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]