Garlic tea is a beverage that people typically make from a mixture of garlic, honey, and lemon.

Some people claim this drink offers a number of health benefits. Many use it as a natural way to ward off or improve symptoms of illnesses like colds and the flu, and some people claim it can treat certain health conditions like high blood pressure.

But is garlic tea really the miracle beverage that some sources claim?

The short answer is no. However, the individual ingredients may provide some benefits.

This article explains what garlic tea is and whether this concoction offers health benefits.

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Garlic tea is a drink that’s made by boiling fresh, chopped garlic cloves in water and then adding lemon juice and honey. Some recipes also include chopped ginger.

Most people drink garlic tea hot or warm, though some people consume it cold.

Garlic tea is not a new creation. In fact, archaeological findings suggest Assyrians consumed tea made of garlic and solid resin thousands of years ago as a remedy for constipation (1).

Recently, garlic tea has gained popularity online due to claims from health and wellness websites promoting it as a way to boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and even treat certain cancers.

Unfortunately, these claims are not based on scientific evidence.

Even though the individual components of garlic tea may have beneficial effects on health, there’s currently no proof that drinking this beverage is superior to simply incorporating garlic tea ingredients into your regular diet.

Summary

Garlic tea is a drink made from garlic, lemon juice, and honey that’s typically served hot.

It’s important to note that there’s no evidence that garlic tea can help prevent or treat any medical condition.

Many of the websites that promote health claims associated with garlic tea rely on studies that focus on whole garlic, garlic oil, or garlic extract.

These forms of garlic are completely different from garlic tea, which is made by steeping garlic in boiling water and then straining the garlic out. Garlic tea is unlikely to offer the same health benefits as more concentrated forms of garlic.

To date, no research studies have investigated the possible health benefits of the combination of garlic, honey, and lemon in a beverage. The current health claims made online surrounding garlic tea are largely unsubstantiated and exaggerated.

Summary

Some people claim garlic tea has impressive health benefits. However, most of these purported benefits are not supported by scientific evidence.

Even though most of the health claims tied to garlic tea don’t hold water, the individual ingredients used in garlic tea do offer some benefits and can be healthy additions to your diet.

In fact, common ingredients used to make garlic tea have been associated with quite a few health benefits. These ingredients include:

  • fresh garlic
  • honey
  • lemon
  • ginger

However, this doesn’t mean you have to consume them as a tea. Instead, you can reap the following health benefits by including these ingredients in your diet in a variety of ways.

Keep in mind that the following section discusses the possible health benefits of the whole, individual ingredients of garlic tea. It does not include research related to supplements, such as concentrated ginger or garlic supplements.

Garlic

Garlic is known for its powerful health effects. In fact, many studies have connected garlic intake to a number of benefits, including a reduced risk of disease.

For example, studies show that consuming garlic may help protect against (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7):

However, most of the available research focuses on garlic consumption in general or the use of concentrated garlic products like garlic extract or garlic powder. There’s currently limited research on garlic tea or other homemade garlic concoctions.

Garlic is high in potent compounds that possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Fresh garlic, like the garlic used in garlic tea, is rich in beneficial compounds called S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide (alliin) and γ-glutamyl cysteine derivatives (8).

Allicin is the main active compound found in fresh garlic, and it’s thought to be responsible for many of garlic’s beneficial health effects (9).

Keep in mind that cooking, including boiling, deactivates an enzyme called alliinase. When garlic is crushed or chopped, this enzyme turns a garlic compound called alliin into allicin. Thus, if you cook fresh garlic, you may be losing some of the benefits of allicin.

For this reason, some experts suggest chopping garlic and letting it stand for 10 minutes before cooking. This allows the allicin to develop (10, 11).

Additionally, it’s likely that consuming whole garlic or leaving pieces of garlic in your garlic tea would deliver more potentially beneficial compounds than straining the garlic out of the liquid.

Lemon

Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C and beneficial plant compounds, including flavonoids and the monoterpenoid D-limonene (12).

The juice of one lemon provides 20% of the recommended intake for vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant nutrient that’s critical for the health of the immune system, skin, and more (13).

Studies suggest that consuming lemons and lemon juice may improve several aspects of health.

For example, consuming lemon juice may (14, 15, 16):

  • help reduce blood pressure when combined with physical activity
  • help keep blood sugar levels from spiking after carb-rich meals
  • reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels when combined with raw garlic

Honey

Honey is a beloved sweetener that people also commonly use as a natural remedy for coughs and congestion.

One review of 14 studies looked at whether consuming honey, including honey dissolved in water, was effective at treating upper respiratory infections in adults and children (17).

The review found that, compared with usual care, taking honey was more effective at reducing symptoms, such as cough frequency and severity (17).

So, it may be helpful to sip a cup of garlic tea made with honey when you’re feeling under the weather with an upper respiratory tract infection.

What’s more, sipping on any hot beverage may help soothe cold and flu symptoms, including a sore throat and congestion (18).

Honey also offers antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties (19).

However, honey is considered added sugar, so you’ll want to limit your intake to promote optimal health.

Ginger

Some garlic tea recipes call for ginger, a spicy root that’s linked to impressive health benefits.

Like garlic, ginger is an excellent source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, such as the phenolic compounds gingerols and shogaols (20).

There’s some evidence that ginger tea could improve nausea and vomiting in some populations, and that tea made with ginger extract may even help women with an intolerance to cold due to its warming properties (21, 22, 23).

Additionally, studies suggest that ginger consumption, in general, may help reduce the risk of certain health conditions, including heart disease and high blood pressure (24).

Again, eating whole ginger chopped in dishes is likely more beneficial than drinking tea made from steeping ginger in water and then straining the ginger out.

Summary

While the benefits of garlic tea are questionable, the ingredients used to make garlic tea have been shown to positively affect health. These include garlic, ginger, lemon, and honey.

If you search online, you’ll find a number of garlic tea recipes using various ingredients.

Most garlic tea recipes contain just garlic, lemon, and honey.

Here’s a simple garlic tea recipe that you can try at home:

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups (709 mL) of water
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) of honey

Directions

  1. Chop garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring water to a boil, then add chopped garlic, reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 5–10 minutes. You can leave the chopped garlic in the tea or strain it out.
  3. Mix in lemon juice and add honey to taste.

You could also add some freshly grated or powdered ginger, depending on your taste preferences.

If you enjoy garlic tea, there’s no reason not to drink it. On the other hand, if you don’t like the taste of garlic tea, don’t force yourself to drink it. You don’t have to drink garlic tea to be healthy or prevent illness.

If you’re not a fan of garlic tea, simply focus on adding fresh and cooked garlic and lemon juice to recipes and using good quality honey to add a bit of sweetness to your favorite dishes.

Summary

Garlic tea is easy to make at home. There are also many other ways to incorporate the ingredients of garlic tea into your diet.

If you’re consuming garlic tea occasionally or even daily, it’s unlikely that the small amount of garlic found in the drink will cause any side effects.

However, if you’re adding too much honey to your garlic tea, this could lead to some health concerns due to its sugar content.

Moreover, if you don’t like the taste of garlic tea, you may have to add more honey to your drink to mask garlic’s pungent flavor.

Like any sweetened beverage, honey-sweetened tea affects blood sugar levels, and drinking an excessive amount of sweetened tea could cause weight gain, negatively affect heart health, and more (25).

For this reason, it’s best to consume any sweetened beverage in moderation.

Additionally, lemon juice can be quite erosive to your teeth, so it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth with water after drinking any lemon-containing beverages like garlic tea (26).

Summary

Drinking garlic tea is unlikely to cause adverse side effects. However, it’s important to keep your added sugar intake low by using honey in moderation, as well as to prevent dental erosion from lemon juice by rinsing your mouth after drinking garlic tea.

Garlic tea combines lemon, garlic, honey, and sometimes ginger, all of which provide some health benefits on their own.

Yet, there’s no evidence that drinking garlic tea helps boost metabolism, treats or prevents any medical condition, or has any other significant health benefits.

If you enjoy garlic tea, there’s no harm in drinking it. However, there’s no need to start drinking garlic tea if you don’t like the taste.

Instead, try incorporating the individual ingredients of garlic tea — garlic, lemons, ginger, and honey (in moderation) — into your diet in other ways. You can add these foods to your favorite recipes.