After sprinkling table salt on your vegetables and using it to soothe your sore throat, you can use a dash to clean your nose. When it's properly prepared as a nasal solution, table salt can be added to a Neti pot for an inexpensive and effective nasal wash.
The history of the Neti pot goes back thousands of years, when it was developed in India as a body purification technique. Today, the Neti pot is a simple form of nasal irrigation. The process involves a small pot shaped like a teakettle. To use the Neti pot, you place the pot's spout just inside your nostril and tip your head to the side. A stream of lukewarm water flows into the nostril, through the nasal passages and exits out the other nostril.
For an effective sinus cleansing, use a saltwater solution inside the Neti pot. Most drugstores offer a variety of Neti pot solutions that can be purchased without a prescription. However, the Mayo Clinic explains that “a homemade saltwater solution is just as effective as an over-the-counter nasal saline rinse or buffered Neti pot solution.” You can either purchase a commercial Neti pot solution or make your own saltwater solution at home.
To prepare a saltwater solution at home, begin with one pint of lukewarm distilled or purified water. If you do not have distilled or purified water, boil tap water and let it cool before preparing the solution. The UC San Diego Health System recommends 72 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit as a comfortable water temperature. Mix one teaspoon of salt into the water. Depending on your preference, you can use table salt, kosher salt, canning salt or sea salt. One teaspoon of baking soda can also be added for additional cleansing qualities. Mix the solution thoroughly before filling the Neti pot. If the saltwater causes your nose to sting or burn, try decreasing the amount of salt to just 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon.
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As the saltwater solution moves through your nasal passageways, it gently cleanses them. The stream of water washes away mucus, pollen, allergens and irritants, along with any bacteria or viruses that may be lingering inside the nose. If you have nasal congestion, the Neti pot can help eliminate excess mucus in your nose. When your nose is dry, the saltwater solution soothes and moisturizes the nasal passageways.
The Neti pot is generally quite safe for most people to use. The SinuCleanse website claims that nasal irrigation is safe for children and pregnant women, too. If you have any concerns regarding nasal irrigation, speak to your doctor before using a Neti pot. If you are on a low-sodium diet, avoid swallowing the saltwater solution during the nasal washing process.
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.