Some sufferers of sinus congestion are considering putting garlic cloves into their nostrils to relieve clogged passages. Katie Phillips, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in UC College of Medicine, told Health the practice has some safety hazards. Garlic isn’t active topically and won’t break down congestion.
“You’re putting something in your nose that has the potential to get stuck there,” which could do damage to the nasal cavity, Phillips told Health. It could pose a choking hazard if it travels down the back of your throat or a breathing problem if the garlic travels to your trachea (aka windpipe) and you accidentally inhale it.
Whether it’s something they’ve heard about or read about, many people seem to think garlic is the solution to their stuffiness. “I’ll say that I’ve taken garlic out of people’s ear canals, and it did not help with congestion,” says Phillips.
Featured image of Katie Phillips, MD, taken by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.