A Neti Pot is an old-fashioned-turned-popular-again device used for nasal irrigation. Looking something like Aladdin’s lamp, a neti pot is filled with a saline solution and used to flush extra mucous from the sinus cavities. When used properly, water flows in one nostril and out the other, taking all your yucky goobers with it. Nasal irrigation has been used for centuries by natural health advocates as a way to prevent sinus infections (sinusitis), hay fever, and promote good sinus health. But does using a neti pot for nasal irrigation actually work?
- It works! – Real Scientific Testing has shown neti pots to be effective in treating sinus infections
- Better for you – simple saline can be used to treat your sinusitis instead of medications with side effects
- Saves money – can prevent the need for expensive doctors visits and prescriptions
- Naturally anti-bacterial – the saline solution can naturally flush out bacteria filled mucous from your sinus cavities
- Water used must be boiled or distilled so you don’t get brain eating amoebas
- Tricky to use – using a neti pot takes practice time to feel like you’re not drowning
- Water must be warmed to body temp for easiest use
I only became aware of neti pots a few years ago, as a friend was telling me that she used one daily at the advice of her naturopath. She swore that she and her husband had not had any colds since using it. Honestly, pouring water in one nostril and out the other sounded a little freaky-deaky to me, but if it works… I tucked the idea in the back of my mind for future reference.
Last spring I ended up with a nasty cold. Eventually it turned into a super yucky sinus infection. It got so bad I needed antibiotics to clear it up. I was miserable. I’d never had a sinus infection before, and this was only the second time I’d taken antibiotics in my life. I was determined to not let it happen again, if I could help it. The next month, when I felt that tell-tale tickle in my sinuses (you know the one you get right before the cold hits) I ran out to pick up a neti pot.
I had picked it up on the way to work, and did not want to wait through the whole day to benefit from its use. So I watched a how-to demo on YouTube, and trotted off to the bathroom at work to irrigate my sinuses. Funny thing about those YouTube videos: the neti pot demonstrator is always cool, calm, and collected. Like pouring water in your nose and letting it drain out the other side is no big deal. (Spoiler alert! It is a big deal! I do NOT recommend trying this for the first time in a public bathroom!!).
I carefully read all of the instructions and mixed the provided saline packet into warm tap water.* I tipped my head forward over the sink, placed the spout up one side of my nose and started pouring the water in. Then I almost drowned. I could feel the water filling my sinuses behind my forehead and had a terrifying sensation that if I took a breath it would all go into my lungs. Or that my head would be full of water forever. Some water actually did come out the other nostril. After a few seconds I paused to switch sides. As I straightened, a little warm salt water ran down the back of my throat. I could taste it, and started gagging and almost threw up. This was really hard!! Added to it was the anxiety that one of my co-workers might come in and catch me all drooly nosed, gagging, red faced, with weepy eyes. Perhaps getting the cold would have been easier!
I tried again when I got home, and did better. Eventually I learned how to position my head just right so the water flowed pretty well through the other nostril, and without going down my throat or onto my tongue. I did not get a sinus infection, and the cold that came was very mild. I found that using the neti pot before bed time really thinned the mucous and helped keep me breathing easier through the night.
Overall, I recommend using the neti pot. There is a learning curve to using it, and I’ve never found it exactly pleasant, but it is bearable for occasional use. I find I only use my neti pot when I feel something coming on. Otherwise it’s too much work to boil some water, then wait for it to get to just the right temp. However, I have found colds to be easier and over more quickly with saline nasal irrigation. Scientists and Green Idea Reviews agree: the neti pot works!
Here’s a link to the Neti Pot I use if you’re interested in trying it out yourself (This is an affiliate link, meaning I earn a small percentage of your purchase at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting Green Idea Reviews!)
Have you ever tried the Neti Pot? Do you have any other home remedies for colds that work for you?
*I used to use tap water, as this was before the warnings came out that using tap water with a neti pot can give you brain eating amoebas that can kill you. I no longer use tap water. Consider yourself warned. Also, note that I am not a medical professional and this post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, etc., etc (see “The Fine Print” above).