Name: Oil Pulling
Most Commonly Found: Although oil pulling came from India with its origins in Ayurveda, it is now commonly practiced by Ayurvedic practitioners throughout the world.
Stone Cold Facts: Oil pulling is a healing remedy which involves oil getting swished or held in the mouth. Its name refers to pulling away harmful toxins.
In traditional Ayurveda, gargling techniques like kavala graha and gandusha are used to treat imbalances in the various doshas. Differing from Western medicine, dosha suggestions are much more individualistic.
Depending on the season and dosha, a practitioner may choose to pull with sesame oil to combat dryness, conconut oil, sunflower oil or other forms of oil.
What to Heal:
While it is primarily known for its oral health healing, the benefits of oil pulling are plentiful. One study showed that oil pulling with sesame oil can boost overall oral health by significantly reducing Streptococcus mutans, a microbe that contributes to tooth decay (Global Healing Center). With that said, some scientists believe that the lipids in the oil reduce the adhesion of bacteria to the tooth and gums.
Other studies say that oil pulling can help relieve bad breath, as rinsing with sesame oil is the equivalent of rinsing the mouth with soap. Some studies even go as far as saying that oil pulling can reduce cavities by up to 50 percent.
In addition, oil pulling is thought to stimulate the lymphatic system and help aid in the transport of toxins from the vital organs. Benefits include, teeth whitening, clear skin, improved digestion, weight-loss, improved sleep patterns and boosted kidney and liver function.
Since it clears off toxins in the body, oil pulling also may increase energy and aid hormonal changes, as well as reduce headaches (Food Matters).
Charaka Samhita (Charaka Samhita Ch V-78 to 80) quotes the act of oil pulling as “It is beneficial for strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, improving gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One used to this practice never gets dryness of throat, nor do his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never be carious and will be deep rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables.”
How to Heal:
Related Chakras: If you choose to pull with sesame oil know that it is known to "benefit the heart chakra responsible for unconditional love for others and self, compassion, emotions and all kinds of relationships with the world, root chakra responsible for dealing with the challenges of the world and the spleen chakra responsible for the right to think, self-confidence, self-control and intellect" (Ayurveda Oils).
History + Lore: While oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual, it introduced to the modern world in 1992 by Dr. F. Karach, MD. He claimed that oil pulling could cure a variety of illnesses, ranging from heart disease and digestive troubles to hormonal disorders.