Green Girl: Neti Pot Conquers Congestion

It’s finals week. Stress is high. Sleep is practically nonexistent. Colds run rampant. All down the hall and in the library you hear sneezing, coughing, noses blowing, voices complaining. It always does seem that sickness strikes when the most amount of work must be done.

For the college student, colds are inevitable. They will happen. They will happen more often than you would like. Communal bathrooms are not good for the immune system. Not to mention the constant contact with the dozens of people that live on your hall, who have each had contact with dozens of other people and so on and so on.

Point being, colds in college are like chicken pox in nursery school. They spread. Quickly. So what to do? While it might seem nice to curl up in bed with a book, a box of tissues, and a hot mug of tea, that is usually not a viable option. No, the reading must be done, the studying must go on, the essays must be written. The best that can be done is to clear up the sinus passages, pop in a cough drop and keep going.

Well, apparently clearing the sinus passages is quite the ordeal! Coming from a house that nixed nasal sprays from the get-go, I was shocked by how much my friends relied on them. Do you ever go just a little bit over on the number of sprays you’re supposed to use? Do you ever cheat the time limit you’re supposed to leave between sprays? Do you use nasal spray every time you get congested? Is that a lot? Has it stopped helping?

You’ve built up a tolerance. The nasal membranes no longer respond to the same amount of nose spray you had used before to treat the same level of congestion. So you use more. And more. Using more than the suggested dose? Probably not a good idea. You can, in fact, overdose on nasal spray.

Those harmless-looking chemicals in nasal spray—Phenylephrine, Xylometazoline, and Oxymetazoline—maybe aren’t quite as harmless when you use them in excess or for more than 3-5 days.

Overdosing on nose spray that contains any of these chemicals can lead to “extreme tiredness, sweating, dizziness, a slow heartbeat, and coma.”

Not sounding good, right? Just please don’t tell me you use Stadol. Did you know that Stadol is actually a narcotic “similar to morphine”? Not only is this nasal spray addictive, but an overdose of it can lead to “extreme drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, confusion, cold and clammy skin, weak pulse, shallow breathing, fainting, or breathing that stops,’ not to mention death. So not good.

So what’s the alternative? Well, lucky for you, I have found an alternative that works incredibly well. The neti pot!

The neti pot is a ceramic tea pot that you fill with warm water and salt. It is an ancient Indian medicinal tradition that has been used for thousands of years to treat allergies and sinus congestion. It works like no other nasal decongestant. I have never had such great sinus relief.

Note to self: Neti pot over nasal spray any day.

Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.

By Lily Berthold-Bond


Sharon P.
Sharon P8 years ago

Blessings everybody,I said I was going to try this,Thanks for all the good info.May The Great Spirit Bless You!

Vinessa L.
Vinessa L10 years ago

I use the brand "simply saline" which works similar to a netipot except it comes in a spray form but it works like a netipot, you spray it and tilt your head and it runs out the other side, it also moisturizes the passages, it's less mess than a netipot.
It's also just saline, and it's good because it stays sterile throughout use, I like it better than a neti pot myself.

Heather B.
Carolyne H10 years ago

A Neti pot I see. I will give it ago next time I get the cold or flu. Thanks heaps!

Pattie M.
Pattie M10 years ago

More info, I don't understand the upper nostral and lower nostral. I have two! One on the left and one on the right!

Cheyenne C.
Cheyenne C11 years ago

I just bought a neti pot! When I try to explain to my non-green friends they think I am crazy! But it really works, and I am the one without congestion and shortened colds. :) It is amazing how simple things can be, like the neti, without taking harmful drugs. Good luck on your green college journey!

Larysa Vernon
Larysa V11 years ago

I have seen these, now they have even moved into CVS from the health food stores. Also my mother also used nasal spray MANY times a day and it stopped working for her. FINALLY her doctor put her on a prescription one which got her off the over the counter and now she doesn't have to use any...however she has hardly any sense of smell or taste...and to the earlier post...that would be TWO whole senses lost...and smell is the most connected to who wants to risk it?
Also... I use the saline nasal spray reccommended by my voice teacher and you can either mist it or spray a stream or have it "pour" into your nostril...and I have tried doing it similar to the Neti directions and it hurts so much, just like when you inhale water in a how do you avoid that? I've wanted to try the Neti very much but if the saline water in such a small amount hurts, what am I to do? It doesn't hurt when I sniff it up, just when it drips in or is sprayed. Does the Neti rinse out the entire cavity or just the lower part right where your nose is?
Thanks for any and all info. :)

Judy Beilharz
Judy Beilharz11 years ago

It seems that whenever I get a cold or flu I'm able to keep others around me from getting it, but when my husband gets a cold, he always passes (shrares?) it with the rest of us. I recently got the netti pot and love it. I was able to avoid getting his cold, even though it felt like I was going to get it. I used the netti pot 3-4 times a day and after only a few days, I needed to use only once a day. It's wonderful. What a great feeling! Can't recommend it enough.

Jennifer C.
Jennifer C11 years ago

My mother has suffered from allergies her whole life and for many years used Afrin as a decongestant. As a small child I found that my mom didn't have the same sense of smell that I did and even years after she stopped using it, she has permanently lost a good portion of her sense of smell. Smells, and in relation taste, are dull and often she cannot distinguish them at all. If fear of death doesn't get you because it seems too far off, consider losing one of your five senses. She has since taught me to not use anything but saline solutions and I recently introduced her to the neti pot. I'll let you know if her sniffer ever gets better. :)

Vickee Moore
Vickee Moore11 years ago

My grandfather was a doctor who died in the 1920's. Before his death, he had taught this rmemdy to my father, who passed it on to my siblings and myself. We used it all the while growing up, and it works. Just don't use too much salt.

Mary Kloss
Mary Kloss11 years ago

Hi Betty;

You don't use a mist you actually pour the water into one nostril and it runs out the other,,,,not as bad as it seems. Check it out on the net or go to your local health food store and read the instructions. I would encourage one not to use regular table salt, which I believe has chemicals but instead pure salt such as Himalayan Gourmet salt. Using the neti pot as soon as possible after chemical exposure has prevented brain reactions on several occasions.