Oh look, another new health trend which means…of course I gotta get in on this!!
I’ve been noticing that the ancient Ayurvedic act of oil pulling has been making the rounds in news feeds and social media. Like many of you, I had no idea what oil pulling was when I first heard about it a couple of months ago, so let me briefly fill you in:
(the website http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org has links to many peer-reviewed articles supporting the use of medium chain fatty acids and coconut oil to aid in many health issues and diseases.)
Oil pulling is known to be a very effective detoxification mechanism which in turn reduces inflammation, hence reducing incidence (and in some cases alleviating) many diseases and health issues related to inflammation such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and gastrointestinal issues, just to name a few.
***note: If you have mercury crowns or filling on your teeth, please do not start oil pulling until you consult with your primary care physician as it may pull some toxic mercury fragments which is dangerous.
Types of recommended oils: any pure, first cold pressed oil that is plant/ vegetable based such as olive oil, sesame seed oil, and coconut oil.
Recommended regimen: Everyday, take 1 Tablespoon of oil, swishing it around in your mouth, like mouth wash (do not gargle, DO NOT SWALLOW) for maximum of 20 minutes on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning as soon as you wake up. After 20 minutes spit oil into a trash can DO NOT SPIT OIL IN THE SINK AS IT CAN CLOG THE PIPES IF/WHEN IT SOLIDIFIES. Let it be repeated that you DO NOT SWALLOW the oil since it has pulled a lot of bacteria and other toxins from your mouth and it is now present in the oil swishing around in your mouth. (It helps not to think about this little fun fact while oil pulling).
I started with 1 teaspoon in the morning for 20 minutes in the first week, then gradually made my way to 1 tablespoon for 20 minutes in the morning.
Oil pulling has so many health benefits, but I was hoping to see improvement in these areas in particular:
- oral health – I don’t have the best oral hygiene, at best I brush my teeth every day, but I rarely floss and rinse with mouth wash. This is evident in my gums. They look puffy and not healthy.
- headaches- When I am not taking care of myself to my full potential I feel it in the form of headaches. I get them once a week like clock work, usually in the middle of the week.
- eczema- I have it on my arms. Nothing I have done thus far as improved the eczema on my arms.
My routine went something like this: As soon as I would wake up, I would take a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it around for 20 minutes. In those 20 minutes, I would shower, make myself a fresh juice and prepare my breakfast. By the time I was ready to sit down and eat breakfast, it was time to spit it out (in the garbage!! not the sink) and rinse my mouth with water a few times (its suggested to brush your teeth right after to really rinse away any residual toxins and oil).
So after two weeks of oil pulling, these are the final results I have experienced:
- Oral health- after the first two days, I immediately saw a difference in my gums. They receded back and had a bit more color to them. Over time, my gums continued to recede and look less puffy, my husband said it had a natural tone of pink to them rather than the dull white/yellowish tone it normally had. I noticed my teeth color become a few shades whiter which is always a plus. When it was time to floss, the tartar on my teeth had loosened a bit and it was easier to clean it off while flossing. I have become obsessed with the improvement of my teeth and gums and I found myself flossing regularly to keep up with the positive results of oil pulling. Another plus: what started as the beginning of a canker sore inside my mouth, it immediately went away after I started oil pulling. This stuff really does do wonders for oral health/hygiene.
- Headaches- I had a headache on Wednesday of the first week and I was starting to feel pretty lousy, but opted out of taking any pain relievers or drinking coffee for energy (which would have made me feel worse anyway) and decided to increase my water intake and relax. On Thursday morning, I still felt pretty lousy, which is typical the next day after a headache if I don’t take any pain relievers, but I started the day with oil pulling and continued to stay hydrated through out the day and avoiding caffeine regardless of my sluggish mood. Towards the afternoon, I felt better! Headache was gone! I was relieved. I hate taking any kind of medication if I can help it. Its been two weeks of oil pulling and that is the only headache I can report! I hope I can continue to use oil pulling as a great detoxing method and prevent headaches in the future.
- eczema/skin- Some physical symptoms due to your body detoxing is a skin break out. Mine is always on my back. At the end of the first week I noticed little blemishes on my back, which confirmed that my body was definitely detoxing due to oil pulling. Sweet! As for the eczema on my arms, I have to be honest I did not notice much improvement.
unexpected side effects: clearing of the sinuses. I did read that this is another positive side effect, but I didn’t think it would happen to me being as my sinuses weren’t bothering me. Several times, I had to blow my nose immediately after I spit out the coconut oil. Which makes be wonder if my headaches were due to my sinuses….interesting…
True story: I stupidly tried blowing my nose WHILE swishing the oil around in my mouth…not recommended! Another side note from Captain Obvious: yawning while oil pulling is REALLY difficult! Have fun with that one.
So if I had to rate my coconut oil pulling experience I would give it two thumbs up (two coconuts up?) ! I highly recommend giving it a trial for two weeks and see for yourself. Remember it doesn’t have to be coconut oil, it can be first cold pressed olive oil or sesame seed oil, just to name a few. Coconut oil is really known for its antimicrobial properties so that is why it is commonly used for oil pulling.
Some helpful hints from my experience:
- Be prepared for the texture of the coconut oil since it is at room temperature and is a soft solid texture. Something of that texture so early in the morning can put you off, so feel free to to lightly melt it in a small pan and transfer it to a spoon so you can take it in as a liquid instead.
- Pick a time frame that you know you will have time to oil pull. Mornings are considered the best time to do it, but as long as you are oil pulling any time of the day is better than not doing it at all. Pick a time that you know will not require a lot of talking and human interaction. Even if it means waking up 10 minutes earlier or going to bed 10 minutes later. You can oil pull in the shower or while doing make up and hair.
- Tell someone! especially your partner. I’ll never forget how confused my husband looked when he found me mute and pointing to a coconut oil jar, somehow hoping he can put it all together and guess I was practicing an ancient Ayurvedic ritual of oil pulling for 20 minutes. Besides, he was the first to point out to me the difference in color of my gums. A positive support system is always nice to have by your side when improving your life style.
- Still feeling squirmish about the texture of oil in your mouth? Start small and gradually increase quantity and time length. A teaspoon for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, then 20 minutes. Then graduate to a tablespoon for 5, 10, then 20 minutes.
- Oil pulling is considered a detoxification mechanism and detoxing may cause some undesirable symptoms like headaches, break outs, etc… so pay attention and listen to your body.
- Again, its always best to consult with your primary care physician before you start any type of treatment that was not originally prescribed or recommended by them, especially if you are currently or have been experiencing some health issues, just so every one is in the loop and you are covered in all corners.
If you have tried oil pulling before, please share your experience with us in the comments section. If you decide to take on the two week oil pulling challenge alla peacelovenfood, please come back in two weeks and share your experience with us!
Happy oil pulling!