The Sinus-Clearing Garlic Hack You’ve Seen on TikTok? Experts Recommend Skipping This Trend
Two words that accurately describe TikTok are wild and wacky. The video-sharing platform is host to some truly weird and wonderful content. While videos of animals and dancing equate to much of the content created, hacks are also a large portion. From nail art tips to advice on calming down red, angry pimples with eye drops to using chalk to keep ants away from your dog’s food bowl — there is something there for everyone.
The latest outlandish hack to circulate on TikTok is putting raw, whole garlic cloves up one’s nose. Users are taking cloves of garlic, peeling them, putting one clove into each nostril and leaving it for 10 to 15 minutes. Why? Well, apparently it helps clear out your sinuses, as once the TikTok creators remove the garlic cloves, they experience an abundance of mucus exit their nasal cavity. It looks about as good as it sounds.
This technique first appeared on the app in June, but many others have since hopped on the bandwagon, with the hashtag #GarlicInNose having over 50 million views. Many are using this as a way to manage colds and clear congestion naturally. And, it does make sense, with research finding that garlic can help fight colds and the flu.
According to Healthline, raw garlic can reduce your chances of catching an illness, while also helping you recover much faster and increasing your immune function — although these findings came from studies where the garlic was consumed orally, not stuffed up one’s nostril. The compound that is particularly helpful is called alliin. “When garlic is crushed or chewed, this compound turns into allicin, the main active ingredient in garlic,” says Healthline.
This compound has been shown to boost the illness-fighting response of your body’s white blood cells, hence the ability to fend off the common cold. But, garlic must be crushed, chewed or sliced to activate this compound, which is why it’s recommended to consume with food, versus using a whole clove in the nose.
But, dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe has made her own video on TikTok to debunk the theory that this is clearing out your sinuses. In fact, Dr Bowe says that all you’re doing with this hack is irritating the inside of your nose, which is prompting this reaction.
“This is actually not safe,” said Dr Bowe in her TikTok video. “What’s actually happening is the garlic is actually triggering something called contact dermatitis and the mucosa (the inner lining of your nose) is trying to protect itself by secreting tons of mucus and that’s what you’re seeing.
“It’s actually creating swelling, it’s going to make breathing worse, it’s not going to open up your airways. In fact, there are even case reports on PubMed of mucosal injury and severe mucosal burns resulting from raw garlic. This is a trend I just can’t get behind. Skip it!”
So there you have it. This is one TikTok hack to skip, along with sunscreen contouring, DIY acupuncture and dry scooping pre-workout supplements or protein powder.