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Nasal irrigation

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Antral lavage, antral washout, bulb syringe, endonasal mucosa care, hyperthermia, hypertonic Dead Sea salt, hypertonic saline, inhaler humidified warm air, intranasal douche, Jala Neti, jet lavage, nasal douche, nasal hyperthermia, nasal lavage, nasal saline solution lavage, nasal sprayer, nasal washing, nebulization, neti (irrigation) pot, power irrigation, respiratory hydrotherapy, Rhinomer®, saline lavage, saline nasal irrigation, Smiegelof's irrigation, steam inhalation.
  • Not included in this review: Proetz displacement (saline irrigation combined with suctioning).
  • Note: It should be noted that the vast majority of scientific evidence reported refers to saline lavage, which is likely to be both safe and effective. There is a lack of scientific data available on the efficacy of the lavage used within yoga or Ayurveda, which may contain herbs as additives.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Yoga enthusiasts have used the technique of nasal irrigation for thousands of years to clear the sinus cavity, as well as the mind. In modern times, nasal irrigation is becoming more widely accepted as a home remedy for treating allergies, colds, and sinus infections.
  • There is growing scientific evidence to support its practice, since it is more natural, soothing, generally safe, and less expensive than many over-the-counter medications. It is also devoid of many side effects, such as drowsiness and nausea, which are often associated with these medications. Nasal irrigation is used to clear the sinuses and can be performed by the patient at home or by a professional up to twice daily, provided that the mucous membranes are not irritated by the procedure.
  • The three forms of nasal irrigation therapies used in clinical trials have been saline lavage, which uses a warm liquid solution; humidified warm air lavage (hyperthermia); and large-particle nebulized aerosol therapy, which uses an aerosolized saline solution. Occasionally, antibiotics are added to the solution. Nasal saline irrigation is still the main treatment for acute rhinitis in infants, since excessive usage of vasoconstrictor nose drops is contraindicated in early childhood.
  • Studies support the usage of hypertonic saline for nasal irrigation. There is good evidence in support of nasal irrigation for allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. There is promising early evidence for using nasal irrigation in treating common colds, respiratory symptoms from occupational exposure, and in post-operative care following sinus or nasal surgeries.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.