Alkalol Nasal Rinse: Neti Pot Field Test
Alkalol -- what is it? And what does it have to do with neti pots?
Sometimes, sinus and allergy sufferers like to add a dash of something extra to their neti pot solution.
This brand of nasal rinse, available at health stores, specialty shops, or on-line retailers such as Amazon, is one popular choice.
But is Alkalol in your nasal cavities really soothing? And how about that mucus? Is it really thinner afterwards? Or just fresher smelling?
Recently, I field-tested this nasal rinse over the course of several weeks at Neti Pot Headquarters (aka, my bathroom). This is what I learned.
First, a Note About Neti Pot Additions
As detailed elsewhere on this site, a classic neti pot recipe calls for blending a slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon of pure, non-iodized salt (or sinus-rinse/salt packets) with 8 ounces (about 240 ml) of pure, lukewarm water.
But what if you're adding something special, such as Alkalol, to your nasal irrigation experience?
Well, when you add special ingredients to your neti pot solution, you need to be careful, especially about the salt quantity. Salt is needed to ensure a safe and comfy nasal irrigation experience. (For more details, please see the neti pot dangers page.)
It's a common neti newbie mistake to assume that the special ingredient can substitute for the salt. It can't. Or rather, it usually can't.
This begs the question: So when can the special ingredient take the place of salt? The answer? When that special ingredient IS salt. Or at least salty. At this point, we need to check the label.
If it's a saline solution, that means it's already salty. So, back to our featured topic, if you check the label of a bottle of this product, you'll see that it's a saline solution. Translation: It contains salt already. But does this product contain enough salt for you to use it with plain, pure (non-saline) water?
In my opinion, that depends.
Mixing Your Specialty Solution
Taken straight from the product's packaging, here are the primary directions. "ALKALOL should be used from one half to full strength – preferably warm."
But what exactly does this mean? If you go to the FAQ section of the the manufactur's Web site , you'll see that they suggest that if you're not using Alkalol full strength, that you blend this neti pot addition with either a premixed saline solution, or pure water (distilled, filtered, previously boiled tap, or bottled water).
Technically, this seems to suggest that you could use this product with saline (salty) water OR fresh (non-salty) water.
During my field tests, I tried the mix several different ways. For consistency's sake, I kept the same approximate ratio each time – about one half water and one-half Alkalol.
Field Test #1: Alkalol & Plain "Unsalted" Filtered Water. The first time, I mixed equal parts Alkalol and fresh, filtered water. Translation: I didn't add additional salt. Everything went fine, but overall, I didn't find the whole nasal irrigation experience quite as comfortable as I'd like.
Field Test #2: Alkalol & Saline Solution Made With Filtered Water. The second time, I mixed my regular neti pot solution, and then added Alkalol afterwards. This was noticeably better. I was better able to enjoy the "cool sensations" of the specialty scent (which has hints of menthol and eucalyptol.)
Field Test #3: Alkalol & Saline Solution Made With Distilled Water. The third time, I really splurged, and made my neti pot solution with distilled water before adding the Alkalol. This was my favorite yet -- super-comfy, nice, and smooth.
What this comes down to, I believe, is how much water is added. If the Alkalol by itself has the proper salt-to-water mix, it only makes sense that we'd need to add more salt if we add more water. This is why, in my opinion, it seemed to work best for me when adding Alkalol to the saline solution rather than to the fresh, non-salty water.
To clarify, if I were using the Alkalol full-strength, I wouldn't add any salt to it (because I wouldn't be adding any water).
Final Field Test Thoughts
Alkalol nasal wash is a popular addition to neti pot nasal rinse solutions.
Photo Credit: www.neti-netti-pot.com. Ok to use with attribution.
According to the packaging, this product :is an alkaline saline solution specially formulated to clean and moisturize the nasal passages, dissolve mucus, kill germs and bacteria, and provide natural relief from the symptoms of sinusitis and allergies."
So, how did it do in real life?
Overall, I had a favorable impression. It's not something I'd use every time, because for the most part, I'm happy with the results from my regular salt-and-water solution. But it IS nice to have a special addition for those times when I need a little something extra – like when I'm getting over a cold, have a long day ahead of me, and want to breathe a little easier.
Did it thin the mucus, as promised? I thought it did. But of course, the normal neti pot experience does that too, so it's hard to tell what, if any difference, was made. The primary difference, I thought, was in the menthol aroma, and the "extra-clean" feeling afterwards.
Where to Buy this Product
With neti pot use growing, so is the availability of these special neti pot ingredients. I've personally found this product both at a locally owned health and nutrition store, as well as Alkalol on Amazon.
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