It?s been discovered that people who take a garlic supplement each day catch fewer colds. The common cold is the most common disease of humans and adults catch between two and four colds a year. Infants and young children get between six and 10 colds each year. A 75-year-old man has suffered through about 200 colds during his lifetime. There are more than 200 known different viruses which cause a cold, and each person spends between two and three years of his life with a cold.

A new study has found that a daily garlic supplement containing allicin, a purified component of garlic considered to be the major biologically active agent produced by the plant, reduced the risk of catching a cold by more than half. A total of 146 volunteers took part in the experiment, which was led by Peter Josling, director of the Garlic Center in England.

Half took one capsule of an allicin-containing garlic supplement each day, while the remaining volunteers were given a placebo. Over a 90-day period during the winter when most colds occur, just 24 colds were recorded among those taking the supplement, compared to 65 among those taking the placebo. The study also found that those taking the supplement who did catch a cold recovered more quickly than those taking the placebo and the chances of re-infection following a cold were significantly reduced.

Josling says, ?We have been searching for a cure for the common cold for years. Now we have gone one step further and even found a prevention. The common cold is something that affects everyone?for extended periods of time.?

Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University, says, ?I am not going to say this will revolutionize treatment for the common cold but it is very interesting. Plants do not have an immune system like we do – they fight viruses and infections with in-built chemical defenses. So, if you like, allicin is one of the chemical defenses of garlic which helps keep it healthy. In this study we are simply using the plant?s natural defense to fight our own virus.?

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