Oil pulling… um, what?
That was pretty much my reaction when I first read about it. It sounds yucky- it honestly is a bit yucky- but much less so than it sounds. I read a bunch and tried it for the first time yesterday- something I will continue to do and keep you updated on my progress!
So really… what the heck is oil pulling?
It’s an alternative health method used in Ayurvedic medicine that is slowly making its way into Western society. Most of the American posts I found on oil pulling were on raw, Paleo or natural living sites.One site uses oil pulling as step one in a 7 step holistic health plan. It is done by simply swishing a tablespoon (or so) of unrefined oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes daily (preferably first thing in the morning), up to 3 times a day. The most common oils used are coconut, (my current obsession) sunflower, sesame (the most traditional) and olive oils.
Why on earth would I do that?
It’s inexpensive, easy, natural and can treat, improve or completely cure a variety of ailments. I made a list that had to alphabetized so I could keep them straight, there were so many! Oil pulling is safe for children old enough to swish, not swallow (think ‘old enough to chew gum”- children should use only a teaspoon full instead) and for nursing and pregnant women, as it is a natural, topical detox method and is not processed by the body and therefor, does not cross the placenta or enter breastmilk. In fact, You can even buy all the oils with food stamps!
Oil pulling is said to help with:
- AIDS (For real! There’s a study in the Philippines…)
- Cracked Heels,
- Chronic Infections,
- Dental Health
- Gingivitis (link to a study)
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Hormonal Issues
- Kidney Disease
- Lung Disease
- Stiff Joints
- Varicose Veins
- Weight Loss
So how does oil pulling work?
Swishing the oil around activates enzymes in our saliva to activate mouths that pick up bacteria and toxins lurking in our mouths, while the oil acts as a magnet, trapping the germy grossness (that’s a technical term) into the oil. (which is why it is important to spit out the oil at the end, then rinse and brush afterwards!) The best time to do it is on an empty stomach- especially since the first (couple of) time(s), it may make you feel nauseated, but more because that’s when all the cooties are at their prime; eating also activates the same enzymes in our saliva- only we normally swallow the grossness/cooties/germs/toxins/whatever, resulting in many forms of malaise. The skin in our mouths is very porous and there is a lot of blood flow. This is the reason behind why it heals so quickly, and is also one of the reasons that so many toxins can be drawn out (or in) through the mouth. This is the same skin that is in our colons, which is why colonics are also an effective method of detox. Sorry if I just ruined your breakfast by comparing the inside of your mouth the the inside of your bum, but hey- it’s the truth!
I found the following article labeled Bharat Savur’s Article Regarding Dr. Karsch’s Oil Pulling Method from the Hindu Business Line quoted all over the place, but scoured Google for over an half an hour, finding only this (very helpful) text quoted, but not linked, over and over again. I will keep searching for the original to link to- in the meantime, here’s the gist from someone who uses words other than “cooties” to describe the purpose and benefits for you.
“When Dr Karsch examined the gargled milk-white oil under a microscope with 600 magnification, he saw live organisms swimming in it. It’s poisonous, so never swallow it, he warns. These poisons are bacteria-embryos, which, if not eliminated, cause diseases. Apparently, Dr Karsach cured his own chronic blood disease and 15-year-old arthritis.
The first sign of improvement is in the teeth-they become firm and white, he says. Other healing indications: fresh, relaxed feeling on waking up, disappearing dark pouches below the eyes, anew appetite and energy, better memory and deep sleep.
Dr Karsch swears by the mouth oil-wash for anything from organ-disorders, skin diseases, menstrual problems, paralysis to every ache and it is in the human anatomy. You can gargle even when you have fever, he says, adding, it takes anything from two days to a year to cure a disease.
And if these claims sound exaggerated, he told a conference of Ukrainian cancer specialists, try out the process yourself.
Interestingly, Ayurveda advises oil gargling “to purify the taste-buds and the entire system”, as explained by Dr Deepak Chopra in Perfect Health. According to this life science, the tongue is mapped by organ-locations — that is, each section of the tongue is connected to the kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine.
Thus, an oil-mouth-massage soothes and stimulates the key meridians where taste meets organ. Simultaneously, as in any skin-massage, the inner skin and lining of the mouth, palate and tongue become warm and supple and the lubrication prevents dryness (the vatic effect).
In modern dietetics too, dryness is discussed. For example, lack of Vitamin A (retinal) causes the outer lining of the eyeball to dry and wrinkle, and affects vision.
And as any dietician would tell you, all oils contain 960 micrograms of vitamin A per 10 gm (the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A per adult is 600 micrograms). So, it’s possible that oil gargling helps in reaching the required retinal to the eyeballs and keeps them elastic and smooth.
Likewise, the Ayurvedic `purification of taste-buds’ also has its equivalent in dietetics as `antioxidants’. Oxidation literally means `the putrefaction of body-tissues’.
And oil-soluble vitamins, A, C, D, and E are antioxidants that protect and prevent the decaying process and help maintain the integral functioning of cell membranes. That’s why, many people are ingesting vitamin E pills to stem `aging’ (oxidation).
Since I am currently obsessed with coconut oil (and I like the mild taste) I chose to do my first pull using organic coconut oil I got on sale at Trader Joe’s at the beginning of the month. Coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial. It is full of antioxidants and helps the body to better absorb vitamins and nutrients. About 50% of coconut oil is lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid found in human breast milk, and responsible for much of coconut oil’s nontoxic & healing properties.
I had no problem at all swishing for twenty minutes, despite my initial reservations- I set a timer, checked my email and played my current phone game addiction to pass the time. When I spit out the oil, it was frothy and pink- maybe there was blood mixed up in there? Nothing hurt, anyhow and my teeth felt after-dentist slick, especially after brushing. (Oh, oil pulling is used to teeth whitening, too!)
I found a neat place to read testimonies and ask questions on a coconut oil pulling forum here. There’s suggestions there to add vitamin E for added healing properties, too. If you’reinterested in more reading, you can check out the Oil Pulling Therapy book- and yes, I get a nickel or two if you end up buying it through the link. Hey- everyone can use some nickels, right? (It doesn’t cost you even one nickel more to order through me, though. Woot!)
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