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Garlic and honey have many proven health benefits. You can enjoy their beneficial properties by using them alone or together. They can be taken as medicinal supplements, or added to recipes in their natural form.

Some forms of honey and garlic may be more beneficial than others.

Keep reading to learn about the health benefits of garlic and honey, what forms are best to use, recipes for both, and potential side effects.

Garlic and honey have been used in traditional medicines around the world. The main health ingredient in garlic is allicin. It contains oxygen, sulfur, and other chemicals that give garlic antibacterial and disease-fighting properties.

A medical review notes that chopping or crushing fresh garlic cloves releases more allicin than using the cloves whole. However, chopped or crushed garlic can lose its allicin levels quickly. For maximum benefit, you’ll want to use fresh garlic as soon as possible.

Honey is naturally high in antioxidants called flavonoids and polyphenols. These chemicals help to fight inflammation (redness and swelling) in the body. This can help balance the immune system and prevent certain illnesses. Honey also has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

Medical research has investigated the health benefits of garlic and honey alone and in combination. Some of the research is based on claims made in home remedies that have been used for hundreds of years.

In traditional Ethiopian medicine, a type of local honey is used to treat breathing problems, skin infections, and even diarrhea.

Garlic is traditionally used to treat colds and coughs. It’s also reported to boost the immune system and help ease asthma symptoms. Arab traditional medicine recommended garlic to help treat heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, toothache, constipation, and infections.

Antibacterial

A lab study found that garlic and a kind of honey called tazma honey were able to stop some kinds of bacteria from growing.

The study tested each food separately and as a mixture. Researchers found that garlic and honey were both able to kill the bacteria when tested alone. A combination of garlic and honey worked even better.

The garlic and honey combination slowed or stopped the growth of bacteria that cause illness and infections including pneumonia and a kind of food poisoning. These included Streptococcus pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella.

Another lab study showed that a combination of garlic juice and honey was even able to stop types of bacterial infections that cannot be treated by antibiotic drugs.

More research is needed to find out if honey and garlic have the same effect against bacterial infections in the human body.

Antiviral

Some kinds of honey also have powerful antiviral properties. This may help treat or prevent colds, flus, and other illnesses caused by viruses.

A lab study found that Manuka honey was able to stop the flu virus from growing. The researchers concluded that honey, especially Manuka honey, worked almost as well as antiviral drugs against this virus.

Heart health

Several clinical and lab studies have looked at the many heart health benefits of garlic. The Mayo Clinic notes that antioxidants in honey may also help protect you against heart disease.

According to a medical review, garlic acts to help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by:

Another review found that the sulfur molecules in garlic may also help protect heart muscles from damage and make blood vessels more elastic. This helps to prevent heart disease, blood clots, and stroke.

A type of cholesterol called LDL is the main cause of hardening in the blood vessels. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Research in rats showed that garlic helped lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels. The rats were fed garlic powder or raw garlic extract. More research is needed to determine if people would have the same cholesterol-lowering benefits.

Memory and brain health

Both garlic and honey are high in antioxidant compounds. These healthy chemicals help to balance your immune system and prevent illness. They may also protect your brain from common diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

More research is needed on how garlic can prevent or slow these age-related diseases.

Studies note that aged garlic extracts contain a high amount of an antioxidant called kyolic acid. This powerful antioxidant may help protect the brain from damage due to aging and disease. This may help improve memory, concentration, and focus in some people.

You can enjoy the many health benefits of garlic and honey by either cooking with them or taking them as nutritional supplements.

Freshly crushed or chopped garlic has the most health benefits. Garlic powder and aged garlic extract are also high in healthy compounds. Garlic oil has fewer health properties, but can still be used to add flavor to cooking.

Garlic supplements usually contain garlic powder. There’s no recommended dosage for fresh garlic or garlic supplements. Some clinical studies show that you can get health benefits from a daily dosage of 150 to 2,400 milligrams of garlic powder.

Raw, pure honey can be used as a natural remedy for coughs, colds, and sore throats. The Mayo Clinic recommends using citrus honey, eucalyptus honey, and labiatae honey for coughs. Take a spoonful of honey as needed or add honey to herbal teas to help ease cold and flu symptoms.

Honey can also be used on the skin to help soothe allergic rashes, acne flare-ups, and other skin irritations. It can also be used to help heal skin wound, burns, and scratches. Cleanse skin and apply a small amount of medical-grade honey directly to the area.

A combination of honey and garlic can boost the flavor and health benefits of many daily recipes.

Salad dressing

You can make your own salad dressing by mixing olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dried herbs. Mix in freshly chopped garlic and pure honey to help balance the tartness and add more nutrition.

Combine all ingredients in a clean jar and shake well.

Honey-fermented garlic

Honey-fermented garlic is a type of “pickled” garlic. It can be stored for up to a month at room temperature.

Place peeled whole garlic cloves in a clean and sterile jar. You can sterilize a glass jar and lid by boiling it in water. Pour honey over the garlic and stir to combine. Make sure the garlic is completely covered with honey. Seal the jar and let it sit on a counter for three days.

Open the jar to let out any gases and stir the garlic and honey. If you see tiny bubbles in the honey, it means the garlic has started to ferment. Reseal and let sit for at least a week before using.

Honey garlic marinade

Honey garlic marinade can be used to flavor chicken, fish, and vegetables. Combine freshly chopped garlic (or garlic powder), honey, low-sodium soy sauce, and olive oil. You can also add other fresh or dried herbs if you wish.

Toss chicken or fish in the honey garlic marinade and let sit in the fridge for at least one hour. You can also marinade and freeze poultry and fish for a quick homemade meal when you’re too busy to prep food.

The nutritional and health compounds in garlic and honey may cause side effects or reactions in some people. Talk to you doctor before you take garlic or honey supplements.

Garlic interactions

Garlic can cause allergic reactions in some people. Taking garlic supplements or eating garlic in larger doses can thin your blood and increase the risk of bleeding. For this reason, garlic can cause a negative interaction with medications that thin your blood. These include:

Garlic may also interfere with an antiviral drug called saquinavir that’s used to treat HIV.

Honey interactions

Consuming honey may increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Speak to a doctor or dietitian before adding honey to your diet regimen.

Honey is not known to interact with other drugs, but it can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you’re allergic to bee pollen, ask your doctor if eating honey is safe for you. Honey may also contain other kinds of pollen that can trigger reactions like:

  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • face or throat swelling
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • fainting
  • sweating
  • skin reactions
  • irregular heart rhythms

Warning

Babies under the age of one year should not be given honey — not even a taste of it. Honey can cause a rare but serious stomach condition called infant botulism. This is caused by bacteria spores that may be in the honey.

Ask your pharmacist for medicinal grade honey. This kind of honey is sterilized and safe to use on the skin or as a food supplement for adults.

Garlic and honey have been used in traditional medicine for their many health benefits. Recent medical research has proven some of the health properties of these foods.

More research is needed to find out the exact dosages and benefits of garlic and honey. However, you can get benefit from the nutritional and medicinal properties of garlic and honey by using them in your daily cooking.

Ask your doctor or dietitian if taking garlic or honey supplements is right for you.