When Jackie Santillan recently experienced a stuffy nose, she was annoyed by her inability to breathe deeply — or even normally.It didn’t have any real instructions,” the 39-year-old stay-at-home mom and parenting consultant from the Houston area, told TODAY.Sticking garlic cloves in one’s nose to help treat congestion is one of TikTok’s latest trends.The experts agree that garlic cloves inserted into nostrils will not relieve stuffy noses and inflamed sinuses.“Anytime you block the opening of the nose, it’s going to fill with mucous,” Dr. Jay Youngerman, chief of otolaryngology at Northwell Health Plainview Hospital in New York, told TODAY.“What they’re trying to do is use the odorants from the garlic itself to cause a vasoconstrictive effect, which causes the nasal mucosa to decongest and which may open up the nasal passages,” Dr.
Anthony Del Signore, director of rhinology and endoscopic skull bases surgery at Mount Sinai Union Square in New York, told TODAY.“Garlic is a pretty strong substance,” Dr. Dana Crosby, chair of the department of otolaryngology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, told TODAY.“We typically do not recommend putting anything into the nostril for the obvious fact that it could get dislodged or lodged up into the nasal cavity,” Del Signore said.But anytime you put an organic product, or even non-organic objects (up the nose) there’s always a risk of super infection within the nasal cavity.”.For those dreading the return of colds and stuffy noses, there is a remedy that might ease the discomfort of congestion.Doctors recommend either saline nasal sprays or salt water irrigation, using something like a neti pot.“It cleans, helps soothe the irritated lining of the nose and because it’s what we can an isotonic solution, it doesn’t lead to trauma to the mucosa.”.
Does Stuffing Garlic Up Your Nose Clear Your Sinuses?
If you're desperate for relief from sinus congestion—or just enjoy watching mucus get expelled from a person's nose—then a new viral moment on TikTok may appeal to you.The video involves shoving a couple of garlic cloves up your nostrils, a seemingly effective hack for clearing clogged nasal passages."When you're congested, you do have a lot of mucus," Katie Phillips, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells Health.Garlic isn't active topically, so placing it in your nostrils won't break down congestion, says Dr. Phillips.A few years ago, Busy Philipps showed her Instagram followers the burning, eye-watering aftermath of shooting distilled garlic water up her nose.As for taking garlic, either as a food or dietary supplement, the evidence is insufficient to demonstrate whether it can really prevent or treat a cold.On the other hand, NCCIH finds that irrigating your nose with saline, using a neti pot or other rinsing device, may be helpful.
Does Putting Garlic in Your Nose Clear Sinuses? A Doctor Explains
After about 15 minutes sitting with raw garlic cloves in each nostril, most people gush streams of mucus, seemingly clearing their sinuses of pesky congestion.Here’s what an otolaryngologist says—plus whether you should try the viral TikTok hack for yourself.Does putting garlic in your nose clear sinus congestion?“There is no benefit to putting garlic up the nose, and it does not relieve congestion,” explains Michael Benninger, M.D.If you’re already congested, your nose will probably start running when you pull the cloves out, but that’s not because the garlic is doing anything special.Although one of the trend’s most popular TikToks claims that “this is not dangerous,” the practice isn’t exactly safe, either. .
Garlic for colds, sinus infections, and congestion
TikTok is full of videos featuring health trends like DIY teeth whitening, fasting challenges, and this one, which shows the unpleasant aftermath of using garlic for congestion.With 2.6 million likes, this viral TikTok video might have you believing that putting garlic cloves in your nostrils is the answer to your sinus troubles.“Garlic contains a substance called allicin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Omid Mehdizadeh, MD, otolaryngologist (ENT) and laryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.While these properties have been well demonstrated outside of the human body and in the lab, Dr. Mehdizadeh says the effects of allicin applied directly into the nasal cavity have not been shown or adequately studied.According to the National Center on Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), the clinical trial evidence supporting the use of garlic as an intervention with the common cold is lacking.More specifically, one research review looked at findings from a trial with 146 participants that suggested garlic may help prevent or treat the common cold, but the evidence regarding the effect is insufficient.The NCCIH also points out that while the amount of garlic in foods is probably safe for most people, taking oral supplements may increase the risk of bleeding.“What ultimately gets rid of the problem is if you start recovering from your cold or get control of whatever may be causing your allergies and anything you can do to keep your nasal passages moist, helps clear congestion,” he says.During this time, Dr.
Mehdizadeh says symptoms often respond to proven methods like nasal saline irrigation and anti-inflammatory sprays such as Flonase or Nasacort, which help relieve stuffy nose and sinuses associated with allergic rhinitis.Also, if symptoms worsen or you experience a high fever, shortness of breath, or a severe headache, don’t wait until the 10 days to see your doctor or another healthcare provider. .
People on TikTok Are Shoving Garlic Up Their Noses to Clear
And is it worth trying to put garlic up your nose the next time your sinuses are blocked?As a reminder, the sinuses are small hollow cavities in the facial bones surrounding the nose, the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains.Dr. Del Signore sees several major issues with putting garlic cloves in your nostrils to clear out your sinuses—the first one being that it simply doesn’t work.Your nasal passages are lined with mucosa, or mucous membranes, that are sensitive to pathogens and irritants like allergens or viruses.Raw garlic, which contains oils and compounds that are potentially extremely irritating to the mucosa, could also cause them to produce a whole lot of snot, Dr.
Del Signore explains. .
TikTok Garlic in Nose Tip for Congestion Could Cause Harm, Says
The newest TikTok trend involves people placing garlic up their nose to relieve nasal congestion.While garlic famously pairs well with foods like bread, pasta, and chicken, a new trend on TikTok has people putting full cloves of raw garlic up in their nostrils.The most popular videos have garnered over 1 million likes."Not congested but kinda wanna do this for fun," one user commented on a video.said another user.Wender said the TikTok results may be due to the garlic generating excess mucus that wasn't there before, as the nose produces mucus when it is irritated.The trend follows other dangerous food challenges on TikTok.In the description of the most popular garlic-trend video, the creator @hwannah5 wrote that TikTok took their video "down the first time.". .
How to Use Garlic for Blocked Sinuses and Congestion
Three to five garlic cloves, a pot of boiling water and a bath towel.Step 3: Add the crushed cloves to the pot of boiling water and turn off the heat.Add the crushed cloves to the pot of boiling water and turn off the heat.Step 4: Put your head a safe distance over the pot (at least two to four inches) and drape the towel over your head and the pot so the steam doesn’t escape. .
Don't stuff garlic up your nose to clear your sinuses warns doctors
Rozaline Katherine went viral on TikTok after she posted a video testing out a hack which claimed to help clear blocked sinuses - but there are unpleasant consequences.Doctors have urged people not to take part in a potentially dangerous trend that involves putting garlic cloves up your nostrils.Rozaline isn't the only TikToker to have tried the trend, but the outcomes have varied, as another user known as @daniaudas said it was a "fail" after the garlic caused an uncomfortable burning sensation. .
TikTok's Sinus-Clearing Garlic Trend Can Make You Feel Worse
With people vaccinated against COVID-19 and hanging out in public more, colds are definitely back, so it’s tempting to turn to a viral cure to cleanse your congestion.TikTokers aren’t completely off-base when they claim that garlic might help with a cold, but doctors tell Bustle they’re going about it the wrong way.Dr. Vivek Cherian M.D., an internal medicine physician affiliated with the University of Maryland Medical System, tells Bustle that when garlic is crushed or chewed, alliin turns into a compound called allicin.But doctors say that it’s more likely that the garlic is causing irritation to the membranes in your nose, creating more mucus than you started with — hence those satisfying streams of snot, Dr. Killoran says.There are other hazards, too: Dr.
Omid Mehdizadeh M.D., an otolaryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, tells Bustle that you could also cause a nasal infection if you put organic substances like garlic or other food up your nose, because germs from its surface can transfer to your nostril’s sensitive membranes.Dr. Cherian adds that if you accidentally place the clove too high in your nose it may get stuck, requiring an unfortunate trip to the emergency room.And if your cold doesn’t go away after a few days, your primary care provider can help you figure out how to make your head feel less like an overfull water balloon.Little, P., Stuart, B., Mullee, M., Thomas, T., Johnson, S., Leydon, G., Rabago, D., Richards-Hall, S., Williamson, I., Yao, G., Raftery, J., Zhu, S., Moore, M., & SNIFS Study Team (2016).Effectiveness of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation for chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms in primary care: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. .