A lady once told me that her aunt always kept a bottle of garlic water in the fridge, drank a cup of it every day and hardly ever had a cold. I've done that myself on occasion since I learned of it, and I highly recommend it. It gives you most of the benefits of garlic--which, according to folklore, goes beyond mere virus-fighting--but without the odor. The infamous aroma you get when you eat garlic actually comes from the rotting fiber of garlic or garlic-flavored foods that take so long to pass through the digestive system. The liquid in this recipe goes straight to the bloodstream, making it a much more efficient way to get the benefits of garlic.

All you do is slice (crosswise is best) three good-sized cloves of garlic and put them in a quart of water. Put the water jug in the fridge and begin drinking it by the cup the very next day. In a day or two the flavor will get a little strong, so you can pour the water through a strainer to sift out the garlic pieces.

In spite of its tang, this concoction is remarkably easy to drink and the odor disappears in seconds. When I'm using it, I have a cup every day, so a two-quart batch with approximately six garlic cloves lasts a little over a week. It's best to use it up quickly, so enlist your loved ones' help, and they'll feel better too! Or if you're using it alone, make up a smaller batch more often. Besides its antiviral qualities, garlic water aids digestion and provides many other health benefits, as any holistic practitioner will tell you.

With all the virus-fighting tools I have at hand, I still consider downing vitamin C pills with hot sugar-water at the first sign of any viral challenge to be the easiest course, and it's very effective, so there's no question which one I'll turn to first. Still, the more weapons in the old arsenal, the better. A heavy-duty "missile" like vegetable broth is just right for that one time in a hundred when serious congestion manages to sink its insidious claws into my bronchial tubes. Since helping the throat to rest from the constant irritation of coughing is the first requisite to healing, by relieving the pain and muscle tension that come from the awful hacking cough of a seriously sore throat, vegetable broth and Emanuel's mother's onion juice provide the body with a real chance to heal.

Now, if you have a favorite folk recipe I can add to my antiviral arsenal, I'd really love to hear about it. There is nothing like being prepared.


Debbie Jordan