Student shares mother’s childhood recipe he says helped him regain sense of smell after Covid
A student who hails from Toronto in Canada has shared his mother’s childhood recipe that he says helped him to regain his sense of taste and smell after COVID-19.
23-year-old Kemar Gary Lalor, a Canadian architecture student who is based in Toronto, recently spoke to Buzzfeed News about how his family’s experience with COVID-19 lead him to discover his mother’s remedy, one that she herself was given as a child in Jamaica.
Lalor’s mother, Trudy-Ann Lalor tested positive for COVID-19 and lost both her sense of taste and smell, while 23-year-old Lalor also lost both senses but was never tested for the respiratory illness.
Lalor’s mother told him that she had recovered her sense of taste and smell within days. He asked her how she had done it, and thus she shared with him the remedy that she was given as a child.
It involves cooking an orange over an open flame until it is entirely blackened on the outside. After peeling the burned skin off the orange, one mixes the cooked fruit in a cup or bowl with brown sugar and eats it.
Lalor said that he too regained both senses after trying out the concoction. He has since created a TikTok video explaining how to create the remedy, which has gone swiftly and remarkably viral, accruing more than 3.8 million likes and 250,000 shares on the video sharing platform since it was posted.
Lalor says that people have since reached out to him to say how much it had helped them. “My mom and I were only too happy to continue helping everyone during this difficult time,” he told BuzzFeed News.
Soon, even doctors were weighing in on the video. Karan Rajan, an NHS surgeon, posted a video explaining why the method might be working for some people. He said that the cooked orange remedy could work like a sort of “physiotherapy for your nose”, in what he refers to as “olfactory training.”
However, not everyone was so convinced about the efficacy of the remedy. Professor and director of the Rhinology Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Dr. James Palmer told BuzzFeed News that he was somewhat sceptical about the method. He told the publication that there is some debate as to whether this kind of olfactory training actually works.
What’s more, he said that traditional smell retraining does not typically work in the same way as is shown in the viral TikTok video.
He did add, though, that one would have very little to lose by attempting Lalor’s method.
“I don’t care if someone wants to burn an orange and then peel it and mix it up, fine with me,” he said, adding that he would likely try olfactory training himself if he were to contract the virus and lose his sense of smell:
“It’s going to cost me nothing. I’ll set up some home stuff and I’ll just go ahead and do it. … And if I get my sense of smell back, I’ll be really happy.”
Losing one’s sense of smell is, of course, a poignant issue for the wine and spirits trade. In a report on loss of sense of smell after COVID, Wired spoke to a sommelier who likened the symptoms to a star athlete sustaining an injury to their anterior cruciate ligament.