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How to Use a Neti Pot for Nasal Relief

Updated on March 30, 2015
anglnwu profile image

How-tos come easily when you're an expert at doing it. I'm quite an expert at cooking, floral art, personal beauty and health.

If you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer, you know all about the torture—wheezing, sneezing, runny nose and teary eyes.  Not a pleasant sight for any social occasion, a real damper on enjoying life and a constant source of irritation.  More than 35 million Americans have this problem and many have turned to traditional medications for some kind of relief. However, such medications usually produce troubling side effects like drowsiness, lethargy and nasal dryness. If you’re sick of the symptoms and irritated by the inevitable side effects of medication, you may want to consider a more natural approach.

To treat allergies effectively, you must first understand the cause of allergies. Once you understand the underlying cause, the solution may be as simple as removing the cause.  No cause, no effect, right?

Feel like exploding? Credit:
Feel like exploding? Credit:

What Causes Allergy?

Biology tells us that mucous membranes line the bronchial and nasal passages. On this mucous membranes are lots of immune cells, called mast cells loaded with histamines.  When  foreign irritants aka allergens in the from of pollen, pet dander, smoke or mold enter the nasal passages and sit on top of these mast cells, they can trigger off an allergic reaction.  Receptors on the mast cells try to get rid of allergens by producing histamines which then produce all the classic symptoms of allergy—wheezing, sneezing and the whole slew.

So, how do we slay this allergy monster?  Many holistic health practitioners suggest using nasal saline irrigation. An Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that nasal flushing was a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies, and markedly reduced the use of antihistamines.  Although there are several methods of nasal irrigation, there is one that takes top spot:  Neti Pots.

Dainty blue Neti Pot Credit:
Dainty blue Neti Pot Credit:

What is a Neti Pot?

It looks like a cross between It looks like a cross between Aladdin’s magic lamp and a teapot. Neti pots have been used for centuries in India to treat sinus problems. The word Neti comes from a traditional medical term jala neti, which means nasal cleansing. Nasal cleansing is often mentioned in yoga and the exercises can be performed right after cleaning the nasal passages. A variety of materials are used: stainless steel, copper, ceramic and plastic with ceramic being the most popular.

Neti pot is simply the vessel by which the saline solution is used to flush out mucous and allergens in the nasal passages. Allergy and sinus problems can cause cilia (tiny hair in nasal passages) to work less effectively by moving in a slow and uncoordinated fashion. Saline solution flushes out mucous, bacteria and allergens and restore cilia’s ability to work effectively.

How Do You Use a Neti Pot

Using a Neti pot may take some getting used to but seasoned users will tell you how pleased they are with the results.

Here’s how:

a. Mix a quarter to half a teaspoon of noniodized salt to 8 ounces of warm water in the Neti pot. You may have to adjust amount of salt to suit your comfort level.

b. Add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda (if desired) to buffer the salt solution and make it gentler on the nose.

c. Put your head over the sink, inclined at 45 degrees and put spout in one nostril.

d. Pour half the saline solution into the nostril and allow it to drain through the other nostril.

e. Repeat with the other nostril.

f. Gently blow nose to clear nasal passages completely.

It is recommended that this process be used twice a day during allergy season, especially in the morning and after spending time outdoors. Neti pots can be used to treat sinuses too.

Watch this--maybe gross but with repeated use, can be as easy as brushing your teeth!

Holistic practitioners recommend these:

1. Natural herbal supplements:

a. Quercetin: a plant-derived compound that can help stabilize mast cells and keep them from releasing histamine Read Quercetin - The Anti-Allergy Bioflavoid.

b. Goldenseal: a tonic with astringent and antibacterial properties. Can be added to saline solution to control release of antihistamine.

c. Butterbur: a European herb with antihistamine properties similar to the drug, cetirizine, used in Zyrtec. Read Butterbur to Treat Allergies.

d. Stinging Nettles: A natural herb commonly found in America that behaves in the same way as many of the allergy-treating drugs. More....Stinging Nettles and Health Benefits.

e. Allergy Fighting Foods: Yes, there are foods that can help fight inflammation in your nasal passages. Eat lots of foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, nuts and seeds. Read: Eight Surprising Allergy-Fighting Foods.

f. Allergy Fighting Spices: Allow the heat of spices to relieve allergy symptoms. Certain spices like cayenne, ginger, mustard, horseradish, wasabi and fenugreek can thin mucous and clear nasal passages. More...A New Way to Treat Allergies.

g. Acupuncture: Consider this tried and ancient form of healing if you are suffering from multiple allergies.

Health experts advise that it is best to treat allergy symptoms before they kick in—preferably 3 weeks before allergy season.

Have you used a Neti Pot Before?

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If you have, how effective is it?

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  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 8 years ago

    Hi Robin, thanks for stopping by. Do not get discouraged by the initial discomfort. Using the neti pot takes some getting used to--tilted your head at 45 degrees angle--you may have to shift a little (to the right or left--play with different angles) to make sure the saline solution flows out of other nostril. If it has difficulty coming out of your nostril, open your mouth and allow it to come out. The purpose of this nasal irrigation is to flush out the allergens in your nasal passage-way. Watch the video for demonstration.

    It is also important to blow your nose after irrigating your nasal passage-way to clear all fluid. If the saline solution irritates you, add a little baking soda.

    I certainly hope this helps. My research tells me that neti pot is effective and recent statistics come to the same conclusion. Give it a few more tries and hopefully, you will get a hang of it.

  • profile image

    Robin 8 years ago

    When I use the neti pot, often the solution gets into sinuses and is quite uncomfortable and even painful. My ears will get stopped up and then I feel like I'm worse off than before. Any suggestions to make this a better experience?

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 8 years ago

    Thanks, Melody, for dropping by. Appreciate it.

  • Melody Lagrimas profile image

    Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

    Great info here. I suffer from allergic rhinitis every now and then.