Natural Health: The Neti Pot
By Shannon Sexton • September 8th, 2009 • 32796 Views
Do you have a neti pot yet? Droves of Americans are beginning to rely on this small container, which is used to clean out the nasal passages with saline, as a natural remedy for all sorts of congestive ailments. Each year, about 18 million Americans suffer from sinusitis; an estimated 40 million cope with environmental allergies; and there are more than 1 billion reported cases of upper respiratory tract infections. Many people try to quell their symptoms with antibiotics, nasal steroids, decongestants, and antihistamines. But if you’d prefer to avoid the side effects of medication, why not use a neti pot to learn the nasal wash? The process only takes five minutes—an easy, safe, inexpensive way to obtain relief.
Getting to Know the Nose
Before we go into the details of the nasal wash, let’s begin with a science lesson. The nostrils are the interface between your body and the atmosphere—they filter, clean, heat, and moisten the air you inhale. This is why yogis advocate breathing through the nose instead of the mouth.
The sensitive lining of the nostrils secretes mucus, which effectively traps dust, dirt, and other particles when it is moist. The mucus also contains antibodies, which help protect the body from infection or irritation by foreign materials or organisms. This is important because you inhale 18,000 to 20,000 times daily. All day the moist, sticky mucus collects dirty particles from the air you breathe and keeps it from entering the lungs. If you don’t clean this matter out of the nostrils, it will end up in your stomach, because the mucus lining of the nostrils slowly moves everything backwards until it is swallowed. What’s more, when the mucus becomes dry or laden with dust, it loses its protective function. The nasal wash dissolves and clears away dried mucus and stimulates the nasal linings to secrete fresh, moist mucus, which will help keep your nose—and the rest of your system—healthy.
How It Works
You can use the neti pot to rinse away pollen, dust, germs, and other airborne contaminants; to remove excess mucus when you’re congested; to moisturize the nasal membrane after spending time in planes or in heated or air-conditioned rooms; and to open the nostrils as you prepare for meditation.