Silly yogic snot pots are all the rage

Today’s Times has an article on the Neti Pot, the goofy ceramic contraption your turquoise-bedazzled holistic healing aunt sticks in her nose, sending a tide of salty booger water out the other nostril. Like this:


Pax Arcana is typically dismissive of faddish voodoo magic cures like ginseng, echinacea, and dentistry. However, there seems to be something to this Neti Pot business, and it’s not just annoying Whole Foods denizens saying so.

Actual doctors say coating your sinuses with a salt water solution really does help alleviate sinus problems:

Few if any Western medical schools teach the use of the neti pot. But Dr. Bradley Marple, the chairman of the rhinology and paranasal sinus committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, said that nasal irrigation is a well-known remedy for various respiratory complaints.

“There are an estimated billion viral episodes of the upper respiratory tract a year,” said Dr. Marple, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

“Studies indicate that saline nasal irrigation is a highly effective, minimally invasive intervention for people suffering from nasal issues,” Dr. Marple said. “But it’s just not as sexy to talk about. People want to hear about surgery or antibiotics.”

We are not surprised. Anyone who grew up near the ocean knows that the curative powers of salt water are both expansive and mysterious. Everything from poison ivy to a common cold is quickly and remarkably aided by swimming in the ocean. We’ve known this our entire lives.

When we got to college, our Midwestern friends derided the college infirmary’s ubiquitous prescription of a salt water gargle for nearly every malady. Sore throat? Gargle this packet of salt in warm water. Sinus headache? Gargle this packet of salt in warm water. Herpes? Gargle, slut.

Accordingly, we see the Neti Pot as simply another delivery mechanism for the magic elixir. Or for bourbon, as this guy would have you believe:

Short, Stout, Has a Handle on Colds [NY Times]



Filed under health

5 responses to “Silly yogic snot pots are all the rage

  1. the cheap little saline spraybottles seem soo much nicer… and some of them actualy have useful things in them besides salt.

  2. Ayurvedic (aka yogic) medicine has often been noted for how much more modern and curative it is than most other folk medicines. (Minus the whole dosha part, that’s for a more spiritual and another crowd completely.)

  3. Actually, the Neti Pot is saving my damn life. I live in the North East, where the average winter household humidity level is drier than the Sahara Dessert.

    Used to wake up with pounding dry sinus headaches and man, let me tell you, it sucked.

    Now I’m all moist and happy.

    I kid you not.

    AND MAN, when you have a sinus infection, the crazy s**t that comes out of your nose when you use the pot.

    Really cool science project stuff.




  4. Gerard

    I must point out that blueraindrop’s comment is terribly misleading. The innuendo that other ingredients might be more useful than salt and water is simply wrong. It should be pointed out that the sinus is terribly sensitive and fairly fragile. Antihistamines dry out the cilia (small hair like tissue) which usually move the mucus out of the sinus. The problem with this, is that bacteria remains, and in some cases carries on replicating (since it’s a warm and damp area), and when the effects of the antihistamines wear off, the congestion is worse than before. Natural sprays are not bad but they do not help purge the sinus. They can help loosen the mucus and keep the cilia moist so it can then do its job of channeling away that mucus. While slightly uncomfortable the first few times one tries it, the benefits of flushing out the sinus with warm salty water are immense and incredibly thorough. The water is able to reach areas deep in the sinus and simply clears out the muck. Bear in mind that the lining of the sinus gets little blood vacillation (blood flow) therefore, antibiotics have little effect on sinus infections. Hence, sinus cleansing is far more beneficial than sprays or medication and one should not underestimate it’s curative power.

  5. Pingback: Aloysius Sniffleupagus. « Craig Baillie PA-C

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s