Back in the early ’80s, a reporter for The Journal did a story on me and my “Penicillin Soup.” I was a full-time staffer then and I wasn’t yet writing my columns.

Come fall that year, they urged us all to get the annual flu shot. They provided them. Shortly after the shots, everyone, including me, was hacking and coughing, blowing noses and holding hot foreheads. For two weeks.

Come the next fall, the scene was repeated with one exception. I did not get sick. Everyone kept asking how come? So I told them that besides not taking the shot I made my “Penicillin Soup” as a precautionary move.

One of the reporters asked me what the heck was “Penicillin Soup”? And she did a story on it. (I still get stopped occasionally by people who say they tore that story out of the paper taped inside their kitchen cabinet or still have it in their cookbook — and still use it.

It’s basically the “chicken soup” that mamas have been famous for for decades but without the chicken, but good homemade broth and stronger on the garlic, lots of garlic, onions, ginger and herbs — “Parsley Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.” And a goodly pinch of myrrh. Bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let steep 20 minutes. Strain off a cup and drink one every four hours for four hours and then one every four hours for the rest of day — or several hours.

I started my “nostalgia” columns the following year. (I also wrote a column for The Camden Herald titled “It Works for Me” that featured home/herbal remedies and folk remedies.) But I remembered that people believed what I wrote about and tried them. So I try to be sure that whatever I mention are remedies people have used for centuries without harm and/or are supported by studies from reputable medical labs, journals, and scientists.

The top star in my medicine cabinet is still “The Stinking Rose,” aka garlic. The main ingredient in my Penicillin Soup is garlic. The first thing I grab whenever I feel that telltale twinge in my nose is garlic. Learn to recognize “The Twinge.” It could save you from a lot of misery.

Garlic is getting more attention and study these days. Most natural things aren’t studied much because they can’t be patented. Ergo, no money in it.

To start with, garlic, Allium sativa, has been used for thousands of years as the go-to remedy for viruses and bacterial ailments as well as wound healing. It was, for example, part of the required rations Roman Soldiers were to carry, for stamina, good health, and healing wounds. The famous Greek physician, Galen, served the Roman emperor and was in charge of keeping the gladiators alive.

It was said to cure even gangrene by passing crushed garlic over, but not touching, the wound. The healing constituents are in the tiny oil droplets in the vapor. Applied directly, it burns.

I recently came across an article cited by “Natural Remedies” on YouTube, titled “Garlic Proven 100 Times More Effective Than Antibiotics, Working in a Fraction of the Time.”

It featured a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. (You can find this article by putting the name of the article in the search window.) It cites, among many other things, that the crushed garlic, which melds the two constituents diallyl disulfide and allicin, has the ability to easily cross the biofilm barrier that blocks most antibiotics from reaching and killing bacteria of many serious diseases.

This, and a plethora of other studies now available, are too lengthy to go into here but they are easily accessible on the web.

For now, I’m just going to tell you about my favorite, quick and easy way I use that works for me to keep colds, sore throats, sinusitis and flues at bay. The trick is to pay attention when you get a twinge in your nose. It will be a quick, sharp twinge in one nostril — and is gone as fast as it comes. Think about it. How do these bacteria/viruses get into your body in the first place? Right. The nose. The nose is the door the germs use. And their initial presence will be felt by that sharp twinge. They seem to stop there for about an hour before proceeding to your throat or ears, lungs, etc. I think of it as them digging foxholes to decide their plan of attack.

So when I feel “that twinge,” I stop all I’m doing and run for a clove of garlic to smoosh. I grate it on a small, hand-held grater, much easier to wash. Then I tell “Alexa” — I changed her simpery female voice to a pleasant male one — “Alexa, set garlic timer 10 minutes.” That’s the recommended time to let the two constituents “marry.” Then I put the garlic under my nose and sniff it several times up both nostrils. (If you try this, do not put it in your nose. It will burn. Take my word on that.) I do this every hour — with fresh garlic, for four hours. Then every four hours for the rest of the day. Almost guaranteed you won’t be sick as much as others around you.

Oh, that flu shot I had in the ’80s? It’s the only flu shot I’ve ever had. It’s also the only time I ever had the flu.

Disclaimer: I’m not prescribing anything. Just sharing what works for me, what remedies people have used for centuries without harm and studies from reputable medical labs and journals. You do your own thing. The research and studies are all available online. But you could probably save on tissues this winter.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools. She now lives in Morrill.