Questions? We're here to help. Health advisors on staff. Call us toll-free at (866) 947-6789.

The Neti Pot: A Teapot for Your Nose

Tracy S. Morris

During the winter months, changing weather can increase your chances to catch cold. However, cooler weather itself may not be the problem. As you raise your thermostat, you also may be making your home and your sinuses drier.

The neti pot has become popular thanks to appearances on Oprah and other medical segments for talk shows. The concept behind the process springs from cleansing techniques used in Hatha Yoga. The principles call for filling a special pot with a spout, called a neti pot, with saline solution. The solution should be the same salinity as your body for the pot to work.

Using a neti pot was once a fringe health activity, now you can find plastic pots and saline solution on the shelves in many pharmacies and health food stores. Most practitioners of the neti pot mix 1 teaspoon of kosher salt with 1 cup of water. Then the spout of the pot is inserted into one nostril. The practitioner holds their head sideways over a bowl and allows the water to run in one nostril and out the other. Gravity does the work in this technique.

Using a neti pot moistens your sinuses, carries away excess mucus and pollutants and helps reduce the chance of the practitioner getting ill. Neti enthusiasts generally irrigate their sinuses once daily, usually in the morning after brushing their teeth, although they may use the neti pot more often if they live in a polluted area or to prevent hay fever.

Some practitioners claim that using a neti pot reduces vision problems by clearing tear ducts and stops the symptoms of ear disorders. It can also reduce problems caused by chronic sinus infections, such as halitosis.

First time neti pot practitioners may feel a burn if they use either too much or too little salt. If you are using a neti pot and feel a burning sensation, stop what you are doing and correct the saline level in the neti pot. You should also always use potable water for your neti pot.

At least one death has occurred from improper use of a neti pot. In that instance, a young man who used water that had not been purified developed a brain infection from an amoeba found in the non-distilled water.

Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2011. Published with permission.