Putting Cloves Of Garlic Up Your Nose To Clear Congestion – BuzzFeed

The garlic snot trend is pretty gnarly…and pretty unsafe.

In today’s episode of ~regular people give medical advice on TikTok~, we have a trend claiming that if you shove giant cloves of garlic up your nose, it’ll clear your sinuses:

THE CAPTION SAYS “THIS IS NOT DANGEROUS,” BUT I AM FOR SURE QUESTIONING IT!!!

My nose is literally itching as I type this — I can’t wait any longer, so let’s get to the info! BuzzFeed spoke to ear, nose, and throat (ENT) Dr. Tonia L. Farmer, who has been in practice for 20 years. She is the co-owner of Lippy Group for ENT and Lippy Surgery Center.

Dr. Farmer said that while garlic does have several health benefits, putting large cloves in your nose to clear congestion is not one of them. “It can lead to inflammation and irritation of the mucous membrane lining in the nose and sinuses. Also, the garlic cloves may slip too far into the nostrils, causing them to get lodged in the sinuses.”

So, what exactly happens when you put garlic up your nose, because clearly snot does come out? Dr. Farmer said that the garlic is actually blocking the sinus passage — not clearing it — and your body will produce MORE snot as a reaction to the garlic. “Oils from the garlic are an irritant and worsen congestion and drainage. Inserting garlic into the nostrils causes the nose and sinuses to be temporarily blocked. The nose and sinuses react naturally to blockage and irritants by producing more mucus as a protective reaction,” she explained.


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She added, “People attempting to do this dangerous TikTok challenge believe that loads of snot draining from their nose is proof that the garlic is working to ‘clear’ the sinuses when it’s actually an expected natural reaction to an irritant.”

“Garlic has been used for thousands of years and has numerous health benefits when used correctly. It is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. It has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and boost immunity. Garlic contains allicin and this component reduces the risk of infections. Allicin has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties,” said Dr. Farmer.

She added, “Garlic can be crushed and added to food as a seasoning. It can be placed in olive oil and eaten or used as a spread. Garlic can be boiled and inhaled as a sinus steam or sipped as tea. Garlic supplements can also be taken daily with other vitamins, but check with your physician to make sure adding garlic supplements is safe for you. But too much garlic can increase your risk of bleeding, especially if you are taking blood thinner medication, and it can worsen gastroesophageal reflux.”

So, what are some safe ways to clear your sinuses? Dr. Farmer said that both over-the-counter and non-medicated remedies can work well.

And, if you’ve been on TikTok, you may have seen videos stating that there are certain pressure points on your face that can clear sinus congestion. Dr. Farmer says that acupressure — or a sinus massage — can also be a beneficial complementary treatment for both sinus pressure and congestion.

“The concept is based on the practice of acupuncture but instead of using needles, specific points on the face are triggered using pressure from the hands and fingers. A firm but gentle pressure is applied to areas overlying the sinuses using a constant pressure for two to three minutes. The pressure should not be painful and can also be applied in a rubbing or circular motion. Acupressure may not completely relieve symptoms after one use, and multiple sessions may be necessary,” she explained.

So, when it comes to getting medical advice on TikTok, Dr. Farmer said that one of the most important things to consider is the source of the information. “There are some amazing medical professionals sharing information that has helped many people. But there is also information being shared that is not based on clinical practice standards, factual medical knowledge, or scientific studies. I suggest users do some research and more importantly, consult with their own physician before acting on any TikTok trend,” she said.

Special thanks to Dr. Farmer for her expertise on this topic. You can follow her on TikTok and Instagram.

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