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Homemade saline solution that could help abate COVID-19

Many elders remember being told as youngsters to gargle with salt water to avoid getting a cold or sore throat. Well, guess what? Grandma may not have known why this was a good idea scientifically, but generations before her spoke of its effectiveness.

Thanks to Dr. Sandeep Ramalingam and colleagues, we now understand the reason why saline sprayed in the nose and gargled in the throat can kill the common cold virus.

Ramalingam and colleagues conducted an experiment. In a 2019 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, they studied 60 people who had developed a common cold. Interestingly, 25% of these colds were caused by one of the common coronaviruses. Half of the people used salt-water gargles and nasal inhalation and the other half did not. The hypertonic saline users had milder symptoms and the duration of the cold was significantly blunted. More importantly, saline significantly reduced the spread of the virus to others by 35% – a potentially important finding in the context of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). This is likely due to much less movement of the virus from the infected person into the environment.

A somewhat similar study was performed in 400 children 6-10 years old who developed colds and influenza. One-third of the children were treated with conventional medications while the other two-third used nasal saline (sea water) spray. These children were followed for 12 weeks. The children who used nasal saline regularly had quicker resolution of infection and less reappearance of illness.

Want even more exciting news? Another study in 46 adults followed for one year showed using saline nasal rinse daily significantly reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infections.

Our country is taking bold actions to curtail the spread of COVID-19. We should be bold enough to listen to sage advice from our ancestors. Science has shown us WHY Grandma’s remedy is likely to work against COVID-19!

In light of the tremendous transmission rate of COVID-19, it is our recommendation that we follow Grandma’s advice and use saline water gargles and nasal irrigation daily. Within two weeks, Grandmother may be smiling, as she watches a dramatic reduction in the spread of COVID-19.

Homemade hypertonic saline solution:


4 cups of freshly boiled water (rolling boil for 3 minutes to purify)
2 Tablespoons (tbs) of sea salt (or table salt) (non-iodized salt preferred but not critical)
How to make:
Wash the hands thoroughly
Choose a clean container/flask.
Add the salt. Pour the freshly boiled water into the container and mix thoroughly until salt completely dissolves.
Close the container with an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator.
Make a fresh batch every 24 hours.
To make a smaller batch, use 1 cup of water with one tsp of salt.

How to use:

Go to the website for complete instructions on how to perform nasal irrigation and gargling:

Frequency of use:

If you have symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19, repeat the usage up to every two hours during first few days as symptoms are present.

If you are asymptomatic and do not have known COVID-19, repeat the usage every four to six hours as a preventative measure.

At this point in time (March 22, 2020), we recommend all people in the USA do this hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargle.

We recommend continuation at least until the CDC no longer considers COVID-19 a serious threat in this country.
Dr. Bradley F. Bale and Dr. Amy L. Doneen

The BaleDoneen Method is fully aware that the World Health Organization (WHO) states: “There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.”

WHO is right in that there have been no double-blind prospective trials of people with COVID-19 using NaCl to perform hypertonic nasal irrigation and gargling (HSNIG). Respectfully, studies have shown this technique does inhibit common cold viruses, including the coronavirus (HCoV 229E). Waiting for a randomized trial to show this safe, simple, inexpensive therapy is effective for COVID-19 seems overly cautious in light of the current science and danger from the ongoing pandemic.

The research of Ramalingam et. al., published in the journal Nature, has provided the scientific mechanism for the effectiveness of HSNIG. Epithelial cells in the nose and throat produce the substance hypochlorous acid (HOCL). The amount of production is dependent on high levels of chloride. HSNIG provides the necessary chloride to generate concentrations of HCOL to kill viruses enough to mitigate symptoms and the spread to others.

Recent evidence indicates there is significant replication of COVID-19 in the nose and throat during the first five days of symptoms. The research also indicates these new viruses are infectious. This provides an opportunity to curtail the spread by killing these viruses with HSNIG during this initial symptomatic period. It can take days of infection to create enough viral concentration to produce symptoms. Currently, thousands of people have occult infection with COVID-19. They can innocently infect others. Empirically, use of HSNIG by everyone regardless of symptoms could assist in stopping the current pandemic.

The supporting research is provided as PDFs below. We invite you to read and make your own assessment.

Scientific Report

In short, here are a few highlight statements drawn from the research, which support our recommendation for all Americans to use HSNIG.

Epithelial cells mount an antiviral effect using chloride ions.

Once cells are infected, they produce hypochlorous acid (HOCl) very early post infection.

The greater the NaCl concentration, the more HOCL produced.

All the viruses tested were inhibited. This panel included a coronavirus (HCoV 229E).

It is likely to work against the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) too.

Evidence indicates significant viral replication and shedding occurs in the nose and throat during the first five days of upper respiratory symptoms.

HSNIG provides a safe, inexpensive and easy-to-use home treatment to prevent the spread of virus.

BaleDoneen takeaway: While this hypothesis needs to be confirmed, we do not see a downside to implementing this very safe self-care approach now, in addition to the current measures of social distancing and personal hygiene.