I've suffered - really, really, suffered - from allergies for most of my life. You name it, I sneeze at it. And sneeze, and sneeze. Ragweed, tree pollen, and everything else that grows outdoors. Indoors? I'm allergic to dust. And cats. Probably other animals, too. Right now I live in the middle of the Sonoran Desert and I have allergies. What even grows here?
So, naturally, I've tried a lot of allergy cures, everything from prescription allergy medication to over-the-counter allergy medication to self-hypnosis. (Why self-hypnosis? Because I read somewhere that allergies are considered to be at least partially psychosomatic.) Nothing really worked. Or some things worked for a time, and then stopped working. At one point, I was (stupidly) popping 12 milligram tablets of chlorpheniramine on a daily basis, until a friend at work said, "You know that stuff is probably killing your liver and kidneys, right?" I didn't know, but I have since learned that you're not supposed to take chlorpheniramine for more than seven days.
But up until a couple of weeks ago, I'd never tried a neti pot. Neti pots originated in India, and "neti" is the Sanskrit word for "nasal cleansing." Neti pots have apparently been used in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time. Centuries, in fact. Exotic, right? But weird, too, right? Or so I thought.
Most neti pots look like little I-dream-of-genie magic lanterns. You mix a little saline solution into distilled water in the pot and then basically run it through your nasal system, holding your head at a tilted angle with your forehead remaining above your chin. The salinated water goes in the top nostril and eventually runs out the bottom nostril. Then you switch positions, and switch nostrils. It's not hard to do, but there are a couple of rules to follow:
Neti pots do a lot of good things but, most importantly to me, the use of a neti pot gets rid of allergy symptoms. (Yes!) In a drug-free, not killing your liver sort of way. Use of a neti pot is also supposed to help with clearing congested sinuses, and I've found that claim to be true as well.
I did a lot of research, as usual, because I wanted something that I would actually use and that would be pretty foolproof to use. And simple and cheap. After examining a lot of possibilities, I chose the SinuCleanse Nasal Wash System, Plastic soft tip Neti Pot With Salt Packets. I wanted the soft tip, and was right about that - it's really, really easy to use because of that. I also wanted something that included some salt packets to get me started, and this item came with thirty of them. The whole thing cost around twelve bucks.
I'm thrilled, no kidding around. The directions say I could use this thing every two hours if I needed to, but so far using it once in a day has taken care of all of my allergy symptoms in a way that I think is as natural as I can get. My only complaint is that I did not start using a neti pot twenty years ago. If you suffer from allergies like I do, you should really try this.
U.S. FDA Site: Is Rinsing Your Sinuses With Neti Pots Safe?
If you're wondering about the image at the top of this page, it's Edison's kinetoscopic record of a sneeze, January 7, 1894.
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