This is a research article I wrote back in 5/5/2015, updated July 2020
The oil pulling method has been practised throughout history by one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world. Today it is still practised and endorsed by many. It is stated to provide many benefits for health and wellbeing. In some cases, it is stated to completely cure diseases or, at the very least, help to alleviate symptoms of discomfort. It is inexpensive, practical, 100% natural and very easy to do at home. Basically, all you need is sunflower oil (or another of your choosing as discussed later in this article) and 20 minutes of time each morning, swishing it around inside your mouth. That’s it!
It has proven to be a useful healing therapy that has helped me personally, read my testimonial below.
Here is a bit of oil pulling history
Oil pulling has many reported benefits for curing disease, maintaining health and longevity. It’s a traditional therapy that was used in Ayurvedic Medicine, which was founded in India in mid-first millennium BCE to about 500 CE. Today, Ayurvedic Medicine is regarded as an alternative medicine.1
Centuries ago, oil pulling with sesame oil was prescribed as a daily routine habit for oral and dental hygiene. It was stated:
“It is beneficial for strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, improving gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One used to this practice never gets dryness of throat, nor do his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never be carious and will be deep rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables” Charaka Samhita Ch V -78 to 80. 2
Only recently (1990’s) did Dr.med. Karach re-introduce oil pulling to modern medicine. He said that:
‘Most illnesses could be totally cured by this simple method and it was unnecessary, to use surgery or all kinds of medicines with their so much harmful side effects.’ He also stated that, ‘man lives only half the time which he could live. He could become 140 or 150 years old, says Dr.Karach.’ 3
If you have any of the conditions listed below, oil pulling may very well cure or, at the very least, help to ease the symptoms of:
- Blood sugar level problems
- Bad breath
- Chronic blood diseases
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic skin problems
- Diseases of nerves, stomach, lungs and liver
- Difficulty sleeping
- Encephalitis and other women’s diseases
- Heart and kidney diseases,
- High blood pressure
- Intestinal diseases
- Joint flexibility
- Lack of energy
- Lack of memory
- Mental fog
- Oral health: bleeding gums, tooth decay, gum disease, loose teeth, tooth pain, tooth decay
- Pain: PMS, cramping
- Radiation poisoning
- Stretch marks
- It can also prevent the growth of malignant tumors
- Radiation poisoning
- Stretch marks
- It can also prevent the growth of malignant tumors
How It Works
Oil pulling works by eliminating most of the viruses and bacteria that enter the body through the mouth, nose, ears, eyes and skin. Our mouths are home to bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites and their toxins. Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in our mouths. The microbes are eliminated through the saliva and the poisonous elements are drawn out from the blood through the mucous membranes of the mouth via the meridian system allowing for a full body detoxification. 4 According to Ayurvedic medicine, mucous is a ‘poison’ that must be removed. The saliva is made up of Rasa Dhatu – the liquid portion of the blood, blood plasma, and lymph system. Oil pulling also encourages the blood and the lymph system to cleanse. The swishing motion activates enzymes that draw out toxins from the blood. 5
Oil pulling works with the meridian system in our bodies. The ‘meridian’ was discovered in traditional Chinese medicine as the path through which the life energy known as ‘qi’ flows through.
Acupuncture is a common healing technique used by practitioners working with meridians. Researching on the internet, I came across an interesting article where Chinese doctors perform ‘tongue acupressure’ to cure disease. It states that:
“Tongue acupuncture is based on one of the most ancient medical books in China, Wang Di’s Internal Medicine, and the idea that the tongue is the intersection site of all 14 meridians in the human body. Furthermore, according to Wang Di’s Internal Medicine, the tongue reflects conditions of the heart, which is the ‘master organ’ controlling all the other internal organs. Hence, a close relationship is believed to form between the tongue, Zang-Fu organ systems and the meridians, and that indirectly the tongue is linked by meridians to all the organs and parts of the body.”
Dr. Sun believes that the tongue is important not only in making diagnoses, but also in treating diseases. Being a ‘self-contained’ organ of the body, the tongue should have contained points and areas that reflect different organs and parts of the body.6
This is why oil pulling works to help heal the entire body, as toxins are ‘pulled’ out via the meridians. Here is an image showing how the sections of the tongue are connected via the meridian system to the organs in our body.
Oil Pulling Method:
- Take 1 tablespoon of Sunflower Oil (or other oil of your choosing) BEFORE breakfast. It works best on an empty stomach.
- Then with ‘great speed’ the oil is to be pulled in through the teeth with your mouth closed for 15 to 20 minutes. Swish and mix the oil thoroughly with your saliva just like you rinse your mouth out after brushing your teeth. Just try and get as much of the oil around all areas of your mouth. Pull, push and draw through your teeth as much as possible.
- Spit it out into the toilet or bathroom sink. You should see that the oil has turned white in colour and is much thinner, almost like it has turned to water in your mouth. If it hasn’t turned white, then you haven’t done it for long enough.
- It is very important to NOT SWALLOW the liquid as it contains toxic substances. (make sure to clean sink regularly).
- Rinse your mouth out with water several times.
- Use a mixture of ½ teaspoon each of bicarbonate of soda and salt in 1 cup of warm water. This will clean away toxins bought on by oil pulling. Now gargle the salt water in your mouth for a few minutes.
- Brush your teeth. (If desired, but not necessary)
What kind of oils can/should be used?
Sunflower or Sesame Oil, more than any other oils, have been found to be most effective in curing diseases. (I believe extra virgin coconut oil should also be added to the list of best oils to use.)
The best oils are always unrefined, cold pressed or expeller pressed oils because they don’t contain chemical residues and are nutritionally healthier. Refined oils are high heated, which destroys enzymes and other beneficial nutrients and minerals. 7
Having stated this, refined sunflower or sesame oils are known to be effective. Refined oils can still be used if it is more convenient. There are other options such as coconut oil and olive oil. Coconut oil is said to be effective against viruses and olive oil effective against bacteria and fungi. Organic coconut oil is known to have anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It can reduce an overgrowth of candida in the mouth. 8 It is also unique because it can withstand high temperatures without heat damage (unlike most other oils).
Although you do have variety when it comes to choosing the oil you will be pulling with, it is suggested that sticking to sunflower and sesame oil is best.
Contradictorily, it is also suggested that adding essential oils into the oil of your choosing has added benefits. Elizabeth Hammond of the ICT Institute of Complementary Therapies suggests using these essential oils to help treat specific ailments:
- On Guard – General immune system, mouth and gum health, teeth problems, halitosis, cold, flu, sore throat, virus
- Oregano – Flu, cold, virus, sore throat, swollen glands, cold sores, herpes, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antibiotic, anti-viral
- Clove – Mouth and gum, analgesic, antibiotic, antiseptic
- Frankincense – Analgesic, cold & flu, mouth surgery, mouth trauma, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory
- Geranium – Mouth and gum, throat, laryngitis, analgesic, antiseptic
- Grapefruit – Cleansing, detoxifying, antiseptic, antibacterial
- Helichrysum – Blood regulator
- Lemon – Cleansing, detoxifying, cold, sore throat, antiseptic, alleviates gagging during pulling oil
- Lemongrass – Herpes, halitosis
- Melaleuca – Cold, flu, immune system, braces irritation, gum and mouth sores, congestion, herpes, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic
- Myrrh – Mouth, teeth and gums, cold and flu, tonsillitis, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic
- Peppermint – Can alleviate gagging during pulling oil 9
I have no experience with adding essential oils as I have only ever used extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil and sunflower oil. I tend to agree to keep it as simple as possible but everyone is different and you may find that adding essential oils to your oil pulling may be beneficial.
You may experience a ‘healing crisis’
I have read many testimonials where people have reported their conditions worsening after oil pulling for a week or so. This is most probably due to the detoxification process. A detox reaction is common and many people think that oil pulling is doing them more harm than good in the beginning. Symptoms may get worse before they get better – this is the normal process of a ‘healing crisis’.
It is said that a healing crisis occurs when the body releases toxins at a faster rate than normal. The more toxins that are released, the more prominent the healing crisis is experienced. It may be easy to fall into doubt, to conclude that there is no positive effect taking place. But if you stick in there, you will probably see that the treatment is working and will come through feeling healthier in the end. It is said that a healing crisis is temporary. Signs may occur immediately, within days or even weeks of a detox. The symptoms usually last for a few days but can last longer. 10
If you are oil pulling for the first time…
Sometimes, mucous build-up in the back of the throat may occur which prevents you from finishing your oil pulling. If this is the case, spit it out and restart your oil pulling with a fresh tablespoon of oil until you finish the 20 minute session. Some people may experience nausea or gag reflexes, if so try your best to complete your time. If you can’t, then build it up gradually until you can complete your full 20 minutes. This is a sign that the toxins are being pulled from the body. Gradually these symptoms decrease over time as your body gets cleaner.12
Try and stick to a routine and don’t give up if you don’t see any positive signs for a while.
Good luck and thanks for reading.
10. From: http://www.mymiracletea.com/html/detox_reactions.html
3/9/2017, updated 10/7/2020
I have been oil pulling for approx. 10 years. Almost every morning, I take my tablespoon of refined sunflower oil or extra virgin coconut oil and swish it around my mouth and in between my teeth for about 15 minutes and until the oil turns white. Then I spit the oil out and rinse out my mouth.
I have found it to be most effective for keeping my teeth white and clean. I have also found it to be helpful in maintaining fresh breath and also significantly reducing bleeding gums and keeping mouth ulcers and sores at bay.
I cannot pinpoint any other specifics, but I can definitely tell my health has improved. Whether it came from the oil pulling or other modalities I’m also applying, I am uncertain. I can’t say for sure that I have had any obvious ‘Herxheimer’reaction or healing crisis I am aware of.
I would state that it has worked for me and improved and maintained my health, specifically with oral hygiene. I believe is an essential modality for people with gum and teeth problems, as I have found it to improve my gums and teeth overall.
Have you had positive results with oil pulling? Share your experiences below.