Garlic Booms on the Back of Flu Panic

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What was the
best investment you could have made in booming China last year?
Shares? No. Gold? Try again – because garlic beat them both.

During 2009,
the price of the pungent plant shot up elevenfold, making some investors
stinking rich. This was largely because it is popularly believed
to cure swine flu. That’s rubbish, of course: although the
vegetable does provide remarkable health benefits (lowering blood
pressure, protecting against heart disease and perhaps preventing
gastrointestinal cancer), it is useless against a virus.

Mind you, the
Department of Health might want a few cloves to ward off those after
its blood for raising the alarm over what has turned out to be a
blessedly mild pandemic. Commentators who were not convinced that
swine flu represented a serious risk are accusing the authorities
of “terrorism” and “mad scientist syndrome”
and lambasting them for spending millions on vaccines and anti-viral

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18, 2010

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