Can You Really Taste Garlic With Your Feet?

Garlic might protect you from vampires, but step on a clove and you'll discover that it can get under your skin, as well. Because it contains a compound called allicin, the odor and flavor of garlic can penetrate right through skin pores. In short order, these molecules jump into your bloodstream and travel up to your mouth, nose, and brain. Before long, you'll swear you can taste and smell garlic.

You can "taste" garlic by stepping on a cut or crushed clove. Garlic has a compound called allicin that can penetrate your pores and travel in your bloodstream to your mouth and nose.
You can "taste" garlic by stepping on a cut or crushed clove. Garlic has a compound called allicin that can penetrate your pores and travel in your bloodstream to your mouth and nose.

For fun, the American Chemical Society suggests trying this garlicky experiment for yourself: Cut a clove in half, put it into a plastic bag, carry it into another room -- where you can't smell garlic -- and step into the bag and tie it closed. You should start to notice the results in an hour. It turns out that allicin has water and oil properties, so while your skin can protect you from most oily or watery things, it can't save you from something that has both.

The process is completely safe, but the results can vary from person to person. Some people say they get a very strong garlicky taste, while others have described the result as somewhat metallic. FYI, allicin has such a pungent odor because the garlic plant needs it as a defense mechanism against pests.

The goods on garlic:

  • The average person consumes about 2 pounds (.9 kg) of garlic per year, which equates to roughly 300 cloves.

  • Garlic might be known as an Italian delight, but 66 percent of all garlic is grown in China.

  • Garlic's health benefits include fighting cholesterol and heart disease, and containing vitamins, antioxidants, and beneficial minerals.

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Discussion Comments

dimchild

And how could they establish that the odor wasn't from the nose? Have they tried to detect allicin in the blood after smelling garlic? Questions from a medical doctor.

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    • You can "taste" garlic by stepping on a cut or crushed clove. Garlic has a compound called allicin that can penetrate your pores and travel in your bloodstream to your mouth and nose.
      You can "taste" garlic by stepping on a cut or crushed clove. Garlic has a compound called allicin that can penetrate your pores and travel in your bloodstream to your mouth and nose.