Oil Pulling for Detoxification

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Have you ever tried oil pulling? If not, today might be the day to try it. All you need is a good quality oil and a few minutes in the morning before eating, drinking or brushing your teeth. This guest post from Elizabeth Walling of Living the Nourished Life tells you how.

Detoxing is a part of the body’s natural process of removing unwanted and harmful substances. Oil pulling is one of the simplest detox protocols you can use. Using oil to remove toxins from your mouth gets at the root cause of many different health issues. But just like the health problems themselves, which take years to develop, noticing the effects of oil pulling can take some time and patience.  And unlike some detox protocols, you don’t need any preparatory measures to oil pull, you can just do it.

Regular oil pulling can provide great detox and health benefits for your mouth and teeth, as well as your overall health condition.  Learn how to prevent and remedy different health disorders by detoxifying your body safely, for pennies, in the comfort of your own home.

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I like to keep things simple when it comes to my health and wellness. Less is more: that’s my foundational approach. Less ingredients in my food. Less ingredients in my health and beauty products. Oil pulling fits right in with my philosophy. It’s simple. It’s inexpensive. Anyone can do it. The problem is: most people haven’t even heard of it!

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling was traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for improving overall oral health. It’s recently gained popularity in the Western world as a natural health remedy for a variety of conditions. On a basic level, oil pulling involves swishing unrefined oil in your mouth for several minutes at a time. (I’ll give you specific instructions in a minute.)

Oil pulling benefits

The list of possible benefits from oil pulling touches on nearly every health condition known to man (including gray hair!). I’m not fully convinced that oil pulling can improve PMS symptoms (one of its alleged benefits), but its oral health benefits are hard to ignore. They include:

  • fresher breath
  • whiter teeth
  • decreased tooth pain
  • decreased gum bleeding
  • decreased tooth sensitivity
  • decreased oral infections
  • improved strength in mouth and jaw

I believe in the oral benefits of oil pulling, because I’ve experienced them myself. As I explained in a previous post I’ve written about oil pulling benefits, flossing directly after oil pulling was absolutely the best at-home plaque solution I’ve ever encountered. It even rivals a full dental cleaning.

Oil pulling experts like Bruce Fife believe that oil pulling actually draws pathogenic bacteria and toxins through the tissues of the mouth. This facilitates detoxification by eliminating these harmful materials from the body. These experts report that regular oil pulling can help with:

  • chronic headaches and migraines
  • neck and back pain
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • skin conditions (acne, eczema, etc.)
  • sleep disturbances
  • chronic fatigue
  • diabetes

Oil pulling instructions

Oil pulling is pretty straightforward and very simple to do. Following a few basic instructions will help you get the most out of your oil pulling experience:

  1. The best time to do oil pulling is upon waking on an empty stomach. However, this isn’t always convenient, so you may have to use a different time frame.
  2. About one tablespoon of oil is used. Some use a little more, some use a little less. This is a personal preference. Some find it easier to start with a small amount of oil and work their way up to a tablespoon.
  3. Move the oil around your mouth in a slow, methodical fashion. No vigorous swishing! Gargling is not recommended.
  4. Be careful not to swallow any of the oil. According to the experts, it’s full of toxins and should never be swallowed.
  5. Continue swishing for up to 30 minutes. Now, you’ll notice this really works out the muscles in your jaw and mouth. You may only be able to swish for a few minutes the first time. I’d suggest working up to at least 10 minutes.
  6. As you swish, you’ll notice the oil becomes far more fluid and even foamy.
  7. When you’re done, spit the oil out and rinse thoroughly. You can brush your teeth afterwords.
  8. Oil pulling is usually done once per day, but some experts recommend doing it 2-3 times per day if you are ill or need more substantial detox.

Oils to use for oil pulling

A variety of oils can be used for oil pulling. Sesame and sunflower oil are said to be the most traditional kinds. I personally choose only oils I already use in my kitchen because it’s convenient and I trust them to be healthy. To that end, I’ve only used coconut oil and olive oil for oil pulling. I’ve had a few readers ask me how to swish with coconut oil since it’s solid at room temperature. I simply take a solid tablespoon of coconut oil and chew it up in my mouth until it’s liquid (it only takes a minute or so). Alternatively, you can gently heat the coconut oil over the stove until it’s melted.

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Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer and health blogger specializing in nutrition and wellness. She is a strong believer in real food and natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common health myths. Check out her blog www.livingthenourishedlife.com> to learn more.

Suggested reading:

Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by Dr. Bruce Fife

Want more information on detox?

It’s Time for A Fall Detox!

Want to Lose Weight? DETOX!

This post is part of Sarah The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Carnival.

17 Comments

  • Rachelle Eaton
    February 21, 2011 - 1:29 PM | Permalink

    I’m interested to try this, but I want to know what kind of scientific knowledge there is about what actually happens doing it. I mean, have they tested the oil for toxin content after it’s used? Have any studies been done at all? Beyond the claim that it makes the mouth cleaner, which is easy to observe, the rest just seems like hearsay.

    • February 21, 2011 - 4:32 PM | Permalink

      Hi Rachelle – as with many things people do, in the modern world, there is an unfortunate reluctance to trust historically-practiced, tried-and-true methods. I guess for me, I don’t need scientific evidence to prove something works when I can see observable results. There is plenty of “scientific” evidence around which states that various things are true when I know for a fact they are not, and you have to be very careful about believing a study. It’s imperative to know the source of the funding and who stands to gain from the outcome of a study. For instance, for the last 5 decades or so we’ve been told fats and cholesterol are bad for our health. And look at how sick and overweight so many people in modern society are, despite all their fear and avoidance of fats. Now there is scientific evidence starting to surface, suddenly, which tells the contrary. Why is that? This is why I say, be cautious when you require a scientific study to prove the validity of something you can see with your own eyes. Why not try oil pulling for yourself and see what results you get? One thing is for sure, with oil pulling, even if it doesn’t improve your health, it certainly won’t make you sick or kill you like many other things the world of modern medicine tells you to do, such as eat low-fat, plant-based diets for health, take drugs, and have procedures done because their peer-reviewed, double-blind studies said those things are perfectly safe and healthy to do.

      • February 22, 2011 - 6:09 PM | Permalink

        Raine, I agree with everything you said. I might add that oil pulling has been used in Indian medicine for thousands of years, so it is not a fad that somebody just dreamed up.

        Unrefined sesame oil is what was used traditionally, and we have used it with great results.

  • February 21, 2011 - 2:31 PM | Permalink

    Great post! First time I did oil pulling I had a terrible headache, I later realize that my brain was toxic and was cleansing as well. I now use therapeutic grade essential oils in the mouth to cleanse my brain.

    Elimination of toxins through the monthly cycle produces symptoms of PMS. The liver attempts to neutralize toxins. For example, in the Type A PMS type, which is associated with anxiety, the estrogen levels are high, while progesterone levels are low. This is often due to congestion in the liver, which is responsible for breaking down estrogen. I would use liver cleansing herbs if I had this problem. So, assuming the oil pulling is assisting in cleansing the liver, then, yes, I believe it may be helpful for PMS..

  • February 21, 2011 - 3:42 PM | Permalink

    I recently started oil pulling on the weekends when I have more time in the morning. I started because I was amazed at how effective oil skin scraping is (the practice they used in ancient greece/rome to bathe). Now I understand why cleansing with oil is so effective. It’s because many of the “toxins” or waste products from the body are fat-soluble.

  • Brenda Williquette
    February 21, 2011 - 4:02 PM | Permalink

    I can not wait to get started, Oil pulling makes such sense, I can not believe I have never heard of it. I wiil recommend this to my children also Thankyou so much !!!

  • February 21, 2011 - 4:24 PM | Permalink

    I tried this a couple months back and really liked the results. I’ve gotten away from it .. need to try it again! Thank you for sharing this excellent post at Monday Mania, Raine! :)

  • Tammy R.
    February 22, 2011 - 7:32 AM | Permalink

    I want to do this but am concerned that mouth is full of mercury fillings and wondering if it might not be a good idea to try detoxing with all that mercury still in my mouth? Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks!

  • February 25, 2011 - 9:35 AM | Permalink

    Very interesting! Are there any side effects when one first begins this therapy? is it safe to start while pregnant or breastfeeding, or should one wait until after pregnancy/ ceasing lactating?

  • February 25, 2011 - 7:42 PM | Permalink

    I wrote about this only a fortnight ago, oil pulling rocks!

    I have just finished reading Bruce Fife’s book “Oil Pulling Therapy” a fascinating read with many wonderful testimonials. I have been oil pulling for a while now and find that I have more mental clarity, sleep like a log & my teeth are staggeringly white- far safer, and cheaper, than going to the dentist for a whitening ‘treatment’!

    Initially one might experience the Herxheimer effect, where the body detoxes too fast, and one can feel ghastly, but after that it is a healthy addition to a daily routine.

    • Admin
      March 3, 2011 - 4:03 PM | Permalink

      Hi Joanna – thanks for your comment! I agree that detoxing too fast can cause problems. It is always my hope that people realize that when following detox protocols. I wonder if a person would have the same effect when doing oil pulling? It seems like a “lower impact” detox protocol than a lot of the other more intense types.

      I need to read Bruce Fife’s book…that’s on my list! :)

  • February 26, 2011 - 10:05 AM | Permalink

    A friend recommended oil pulling, so I tried this week and saw amazing results with tooth whiteness. I’ve been using coconut oil for cooking and taking a couple of spoonfuls per day for about 2 years. Recent blood work showed some positive results. My employees use to think I was nuts, but they’ve started using it and now love it. While living in Hawaii, my wife and I used conventional suntan oil (spf generally 15 to 30) and burned often. Our last 6 months there, we switched to coconut oil. What a difference. We tanned to a certain skin tone and just stayed that way. It didn’t matter if we were on the beach 1 hour or 3. As long as we kept applying coconut oil we were fine. Regards, Russ

  • Morgan B
    May 27, 2011 - 4:28 PM | Permalink

    I did oil pulling twice this week, both for 20 minutes, and have never felt worse. I am a very healthy person too, eating only organic, no meat, very little cheese, lots of vitamins, so I was pretty blown away that I would feel so bad after a natural detox. I had a massive headache for 3 days, runny nose, congestion, sleeplessness and loss of appetite. I used organic, unrefined sesame oil. Any idea what I could have done differently?
    Thanks!

    • Mary
      January 23, 2014 - 3:22 AM | Permalink

      I immediately got severe nasal congestion (to the point I could not sleep at all). I have been searching the web trying to find out if this could be just that I have such bad sinus problems, that the oil pulling will be “worse before it gets better.”

      Have you found out anything?

  • Singh
    May 9, 2014 - 6:32 AM | Permalink

    Every oil that you use for OP has different properties and qualities. Sesame sunflower coconut and olive are all good for oral health and detox but each oil act differently on the whole body. I have limited knowledge and it says that Sunflower is really good for lung problems of any kind, for spasms, fibromyalgia and other conditions I do not know of. Olive oil is good to uplift mood, eyes, digestion. Coconut gave me runs so I do not use it. Sesame is also a very good one overall. Make sure the oil you gonna use by rubbing some on your arm to check to rule out any allergy. The best thing to avoid detox reactions is to drink two glasses of water after every pull. Do it for couple of weeks and then when you body has got rid of excessive toxins, then you can have a one glass if water. Drinking water during first couple of weeks helps body get rid of toxins through kidneys which makes detox reactions mild or nil altogether. This is important.

  • November 8, 2015 - 10:47 AM | Permalink

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  • Bulie
    March 19, 2016 - 6:19 AM | Permalink

    I also oil-pull and have noticed a lot of clear mucus running down my nose as I swish. Is this normal?

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