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Intervention Review

Garlic for the common cold

  1. Elizabeth Lissiman1,*,
  2. Alice L Bhasale2,
  3. Marc Cohen3

Editorial Group: Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group

Published Online: 8 JUL 2009

Assessed as up-to-date: 26 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006206.pub2

How to Cite

Lissiman E, Bhasale AL, Cohen M. Garlic for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD006206. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006206.pub2.

Author Information

  1. 1

    The University of Western Australia, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, Crawley, WA, Australia

  2. 2

    National Prescribing Service Limited, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia

  3. 3

    RMIT University, Professor of Complementary Medicine School of Health Sciences, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

*Elizabeth Lissiman, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, 6009, Australia.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: Edited (no change to conclusions)
  2. Published Online: 8 JUL 2009


This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (11 NOV 2014)



  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. 摘要


Garlic is alleged to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties that relieve the common cold, among other beneficial effects. There is widespread usage of garlic supplements. The common cold is associated with significant morbidity and economic consequences. On average, children have six to eight colds per year, and adults have two to four.


To determine whether garlic (allium sativum) is effective for either the prevention or treatment of the common cold, when compared to placebo, no treatment or other treatments.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2009, issue 1), which includes the Acute Respiratory Infections Group Specialised Register; OLDMEDLINE (1950 to 1965); MEDLINE (January 1966 to March Week 3, 2009); EMBASE (1974 to March 2009); and AMED (1985 to March 2009).

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials of common cold prevention and treatment comparing garlic with placebo, no treatment or standard treatment.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently reviewed and selected trials from searches, assessed and rated study quality, and extracted relevant data.

Main results

Of the five trials identified as potentially relevant from our searches, only one trial met the inclusion criteria. This trial randomly assigned 146 volunteer participants to either a garlic supplement (with 180 mg of allicin content) or a placebo (once daily) for 12 weeks. The trial reported 24 occurrences of the common cold in the garlic intervention group compared with 65 in the placebo group (P < 0.001), resulting in fewer days of illness in the garlic group compared with the placebo group (111 versus 366). The number of days to recovery from an occurrence of the common cold was similar in both groups (4.63 versus 5.63). Because only one trial met the inclusion criteria, limited conclusions can be drawn. The trial relied on self-reported episodes of the common cold, but was of reasonable quality in terms of randomisation and allocation concealment. Adverse effects included rash and odour.

Authors' conclusions

There is insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in preventing or treating the common cold. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold, but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor quality evidence.


Plain language summary

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. 摘要

Garlic for the common cold

Garlic is popularly believed to be useful for the common cold. This belief is based on traditional use, and some laboratory evidence that garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties. We looked for studies that investigated the use of garlic for either preventing or treating people with the common cold. Of the five studies identified, only one fulfilled the criteria for the review. This study of 146 participants found that people who took garlic every day for three months (instead of a placebo) had fewer colds. When participants experienced a cold, the length of illness was similar in both groups (4.63 versus 5.63 days). While this one study was positive, there is a need for large, high quality randomised controlled trials to support these findings. Possible side effects in this small trial included odour and a skin rash. More information is needed about the possible side effects of garlic.

There is no information from randomised controlled trials about whether taking garlic at the time of a cold reduces either symptom severity or the number of days of illness.



  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. 摘要





評估大蒜(allium sativum)相較於安慰劑,不治療或其他治療是否能有效的預防或治療感冒。


我們檢索了Cochrane對照試驗中心註冊(CENTRAL)(Cochrane圖書館 2009年第1期),其中包括急性呼吸道感染組專門登記冊; OLDMEDLINE(1950~1965年);檢索, MEDLINE(1966年1月至2009年3月第3週);醫學文摘庫(1974年至2009年3月);和AMED(1985年至2009年3月)。






從我們搜索中,5個潛在相關的臨床試驗,只有一個試驗符合納入標準。這項試驗隨機分派146個志願參加者於大蒜補充組(180毫克的大蒜素的內容)或安慰劑組(每天一次)為期12週治療。該試驗報告 在大蒜治療組有24人得到普通感冒相較安慰劑組65人得到普通感冒(P < 0.001),且在大蒜組較安慰劑組有較少天數的疾病病程(111與 366)。這兩組從發生感冒到恢復健康所需的天數相似(4.63與 5.63)。因為只有一個試驗符合納入標準,可以得出結論有限。另外這試驗須依靠自我報告普通感冒的事件,但具合理的隨機化品質和分配隱藏。副作用包括皮疹和吃大蒜的氣味。





此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。


大蒜用於普通感冒 大蒜是普遍認為對於普通感冒是有用的。這種信念是基於傳統的使用和一些實驗室證據顯示大蒜具有抗菌和抗病毒特性。我們尋找關於探討利用大蒜預防或治療普通感冒的研究。在這5項相關的研究發現,只有一個符合審查的標準。這項146人參試者研究發現每天使用大蒜3個月(相對於安慰劑)有較少的感冒。當參試者得到感冒,疾病的病程在兩組是相似的(4.63天比5.63天)。雖然這一項研究結果是正面的,但還是需要大型、高品質的隨機對照試驗來支持這些結論。可能的副作用在這小試驗包括大蒜的氣味和皮疹。這需要更多大蒜可能副作用的相關資訊。目前沒有隨機對照試驗的資料關於是否在感冒時服用大蒜可減少症狀的嚴重程度或疾病的天數。