Psssst! Hey kid! Yeah, you. C’mere. This pot will blow your mind! And your mom will totally approve.

Yep. Best. Pot. EVER! (An eye-opening look at the hella-useful Neti pot.) 

This is a Neti pot. My Neti pot, to be exact. It is one of the single most useful ancient inventions I use on a regular basis, second only to The Wheel. (Which I also use regularly, the 4 and 2-wheeled variety.)

Neti pot from Scented Garden. No hollow handle, so no weird places you can't clean that grows funk.
Best. Pot. EVER!

If you don’t do well with dust, pollen or particulate matter in you schnoz, You’re going to love the Neti pot. (Best. Pot. EVER!) My sinuses get irritated easily, (because I am a delicate flower), so often is the occasion I get to put it to good use: after dusting, bike-riding, yard work, when I feel a cold coming on, when I have a gig…

Bee with full pollen sacks on his legs and a bunch of pollen on his but, about to land on a sunflower
Dig the saddlebags on this feller!

How to use

It’s really easy to use. I use filtered water, boil it, and dissolve about a 1/4 of a tsp of sea salt in a cup. (DO NOT USE TABLE SALT, as table salt has iodine, caking agents, and other non-salt ingredients. Come to think of it, don’t eat table salt. It’s nasty.)

Always test it ‘fore you snurfle it

I always test the salinity (saltiness) by putting a drop in my eye. If it burns your eye, it’ll burn your sinuses. Usually there isn’t enough salt, so add a bit more. (The bigger the grains, the more space between them, so depending on the size, 1/4 tsp may be less than a 1/4 tsp.) 

Careful… it’s hot!

You can also test the heat by putting a few drops on the inside of your wrist, like you’d test a baby bottle. If it smarts, wait a few minutes and try again. Comfy? Perfect! (But don’t let it get too cool, as that will actually hurt and irritate your sinuses as much as when it’s too cool.)

Pots of herbs. Useful, beautiful, and easy to grow.
Rosemary, Basil, and Oregano. (I also grow mint, aloe, lemongrass, ginger, and lavender.)

I grow many medicinal herbs in my garden, and when I think I’m getting a sinus infection, I’ll make a weak tea (steeped to a pale, yellow-y green) with a handful of fresh oregano. Then I strain it, add a 1/4 tsp of sea salt, and when it’s cooled a bit, a half a tsp of raw, local honey. (“Cooled” so it doesn’t destroy the honey’s antibacterial properties, same reason I buy raw honey. And “local” because it’s made by bees collecting the exact same pollen that happens to be bothering me.) 

My friend, the Bee, collecting my nemesis, pollen
Bees are my favorite. Pollen, not so much…

When you use the neti pot, make sure you tilt your head forward, otherwise it’ll run down your throat instead of through your sinuses. Then put the spout up into your right nostril, and tilt to the left. Gravity will run the liquid into your right nostril, through your sinus cavity, and out the left nostril. 

If your throat is sore you can ever-so-slightly snurf a bit. It’ll come out the back of your sinuses, and you can spit it out. (But be careful not to snurf too hard or you might inhale it into your lungs!)

The leftovers make a great eyewash! It has rid my dog, Zeke, of conjuctivitis (“Pink Eye”) in 24 hours. Multiple times. I love this stuff! Keep it in the fridge in a sealed glass jar, and toss it if you don’t use in a few days.

Caveats…

Make sure the water is filtered, the salt is sea salt, the oregano tea isn’t too strong, and the water is neither too hot, nor too cold. (Don’t forget to test it until you’ve got it down pat.) Play with the amount of salt if it’s not comfortable. I know it sounds difficult, but once you get it, it’s got. Easy peasy!

Here is a link to the one that I have, but you can get one at your local health food store or an Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) clinic. Just make sure you don’t get one of those white ones with a hollow handle. Too many places for bacteria to grow, and they’re delicate and easily broken. Mine is totally Trish-proof!

Warning: What NOT to do

WARNING: When you’re done, DO NOT plug one nostril and blow like you normally would, but lean the crown of your head down and let your nose drain. Then clear both sides at the same time, without plugging a side. Feels weird, but if you plug one side it can force water into your eustachian tube and that hurts! If you have ENT issues be sure and consult your doctor beforehand.

And there you have it. It’s like you rub the lamp and out comes The Booger Genie! (The Anti-Booger Genie?)

Best. Pot. EVER. Told you your mom would approve. Now, mind your beeswax and keep your nose clean.

P.S. Along with Breath Work and Om-ing, this is the most powerful tool in my breathing arsenal.