Neti Pot – Why Nasal Cleansing Is Essential

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 15, 2010 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog


Have you ever suffered a cold or allergy, where no matter how much you steamed, sneezed and blew you just couldn’t get everything out? I know that feeling all too well, and while it’s been a while since I’ve been down with a cold, the last time brought me to my smelling senses. I learned about nasal cleansing, and it literally changed my life! I now rarely have stuffiness, post-nasal drop, or even sneeze reactions, ever.

I first tried nasal irrigation last year, when I picked up my preschooler’s nasty little cold. Within one day, my sinuses were so full of mucus that I couldn’t lay my head on a pillow – it hurt too much! Sneezing, steaming and blowing offered little relief, even though clearly an enormous amount of mucus was inside of me (dear readers, you must know by now that the subject of bodily functions is fair game. After all, isn’t that why we’re all checking in here?). I was plugged. My naturopath recommended a neti pot, and after just one session almost all the pressure and discomfort was gone! I’ve been using it ever since, almost daily.

The practice of nasal cleansing – known as neti, meaning “nasal cleansing” in Sanskrit – is a cleansing practice traditionally used in India before practicing yoga, as a way of preparing the body for deep breathing. It involves using warm liquid, which is inserted into the sinuses to flush out mucus, debris and allergens – like pollen. Unlike blowing our noses, which usually only offers temporary relief, nasal cleansing almost completely flushes out unwanted substances trapped in the depths of our sinuses. It is a practice that not only benefits all people with colds, but those of us with allergies, and very polluted living conditions. During my last trip to London, England, I neti’d every night – and you wouldn’t believe the amount of black gunk that emerged! I’m so glad I got that pot through customs.

Nasal cleansing can be done simply with a cupped handful of warm, salty water – but this is messy, and involves shorter, sharper inhalations that can be difficult to perform. Cleaning the sinuses is so much easier with a specially created neti pot!

A neti pot is like a tea-pot, with an extra-long spout. It is used to pour liquid into one nostril, catching mucus and debris from the sinuses and gently pushing them out the other nostril. Almost every day I use warm water mixed with Himalayan Salt, and a drop of tea tree oil. After just one flush, my entire sinus region feels fresh, clean, and so much lighter! Using a neti pot is easy, but takes a little practice to do. Check out the great demo video, shown above!

In the beginning, tilting the head at the wrong angle and using a fast pour can feel like taking a hit of wasabi to the brain! Finding the right angle and slow, gentle flow, makes for practically an enjoyable experience. When searching for a pot, there are many available. I love THIS ONE, while another great option is HERE.

In the US, most people visit the doctor for sinus-related ailments. I believe that if we all neti’d, we wouldn’t be the

nosy society we seem to be.

‘Snuff said?
Love, Sage

Read also: The Pea Family & Phytoestrogens

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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