What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that is gaining popularity in modern times because of testimonials reporting outstanding health benefits. Simply put, oil pulling is when one takes an oil, like coconut or sesame, and swishes it around the mouth for about 20 minutes in order to “pull” out toxins.

Oil pulling is thought to work when the oil lipids interact with salvia and then absorb bad stuff in your mouth.  Users report that it is vital to spit out the tainted oil mixture somewhere like a trashcan or outside where you won’t come in contact with it again. This makes sense if you look at it from the perspective that illness often enters the body through the mouth.

While there are detractors who report oil pulling is nothing but a hoax, it has still earned a solid reputation as an effective and simplistic folk remedy. People have claimed that it helps everything from bleeding gums and dryness of mouth to whitening teeth and even preventing systemic diseases like headaches and asthma.

Although clinical research on oil pulling is slim, a study was conducted by Asokan S et al (2009) of 20 age-matched adolescent boys, which showed oil pulling led to a reduction in the plaque index. Hopefully, more research on oil pulling will be conducted soon to look at additional benefits.

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