A neti pot is a device to aid in nasal irrigation, a practice of using salt water to flush out the nose and sinus tissues along with excessive mucous, dust, debris, and pathogens. This practice can also reduce swelling of the sinuses and nasal passages.
While you can put water in your hands and sniff it up your nose, use a spoon, or use a bulb syringe, a net pot gives you more control and does not force water into sinuses – it merely flushes them.
To make your own saline solution, use 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to 16 ounces (2 cups) of warm water.
- Distilled water or boiled water.
- Real salt. Sea salt is not a good choice because it might contain traces of algae. Make sure the salt is fine and has no additives (no iodine or flavorings).
- Baking soda without aluminum.
Heat the water until it is close to body temperature – around 98 degrees.
Irrigating the sinuses is a very old tradition of Ayurvedic medicine (2,000 – 3,000 years old), a daily practice for yogis. Though we do not recommend daily irrigation, the practice is very helpful at the onset of illness (along with gargling to reduce the number of pathogens in the throat) and throughout an illness if mucus is thick and is making breathing difficult.
To use the neti pot, simply lean over a sink, turn your face toward the hand holding the neti pot, place the spout in your upper nostril, and tilt the pot until the water runs in your nose. The water will run up your nostril and come out the lower nostril. You can direct the stream of water towards sinuses by how you tilt your head. Do both sides gently blowing your nose after each side is completed.