Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Smell garlic? That'd be me – I regularly crush massive cloves and eat them raw. My resulting odor is so strong that my friends can't even stand to be on the phone with me.

'Tis the season when everybody gets sick but me – and I thank garlic. It contains an anti-microbial compound called "allicin." The minute I feel a throat threat, nasal nuance, or chest challenge, it's down the hatch with my buddy garlic. With this defense it seems I can go around licking doorknobs and dollar bills and shopping cart handles and still stay healthy. (I've only been arrested twice.)

I may go door to door, proselytizing my belief with fresh samples and verse-quoting brochures. ("Yea, though I walk through the valley of germs, I shall fear no eve ills, for garlic art with me.") I tell people you can't rely on the iffy potency of garlic pills or garlic that's been cooked. Rather, you smash up a hefty peeled clove and let it sit to oxidize the allicin. Then comes the brave part.

You'll not taste the garlic much if you put it on a spoon, pour honey over it, and swallow it down while thinking about baseball scores. You can also stir raw garlic into cooked food right before eating it, or smear it on buttered toast. I don't recommend adding it to something like chocolate pudding – but if you're really serious about staying healthy, and that's the only foodstuff in the house, then there are worse things than having a little fun with your gag reflex.

As I've mentioned, I do become quite aromatic. Once I was having my hair washed at a salon, and a fellow customer said, "I suddenly smell garlic." Rather than fess up, I mumbled that maybe a pizza had just been delivered. Some joke that the reason I stay healthy after "garlicking" is because no other germ-carrying humans will come near me. Let 'em laugh, but the legendary security from vampire attacks has also been holding up.

To note, the last time my husband had the flu, my garlic-infused membranes and I remained hale and hearty despite kissing him even more than usual. (When your last name is "Love," you automatically use affection to heal as much as possible.)

Some argue that I might just be experiencing the placebo effect. Who cares, if it works? Dr. Andrew Weil, my favorite famous doc, says studies are always trying to rule the placebo effect out, when we should be trying to rule this effect in. Exactly. Precisely. Garlickamentary.

So don't worry if you can't afford a flu shot. Bring a crop of garlic over to my house and we'll dine together. I'll provide the chocolate pudding.