What is a Neti Pot?

By Courtney Leiva

Whether it’s the cure for allergies, the latest culprit of brain infections or, as Alexis speculates, “a legal, self-inflicted form of water-boarding,” the neti pot has gained both fame and notoriety. But what’s fact versus fiction – and should you give the neti pot a shot?

What is a neti pot?

The neti pot dates back to ancient Indian medicinal practices, but recent fame is primarily credited to the likes of Oprah and Dr. Oz. (Seriously, can Oprah touch something and not turn it into gold?!)

Usually a small ceramic pot, neti pots have been praised for their intricate ability to cleanse and purify the nasal canal, alleviating a variety of sinus issues as well as improving overall breathing quality. Some users even swear of its use for cosmetic purposes at it rids even the worst of under eye dark circles.

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What’s so great about a neti pot?

As a certified health coach, Michelle Pfennighaus recommends the pot from everyone to nursing mothers to those afflicted with hayfever.

“I strongly encourage neti pot use. It’s a very old form of purifying the body and particularly useful this time of year for those suffering from hayfever. I recommend it to pregnant and nursing mothers instead of decongestants and as a natural treatment for sinus infections as opposed to antiobiotics. Of course as with we anything we put in our body, it needs to be clean and free of bacteria,” states Michelle Pfennighaus.

Dr. Kathy Gruver, author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, similarly states, “It is very useful for good sinus health, especially for people who are prone to environmental allergies as it can wash out pollen, dander and dust”

How do you use a neti pot?

“To use the neti pot, start by keeping it clean. I clean mine with purified water only and I use my all natural face soap to cleanse the spout (and rinse thoroughly). When using it, also use purified water and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the pot’s spout to your nose and tip your head to the side causing the post to flush the nasal passages.  Follow by cleaning it daily.  Always let your pot air dry,” says Kristen Ma, holistic expert and voted “Best facialist in Toronto” by Toronto Life Magazine.

Do neti pots cause brain infections?

Claims of death due to brain infections haven’t exactly been the best press for the neti pot as media outlets such as NPR reported back in 2011 that two deaths were a direct result of infectious amoeba. But for holistic experts like Kirsten Ma, the real problem isn’t the pot but instead the water used for the treatment.

“The key is in the water.  We live in a polluted world so I advise against using tap water.  I think this is part of a greater problem, because I don’t think it is healthy for us to be ingesting this in any form. That being said, if you use boiled water (and let it cool) or water that has undergone reverse osmosis it should be safe,” Ma finds.

Dr. Kathy Gruver couldn’t agree more claiming that both reported instances were a result of poor water sanitation.

“The issue with brain infection didn’t really have anything to do with the neti pot. It was in two (I believe) isolated incidents where people used water that was contaminated in the pot. There is typically no danger of such things and it is recommended to use filtered or bottled water with the neti pot,” says Dr. Kathy Gruver.

Where do you buy a neti pot?

If you’ve done your homework, asked your healthcare professionals and decided to give the neti pot a shot, you can buy neti pots, such as the ceramic Himalayan Institute neti pot ($11.95) and the Jalneti Stainless Steel neti pot ($24.90) buy clicking on the links.

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