What is a Neti (Netty) Pot? Nasal Irrigation, Sinus Drainage

The growing popularity of nasal irrigation for preventing and treating conditions like sinusitis has recently hit South African shores with commercial neti pots (not netty pot) now available. A neti pot is a jug like vesicle, with a long spout, that delivers water into the nose and cavities, in order to wash or drain the sinuses. It has been used for thousands of years as an Ayurvedic practice for maintaining a a healthy nasal lining, clearing both the sinuses and nose cavity. Until recently, it was believed to be another gimmick alternative health practice but recent research has shown that it may be beneficial or at the very least, not harmful.

A neti pot is not the only method of nasal irrigation but recent studies have shown it to be more effective than other practices. Using a saline spray on a regular basis is another method of nasal irrigation if administered in sufficient quantities. Snorting water may also offer a level of nasal irrigation but often proves to be awkward and ineffective compared to a nasal spray or neti pot.

How to Use a Neti Pot

Water or a dilute salt water solution (use bicarbonate soda and not table salt) can be used for nasal irrigation. The solution is poured into one nostril with a neti pot and through the action of gravity (depending on your the orientation of your head), it should wash through the nose cavity, exit through the other nostril or be spat out through the mouth.

Benefits of Nasal Irrigation with a Neti Pot

Nasal irrigation has been widely practiced therapy in ancient times and more recently with saline nasal sprays. The benefits of using a neti pot over other methods include a greater amount of fluid entering the nasal cavities thereby allowing for a higher degree of washout.

  • Less aggravations in chronic sinusitis
  • Reduced severity of post nasal drip
  • Less frequent sinus infections
  • Eases nasal blockage
  • Eases nasal symptoms associate with allergies (hay fever)
  • Improves sense of smell

Before using a neti pot or any home nasal irrigation method, consult with your doctor or ENT specialist. While some practices may be reported as safe methods, individual cases and pre-existing conditions could be aggravated by practising nasal irrigation.