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Will You Make a Condiment to Fend Off Colds?

A reader shares the details of her condiment recipe. It is full of hot peppers and garlic, which may help people fight off colds.

Every so often, a reader shares a remedy that gets a lot of attention. Last month, we heard from a person whose special sauce helps her family fend off colds.

Wendi wrote:

“I have been making a hot pepper and garlic condiment for my family and friends for years. It has at least five different types of hot peppers in it, plus cider vinegar, mustard, chopped garlic, olive oil and sea salt. It is addictively delicious on just about everything. It also seems to pump up our immune systems and ward off colds.”

Readers Want Recipes for a Remedy to Fend Off Colds:

It didn’t take long before we got inquiries like this:

“You wrote about a hot pepper and garlic condiment a reader makes. She said it keeps her family from catching colds.

“Did she offer a recipe as well? I would dearly love to try making it.”

Wendi Shared Her Condiment Recipe:

We reached out to Wendi, who shared these instructions for her special condiment:

Hot Peppers:

“I start with a large bag of hot peppers, all seeded and diced. I use jalapenos, scotch bonnets, long Italian hots, serrano, cayenne, poblano, or whatever else is available, so long as they are hot and all different colors!

“I used to chop them by hand but have found a great chopping device that works well. A food processor is too uneven and sometimes pulverizes the peppers, which releases the juices too early.


“After your peppers are cut up, chop about 20 cloves of garlic. A food processor works to get them finely diced.

The Other Ingredients:

“Put peppers and garlic in a large saute pan, add enough olive oil to cover them (about half a cup), add 2 or 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of smoke flavoring, plenty of sea salt, a few shakes of hot crushed red pepper, a few generous shakes of oregano, and bring all of this to a simmer over medium heat.

“I cook it, simmering and stirring, just until the peppers start to lose their brightness, about 5 or 6 minutes. You don’t want to cook it too long because that will lessen the heat, but it does need to be cooked to bring out the flavors.

“Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. I keep it in a glass jar in the fridge. It will mold if you leave it unrefrigerated but lasts a month or more in the fridge. Use as a condiment on meats or as a sandwich spread. It is supremely tasty.”

Caution Recommended While Making Condiment to Fend Off Colds:

It does sound delicious, so long as you like hot peppers and garlic. If you chop the peppers by hand, be sure to wear food prep gloves to protect your skin, and DO NOT rub your eyes!

As for the health benefits, capsaicin, a compound that gives hot peppers their kick, has antimicrobial activity (Nutrients, Sept. 22, 2023).  Consequently, chili peppers may be able to stimulate an immune response. Garlic can also contribute to an improved immune reaction (Food Science & Nutrition, Aug. 18, 2023).

Some research hints that chili peppers may help longevity.

One study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Dec. 24, 2019) found that

“…regular consumption of chili pepper is associated with lower risk of total and CVD (cardiovascular disease) mortality, with larger magnitude observed for IHD [ischemic heart disease] and cerebrovascular-related deaths.”

Not everyone appreciates hot peppers or garlic. For those who do, however, this recipe may be worth trying as a condiment. Please let us know if you notice fewer colds.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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