Plus, inserting garlic in your nostrils poses several safety hazards. "You're putting something in your nose that has the potential to get stuck there."
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 14, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: Photos and videos in the story may contain nasal mucus, which may be disturbing to readers.
People with a stuffy nose know what death feels like, and they'd do just about anything to have functional nostrils so they can breathe to stay alive. Now, video-sharing platform TikTok is back with a new hack to help clear out those sinuses. According to Prevention, the latest social media health trend states that shoving raw garlic cloves into a blocked nostril almost instantly clears out congestion.
Here's the thing, the videos are unpleasant to watch (fair warning), but they are compelling because when people pull out the cloves of garlic, a long stream of mucus seems to accompany it. 15 minutes of your time with cloves of garlic up both your nostrils is apparently what it takes to clear those pesky sinus congestions.
Stuffy nose? Garlic bulbs up the nostrils— Lisa Catara (@lisa_catara) June 8, 2018
However, according to Health, doctors who are specialized in nose and sinus problems believe this hack doesn't do much to alleviate the condition, and it is not a safe way to unclog your nose. “There is no benefit to putting garlic up the nose, and it does not relieve congestion,” explains Dr. Michael Benninger, an otolaryngologist at Cleveland Clinic.
"When you're congested, you do have a lot of mucus," Dr. Katie Phillips, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said. People can't really breathe completely through their nose, and "and garlic itself is not going to exactly help with that nasal congestion," she says.
Basically, if you have a congested nose, the garlic isn't really working wonders; it's merely acting as a stopper, and the mucus that should have gone out earlier was just stuck behind it, so it seems like a lot has come out at once.
Plus, inserting garlic in your nostrils poses several safety hazards. "You're putting something in your nose that has the potential to get stuck there," which could do damage to the nasal cavity, she explains. It is also a choking hazard, especially if you accidentally inhale it.
And worse yet, “If left in too long, it can be colonized with bacteria, which may cause infection,” Dr. Benninger notes. "There's a whole host of reasons why your nose may be congested," says Dr. Phillips. "If over-the-counter fixes are not working for you, then talking to your doctor would be the next step."
So what exactly would help with a congested nose? If you’re looking for natural remedies, Dr. Benninger suggests getting light exercise, which “opens up the nose,” and eating spicy foods, as they will make your nose runny.
Basically, what they're both trying to say is that there's no evidence garlic works like a miracle to de-congest your nostrils. It should be added to your meals because that's where it belongs!
Cover Image Source (Representative ) : Getty Images | Flashpop (Inset: Amarita)