Nasal Irrigation for Allergies and Congestion

Nasal Irrigation for Allergies and Congestion

Julian Whitaker, MD

More than $6 billion a year is spent on prescription allergy medicines, all of which have side effects. And anyone who has ever used an over-the-counter nasal decongestant spray knows they work quickly, but they often cause rebound congestion—leading to a cycle of dependence and perpetual nasal discomfort. For a safe and inexpensive remedy, try nasal irrigation, a procedure that gently flushes irritating substances out of the sinuses.

The most basic nasal irrigation involves a mixture of salt and lukewarm water (¼ teaspoon of salt per eight ounces of water), held in the cupped palm of your hand and “snorted” up into one nostril while blocking off the other.

Tip your head back slightly and allow the solution to flow through the nasal cavity, then out of the other nostril. This may also be done with a bulb syringe, squeeze bottle, or neti pot (a small, teapot-like device). Repeat a few times in both nostrils over the sink or in the shower, as it can get messy.


  • Look for neti pots online or in your health food store or call (800) 810-6655 to order from the Whitaker Wellness Institute.

Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.

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