Before I elaborate,
it must be mentioned that most of the so–called dangers of using the
neti pot have been advocated not by users but by some
skeptics in the medical fraternity, theoreticians and non-users
Having said that, it
is good to evaluate the objections and also present the appropriate
caveats of neti wherever due.
Some of the warnings
water through the nostrils will push the infection further up:
Strange as it sounds, I’ve actually heard this one quite often, as
if, any kind of virus actually needs to be pushed up by water.
Our membranes are a
continuous moist sheath lined with mucosa which is a sufficient
substrate for the virus to work on its own. The virus is not lazy
and it really doesn’t need any assistance to be guided, seriously!
If that were so, you wouldn’t have throat infections morphing into
sinus infections and vice versa.
To sum it up, the neti pot does absolutely nothing in pushing up
2. Neti pot
causes nose bleeds: While this rare
occurrence has been dealt with in the troubleshooting section, it is
sufficient to say that this is not a danger or anything serious. It
is most likely caused by the drying effect of the saline on the
mucus membrane. Most easily avoided by following up your neti
session with a few drops of clarified butter (ghee) or olive oil up
So, the neti pot does not casue nose bleeds.
3. Stinging in the
Nose: Again, nothing serious – just
a case of altering the temperature of water or the concentration of
salt. In some cases, inflamed and abraded membranes due to an
ongoing infection can make the area feel “raw” and the salt in the neti water causes this burning sensation as it runs through it. This
is NOT a bad thing! Picture an antiseptic being put over a wound.
4. Neti Pots
can make the infection worse: A misleading
point. Most often, sinus infections have their own cycle of a few
days. So, even after you’ve started neti, you “may” experience a
temporary worsening of the symptoms due to the natural progression
of a previously entrenched sinus infection. But what neti does is to
loosen this hold and stimulate faster healing. That is why the best
results of neti are had early, when you feel the infection coming on
Also, the drying of nostrils after neti is very important. If you
have severely clogged sinuses, you may not be able to dry your
nostrils very well and this may “worsen” the cold. So, if after a
few attempts, the water is unable to unclog the nostrils, it may be
better to wait a day or two before doing neti.
Neti uses only a
harmless, passive flow of water, using natural gravity. So,
nothing is being forced up the nostrils. Unfortunately, many
companies have modified this to devise syringes and irrigators under
the pitch of "power flushes" that force water into the nostrils.
It is my personal opinion that one should avoid these forced
irrigation tools and instead stick to the simple neti pot because it
There are several
kinds of neti pots in the market and you can do a quick
comparison of neti pots here to
buy what feels right for you.
After evaluating over the years, various kinds of conjectures and
observations on possible neti pot dangers, it seems these are mostly
The most important reason is the conviction that no practice can
continue to exist over centuries, if it was indeed harmful.