For anyone with allergies, or seasonal dry sinuses, a neti pot is a lifesaver! When the mucous membranes dry out, they become more susceptible to germs and viruses. A neti pot flushes the nasal passages with warm salt water and is an invaluable tool for sinus health. Neti pots have been around for centuries and originally come from the Ayurvedic/yoga medical tradition.

Sold at most health food stores, a neti pot looks like an Aladdin’s lamp, or a gravy boat. They are made of ceramic or plastic – I much prefer the ceramic, but if you travel and want to take a neti pot with you, the plastic one is good in that case.  If you’re feeling congested of if you tend to have sinus, nasal or upper respiratory infections, use a neti pot daily – or weekly as a preventive measure.  

How to use a Neti Pot

1.  The best way to start using a neti pot is over your bathroom sink, before a mirror. That way you can see when the water is flowing out your nostrils, and guide it better.

2. Fill the pot with warm water and add a quarter-teaspoon of finely ground sea salt (not iodized). Add a pinch of baking soda to this if you like, as it alkalizes the water and makes it a little gentler on the sinuses.

3. Turn your head to one side over the sink, keeping the forehead at the same height as the chin, or slightly higher.

4. Gently insert the spout in the upper nostril so it forms a seal. Raise the neti pot so the saline solution flows out the lower nostril. If it drains out of your mouth, lower your forehead in relation to your chin. Some solution may travel to the back of your throat. Try not to swallow it – spit it out.

5. When the neti pot is empty, gently blow your nose.

6. Refill the neti pot and repeat on the other side.

If you have chlorinated water, consider using distilled water to remove the possibility of damage through chlorination. A gallon will last a long time. You will have to heat it up to a warm temperature, but it worth the effort. I have well water in my home but recently when out of town, I used chlorinated water in my neti pot and it burned.  

There is a tincture I occasionally use if I feel added immune support is needed. It’s called Neti-Wash, by the Himalayan Institute. Made with zinc and herbs, you add it to the neti pot water. This is not an official endorsement, if someone else has another product they like, let me know!  

Here’s a helpful video of using a neti pot.  

It’s really easy – my 11 year old does it as she hates being congested. You might feel a slight twinge of discomfort in your sinuses if they’re really blocked, but it will feel so much better when you can breathe clearly after using the neti pot.