Sinus problems, bad breath and the neti pot
By Alison Logee, RDH, Ayurveda and Reiki Practitioner
Sinus problems and bad breath…..what’s the connection? Our nose acts as a natural filter by trapping air pollutants, dust and bacteria. As debris accumulates it is brought to the back of the throat with the help of millions of hair like projections called cilia and are then swallowed. Acids in the stomach break down these bacteria and are then eliminated.
When sinuses are full of mucous, due to sinus infection, allergies, colds, etc…., we may experience post nasal drip bringing more than a usual amount of thicker mucous to the back of the throat, making it difficult to swallow or cough up. Bacteria then become stuck there and contribute to smelly breath.
If you consider the “quality” or “property” of mucous….it is viscous, sticky, stagnant, heavy, wet and cold. Implementing foods or herbs that offer the “opposite” properties will help keep the mucous at a minimal amount and a manageable consistency.
Ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, black pepper, cardamom, fenugreek, garlic, onion, etc…are all examples of “heating” herbs or spices that can be used as prevention or remedy to help “melt” away congestion. These herbs and spices may be taken as a tea or used to season food. Honey is also very warming but is not recommended to be used in cooking for it may be difficult for some people to digest. The neti pot is a fabulous regime to implement on a daily basis in conjunction with cleaning your tongue, brushing and flossing your teeth. It is a preventative approach in keeping the nasal passages clear and open. Open passages allow us to breathe freely, bringing in good amounts of oxygen that feed every living cell in our entire body as well as our brain. Fully oxygenated blood to the brain helps improve memory and supports clarity of mind.
It is not recommended to use the neti pot when you have a cold or when sinuses are full and congested. You do not want to trap any water up there. It is also recommended that you ask an experienced person to demonstrate proper use of the neti pot.