I first learned about a neti pot from my grandfather. Apparently he used to suffer from bad sinus afflictions regularly. A doctor recommended that he do a sinus rinse using a neti pot and that was forever changed. I paid no attention to my grandfather on this matter way back, but I inherited his sinus afflictions to some degree, coupled with seasonal allergies that have worsened in the last 6 years of living in Western North Carolina.
As an adult, I was re-introduced to the neti after I visited an Ayurvedic Medicine practitioner in 2009. Ayurvedic Medicine (rooted in Hindu philosophy and a Hindu system of healing from India) developed the neti pot thousands of years ago to purify the nasal passages. The practitioner suggested I try it during allergy season as I was having consistent headaches due to sinus pressure. I started with a daily practice, then went down to every other day. The headaches subsided and bonus, I could breathe better!
Essentially the neti pot looks like a little ceramic tea pot with a long spout. You fill the pot with a solution of non-iodized salt and lukewarm water and ‘rinse’ your nasal passages. Here are some detailed instructions:
Make sure to use sterile or distilled water. You can also use boiled and cooled tap water (boiled for 3-5 minutes, then cooled to lukewarm). This is a safety precaution to eliminate contamination from any bacteria that you DON’T want getting into your nasal passages. The neti pot holds about a cup of water, and a ¼ teaspoon of fine, non-iodized salt. Water should be warm to dissolve the salt, but cooled slightly to avoid any potential burning to the mucus membranes.
Standing in a shower, or over a sink, place the spout of the neti pot in one nostril and tip your head to the opposite side. The saline solution should enter one nostril and exit the other nostril. Use about half of the solution on the first nostril, then switch sides. You can pause to gently blow your nose on each side. This will help clean the nasal passages of excess mucus, debris, and allergens, and may also reduce post-nasal drip. If you have a deviated septum (many of us do) or narrow sinus cavities, regular, correct use of a neti pot can keep your secretions flowing easier.
I’ve been doing a daily neti practice for the past few weeks because allergy season is upon us and to help keep my nasal passages moist and clear as a virus protection. There are many things we can do as a preventative for colds, flus, and viruses and this is one of them. Stay well everyone!
Insights and Inspirations on nutrition, food, wellness, recipes, and more! All posts by Jaime Frinak.