Do you suffer from allergies, seasonal colds, or other sinus problems? A possible remedy could be natural nasal irrigation through the use of a neti pot.
Although it is has just become more widely used in the United States in recent years, nasal irrigation, or jala neti in Sanskrit, is an ancient practice used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine to cleanse the sinuses of pollutants, irritants, and excess mucus. A warm mixture of salt water or a purchased saline solution is passed through one nostril and leaves through the other, taking impurities and mucus with it and decreasing inflammation.
Nasal irrigation can be achieved through a number of methods, from snorting the water up the nose to the use of nasal sprays, but practitioners say the easiest and most effective way is through the use of a neti pot. Neti pots are usually inexpensive and are now widely available in pharmacies, health food stores, and large chain stores. Most often ceramic or plastic, they resemble teapots, but are usually shorter and more elongated. The pots are able to direct more water into the sinuses than other methods, allowing for a more thorough cleansing.
Getting a quick, thorough cleansing from a neti pot may take some practice, though. To use it, stand over a sink and hold your head to the side while inserting the spout into the top nostril. While breathing through your mouth, tilt the pot and allow the solution to flow into the nostril. Gravity does the rest, taking the water through the sinuses and out the bottom nostril. The process is then repeated on the other side. With some practice, a nasal cleansing can take just a few minutes.
Many neti pots come with packets of saline solution that only need to be mixed with water. You can also make a simple salt water solution at home that is just as effective, using a quarter teaspoon of salt for every eight ounces of water. If you do, be sure to use pickling or kosher salt that is non-iodized and has no added anticaking agents. Some people add an equal amount of baking soda to the solution to increase the effectiveness.
Regular users of neti pots have reported decreased symptoms from allergies and sinus headaches, speedier recovery from cold symptoms, and a decreased reliance on prescription or over-the-counter medications.