issue and has had a jar in her fridge for 2 years now with no problems.  I didn’t stop there though.  I put out 4 different emails inquiring about the subject matter at hand.  I contacted:

1st email – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Who replied…

Thank you for your inquiry to CDC-INFO. In response to your request for information on your risk for botulism, we are pleased to provide you with the following information.
While CDC-INFO was unable to locate specific information on the risk for botulism regarding the recipe you cited, we can provide you with the following information.
There are many things you can do to prevent botulism.
First, follow strict hygienic (cleanliness) procedures when canning food at home. This will help keep bacteria from getting into the food. Always follow proper home canning recipes, including the use of pressure canners or cookers when recommended. Boiling home-canned foods for 10 minutes before eating them will inactivate botulinum toxin.

You should also:
* Keep oils infused with garlic or herbs in the refrigerator; and
* Keep potatoes baked in tin foil hot until they are served or keep them in the refrigerator.

Don’t feed honey to babies less than 1 year old. This is because honey may contain the spores that can produce botulism bacteria.

Most cases of foodborne botulism come from foods that have been canned at home, especially home-canned vegetables. The bacteria that cause botulism can grow in foods that are not canned properly. In Alaska, fermented fish and other traditional aquatic game foods are the most common cause of botulism.  Honey is a common cause of infant botulism.

Wound botulism has been linked to the use of black-tar heroin. It is most common in California.

As a public health message, the CDC would like to remind you that in order to prevent wound botulism, you should:
* See your doctor right away, if you have an infected wound; and
* Not inject street drugs.

To learn about how to can food safely, you can get information from:
* Your county or state health department;
* The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA); or
* The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

2nd email -Mayo Clinic.com, who replied…

Dear Amie Sue;

Thank you for your e-mail.  I was unable to find information on our site to
answer your specific inquiry. I’m sorry we’re unable to assist you. We
suggest you try a Google search for your inquiry.

Thanks for visiting. We are always adding new content to our site so we hope
you will continue to be a frequent visitor!

Best wishes,

Mayo Clinic Online Services

3rd email – Penn State Department of Food Science, who replied…

Amie Sue,  It would not be a risk as long as it was stored in the refrigerator.  I would be worried that someone would see honey in the refrigerator and then move it to room temperature storage, where it would be a botulism risk.

 Martin Bucknavage

Senior Food Safety Extension Associate

Penn State Department of Food Science

Penn State Extension

438 Food Science Building

University Park, PA  16802

4th email – Food Safety.gov – pending reply


This web-site is not intended to provide medical advice.  All content, including text, graphics, images and information available on this site is for general informational, entertainment and educational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment. The author of this site is not responsible for any adverse effects that may occur from the application of the information on this site. You are encouraged to make your own healthcare decisions, based on your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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34 thoughts on “Garlic Honey Throat, Cold and Flu Remedy

  1. Kim says:

    Whenever I start to feel sick, I crush a couple of garlic cloves and mix them with honey. Then I swallow the mixture by the spoonful with some almond milk. It’s not tasty, but it works. Of course, my husband says I smell like garlic for a few days, but it’s worth it to feel better. I love your idea of mellowing the garlic ahead of time with the honey. I will definitely try this. Thanks for the great idea!

    • amie-sue says:

      My husband loves garlic about as much as I do….so when one eats it, we both eat it…then we tolerate one another. haha

  2. Gabrielle says:

    I love garlic as well! Nothing like fresh grown Farmers Market. I just eat it raw. But, this is a fabulous idea too. :)
    Thanks, Amie Sue what timing you have!

  3. Cathy says:

    This is true of Garlic, been doing it for years . My concern is that honey is from bees and has a bad reaction for those that are diebetis or hypoglycemic. Im sure stevia would be just as good. Thats my opionion. Thank You.
    Your receipts are great.

  4. mary rhim says:

    What a great idea. Will try this. This is an awesome site. Just love it.

  5. Heather says:

    Love your ideas…unfortunately I am seeing this too late.. feeling nasty today and wish I had some on hand… But this is going on my to do list for sure:)

    • amie-sue says:

      Heather, I hope you feel better soon! If you have either ingredient, I suggest consuming them during your down time. My husband has been fighting a cold and it is at the coughing/flem stage so I have been making tea with honey in it and that has been helping in keeping things calm. Blessings and healthy hugs! :)

  6. Jan Allan says:

    We always made this drink with boiling water, lemon and honey for colds. I’m thinking the lemon cuts the phlegm, and the honey soothes the throat as well as relaxing the coughing. This recipe sounds wonderful and I’ll be sure to try it….but not planning on being sick anytime soon! ha.

  7. Marge says:

    Thanks for the great info….I like this site I stumbled upon…I have been semi raw for about ten years. I have a unique job and have literally worked and lived on the road since 1997. During the winter I am 50% raw…summer 75% raw….since doing this I have seen a big improvement in my over all health….I am 61 and take no medication except 1/2 dose hormone pills and occasional ibuprofen….as I did inherit arthritis….I do eat a lot of onions and garlic….have a blessed day….

    • amie-sue says:

      That is so wonderful Marge. Thank you for sharing. What do you do on the road for work? Have a wonderful week! amie sue

  8. Good morning Amie-Sue,
    I stumbled on your site via my study course with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

    I do not get sick , ever , full stop , end of story because :-

    I eat basic coloured greens,fruits,veg,nuts, legumes etc plus
    some meats and lots of fish ( aye lassie, nothing like good North Sea cod )

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello fellow INN :) I am happy to hear that you are healthy!! It’s important to find what works for each and every one of us, sounds like you found your way. Awesome! Have a wonderful evening, amie sue

  9. Laura Plumb says:

    Hi Amie-Sue, What a delightful blog, a helpful post and a lot of care you put into research. For over 25 years, at the first sign of a cold I put a clove of garlic without peeling it into the back of the mouth behind the molars where that little bit of pressure causes its juices to be released and roll right down the throat, killing bacteria, and erasing the cold. My Ayurveda buddies use garlic for the flu, too. You are divine to share this recipe to help so many stay healthy!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Laura. That sounds like what my dad does. He is a trucker and if he ever feels under the weather, he starts eating whole garlic cloves. Thank goodness he drives alone during those times. hehe I appreciate your comment. Have a wonderful day, amie sue

  10. Lisa says:

    I have a recipe that I got from Susun Weed who is very well known and has been around for many years. She has written books and magazines and teaches classes, etc. Her recipe is the same except she does not peel her garlic and she leaves it sit out on the countertop FOREVER and says it never spoils and is not known to develop botulism. I made this recipe, although I peeled my ORGANIC garlic, and left it sit out. First thing I noticed is that I have to keep burping the jar because apparently there is some fermentation going on. Mine has been sitting out for 2 weeks now and I have been using the honey for about a week, just a little each day, and I have not noticed any bad effect. You can read what Susun has to say and see her recipe here: http://wisewomanherbalezine.com/wordpress/2011/12/12/december-12-2011/

  11. Jay says:

    Thank you for this wonderful site!
    Is it better to eat these whole or chew them up? Does it matter?

    Thank you again!

  12. Tim Barry says:

    I was wondering about heating the honey up a little, to help it infuse with the garlic. Yes or No???

  13. Jeanne says:

    Thanks for another way to eat raw garlic!

    According to everything I’ve ever read raw honey is antibacterial, antifungal and antibiotic. It works amazingly well in wounds. There is a lot of information out there about this, but I was first introduced to it through the book, 10 Essential Herbs by Lalitha Thomas–my favorite herb book of all time. She has another wonderful way to eat garlic raw as well. Her recipe for garlic popcorn is so tasty. My children especially loved it when they were young.

    My parents put raw garlic cloves in sweet pickle juice after the pickles are gone. The garlic gets infused with the juice and is easy to eat. A few of my children like this as well.

    Thanks again! Your site is so beautiful and inviting–it’s the site I tell my friends about.

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you for sharing Jeanne. Bob and I are very found of garlic. I love the idea of putting the cloves in pickle juice. :) Have a blessed and wonderful day, amie sue

  14. Akila says:

    Hi Amie,

    Thanks for the recipe :)

    I live in a warm country (Singapore) and am wondering whether letting the garlic sit in honey for a couple of days at room temperature will spoil it. Can I put it in the fridge immediately after bottling it?

    Thanks again :)

  15. Atispi says:

    My son gets strep throat and swollen tonsils very often. I hate giving him antibiotics every few weeks. Do you think switching over to garlic would help?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Atispi,

      I am sorry but I can’t really give you medical advice and recommend stopping a medication or not. I understand though your feelings about antibiotics. Building his immune system seems like a huge priority to give him a stronger foundation to help fight this. But I am sure you are aware of that. amie sue

  16. Friedel says:

    The thing I noticed is that the garlic is definitely fermenting, and this makes me a bit nervous. The last time I opened the jar, honey sprayed everywhere from the built up pressure. Is this normal???

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh dear, that doesn’t sound right at all. I wouldn’t use it at that point. I haven’t experienced that before. My garlics never tasted fermented nor did they respond that way… amie sue

  17. Joan Pascual says:

    hi ms amie.i just want to ask if this recipe is applicable for my daughter,she’s 4yrs old and with an allergic rhinitis?also for me,I’m suffering from gastritis.thanks ms Amie.hope to hear from u.godbless.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Joan,

      I am sorry but I can’t advise you on this. I don’t know the answer and it would be best to check with your physician on this before trying it. amie sue

  18. Robbie says:

    Would lemon slices cause problems if you popped a few in there?

  19. CFJAZIZ says:

    Hi Amie
    Regarding botulism in honey, I did a similar tonic a few years ago before I knew as much about searching for information online. I recall that chopped the garlic and placed in the bottom of a CLEAN AND COMPLETELY DRY glass jar. I used enough honey just to cover the garlic. Then I filled the jar the rest of the way with ACV. My husband and I took a tablespoon full each more in a large glass of water. Wow! What a great zing it gave! We’d feel refreshed and energized to drink that tonic. Kept the jar in the tea cabinet beside the mugs so we’d remember to dose every morning. Never thought or worried (or even knew!) about botulism until later when someone pointed it out. Don’t know if it was the addition of ACV that made the difference or if just my guardian angel watching out for me

  20. Ari says:

    Hello All – I came across this recipe through a FB group (Wild Fermentation) and very few people put this is the refrigerator. They are actually having the garlic ferment in the honey on purpose and then eat it. It will last on the counter until it gets eaten up! I believe the same process can happen in the fridge but at a much, much slower rate…or start it fermenting first, and then it will continue slowly fermenting in the fridge. Apparently, honey and garlic isn’t the right environment for botulism. I’m going to start one in a Fido jar (this type of jar off-gasses on its own) as soon as I find some good garlic! If you ferment in a Mason jar, you need to let the gases out (burp it) or it will explode from the pressure as happened to one of the commenters here. Good luck all!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Ari, thanks for sharing. If you think about it when the times come, please come back and share your outcome. It’s always great to learn new things! Have a wonderful week, amie sue

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