Oil Pulling - An Ayurvedic Remedy For What Ails You
This past year and a half I have learned some interesting things about the body and medicine. I've experienced food as medicine to clear up an infection. I've learned about using herbs and essential oils for all kinds of remedies. I've come to love reiki. I have found myself calling on an acupuncturist first when something goes astray. And in my latest medical challenge I have found oil. For me specifically it has been coconut oil and it has been fantastic. A simple statement on Facebook opened up a conversation with friends about the many uses for coconut oil - for skin, hair, teeth, mouth. I read about cooking with it (I use it almost every day with my eggs), eating it straight, putting it in coffee/tea, baking with it, using it directly on skin and then someone brought up oil pulling. I had a very rudimentary idea of what this was so I looked it up. What I learned, and continue to learn, was intriguing to say the least. I needed to get beyond the yuck factor and try it but first I tried eating it straight up and putting it in my tea.
If you aren't familiar with coconut oil, it isn't liquified like the majority of oils we cook with. At room temperature it is a solid. It quickly melts but eating it straight means you can't just drink it down quick. So it sits in your mouth and melts. Odd. But at least the flavor is very mild. But why coconut oil? Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties among many other things. I had an infection in my esophagus and the medicine I was prescribed didn't work. In fact, the symptoms got worse while on the medicine. Yes, this could have been die off but it wasn't pleasant. The medicine was finished. There were no refills and it was nighttime. So, I ate a teaspoon of coconut oil before going to bed along with drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. By morning the symptoms were easing so I took another dose of both. By afternoon I felt great. The more I learned about coconut oil the more I knew I had to continue using it. I put it in my tea. Yum! It taste good and my lips were soft. Double win!
To learn more about coconut oil check out coconutoil.com where they discuss all of the benefits including peer reviewed studies.
Back to oil pulling. What the heck is that and why would anyone do it?
Oil pulling therapy is a method to rid your mouth and throat of harmful bacteria and fungus. As defined on Wikipedia, oil pulling is a traditional folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth. Ayurvedic literature describes oil pulling as capable of both improving oral health and treating various ailments. While no medical research can solidify these claims, the amount of information available online and in books supports it.
Some of the most common conditions reported to respond to oil pulling:
Acne - Allergies - Arthritis - Asthma - Back & Neck Pain - Bad Breath - Bleeding Gums - Bronchitis - Chronic Fatigue - Colitis - Crohn's Disease - Constipation - Dental Cavities - Dermatitis - Diabetes - Eczema - Insomnia - Migraines - Mucous Congestion - Peptic Ulcers - PMS - Sinusitis
Additionally, medical studies have indicated other diseases that can be directly related to oral health and may respond to oil pulling such as:
Blood Disorders - Brain Abscess - Cancer - Emphysema - Gallbladder Disease - Gout - Heart Disease - Infertility - Kidney Disease - Liver Disease - Osteoporosis - Pneumonia - Stroke - Many types of Infectious Diseases
According to the Ayurvedic writings, sesame seed oil is prescribed. From my readings that was probably because sesame seed oil was a common household oil in India. Many people in the US use coconut, olive and sunflower from what I've read. And organic is highly recommended. I used coconut as it was directly related to the type of infection I was dealing with. The process of oil pulling is fairly simple - put up to a tablespoon of the oil in your mouth and constantly swish it around you mouth and between your teeth for 15 - 20 minutes. It is recommended you oil pull on an empty stomach. One reason for this is the bacteria levels are highest before you eat and lowest just after a meal. The color and consistency of the oil will change (milky white and thicker) as the oil mixes with your saliva and the toxins are pulled from you to the oil. Do not gargle or swallow. Many people will need to start with a smaller amount and work up to the 20 minutes. When you are finished spit it out - not down the drain - and rinse your mouth. It is really that easy. I experienced symptoms lessening with the first session.
There are many websites with information on oil pulling. A Google search brings up 29 MILLION results! One of the ones I like is
Food Matters. I'm also reading a book by Dr. Bruce Fife called Oil Pulling Therapy Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing.
I've been told oil pulling becomes addicting. I'm not sure about that but as long as I feel the direct benefits of it (and my teeth continue to whiten) I will do it.
Try it! What do you have to lose? Let me know what you think if you do!