Are you reading this post through burning watery eyes, desperate for relief? I feel for you. I’m sitting here writing this during the time of year that I’m usually tormented by fall-blooming plants like ragweed. Burning eyes, itchy throat and ears, sneezing a hundred times a day, asthma flare-ups, sinus pressure and headaches. I wake up sneezing and coughing at random times during the night. Sometimes it has been downright debilitating.
In years past, I’ve taken allergy and asthma medication to help or prevent my symptoms. Sure, it masked them, but I didn’t like the side effects that came along with it or the monthly expense. When I started making healthy lifestyle changes 6 years ago, I began to look for natural remedies. Incorporating clean, organic, non-processed foods into my diet was a good start and definitely has made a big difference in my overall health including my allergies and asthma. I have tried natural nose sprays and herbal teas to target the allergies. I always love my herbal teas and they definitely make me feel better, but don’t totally kick the allergy symptoms, so to speak. The nose sprays haven’t been effective at all for me and they’re expensive.
I was 3 months pregnant with my first baby a few years ago when my fall allergies hit and they were especially extreme. I was over at my mom’s house for dinner one night and she pulled out a neti pot. I had never heard of one before. I read the insert in the package which explained that neti pots have been used for centuries in India and are associated with yoga practices. I had been practicing yoga for years, so honestly, that sold me more on trying it. I was freaked out by the idea of it at first. I was afraid of the drowning feeling I thought I’d have when pouring water up my nose. I made my mom demonstrate first.
After finally trying the neti pot for the first time, my experience with it was not bad like I had feared. Yes, water went back into my throat on the first few tries and I coughed a little, but I didn’t feel like I was drowning. It did feel good to rinse out my irritated nasal passages. Here’s a quick rundown if you haven’t seen how a neti pot works. You fill a sterilized neti pot (here’s mine) with the recommended amount of pure non-iodized neti pot salt (like this) and distilled water to make a saline solution. (Having the water luke warm or room temperature always feels the most comfortable for me.) You then lean over a sink and tilt your head so it’s almost perpendicular to the sink. While breathing through your mouth (that’s important!) put the spout in your top nostril and pour the saline solution so it flows through your bottom nostril. Pour half of the solution through one nostril and then switch to the other nostril to pour the other half. (There are very detailed instructions included with the neti pot when you purchase one.) When you’re done, you can gently blow your nose and see all the fun stuff that comes out!
Rinsing the nasal passages with sterile saline solution helps to flush out irritants like pollen, dust, etc. and is very healing to the delicate nasal membranes. Have you tried gargling with saline solution? It’s soothing like that.
It took a few days of using the neti pot 3 to 4 times daily before I really noticed a reduction in my miserable allergy symptoms. Since then I’ve been a regular neti pot user and I LOVE it. I haven’t used allergy medication a single time since, or cold medication for that matter! I use the neti pot every day during my peak allergy times. When I use it before bedtime it helps me sleep without waking up sneezing…or less anyway. It really makes a difference to soothe my nose and rinse out the irritants. I use it whenever I have a cold or any other kind of nasal congestion. It breaks up the congestion and reduces sinus pressure.
If you’re suffering from nasal congestion and irritation from allergies or a cold or flu, I’d definitely recommend the neti pot. I promise you won’t feel like you’re drowning…after a little practice at least! I am not making any medical claims in this blog post; I am sharing my personal experience with this natural home remedy. It is important to check with your healthcare provider and read about the contraindications in the instruction manual included in the package before you use a neti pot, especially if you have a sinus condition or have had sinus surgery. It is imperative to follow the directions included with your neti pot very carefully. If the saline solution isn’t sterile it can cause infection.
Do you have a natural remedy that you swear by for allergies and colds? Please share your helpful tips below!
I choose to use this ceramic neti pot over a plastic one because of the toxins present in many kinds of plastic. The ceramic pot can be heated to sterilize it without toxins leaching out.