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Vampires aren’t real… right? Well, it just so happens that viruses have a surprising amount in common with Count Dracula, including how they’re kept at bay.

If you enjoy popular culture, you will know that vampires can be burned by the sun and silver  – they are also repelled by garlic. Vampires are not real though, right? Who would be stupid enough to suggest that an undead parasite could be the ancestral enemy of mankind by existing alongside us, feeding off our very essence, sucking the life out of us? Ahem.

Well, not in human form, perhaps, but maybe viruses could fit the bill: they exist as undead microscopic fragments of DNA (or RNA, as in the case of Covid-19), with the ability to plug themselves into the living cells of, let’s say, a beautiful maiden’s throat, then taking over those cells and turning them into factories to make more vampires… I mean viruses. We have lived alongside viruses forever, and though they may start out as vicious killers, the successful ones like to leave their hosts alive so as to spread themselves more effectively (see the common cold). We first identified a killer virus in 1932 (yellow fever), but it was not until we had electron microscopes that we started to be able to represent them in a visual way. Here you can see Count Covid-19:

Were we wrong to believe in the efficacy of silver, garlic and oregano as “vampire”, or virus, repellents, though? I think not – we often know of remedies that prove to be correct, despite perhaps not having the full picture. Willow bark, for example, was used to help fevers and as an anti-inflammatory long before Bayer started selling Aspirin.

So this week’s lockdown antiviral tip is good old garlic. Yes, it is a delicious herb to enjoy; yet, if a pharmaceutical company had just invented it, and so had a monopoly, perhaps it would be a more prized antibiotic/antiviral. It may have a downside though, as it is thought to be a neurotoxin, if you take it raw and in quantity. If, however, you are trying to protect yourself against a nasty virus it is well worth considering. Especially if you are, like me, a fan (and everyone else in your family takes it too).

Here are a few experiments we are trying or have relied on, with garlic.

Garlic in honey

An age old antiviral tonic – even better with ginger and turmeric.

Just get some raw local honey. Peel and do not crush LOTS of garlic cloves. If you want to add in some small slices of ginger and/or turmeric, this is a good idea. Put the lot into a glass jar with a good lid. The garlic/turmeric/ginger mix needs to fill around half of the jar. Pour the honey over the lot, to fill the jar to ¾. Shut the lid.

Shake your jar thoroughly every day. No need to open it, but keep inverting the jar daily, until the garlic sinks to the bottom (this could take some time).

The tonic is ready to be eaten, or added to salads or other yummy items, after six weeks (but can be kept and used for two years). It does not need refrigeration. So start you antiviral tonic now!

Black garlic

Make your own – much cheaper, and very good for you, as well as very yummy.

Buy lots of garlic, no need to peel the heads! Put them in a rice cooker on a warm setting for six weeks. It helps if you have an outhouse to plug this in as the smell is something else.

Fire cider

A homemade antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral way to fortify your immune system naturally.

Choose any/all of the following: ginger root, turmeric root, horseradish, onion, garlic, chilli (if you’re brave), peppercorns.

Chop everything up and pack it into a jar with a few tablespoons of honey and a lemon. Fill the jar up with apple cider vinegar. Shake every day for a couple of months.

Take a shot every day, or add to salad dressings and sauces.

Garlic soup

Great when anyone is poorly… it doesn’t even give you garlic breath!

I am a Jewish vegetarian, and this is my version of the restorative power of ‘chicken soup’. It takes about five minutes to prepare and is delicious.

Bring a litre or so of water to boil, add eight or more large cloves of peeled and roughly chopped garlic, along with a teaspoon each of any three of the following: sage, thyme, basil, oregano. Simmer for 10 minutes. Beat a couple of eggs, then pour them into the soup, whilst stirring. Mash everything with a potato masher to make it all soft and squidgy.

If you want, you can add some dry pasta and cook it in the soup. Or you can put some toast and cheese slices at the bottom of your bowl and pour the soup over. Or just have it as a light broth.

Thirty-clove garlic soup 

Home recipe sent in by one of our lovely clients – makes three to four servings.

  • 3 garlic bulbs, whole, unpeeled (heads of garlic, should yield about 30 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (can be ghee or coconut oil)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz / 4 cups) vegetable stock or chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz / 1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs such as oregano, thyme or sage (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 60 ml (3 fl oz /1/4 cup) coconut milk (optional)
  • fresh herbs, to serve (I used coriander/cilantro)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C / 345 F.
  2. Slice 1 cm (1/2 inch) off the top of each garlic bulb to expose the cloves, then place cut side down on a baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil, then roast for 30 – 45 minutes until brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Add some of the stock or broth and then whizz for a few seconds. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the rest of the stock or broth, and the turmeric, cumin, vinegar, tamari, lemon juice, blended garlic and broth mixture, and the herbs, if using, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low-medium, then simmer, uncovered, for 15 – 30 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the coconut milk and stir through. Taste for salt and add a little more if needed. Season with chilli and cracked pepper if you wish. Garnish with the fresh herbs of your choice.

All that should keep any vampires at a safe distance, and hopefully keep viruses at bay as well!

Feel free to share your own homemade vampire antidotes or wellbeing remedies by emailing info@anahatahealth.co.uk