Spring is in the air, and nothing says spring cleaning like "detox". But this ain't no juice cleanse, Gorgeous, this is an ancient ritual that will help clear your skin, whiten your teeth and does it all 100% toxic free. If you haven't heard of oil pulling, at first read, you may think it sounds a bit far fetched. But, if I've learned anything in my twenty-some-odd years on this planet, it is that you should never knock it until you try it...especially when ancient people have sworn by it for thousands of years.
What is Oil Pulling?
From the roots of Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is an age-old ritual that is said to do wonders for your beauty and body. It is essentially the practice of swishing your mouth with oil for 15 minutes every morning to detox your lymphatic system and maintain optimum dental health (which leads to overall health and wellness benefits). Oil pulling is completely harmless and inexpensive, so before you close your eyes to it, read on, give it a try for a few weeks and then decide.
New to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a traditional Hindu system of medicine, which uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing to heal and balance. It is based on the five elements (earth, air, water, fire and space), which combined into the three doshas: vata, kapha, and pitta. Having a balance of these doshas is what leads to ultimate health. Now without getting too technical (I am no Ayurvedic specialist), wherever you have an imbalance is where you would focus and heal with diet, herbs, meditation, exercise, yoga and massage.
Dr. Bruce Fife, naturopathic physician who has actually written a book on the subject of Oil Pulling, notes:
"Most of the chronic and infectious illnesses that trouble our society today are influenced by the health of our mouths. Our mouths are a reflection of the health inside our bodies...Simply improving the health of your teeth and gums can cure many chronic problems....The oil acts like a cleanser. When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it “pulls” out bacteria and other debris...oil pulling has a very powerful detoxifying effect."
Oil Pulling has a great many benefits to overall health - and a healthy body translates into natural beauty.
The Beauty & Health Benefits of Oil Pulling
I started oil pulling last fall, and here are just some of the benefits I've been enjoying:
- Whiter teeth (with no chemical bleaching agents - i.e. white strips and bleaching trays)
- Pinker (read: healthier) gums
- Clearer skin
- Fresher breath (I love my garlic, so this is a benefit I'm loving)
With long term use other health and beauty benefits include:
- Regulation of menstrual cycle & improved PMS symptoms
- Decreased inflammation in your body
- Reduced headaches
- Better sleep (a natural beauty key)
- Fights cavities & gingivitis
- Improved (less toxically loaded) lymphatic system
- Increased energy
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Fibromyalgia and many autoimmune diseases
How Does Oil Pulling Work?
How does swishing oil in your mouth achieve all these benefits? Well, think of the digestive system as one - because it is. In fact, your digestive system is essentially a single organ from the mouth to the "exit point". Toxins and nutrients that flow through the lymphatic system and other channels in the body get absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract (read: stomach & intestines). This is often why the tongue is such an important diagnostic tool in traditional Chinese medicine. In short, oil pulling removes toxins through your mouth and glands by absorbing them through your mucous membranes.
How Do I Oil Pull?
Starting your own practice of oil pulling is easy, quick and cheap. It simply requires:
- 1 - 3 TSP of an oil of your choice (I prefer raw & organic coconut oil as it naturally has antibacterial/anti-fungal/antiviral properties from its caprylic and lauric acid content - Artisana is a great option - but you can use any pure vegetable oil like sunflower or sesame)
- Any additions you prefer (I add 2 drops of Oil of Oregano for an extra "antibacterial" effect, but this is not necessary to get the benefits of oil pulling)
I start my oil pulling on an empty stomach each morning:
- Rinsing my mouth out with water
- Put coconut oil + oregano oil in my mouth (I don't mind starting with solid-state coconut oil, as it melts quickly in your mouth, but if that bugs you, melt it down in a pot first)
- Swish for 15 - 20 minutes (I often do this when I am showering, as I multitask during my morning routine, which you can read about here)
- Spit into toilet (oil can clog the sink)
- Rinse out mouth and brush teeth (I have a separate toothbrush for my oil pulling, which I regularly disinfect with baking soda and HOT water)
DO NOT gargle and DO NOT swallow - the solution is filled with microbes, toxins and bacteria.
Let me know your experience with oil pulling, and keep me posted on your progress. Remember this is no over night treatment, although you will likely notice a change in your gums and teeth within a week.
Beautiful nature prevails yet again, stay well Beauties.