Small ceramic pots, called Neti Pots, have been around for thousands of years as a safe and inexpensive way to alleviate symptoms of allergies, sinusitis and colds. The genie lamp look-alikes work like magic for many individuals.
Regular use helps clean the sinuses, and clear the head of congestion during allergy or cold season. Year-round use of Neti Pots can help reduce incidence of colds and sinus infections. The simple remedy involves sticking the spout of the Neti Pot up each nostril to pour warm saline solution through the sinus passages.
These days the concept of the Neti Pot has evolved into many versions to suit a variety of needs. There are Neti Pots of all sizes, some ceramic and some plastic; homemade ones which use old dishwashing soap bottles; electric nasal irrigation systems which attempt to match the natural rhythm of the nasal cilia; and nasal syringes.
Plastic Neti Pots
These are the unbreakable version of the original Neti Pots because they are plastic rather than ceramic. The cost is about the same as the ceramic ones: $12-20.
Homemade Neti Pots
An old dish soap bottle with a squeeze-top seems to be best for a homemade Neti Pot because it has the right size and shape to fit into your nostrils. You can use other types of squeeze-top bottles such as a water bottle but itís going to be harder to seal your nostrils around the nozzle. Whatever type of bottle you select make sure itís thoroughly cleaned. Cost: $0.
The Nasaline Nasal Rinser is basically a large syringe with a silicone nose piece that fits comfortably into your nostrils. It functions the same way as all the other devices but allows the user to control the flow of saline solution into the nostrils. It is small and compact which makes it idea for traveling. The downside is it only lasts for four months before needing to be replaced. Cost: $18-20.
Electric Nasal Irrigation Systems
The Hydro Pulse Nasal/Sinus Irrigator could replace your Neti Pot if youíre looking for a souped-up version. The devices look like a Waterpik for your nose and send saline solution through your nasal passages with a pulsating action equivalent to the natural rhythm of the cilia (nose hairs). The price tag is about $100.
Using a Neti Pot, whatever version you choose, is simple but it does take some practice. Use a saline solution of 2 cups water, 1 tsp. sea salt and ľ tsp. baking soda.
Getting the right position of your head is the hard part. Stand over a sink and drop your chin to your chest. Now tilt your head to one side so its position is halfway between chest and shoulder. Then insert the spout of whatever device you are using in one nostril and irrigate away with your warm solution. If your head is in the right position, you will flush out lots of crud. Then refill the pot and repeat with the other nostril.