Is a concoction of honey, ginger, lemon, and garlic a natural antibiotic?

By: Nabeela Khan
February 19 2024

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Is a concoction of honey, ginger, lemon, and garlic a natural antibiotic?

A Reel shared on Facebook claims that a concoction of honey, ginger, lemon, and garlic can act as an natural antibiotic. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

There is no scientific literature to support the claim that a mix of at-home ingredients can make a "natural antibiotic" and help with illnesses.

Claim ID 8c74ec44

What’s the claim?

A Facebook reel with over 26,000 likes and nearly 8,200 shares is being circulated on Facebook, claiming that a concoction of garlic, lemon, ginger, and honey can be a "natural antibiotic". The reel suggests that people should consume one teaspoon of this mixture daily to protect themselves from illnesses. 

It says that the anti-bacterial properties of garlic, anti-inflammatory properties of ginger, and the presence of Vitamin C in lemon will help boost immunity.

But what's the truth?

To understand this claim, let’s first see what antibiotics are and how they work. According to the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K., antibiotics are used to prevent bacterial infections, but they do not work for everything.

They are used to treat bacterial infections that carry a severe risk to health or infections that are unlikely to clear up without antibiotics. According to Wellcome, an organization that funds science research, “It can take 10-15 years and over a billion dollars to develop a new antibiotic.”

Now, the Reel recommends a "natural antibiotic", consisting of garlic, lemon, and ginger. It argues that garlic's anti-bacterial properties, lime's Vitamin C, and ginger's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties will fight infections. 

While it may be true that garlic has various antimicrobial properties and is being studied for its medicinal and therapeutic effects, more standard experiments and clinical studies are required to support its usage in the treatment and prevention of various diseases.

Similarly, ginger does contain antioxidants and is generally safe to consume, but high doses of ginger should be avoided as it may increase the risk of bleeding for people who are on blood thinners. Citrus fruits like lemon are considered good sources of Vitamin C and help boost iron absorption, but there is limited literature on its medicinal use.  

Speaking to Logically Facts, Vikrant Ghanekar, scientific officer at the biology cell of Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, said, “A wide variety of spices used regularly in Indian cuisine contain antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin from turmeric, gingerols from ginger, and allicin from garlic are some popular examples that are scientifically being studied. But there is no evidence that a particular combination of these spices can replace any antibiotic. Any medicine introduced in the market should pass stringent quality tests and multiple clinical trials.”

study, published in 2018, on the use of herbal medicine highlighted that herbal medicine often appears as a form of self-medicated treatment, “The combination of self-medication, non-expert consultation and missing risk awareness reported here is potentially harmful, especially if people do not report the herbal medicine use to their doctor.”

Ghanekar added, “These home remedies (like making decoctions) do not have a basis of any clinical trials. There is neither a fixed formula nor dosage for these preparations. The chemical composition of such homemade decoctions is unknown. There are chances of allergic reactions in case of excessive consumption. Therefore, such claims are pseudoscientific and baseless. The outcome may vary from person to person.”

The Verdict

There is no scientific literature to support the claim that a mix of at-home ingredients can make a "natural antibiotic" and help with illnesses. These ingredients may have therapeutic value and may be generally beneficial to health but cannot replace antibiotics or medication.

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