Neti-Pot for Spring Allergies

~Abha Gupta, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief YSN
(YSN Vol. 5, No. 1 – May 2017)

Spring floweringApril showers bring May flowers, and those flowers bring allergies! Runny nose, nasal congestion, stuffiness, coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, and irritated throat were common symptoms I used to wake up with during this time of the year. Many of us experience seasonal allergies in the spring, particularly around April-May in Virginia, the period of the airborne pollen in the air. Even cars are covered with a fine layer of pollen dust. These allergies, if left untreated, can affect daily performance at work as well as at home, and also interfere with recreational activities. I had tried the usual remedies to obtain temporary relief but that did not get rid of the allergies.

In 2010, I started the practice of nasal rinse with a neti-pot, a small, teapot-like container with a spout that has been incredibly effective in uprooting my allergies. In that sense, the neti-pot has really worked like the magical Aladdin’s lamp that it resembles! Use of neti-pot, for jal-neti, is an ancient cleansing technique that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda. It involves using water for nasal rinsing to flush out the mucus. I started doing jal-neti regularly on a daily basis to rinse out my nose with salty water. Although it is best to use distilled water or pre-boiled water, I simply used warm tap water from the faucet and mixed it with a pinch of regular iodized table salt, which I kept in the bathroom for added convenience. To my surprise, my allergies completely disappeared. It has been seven years now and I have not had any morning bouts of allergies. I have also been doing my yoga routine daily, which incorporates breathing exercises, such as alternate-nostril breathing and deep breathing. I must admit that I am no longer as regular in doing the neti-pot as I initially was, and only do it once in a week. Nonetheless, come spring time, I am able to look forward to the blooming of those Spring flowers – dogwoods and cherry blossoms!

As described above, the neti-pot did work in my case to help me get rid of the seasonal allergies. Some naturopathic as well as allopathic doctors are beginning to recommend the use of neti pot or saline nasal spray for these conditions with positive outcomes for their patients. However, it may not work for those with perennial allergies or other sinus issues.

For those who may want to try using the neti-pot, here are some tips to follow while rinsing:
• If you have had ear surgery, please contact your physician prior to jal-neti.
• Do not use if you have an ear infection or blocked ears.
• Rinse with lukewarm distilled, filtered or previously boiled water.
• Keep your mouth open while rinsing.
• Do not hold your breath while rinsing.
• While rinsing, make sure to tilt your head forward; do not lean your head back.
• Stop the rinse if you feel a sensation of fluid near your ears.
• Gently blow your nose at the end of each nasal passage rinse.
• Keep your neti-pot clean.