The Neti Pot – How to Boost Your Immune System Today

by Jordan Reasoner

The practice of Neti (Sanskrit for nasal cleansing) has been used in eastern cultures by practitioners of Ayurveda and Yoga in India for thousands of years and is finally starting to catch on in the western cultures as a way to combat allergy and sinus problems, as well as aid in prevention of viruses that enter the body through the nose and mouth.

What Is Neti?

Neti is taught as one of the 6 preparations to get the body ready for yoga practice.

The most common Neti technique uses warm water mixed with salt to gently cleanse the nasal passages. The mixture is actually very similar to the make up of human tears and it flows through your nose and sinus, washing away pollens, mucus, viruses and bacteria. And a Neti Pot makes this process relatively easy.

Using a Neti Pot every day helps to thin mucus and flush it out of the nose.  It has everything to do with the tiny, hair-like structures called cilia that line the inside of the nasal passages and sinuses. They move back and forth to push mucus to the back of the throat or to the nose to run out. People that have chronic sinus problems usually have cilia that move erratically and can no longer thin and move the mucus on their own. Saline solution helps to keep the coordination of the cilia intact so they can keep removing the bacteria, allergens, and other irritants.

Why Does It Help My Immune System?

The common cilia in a average person’s nose contains a build up of environmental and natural irritants that it has a hard time getting rid of. While these irritants continue to stay housed in the sinus cavity the immune system continues to react and fight against the foreign inhabitants. By removing them on a daily basis, the nasal passage is cleared and the immune system can rest, reducing hyperactivity and chronic reactions. This is a much better alternative to taking some kind of anti-histamine, which just turns off the immune response temporarily, but does not remove the source of the problem.

The sinus cavity, nose, and the back of the throat are lined with mucus membranes. Everything that we breathe in, including cold and flu germs, get stuck in the mucus membranes and are supposed to be moved backward toward the back of the throat and into the stomach where they are killed by stomach acids.

But like I mentioned before, sometimes those cilia become erratic and have a hard time moving the viruses and bacteria to where they need to go. Cold and Flu viruses cannot live at normal body temperatures in the beginning. They need to find a nice cozy place in the sinus cavity (which is colder than the rest of the human body) to colonize and become strong. Once they build up their forces, they can move into the back of the throat and begin a full-scale infection!

Using a neti pot with warm saltwater not only flushes out the virus but it introduces a higher temperature to help kill them off as well. Then, the mucus membranes can begin to clear out and have healthy function again. When the mucous membranes are healthy, they harbor the body’s IgA antibodies that can take down the infections naturally.

Before I use the neti pot, I also gargle with the warm saltwater. This not only feels great on the back of my throat, but it removes any of those cold and flu bugs that might be trying to make a home back there.

How Do I Use It?

First: I heat up some water to a nice warm temperature (never use water that is hot to the touch or it will cause damage to your nasal passages). Roughly 8 oz works well.

Second: I mix in my salt. I use a pre-packaged saline salt that is designed for use with nasal rinsing. Table salt should not be used because of the anti-caking additives it contains and sea salt is too harsh on the nasal passages. Most stores carry saline salt that is pre-packed in somewhere around ¼ teaspoon quantities.

Third: I gargle for about 30 seconds to clear out the back of my throat.

Fourth: I tilt my head 45 degrees to one side and pour the solution from the spout of the neti pot into my upper nostril. Breathe normally through your mouth and the solution should pass through your sinus cavity and empty out your lower nostril.

Fifth: I switch and do the same thing with the other nostril so that both sides receive an equal cleansing.

Sixth: I usually wait a few minutes to blow my nose gently so that my sinuses have emptied.

Here are a couple good videos to demonstrate the technique:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8sDIbRAXlg

http://www.howcast.com/videos/164292-How-To-Use-a-Neti-Pot

I have not had one cold or sinus infection since I have been using this daily for the past 7 months. I also have had dramatically reduced allergies and nasal congestion in that time. I just made it part of my morning routine after breakfast every day… it leaves me feeling clear and ready to start the day.

You can get a neti pot kit anywhere and it usually includes the pot and some saline packets. Even Wal-Mart or Target carries them in their pharmacy areas. They run around $10 and can be just about the best investment you can make in your immune system while you start the SCD Diet. It goes hand in hand to help promote a healthier body and help guide you on the path to intestinal healing.

You have enough to worry about, why not take one more measure to avoid getting sick?

Tell us your stories about the Neti Pot… How has it improved your life?

-Jordan

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About the author

Jordan Reasoner Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Frilegh May 16, 2010 at 8:02 am

The Neti Pot helped me big time. I had a monster sinus infection that lasted nearly a month. It even interfered with my vision. I have such a neat family physician. She suggested a steroid nasal spray, anti histamines (optional) and a Neti Pot. One morning as I was having my daily nasal tea party procedure, when out came an enormous polyp. (I photographed the sucker but this is a picture appreciated by no one. I even brought the polyp to the doctor). Now I do “pot” every day, Neti Pot, and my sinuses are clean, not mean!

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Ankush April 28, 2015 at 6:47 am

Hi… I have been having nasal polyps for past 4 years.. I have been trying to neti for a while now. Do you have any thing else you want to recommend?
My email : [email protected]

Thank you

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Lori Jo Berg April 29, 2015 at 9:33 am

Hello, while this is not our area of expertise, we always suggest addressing the diet first to help heal the gut. The best place to start is here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

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Steven Wright May 17, 2010 at 10:35 am

I use my neti pot in the morning everyday as well, and sometimes like right now when seasonal allergies flair up I will use it before bed as well. Using it before bed is a great way to get rid of any allergens picked up during the day.

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Katherine March 10, 2011 at 3:13 am

I love my neti pot. I haven’t had sinus issues since I went off gluten and dairy so I no longer need it for that, but I still have a dust allergy. Now any time I get triggered I just use the neti pot and I’m fine again. No more wearing a dust mask to do cleaning jobs or having my whole day ruined by trying on a cardie from the back of the wardrobe!

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Jordan Reasoner March 10, 2011 at 11:19 am

Ha-ha, that’s great to hear Katherine. I love my neti pot too – I’ve kicked 2 sinus infections with it and some Grapefruit Seed Extract Drops.

Jordan

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Jeff October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

I’ve had great success with the Neti Pot as well. Make sure you use filtered or boiled water as there have recently been two deaths associated with tap water use! http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/19/143960631/second-neti-pot-death-from-amoeba-prompts-tap-water-warning

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Steven Wright October 11, 2012 at 10:32 am

@Jeff – good point… I’m not looking to invite any bugs into my brain. Seems like theirs came from well water, I wonder if city water is safer?

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Lauren February 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

I’ve chronic sinus infections for about 5 years as well as extensive nasal polyps (the worst case ENT and allergy specialists had ever seen). The polyps were so overgrown that I couldn’t use the neti pot at all, or most other remedies, and prescription steroids weren’t even working. I lived in a constant state of stuffy nose. At last option, I had to have surgery to remove the polyps last fall, but since then have used the neti pot twice a day. At first sign of infection, I use some grapeseed oil and goldenseal in the pot, and have even begun to rotate using a capsule of SCD compliant probiotics in the pot to have the assistance of good bacteria to kick whatever bacteria and fungus might be at work in my cavities. So far, the signs of infection I’ve battled with have not left me debilitated, stuffed, and in disorienting pain, which is a huge change from 5 straight years of hell.

I’m also using the SCD diet tailored to salicylate sensitivity to address underlying digestive issues that have caused the immune imbalance and chronic inflammation in my sinuses and lungs and to prevent the redevelopment of polyps. Since starting the Intro Diet last week, I’ve had especially great relief that I did not have on the full diet, especially with the elimination of sugar and dairy. I’ve been able to reduce asthma medication usage, have avoided going back on daily nasal steroids, reduce Zyrtec usage, and I produce significantly less mucous overall, but I still struggle with infected mucous and minor sinus headaches. Little by little. : )

There’s no tool like the neti pot, that’s for sure. Happy healing, folks.

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Sheri August 15, 2013 at 12:25 am

What are the effects of using table salt? Does it damage anything or just because it’s irritating? Just wondered, cause I live in Central America and do not have access to saline salt so I’ve been using table salt, since I read somewhere else it is ok to use, even though it is slightly irritating. If I have to choose between that and plain water which should I choose?

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hernando mauro April 7, 2014 at 4:42 am

Jordan is correct.

When you do have a sinus infection i.e mucus is green/yellow, Neti will force sinus drainage. You will have to add a few drops of GSE (i.e nutribiotic, agrisept-L) to clear the infection as I have found straight neti will not do it, or do it quick enough.

I use 3 drops of Nutribiotic Max Strength GSE (equivalent to 9 drops of Nutribiotic regular GSE) and go higher or lower from there. You will feel a slight burn but it quickly subsides after neti.

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