Oil-pulling is a subject that has come up around our offices now and then. Who’s tried it, who doesn’t get it. Here, Diana Ryu, editor at the addictive shopping site Beso.com, and a HuffPo Style and LuckyMag contributor, revives the topic for us. Oil-pulling is the ancient practice of detoxifying the body through the mouth. Oil, traditionally sesame oil, is swished in the mouth til toxins are absorbed from the saliva and spit out. Hours of Google research isn’t as effective as the word of just one girl who’s tried it, stuck with it, and loved it!
I gargle with coconut oil. Everyday. Each morning when my alarm clock rings, I hold my breath and beeline for the kitchen to shove a heaping spoonful of coconut oil into my mouth. I wait for the lard-like consistency to melt, pushing the stuff through my teeth, over my tongue and from cheek to cheek for twenty minutes before I spit and start my day.
I’ve always been the type to catch every contagious sickness lurking around the office — even a simple coffee date with a flu-ridden friend would lead to my quick demise and render me helpless in a matter of days. God forbid if I stayed out a little too late, or stressed about a deadline, because there would undoubtedly be an excruciatingly painful canker sore the next morning. When I saw my cousin a year ago, her skin was dewy and from-the-inside glowing. Her secret: swishing with coconut oil for twenty minutes every morning, which she claimed had jumpstarted her immune system. I balked. Oil? For how long? She assured me that it goes fast (just hop in the shower and when finished, it’s time to spit) and so, intrigued, I hopped online to do my own research and to my surprise, I found a devoted community that swore by the amazing aftereffects.
Oil pulling, or oil swishing is an ancient Ayurvedic technique, touted by yogis as a natural way to strengthen the immune system by killing toxic yeast that makes its way from your stomach to mouth while you sleep. The science seems to stand sound: our mouths can determine non-oral health issues and unsurprisingly, dentists can diagnose acid reflux, diabetes and heart disease just by symptoms seen during normal check-ups. I was convinced and headed straight for my local specialty grocery store to invest in a jar of virgin unrefined coconut oil. You don’t have to use coconut, but I prefer it in lieu of sunflower and sesame because of its natural antifungal properties (and honestly, it tastes like a candy bar). Be warned: coconut oil comes semi-hardened so you must melt it in your mouth.
I felt results in a matter of days. My sinuses drained as I swished, I felt energetic and alert, and my gums and teeth felt much cleaner than with my normal brushing routine. (I should also mention here that you must scrape your tongue after you spit out the oil, or else you’re just swallowing oil residue with toxins in it). I’ve been doing this for a year and I’m ecstatic to say that I haven’t had one canker sore, nor gotten the flu or cold, even with the scare this season. The skin around my temples cleared up which, according to face mapping is a sure sign that there is something amiss in your stomach. Plus, I swear by it as a hangover cure: It’s a much healthier option than my usual greasy breakfast burrito. By all means, do your own research before you start oil pulling, but I can fully attest to how amazing the benefits have been for my annoyingly delicate constitution. Anyone out there willing to give this a try?