Nutty for Neti Pot

Gary Korb

A natural “solution” for cigar smokers with sinus problems

I’ve suffered with sinus troubles most of my life. Clogged sinuses, sinus headaches, you-name-it. Whatever problems are commonly associated with the nose, chances are I’ve had them. Moreover, as someone who smokes cigars for a living, I occasionally find my sinuses stuffed-up. I also believe it’s related to how many cigars I’ve smoked in a day. In the past, I would usually take a decongestant, but a couple of years ago I discovered the neti pot. In fact, I learned about the neti pot on a cigar forum.

So what’s a neti pot?

Neti PotA neti pot is a vessel designed to rinse the nasal cavity for treating nasal allergies, sinus problems and colds. It works pretty simply, too. Neti pot kits include the neti pot (which looks like a little Aladdin’s lamp),
saline solution packets (a powdered combination of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride),
and a little spoon for stirring the saline solution. After mixing the contents of the packet with warm, purified water, tilt your head to one side (toward your shoulder) as far as you can, gently insert the tip of the neti pot in one of your nostrils, and pour the solution in. Because there’s nothing much but a hole up there, the water will flow out the opposite nostril. If one side is more clogged than the other, you’ll notice it takes a little longer for the solution to work its way through the membrane. After each side, blow your nose into a tissue. You won’t believe what comes out of there. All I can add is, it’s pretty ugly.

As far as the neti pot’s use relative to smoking cigars, I use it once a week as a prophylaxis, and the results have been excellent. My nose stays “clean” and I almost never get colds. Flushing your sinuses via neti pot may also help your ability to pick-up the more subtle flavors and aromas from your cigars.

Some recent reports have alleged using a neti pot can be deadly. Actually, it has been traced to two deaths of two women last year in Louisiana. It wasn’t the neti pot itself that killed them; rather, it was contaminated tap water they used in their neti pots. Contaminated water contains amoeba that can work their way into the brain causing an infection, and only in the rarest of cases, death.

Experts suggest you boil your neti pot water before using and let it cool down until it’s somewhere between tepid and warm. Never use hot water, as it will only irritate your sinus membranes and cause you even more discomfort. (Take it from me.) I prefer to use steam distilled water, then microwave it for a few seconds to warm it up.

The next time you feel your sinuses clogging-up, reach for your neti pot. It’s also good for your psyche knowing that before you light-up that next cigar your sinuses have been properly cleansed.

Finally, please check with your physician or pharmacist on the correct use of the neti pot, and whether or not you should even be using it.