The jury is in: Nasal irrigation, like the kind provided by neti pots, is safe and effective for relieving symptoms and reducing the recurrence of sinusitis. “It definitely improves many people’s symptoms, and decreases the blood levels of histamines
in allergy sufferers,” says Diane Heatley, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist at the University of Wisconsin.
How do neti pots work? “When we talk about dander, dust and pollen, remember that these particles lodge in the nose and sinus, which causes irritation and inflammation and makes the body produce mucus for protection,” says Keri Marshall, ND, medical director for Gaia Herbs in Brevard, N.C. Mucus moves through the sinuses through the action of cilia, the microscopic hairs lining the nose and sinus. When mucus becomes too thick, the cilia can’t do their job. “Regular irrigation can remove the irritation before it causes the body to produce mucus,” says Marshall, and thus restores cilia function.