This Bizarre Ayurvedic Trick Claims to Prevent Colds

Updated 01/30/18
nasal irrigation: Woman covering her nose

Is there anything worse than having a constant runny nose or nasal passages so blocked there’s not a pinprick of air passing through your sinuses? There are myriad decongestants that spring to mind to fix such a problem, but what if we told you that the cure came from some warm water, a dash of salt and a mini watering can? Seriously. All it took was a lesson in nasal swilling (or nasal irrigation, to give it its official title) on Ayurvedic retreat Escapada, and we’ve been able to breath easy ever since.

It’s not just an old wives’ tale either. If you read up on it, and you’ll find valid reports of its efficacy in project nose unblocking. Scroll below to learn more.


Nasal irrigation is an Ayurvedic practice and though we’ve dubbed it the nasal swill, it’s also referred to as nasal rinse, nasal lavage or nasal douche, which, yes, translates to “nose shower.” The process uses water and saline to flush out excess mucus and debris from your sinuses so the passageways become clear and you no longer have to deal with snot, headaches and blocked ears.

Before we go on, it’s important to note how crucial the salt part is. When you get a cold, the tissue lining the inside of your nose (the mucous membrane) becomes too sticky, thick or watery. While flushing your sinuses out with water will help, the salt provides the antibacterial boost and works to prevent any infection spreading. Get into the habit, and you should be able to stave off cold and flu all season.



To perform your nasal swill, you need a neti pot. Fill it with filtered warm water and salt, and then tip your head to one side over the sink. Pour the water slowly and gently into the nostril that’s on top, and the water will run into your nostrils, through your sinuses and then flow out of the nostril underneath nearest to the sink. It’s not exactly an attractive activity, but boy is it worth it.

It is weird that you can feel the warm water gushing around your eyes, but as fast as it swooshes around your sinuses, it’s back out again—a bit like a facial flume. And you instinctively breathe through your mouth so you don’t need to worry about that suffocating feeling.

After our first swill, our ears instantly popped, and we knew we needed to spread the word. Try it if you feel a cold coming on, you suffer with constant headaches or you’re about to embark on a plane journey. It’s a cracking way to prompt that post-flight altitude pop in your ears.

Related Stories