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Coronavirus Myths & Facts: Can Drinking Garlic Water Prevent Infection?

garlic in bowl
Michael  W. Smith, MD - Blogs
By Michael W. Smith, MDBoard-certified internistMarch 19, 2020

The COVID-19 coronavirus is such an unknown entity to us – and the unknown is scary. This fear leads many of us to resort to looking for our own solutions. While I love anytime people take personal responsibility for their health, I want to make sure those decisions are based on what we actually know to be true – or at a minimum there is some science to support it.

Discussions about the health properties of garlic have been circulating for years. There’s even science to support its use in some areas, like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. So when I got this next question, it warranted some research.

"Can drinking garlic water help prevent coronavirus infection?"

How do you feel about drinking garlic water? Some have spiced things up on social media, saying it helps ward off coronavirus. I’m not surprised to see this pop up given the attention that garlic has garnered over the years for its supposed germ-fighting abilities. One study, for example, showed that garlic had some inhibitory effects on a coronavirus but not this coronavirus (COVID-19), which is new. That may be all well and good if you’re a chicken embryo, which they used in this study, but there’s no evidence this has any effect on a real-life COVID-19 infection. Enjoy your garlic – just don’t rely on it.

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About the Author
Michael W. Smith, MD

Michael Smith, MD, CPT, is a board-certified internal medicine doctor and WebMD’s Chief Medical Editor. He is also an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer with a passion for helping people live a healthy, active lifestyle. He appears regularly as an expert on national and local broadcast media.

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