Oil Pulling: Natural Detox for Health

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:

  • Acne
  • AIDS (For real! There’s a study in the Philippines…)
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Bronchitis
  • Cracked Heels,
  • Constipation,
  • Chronic Infections,
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Dental Health
  • Detoxification
  • Eczema
  • Gingivitis (link to a study)
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Hormonal Issues
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Metabolism
  • Migraines
  • Menopause
  • PMS
  • Stiff Joints
  • Ulcers
  • 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!)

You can also repin this post here:

Have you heard of or tried oil pulling before? 
I’d love to get some input from other people trying it who are new 
as well as any input, tips or tricks from those with experience.


  1. I would like to use coconut oil to heal my daughter’s cavities, however she does not swish. She is only two. Any suggestions?


  2. I have been oil pulling for about a week now, every day for 20 minutes, in efforts to try and get rid of my 2 cavities. I’ve already experienced amazing results. My teeth are whiter, stronger, and I no longer have any pain! I told my dentist I am trying to cure them on my own by oil pulling with coconut oil….needless to say, she looked at me like I was insane and lectured me on how I’m risking my dental health… well my teeth have never been better. I can’t wait to go back to my dentist and show them that my cavities are gone. Dentists will argue that oil pulling only prevents decay, that it cannot reverse it.. well DO NOT believe them. If everyone knew that oil pulling actually works to get rid of cavities, DENTISTS WOULD GO OUT OF BUSINESS! Its really that simple. So don’t believe the lies they tell you. Try oil pulling for yourself. You won’t be dissapointed!


  3. I have been doing oil pulling for abt a month, went to my hygienist to get my teeth clean, best cleaning ever she was really impressed with my teeth and gums. I will continue to oil pull.


  4. Hey There Theprogressiveparent,
    Interesting Post, I’m going to try oil pulling and I got some coconut oil but I’m not sure if its the right kind. It’s “All Natural LouAna Pure Coconut oil” is this a good kind to use? Thanks
    Great Job!


  5. My mother read about pulling in a newspaper column about 5 years ago. It was focused only on sesame oil for the purpose of dental correction and dental hygiene. It had the “how” listed, along with an unbelievable list of wonderful outcomes. I was not convinced enough to try it until my youngest child began having toothaches in the middle of the night during a time that we did not have a dentist (we had just moved to a new area). I began having him pull once a day with sesame oil in the morning. He had good results when he eventually got to the dentist. There were less cavity and extractions than I was anticipating from what it looked like the last time I was in his mouth.


  6. Love this post.. I just started a week ago.. and have noticed many AWESOME changes in my life.. I’m excited to see the results after 6 months. Keep smiling


  7. I tried it this morning… it was a little weird at first. 1 tbsp is ALOT of oil. I used Coconut Oil. (the kind that is solid & then melts). I saw some the other day that starts out as liquid. I'm wondering which would be better to use or if it would make a difference. I'm going to keep trying it, I'm always looking for a natural way to be healthy.


  8. Kena, according to research, using fluoridated toothpaste actually causes more brittle and hardened teeth, which in turn is a major cause of broken teeth and cavities. Chances are, if you are using Sensodyne or any other sensitive tooth type paste your teeth have been weakened by years of poor nutrition and mismanagement, and not necessarily by any fault of your own…most likely due to misinformation from your dentist. Yes, even hardliner dentist could be leading us astray. It is best to brush with baking soda or an herbal tooth polish AFTER oil pulling and rinse with cool to cold water as the cold water helps strengthen the tooth enamel and tighten the gums, in essence creating a stronger, younger bite.As a holistic practitioner, I've recommended oil pulling as a form of deep detoxing and have found that this alone has changed the lives of so many of my patients. I don't even use toothpaste any more and have found that my teeth are brighter, stronger and my gums are pink, tight and healthy. Do be sure not to swallow or ingest the oil you swish around in your mouth. It IS filled with many harmful organisms which is why you are doing the oil pulling in the first place. DO SPIT IT OUT at the end of your pulling session.Good luck on your road to greater health.


  9. Hello sir, How are you today? I am so interested about your post about on Natural Detox for Health.It is a choose able site for us.We are get various tips by this site.Really,I support this site. Your viewed topic of… is so important to me also everybody. I gonna you can to view my At Uniqfloors you can find comprehensive choice of Carpet Fitting surfaces areas in many shades and styles to go with individual choices.Many many congratulation for your Article.


  10. Nice tips you've menioned here. As for me, when it comes to detoxification, my partner is chlorella. I love putting it on my detox juice and I also take it as a supplement. The chlorella benefits that it gives are truly amazing and effective. Been taking it for more than a year now that's why I've proven it already.


  11. I've heard of this but never tried it yet…tomorrow for sure though. When I heard about it a year or so ago I thought it was a little different, but I am really into natural remedies so I was seriously going to give it a try, but then I forgot…so thanks for the reminder!


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