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Opinion

How nasyam can protect you from respiratory tract infection – analysis

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When I was a child, my parents taught me nasyam, the Ayurvedic home remedy for severe cold and sinusitis. The technique is to suck in large amounts of warm salt water and once it accumulates in the throat, it spits out. No amount of water should be swallowed. This procedure should be repeated several times through one nostril and then the other. You can also blow your nose once or twice to remove mucus and any residual saline in the nostrils. Over the years, I have benefited greatly from this remedy. The same is true for many others in my family. I have been able to avoid antibiotics on many occasions since my sinusitis resolved quickly with nasyam.

Anecdotal evidence is not objective evidence; but now there is objective scientific evidence of its usefulness. On October 11, 2016, the clinical virology department at Christian Medical College celebrated its golden jubilee with an international symposium on medical virology. One of my former students, Royal Infirmary faculty member, Sandeep Ramalingam, Edinburgh, UK, gave a talk on nasyam and gargling, and presented scientific evidence on the antiviral effects of chloride ions on mucosa cells. nasal.

In yoga, a similar procedure, nasal shower, with salty water called jala neti is practiced. In the western world hala neti It has become popular for the treatment of allergies and nasal infections. They use a neti pot or bottle, made of copper or plastic, with a mouthpiece that fits into the nostril. Since neti requires a neti pot, nasyam is what I prefer.

The medical use of neti Y nasyam It has been investigated by scientists in Australia, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, no research has been carried out in his home country, India. These investigations show that saline therapy in the nose protects against allergies to wood dust and reduces the severity and duration of the common cold.

Ramalingam investigated nasyam and gargling with saline and closed the way: chloride ions do the trick, sodium is irrelevant, but without sodium chloride, in other words, sea salt, chloride ions cannot be easily released into the nasal mucosa and without irritation or toxicity. Within the epithelial cells of the mucosa, chlorine in chloride is converted to hypochlorous acid, which effectively kills viruses already in the cells. This was the take-home lesson from his talk at Vellore in 2016.

We are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), caused by respiratory tract infection. The immediate question that arises from the foregoing background is the potential for nasyam or neti as prophylactic or therapeutic for Covid-19. On March 29, 2020, the Journal of Global Health published a paper by Ramalingam and colleagues, suggesting that hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargling should be considered as a treatment option for Covid-19.

There are no studies as of yet, but here is a simple and harmless procedure that can help protect your nasal mucosa from infection by any respiratory virus. I am sure that scientists from various biomedical research institutions will start researching to measure its prophylactic and therapeutic value in this epidemic in India.

We promote repeated hand washing with soap and water; In certain situations, repeated nasyam with salt water can help prevent infection with any virus or even treat infection, as it has documented antiviral properties.

Now that we’re all home, practice nasyam. If someone has cold or sore throat symptoms, everyone in the home could practice nasyam and gargle, with warm salty water, made with boiled and cooled water, with salt to taste noticeably salty, and use for nasal washes and gargle approximately every 4 hours during waking time.

T. Jacob John is the director of the Center for Advanced Research in Virology at the Indian Council for Medical Research.

The opinions expressed are personal.

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