Oil Pulling?

Cat doing oil pulling

Cat doing oil pulling

What exactly is Oil Pulling?

Ok, so it is obvious our cats won’t be oil pulling, but what can it do for me?  First let me explain what oil pulling is.  It has been around since ancient times.  The Charaka Samhita, documents dating back to 3000 BC talk about oil pulling and the benefits it provides.  If something has been around for that long, it surely isn’t a fad, and makes me a believer in its benefits.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual called Kavalu, or Gandusha.  Based on my research, it  was first introduced to the United States in the early 1990s by a medical doctor named Dr. F. Karach, who used it with success in his medical practice.

Basically it is a morning ritual.  You take 2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around for approximately  10 – 20 minutes.  Then you spit it out, preferably in a waste can so you don’t clog your plumbing pipes.  You do this ritual on an empty stomach, and after spitting out the oil, you rinse your mouth with warm water, and then brush your teeth.  Be sure not to swallow the oil as that would simply have your body reabsorbing the oils you had just pulled out of the system.  Swallowing the oil may also cause diarrhea or stomach upset.

You might be saying to yourself at this point that this sounds like a disgusting thing to do.  Well, it probably isn’t the most pleasant of rituals one could do, but there are a lot of health benefits you can enjoy from taking just 10 – 20 minutes each morning for this process.  You can also do this while you are multi-tasking in the morning, during your shower, or when you are blow drying your hair, or incorporate it into countless other little routines you do each morning, and the time will pass very quickly.

So let me step back and explain why you might want to incorporate oil pulling in your daily morning routine.  First off, our mouth is home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and toxins.  Yumm, doesn’t that sound delectable!  But the truth remains that our immune system can be compromised when we have excessive stress in our lives, poor diet, and when we are bombarded daily with environmental toxins.  The immune system can get overloaded and overworked and then these organisms can spread, causing tooth decay, and may contribute to a host of other diseases such as arthritis, and heart disease to name just two.

Oil pulling will help to detoxify the body, removing many of the toxins within our system.  There is no scientific evidence that supports this statement, however there are over 3000 years of personal testimonies, and from my perspective that speaks volumes.

Oil pulling is a simple and inexpensive way to benefit your body in a variety of ways, such as:

* Whitens your teeth without the use of any chemical concoction sold on the drug shelves.  That means no coal tar, fluorides,  aspartame, aluminum or  benzene which are used in other whiteners.
* Boost your immune system aiding in the destruction of organisms in the mouth that can cause disease.
* Healthier Gums
* Clears skin like acne, and psoriasis
* Increases energy
* Provides a clearer mind
* Clears sinuses
* Helps to regulate hormones
* May provide better sleep patterns
* Can alleviate allergies and inflammation in the body
* Improves the lymphatic system
* Strengthens the jaw, teeth, and gums
* Prevents tooth decay

What are the down sides you ask?  I haven’t found any in my research.  In fact, oil pulling does not stain your teeth, there is no leftover lingering taste, and no allergic reaction from the process.

There are a number of oils available to us on the grocers shelf, so which should we be using?  Again, through my research I find that sesame oil is considered the “Queen of All Oils”, however coconut oil is a close second, followed by sunflower oil.  You want to make sure you are using an organic oil which is cold pressed.  Cold pressed simply means the oil has not been processed by heating it to a point that destroys the beneficent qualities within.

I figured if I was going to write about this process, I better try it.  So, this past week I began my morning ritual by adding oil pulling. Currently I am using coconut oil as that is all I have to access to, but I do intend to find sesame oil and try that in the future as well.  The first morning I did the oil pulling, I experienced a burning sensation in my mouth.  It was bearable, but I definitely could feel something working.  I’ve been using 2 teaspoons, and swishing between 15 – 2o minutes.  I’m finding the first thing I do in the morning as I arise, is head to the kitchen and get the oil in my mouth.  Then I proceed to get the coffee on for my guests at the lodge, and proceed with the rest of my morning regimen.  Within no time, my time of swishing is up, I spit out the now white oil, rinse my mouth, and brush my teeth.

I have found that after the process I immediately feel a very fresh feeling, not only in my mouth, but it seems to flow throughout my entire body.  I also have a sense of wanting to be much more discriminating in my eating choices.  I am reaching for more lighter items, such as more fruit, soy yogurt, and green smoothies for breakfast.  That in itself, I know aids in better nutrition and will supplement the health benefits derived from the oil pulling as well.  Will I continue?  I think yes.  I like the way it makes my mouth feel, and again it sort of boosts my overall outlook for the day as well.

So, what have you got to lose?  Give it a try.  Even if you don’t currently have sesame, or coconut oil on your kitchen shelf, if you spring for a bottle to try oil pulling and don’t like it, you can always use the oils for cooking.  So no money wasted!

NOTE: Some people have experienced detoxification symptoms such as headaches, congestion, and mucous drainage during oil pulling during the first few days and this is purported to be caused from the toxins being pulled from the body.

For more information and other opinions on oil pulling check out Ayurveda Oil Pulling or this Dental Hypothesis.

Please keep in mind, oil pulling should be used as an adjunct treatment to proper dental care.