Fermented garlic honey is the homemade remedy to try this cold and flu season

The latest social media trend has been a longtime remedy for many households.

September 29, 2023, 8:18 AM

With leaves about to start falling from their branches, piling up in parks, yards and streets, it's the perfect time to head indoors and make a simple two-ingredient home remedy that could be a big help this cold and flu season.

Social media has been blowing up with homemade remedies that use ingredients with health benefits to stave off sickness -- particularly honey and garlic, and other iterations known as fire cider.

PHOTO: A jar of fermented garlic honey on a pantry shelf.
A jar of fermented garlic honey on a pantry shelf.
Happy Mama Essentials

"This wellness staple is not a new trend, it's a revival of grandma's wisdom, straight from her kitchen cabinet," Happy Mama Essentials blogger and wellness creator McKenzie Wheeler told "Good Morning America."

"You can eat both the garlic and honey," she continued, adding that the garlic cloves are intended as "quick relief" while the honey can be "helpful for sore throats and coughs."

Wheeler, a former chiropractic assistant and massage therapist who now shares holistic wellness, nutrition tips and recipes on her website and Instagram pages, told "GMA" that her own experience navigating severe food sensitivities and immune system issues took her on a deep dive into nourishing food that might help fight inflammation and convinced her to turn to whole foods as medicine.

Wheeler said she started her blog nine years ago as a creative outlet and to share recipes and nutrition ideas that helped her cut down on inflammation.

"Over the years, those interests poured over into ... natural living, holistic wellness, DIY [content] and more," she said. "I created Happy Mama Essentials to be able to reach more women, especially moms with small children who wanted to feel empowered and more intentional in their health and homes."

Wheeler said she first discovered fermented honey garlic two years ago.

"I learned you can capture the immune support and symptom-relieving benefits of both garlic and raw honey by allowing them to 'ferment' together," she explained. "It's simply garlic cloves in raw honey and allowing them to essentially meld together and become more potent, which happens naturally for 3 to 4 weeks."

"Garlic is a powerhouse when it comes to infections, immune support and inflammation," Wheeler said.

According to research available on the National Library of Medicine website, garlic "and its secondary metabolites have shown excellent health-promoting and disease-preventing effects on many human common diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, blood pressure, and diabetes, through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-lowering properties."

Honey, meanwhile, can not only sooth throats, but certain types of honey may have beneficial properties to treat some wounds and burns, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Below, check out how to make Wheeler's version of fermented honey garlic at home.

Fermented Honey Garlic

PHOTO: A jar of fermented garlic honey.
A jar of fermented garlic honey.
McKenzie Wheeler/happymamaessentials

Ingredients

3 whole garlic bulbs

Raw honey

Directions

Peel and separate the cloves from fresh garlic bulbs. It's best to peel fresh cloves from 2-3 garlic bulbs (this is better than buying peeled garlic from the store, which is oxidized and less potent and can also be exposed to contaminants).

Add your garlic cloves to a clean, dry pint jar then cover the cloves with raw honey -- it'll be 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Stir well with a clean, dry spoon to make sure all of the garlic is covered.

Loosely cap and label the jar and place in a cool, dry place.

Quick Tips: After making your garlic honey, place lid on jar, but "burp" it every other day by loosening and opening the jar and re-closing it to avoid pressure build up from the fermentation process. Swirl garlic cloves around in honey to keep them covered.

Keep your garlic skins for soups, tea or making bone broth. They are high in quercetin which is anti-inflammatory.

It's best to allow the mixture to sit 3 to 4 weeks. You'll know it's "done" when the honey has thinned and minimal or no air is released when you crack the lid/seal.

You can use the garlic and honey sooner if needed, and it'll easily last a year, but we often use it up before then. I recommend making a fresh batch early fall each year.

Because fermentation is a natural process and reaction of raw ingredients, if your garlic takes on a green/blue hue, don't be alarmed. If the garlic has been well covered in honey, the mixture is still completely safe to consume.

Raw honey is not recommended for babies under 1 year old.