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Knockout Spring Hayfever with Neti Pots and Essential Oils
by Jill Ettinger
Sunwarrior® News, Eco-Living Section

Ha-choo! Oh yes, the delightful sound of springtime. Allergies effect some 40 to 50 million Americans each year, with the majority battling sneezing fits, difficulty breathing, and itchy, watery eyes somewhere between April and June when those pesky pollens are in full burst.

Most allergies are a symptom of modernity and our bodies going a little haywire in light of our genetic makeup and interference from a number of artificial chemical substances abundant on the planet these days. Recent research out of Finland has found that those of us who live in cities are more likely to be affected by seasonal allergies as we lack exposure to certain bacteria more commonly present in rural or forested areas that help to prevent the onset of allergies. So while it may seem as though more exposure to nature would just increase the number of plants one is allergic to, the opposite is actually true. We’re meant to be closer to nature, not further from it (no offense, pavement, skyscrapers, and highways, but that’s just the way it is!) and that’s precisely why we can heal ourselves from allergies most effectively with all natural remedies.

The Neti Pot
You may have seen this teapot-looking ceramic vessel at a yoga studio or health food store and wondered, “What in the world?” The neti pot is a nasal irrigation system first noted in ancient Hindu traditions as one of the Ayurvedic kriyasor cleansing techniques. Using warm salt water in order to match the tonicity of the body’s blood so as not to irritate the delicate sinus cavities and mucus membranes, water in the neti pot is slowly poured into one nostril by gently tipping the head forward and slightly turned (if pouring into left, tilt head to right, etc). The saltwater then travels up into the sinus cavity and should come out the other nostril. If the sinuses are particularly stuffed-up, this may not occur at first, but repeat attempts can help break down the mucus and allow the flow of the water.

In addition to thinning mucus for ease in expelling it from the sinuses, the neti pot also helps in flushing out the pollens (or other environmental allergens) that can linger in the nasal cavity causing sneezing and difficulty breathing. The neti pot can be used several times a day during peak allergy season. If irritation occurs, discontinue use and consult your physician. (Note: It is important to use a sea salt or saline solution and avoid mineral salts as they can be too harsh on the sinuses.)

Essential Oils
While inhaling the pure essence of plants and flowers may seem counterintuitive to quelling an allergy attack, it is one of the most effective measures in naturally calming allergic reactions.
more at Sunwarrior® News/Eco-Living...

What is a Neti Pot and why would you use one?
By James T. C. Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Mayo Clinic Asthma and Allergy specialist

A neti pot is a container designed to rinse the nasal cavity. You might use a neti pot to treat nasal allergies, sinus problems, or colds. In fact, some neti pot enthusiasts say that regular use of a neti pot is more effective for nasal allergy and sinus symptoms than are over-the-counter medications. First, fill the neti pot with warm salt water or an over-the-counter saline nasal solution. Then tilt your head over the sink, place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril and gently pour in the water. As you pour, the salt water will flow through your nasal cavity and out the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side.

Ceramic and molded plastic Neti pots typically cost less than $20. Stainless steel Neti pots are more expensive. Several brands are available in pharmacies and health food stores, and you can find an even wider selection online.

To read this article and more by Dr. Li and other Mayo Clinic doctors, visit From the Mayo Clinic: Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?

All Hail the Neti Pot!
by Tanya Perez
The Davis Enterprise
July 25, 2011

Sometimes people ask me how my husband feels about all the personal stuff I include in this column, especially personal stuff about him. My response is that I never write about anything regarding him or our kids without talking to him first, and honestly, it’s not all that personal.

Talking about his annoying blanket-smoothing rituals as he gets into bed or his extreme rule-following tendencies doesn’t bother him in the least. In fact, he thinks he comes out looking great!

Before embarking on today’s topic, however, we talked things over in depth, because this is much more personal.

A little back story: My husband has had asthma his entire life. When we first met in college, he used over-the-counter Primatene Mist to calm an asthma attack, and I didn’t think much of it. But I’d had a childhood friend who had asthma — the only other person I’d ever known with it — and in my kid-tinged memory, I thought she was on the verge of death many times.

So I encouraged my then-boyfriend to talk to a doctor and get a prescription for a better medicine. Albuterol became his go-to cure.

As time went on and asthma medicines improved, he adjusted his routine and added Advair, an inhaled steroid, to the recipe. This was for maintenance and was meant to keep him from needing Albuterol as often.

As allergy medicines evolved, my husband started including them in his repertoire. Claritin, Flonase, Allegra and Zyrtec all had various roles in helping him keep from sneezing, dripping and wheezing.

Every year, a couple of weeks into the peak of allergy season, my husband would start to feel emotionally unbalanced. He became irritable, short-tempered and quite depressed. We would discuss issues at work or other life events and tell ourselves he was just stressed out. He wondered if he was having a mid-life crisis, and we joked about making an appointment with a Corvette dealer.

Somehow it finally dawned on me that he might be experiencing mood-altering side-effects from his medicines. A quick hunt around the Internet convinced me there was a good chance the meds were making him crazy. (Regrettably, I can’t remember which sites I checked, but many medical sites and patient forums discussed the possible mood swings associated with allergy drugs.)

To read the rest of Tanya's column and learn about her husband's experiences with the neti pot, visit

Leslie Ottavi visited Into the Scented Garden and wrote this article about our work.
Aromatherapy and Jala Neti
A Visit with Dorothy Severns of Into the Scented Garden
by Leslie Ottavi

I have always had trouble with my sinuses and several years ago I was introduced to jala neti, an ancient practice from India to wash your nasal passages. In order to wash your nasal passages it is helpful to have a pot that is designed for this purpose, water and salt. The first neti pot salt I purchased was from a company called Into the Scented Garden. This particular brand of salt was recommended by a friend who ran the yoga studio where I taught because it was Aromatic Salt, meaning it had a blend of essential oils in the salt to enhance the benefits of jala neti. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to visit the production facility of Into the Scented Garden and to interview the owner, Dorothy Severns, for two days this last November at their headquarters in Foster City, California.

Ms. Severns introduction to aromatherapy came in 1991 when her daughter was 8 years old and very sick with asthma and severe eczema. She was anxious to find a way to help her that was not potentially harmful so she tried a few essential oils and the results were so good that she became hooked on aromatherapy. By 1992 she enrolled in an aromatherapy certification program and was trained by Kurt Schnaubelt and studied with Kathi Keville. Today her daughter is in excellent health and she is also fascinated by natural healing. Ms. Severns is a certified aromatherapist, yoga teacher,jala neti expert, and entrepreneur.

Our interview started by inquiring about what inspired Ms. Severns to get into the neti pot business. Ms. Severns replied, I was a yoga teacher so I was teaching people how to do jala neti and I was also a trained aromatherapist. It occurred to me one day that neti would be more effective if you added essential oils to the salt. But it was not an obvious problem in terms of which essential oils and how much. So I started exploring and doing experiments with people, having my friends try different essential oils and see what would happen, and to see how much essential oil you wanted in there.

Ms. Severns started experimenting and it was fortunate that her aromatherapy training included how to blend essential oils because it turned out she could put that knowledge to use in determining the blend for her neti pot salt. In the end she came up with a blend of essential oils that she really liked because of the way it smelled, what the oils did for the body and because she was getting good feedback from her testers.

The next challenge was what salt should be used and she started working with salt companies experimenting with sample after sample of different kinds of salt. According to Ms. Severns, I was looking for one that didn't have any additives and that would dissolve quickly and I did find one that was head and shoulders above the others in my opinion. She also wanted a salt that was relatively clean coming from the source so that it did not have to go through a lot of cleaning processes. Salt companies use chemicals to clean the salt and that process does leave trace elements. Interestingly, the salt company doesn't have to put the trace elements on the label, which is why she looked for the cleanest salt from the source. It important for the salt to dissolve really quickly, because if the salt is slow to dissolve you will start using it before it is completely dissolved. You will have just water on the top which gives you a swimming pool feel and then on the bottom you have all the salt which can cause some burning and discomfort. Completely dissolved salt will mean you are more likely to have a successful jala neti experience. My take away from this is don't be too quick on the pour!

Ms. Severns selected the head and shoulders above salt, mixed it with the essential oil blend and she decided "this was the product that needed to go out into the world." Her first product was not a neti pot, it was neti pot salt and her company was a neti pot salt company for many years.

Over a year ago, it became obvious that their customers, especially their wholesale customers, were looking for a neti pot as well. That's when I set out to design a neti pot that combined the best of what was out there and had a unique look to it and would make my company stand out and had the same aesthetic as the salt Ms. Severns explained and that's where they are today.

Aromatherapy uses aromas from essential oils made from plants to heal and it works on the emotional, physical and mental levels. Into the Scented Gardens Aromatic Salt leverages the healing properties of three essential oils: tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Essential oils have a long history going back thousands of years as the Arabic countries were first credited with distilling plants for the oils. Modern aromatherapy was born in 1978 when Paul Belaiche published a three volume study of aromatherapy and its clinical uses to treat a wide variety of infections and degenerative illnesses. Essential oil quality needed to be improved from the quality used for the flavor and fragrance industries. As aromatherapy gained acceptance in France, Henri Viaud, a pioneer of French aromatherapy, demanded purity of essential oils. He is also responsible for terminology to clarify the quality needed for essential oils when used for medicinal purposes; genuine with no type of manipulation and authentic from a specific plant type.

Essential oils can be produced in several ways and it requires specialized equipment that will separate the essential oil from fresh plant material. The plant used will determine the production method. Only about five percent of the essential oils today are produced to use in aromatherapy, while the remaining oils are used in perfume and flavoring. The water/steam distillation method uses steam to draw the essential oils from the plants. The plant is suspended in a closed container over boiling water so that the steam rises carrying the essential oil from the plant and enters a long tube called a condenser which is immersed in cold water. The tube is usually made of copper and it is coiled to fit. The tube�s purpose is to cool the steam so that it turns back into water and essential oil. At the end of the tube the water and essential oil drains out into a receiving vessel together. The receiving vessel is wide on the bottom and narrow at the top like a Florentine flask. The water and essential oil are left in the flask so they separate and the essential oil raises to the top and the water stays below. The water part is where we get the hydrosol you buy like rose water, lavender water and rosemary water. In the end of the distillation process you get lots of hydrosol and very little essential oil. Into the Scented Garden uses genuine and authentic essential oils produced by the water/steam distillation method or by the similar steam distillation method.

Tea tree oil is famous for its anti-microbial qualities which have a wide spectrum of action. It is said to be the perfect oil for treating infection of the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums, acne, herpes, bacterial Candida, fungus conditions and viral intestinal infections. There are no known contraindications. Tea tree oil comes from a medium size Australian tree that looks very similar to the eucalyptus tree which is its relative. Paper-bark tree is the nickname of the tea tree because the bark peels off the trunk of the tree. There are 300 species and subspecies of tea tree. Several of these species are used for creating tea tree essential oil.

Palmarosa essential oil is effective against viruses as well as bacteria, yet it is mild, non-toxic and has a sweet smell. It is also relatively inexpensive and has no known contraindications, so it is a good component to have in antiseptic skin care products. Palmarosa when inhaled has expectorant effects which are most effective for dry, nervous coughs.

Rosemary�s name is derived from rosmarinus which means dew of the sea. Rosemary is grown all around the world, but the main producers of rosemary essential oil are France, Spain, Croatia, Corsica, and Tunisia. Rosemary has a very woody and herbaceous smell, almost like camphor. Rosemary stimulates the nervous system increasing energy, improves memory, helps the lymphatic system drain waste, relieves lung and sinus congestion, muscle pain, promotes digestion, and reduces nausea discomfort. It fights viruses like canker sores. Topically it can help dry, mature skin produce its own oil, treat acne and reduce hair loss. This oil is an aromatherapy classic because of its cell regenerating qualities and how well it is tolerated by the skin. For aromatherapy however, rosemary can be problem oil because it is sometimes adulterated or diluted. According to German experts, the cost of manufacturing rosemary oil is at least $112 to $170 per kilogram. So you must pay attention to the source of this oil and only buy from manufacturers who produce rosemary oil for the aromatherapy market.

Now that we have an overview of the three essential oils used by Into the Scented Garden Aromatic Salt, lets look at what Ms. Severns had to reveal about her selection of those three oils for her blend. In aromatherapy there is a big concept of synergy which is the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. So the way you get synergy is you collect oils that give the same or similar benefits or theyre closely related in some way and you blend those together to amplify the action. This blend is definitely a synergistic blend in that sense. Two of the oils, tea tree and palmarosa, are very similar in their action and the third one rosemary has some of the same qualities and it also has some additional benefits.

Using pure natural oils is important to aromatherapists and Mother Nature adds some variability to the quality of the oil. The weather and types of soil can actually alter the aromatic plants chemistry. So finding good essential oils is a bit like finding good wine; good essential oils are full bodied. There are essential oil qualities that help to categorize their scent which help determine the quality of the oil; soft or strong, mellow or sharp, smooth or harsh, sweet or bitter or sour, full or flat. Poorer quality oils tend to smell sharp, harsh or bitter. Interestingly, we often think of citrus as smelling a little sour, but the best citrus smells sweet. A designation of organic on essential oils has many different meanings depending on where the plant is grown and the organic designation is not regulated. Also, many of the plants that are used to produce essential oils grow wild like eucalyptus and cedar trees. The factors that produce a better smelling quality essential oil are the climate, how well the plants are harvested and stored, how it is extracted and how the final oil is stored.

So what criteria does Ms. Severns use for selecting the oils? According to Ms. Severns, buying essential oils is extremely problematic because there are lots of synthetic and doctored oils out there. This is something I thought about since I started training as an aromatherapist in 1992 because this is such an issue in aromatherapy. I have had a personal experience from using bad essential oils that gave me a headache. Some of the rosemary oil on the market is known to be doctored which means there is more of it sold on the world market than is produced according to Ms. Severns. It is the most expensive oil in the blend and therefore the most likely to have been adulterated. The key criterion that Ms. Severns uses to ensure pure quality oil is to know the source; one of the three oils I personally know the distiller and I know a lot about that oil. It is well crafted oil and that happens to be the rosemary oil.The other two oils she buys from an importer of essential oils who she also knows personally and she knows that they travel to the source. If these importers have a question about an essential oil they test it. One of the owners of the import business is a chemist, so she feels that she has hired them to do the due diligence.

The production process for Into the Scented Garden Aromatic Salt is rather straight forward once Ms. Severns designed the blend, sourced the oils, and selected the best salt. The oil blend is mixed in its proper proportions and stored in half liter glass containers which are placed in oil cabinets to keep them fresh. The proportions of the oil blend are a secret, but she did tell me they are not mixed in by thirds! Salt production mixes the essential oil blend with the salt in commercial mixers producing nine pound batches. The batches are packaged into bottles, sealed and capped, ready for distribution.

Jala Neti is the process of cleaning your nostrils with a saline water solution. It is necessary to use salt in the water because the salt increases the density of the water making the solution compatible with the mucus membranes in your inner nose. Salt is also a traditional healing substance known to draw out excess fluid from swollen tissues. The essential oils we have reviewed further enhance the healing properties of the salt water solution according to Ms. Severns. Washing your nasal passages is recommended for sinus sufferers, allergy sufferers and frequent travelers.

The sinuses are located above the nasal passages, so having healthy nasal passages is necessary to have properly functioning sinuses. The sinuses have outlets that drain into your nasal passages and if these outlets become clogged, the sinuses cannot drain properly. Keeping the outlets clear helps sinus sufferers reduce or eliminate sinus pain and infection. Patients with chronic sinus symptoms can safely and effectively use jala neti long-term to improve their condition.

Allergy sufferers can be helped by washing away pollen and mold spores from the nasal passages to support the overall health of the mucus membranes. Rinsing away irritants in the nasal passages can ease the burden on the respiratory and immune systems during pollen and mold seasons.

When we travel by airplane, we are submitted to breathing dry, recycled air. Travel is generally a bit stressful and combined with the quality of the air in the airplane cabin, our immune system can be taxed so we are more vulnerable to germs. Rinsing the nasal passages after a flight can help flush away germs that may compromise our immune system.

My personal experience using Aromatic Salt with my neti pot has convinced me of its benefits so I have recommended its usage to my yoga students, family and friends. I have heard positive feedback from those who have tried the Aromatic Salt, even long time nasal wash practitioners. When I first tried the Aromatic Salt, I felt immediate improvement in my breathing and my ears began to clear. The sinus pressure from my allergies was relieved and my head and mind felt clearer. It was a great feeling and I have continued to wash my nasal passages on almost a daily basis. I don�t see such dramatic improvements daily, but I know that washing my nasal passages improves my allergy and sinus symptoms, which promotes better sleep.

My son and his wife started to use Into the Scented Garden Aromatic Salt and it has helped relieve both their allergy symptoms. Recently a friend of mines eleven year old son had been plagued with sinus issues for six weeks and so I gave her a bottle of Aromatic Salt. Her son said he felt immediate relief from the pressure and pain which was demonstrated by the fact that he continued to wash his nasal passages daily.

The use of essential oils in the Into the Scented Garden Aromatic Salt combined with rinsing away irritants and germs by doing jala neti is of great benefit to us now and may be even more important in the future. Research indicates that the success of essential oils as anti-microbial agents may warrant more medical consideration because of the worldwide increase of bacterial resistance for many strains of disease-producing bacteria. Studies indicate that essential oils may be considered in combination with topical and antibiotic therapies, but further research is needed to determine what pathogens would be best fought, in what doses and methods of delivery. Essential oils have minimal, if any toxicity and they generally have a pleasant odor, so patients may use them more easily. The initial antimicrobial study done by Settineri and Krassner demonstrates that studying formulations of essential oils to combat antibiotic-resistant strains, viruses, fungi, mycoplasma, chlamydia and yeasts can benefit human health through alternative and complementary therapies.

When I first walked in the door at Into the Scented Garden I was greeted with the wonderful scent of the essential oil blend which permeates the whole office. From what I have studied and experienced, a natural product that smells as good as their Aromatic Salt can only enhance the experience. Everyone is unique so your experience may be different from mine or the stories I have listed, however, you may find it rewarding to try jala neti with the wonderful Aromatic Salt from Into the Scented Garden.

Leslie Ottavi is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and business consultant.



Dorothy Severns
Into the Scented Garden LLC
fax 650 292-9526

Custom Into the Scented Garden Neti Pot Now Available

San Mateo, California, November 26, 2007  The Aromatic Salt company, Into the Scented Garden, producer of the highest quality nasal wash salt in the industry, announced today the availability of the first Neti Pot uniquely designed with the Into the Scented Garden customer in mind. Conceived and manufactured to the highest standards of quality and ergonomic function, the Into the Scented Garden Neti Pot fully integrates with the complete range of products available from the company, and is guaranteed to enhance the use of those products.

Experienced nasal wash users know that there are two principle factors that influence the comfort and effectiveness of this health-sustaining practice. The first is the quality and ease-of-use of the Aromatic Salts. The all-natural, additive-free salts available from Into the Scented Garden have been hailed as the leading products on the market for many years -- hand made and consistently produced to impeccable standards. Now the company is releasing an Into the Scented Garden Neti Pot designed to those same exacting standards, guaranteed to provide a healthy, natural delivery mechanism for the salts that are part of a careful regimen and healthy lifestyle.

"The Neti Pot from Into the Scented Garden has been a long time in coming," commented Dorothy Severns, president and chief executive officer of Into the Scented Garden. "For many years, we have been proud to sell neti pots from other manufacturers as an added convenience to the many customers of our marvelous salt products. It is from that experience, and with valuable feedback from our customers and our own in-house research, that we are now very excited to announce our own, custom-designed Neti Pot specifically conceived and manufactured with our discerning customers in mind. Not only is this Neti Pot going to be the easiest device nasal wash enthusiasts have ever used, it is also going to be the most beautiful. I am completely confident our existing customers will be delighted. And for those customers new to the Into the Scented Garden family, we are also quite certain that their nasal wash experience will be ideal from the get-go using our own custom-designed Neti Pot."

Leslie Ottavi, yoga instructor, studio director for Yoga at Change, and developer of yGuide Yoga Software, remarked, "The aficionados of lifestyles characterized by health and sustainability continue to demand products that will help them to pursue their goals. Our instructors and students enthusiastically use Aromatic Salt products from Into the Scented Garden because we understand the philosophy that goes into their manufacture. We celebrate the fact that the company is now making their own custom-designed Net Pots available, as well. I have personally incorporated the Into the Scented Garden Neti Pot into my own daily routine and can attest that it is the easiest to use and most beautiful neti pot I have used."

The Into the Scented Garden Neti Pot is 6" high and 8" long, and weighs 7 ounces. Made from the highest grade ceramic, and glazed to a tranquil celadon green, the pot is designed to be comfortable for a range of sizes of hands and nostrils. The angle and size of the spout is the most ergonomically satisfying in the industry, and is also designed for maximum comfort and usability. It comes boxed and shrink-wrapped with an instructional insert.

Into the Scented Garden Neti Pots are shipping now. Suggested retail price is $16.95, with standard industry discounts available. For additional information on the Into the Scented Garden Neti Pot contact Into the Scented Garden or visit