May 14, 2021

With so many people losing their abilities to taste and smell due to COVID-19, the internet has been overloaded with tricks, hacks and home remedies for how to get your senses back. One supposed “solution” that’s been making the rounds on YouTube involves burning an orange and mashing it up with sugar. But is this remedy proven to work? Here’s how we fact-checked it.

Try a keyword search

Looking for clues within the YouTube video, the creator said that burning an orange was a Jamaican home remedy for regaining senses. You want to be giving your search engine as much to work with as possible for the best results, so I used the words “jamaican roasting orange sugar remedy for lost senses.” The search turned up a few fact checks from various news organizations, including one from USA Today.

According to the article, there just isn’t any scientific evidence that consuming this burnt orange and sugar concoction can restore someone’s senses. Experts in the article said that while it could be stimulating for your taste buds, it wouldn’t actually “reignite” senses. Instead, people who say it worked for them were likely already recovering from their loss of smell by that point and hadn’t realized it.

See what multiple sources are reporting

Turning back to the keyword search results, I also found the article from New York Times restaurant critic Tejal Rao. She too tried the burnt orange trick after getting COVID-19 and losing her own sense of smell, but it didn’t magically work for her.

I also found this article from the Miami Herald. Similar to USA Today, the article states that there isn’t any science to prove that the remedy works to regain taste or smell. Rather, the charred orange might just be shocking people’s senses to the point that they believe their tasting abilities have returned — when really, like USA Today also wrote, this is just because they were already recovering.

The Miami Herald also added that losing our sense of taste is actually not a direct symptom of COVID-19, since the disease does not affect our taste buds. Rather, the loss of taste is related to losing our sense of smell.


Not Legit. While some social media users have claimed that this worked for them, experts say it’s likely because they were already on the road to recovery.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.

More News

Back to News