Garlic cloves up your nose? This viral trend can be bad for your health

It turns out far too many people shove garlic cloves up their nose to alleviate congestion. Does it work? Maybe. Is it bad for your health? Yes. Here is why you shouldn't do it.

Garlic cloves (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Garlic cloves
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

We've written a lot about harmful health trends that crop up on TikTok, but this one is on a whole new level of illogical. 

Recently, viral videos claim that people who have a stuffed nose should just shove garlic cloves up their nostrils.

In the videos, young people can be seen sticking garlic cloves up their noses for half an hour. When they take them out, they are accompanied by a veritable river of snot – and yes, it's as disgusting as it sounds.

@iamjellyfox Yuck. #garlicinnose #nasalcongestion #sinusrelief #foryou #foryoupage #factorcap #factorcaptiktok ♬ original sound - Foxy Phoenix

The logic behind it is that garlic is able to relieve congestion and break up phlegm accumulation. But while it is true that garlic has many health benefits, none of them will be gained by sticking them into different holes in the human body.

"Do not put garlic up your nose under any circumstances."

Israeli Health Ministry

In fact, this bizarre trend has become so viral that the Israeli Health Ministry actually issued a warning "Do not put garlic up your nose under any circumstances." And they even listed reasons why sticking garlic cloves into your nostrils is a horrible idea.

  1. The garlic clove could end up getting stuck, and even a small piece can result in health complications, like blocking your sinuses or causing an infection
  2. The oils in the garlic can cause irritation, nosebleeds and other damages
  3. The garlic clove can harm your blood vessel-filled septum

 Woman blowing nose (Illustrative) (credit: MAXPIXEL) Woman blowing nose (Illustrative) (credit: MAXPIXEL)

So if you can't stick garlic cloves up your nose to relieve nasal congestion, what can you do?

A common cold is also a type of respiratory infection. There are around 200 different viruses that can cause it so there isn't really any specific treatment you can do. 

Ultimately, a cold will usually last just three to seven days for adults and 10 days for kids. Sometimes, though, the symptoms can last for two weeks. If they end up getting worse, it could result in other complications like sinusitis, ear infections, bronchitis and even pneumonia. So go see a doctor if your cold doesn't go away.

According to the Health Ministry, the best way to treat a cold is to rest, drink a lot of fluids and use saline rinses when needed to clear congestion.

In addition to that, be sure to choose foods that can help boost your body's condition, like vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables.

And you know which one of these aformentioned foods can really help you? You guessed it – it's garlic, assuming you don't shove it up your nose.

A study published in The Cochrane Library health study database found that adults got sick three times less often than average if they took daily garlic supplements. This may be due to the legitimate medicinal properties of garlic, thanks to allicin blocking bacterial and viral infection enzymes.