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To Pull Or Not To Pull: That Is The Question

I'm a natural health coach, herbalist, and aromatherapy consultant using the power of essential oils to improve health and well-being.


Why I started oil pulling, and why you should, too!

Many years ago I started an Ayurvedic routine referred to as oil-pulling because I had read of the benefits of it. This oil-pulling was simply a swishing of oil around in the mouth for about 20 minutes, then spitting it into the trash. I found that it was helping with my gum health, in addition to my lung health, as it helped to pull mucous from my lungs. It also benefited me in other ways, such as alleviating the oral ulcers that sometimes developed and stopping the bleeding gums that had developed from lupus.

This ancient practice of washing out with your mouth with oil every morning, or even three times a day, has completely detoxified my body. This is a daily ritual, and an integral part of my lupus healing protocol, and one that I recommended to everyone with a chronic illness, or even those who just want a boost in their health.

Continue reading to find out what oil-pulling is exactly, and how easy it is to do.


What is Oil-Pulling?

Oil-pulling is like using an oil as mouthwash. It is an Ayurvedic technique of washing or cleansing your body using a technique as easy as swishing oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, and has been used for thousands of years as an Indian folk remedy. Oil pulling has been used in India and Asia for 3,000 years, where it is used to treat about 30 or more systemic diseases. It has been discussed in the Ayurvedic text Charak Samhita ( Sutrasthana 5, 78-80) as kavalagraha or kavala gandoosha, and much research continues to be done on this concept of oil-pulling.

I have been doing oil-pulling now for a couple of years, and I can tell you, I am truly impressed. As a lupus patient, it has definitely helped with the chronic pain that I sometimes had. It also helps with the oral conditions such as oral ulcers that sometimes developed. I also had regular bleeding of the gums and that has stopped.

History behind oil pulling.

Ancient Science

Oil pulling is clearly mentioned in the classic and most esteemed textbook of Ayurveda, the Caraka Samhita. Caraka says this about oil pulling:

Keeping of oil gargle provides strength in jaws and voice, development of the face, maximum taste and relish of food. One does not suffer from dryness of throat, lip cracking and teeth become firmly rooted. The teeth do not ache or become sensitive and can chew the hardest food items


How does Oil-pulling work?

How can oil make such miracle healing? What is the scientific reason behind this? Oil-pulling is basically a process in which the oil works as a natural cleaner for your mouth. Throughout the process it also works to cleanse the body. It is your body which is a healer here.

I believe that the body is programmed with the innate ability to heal from any infectious or degenerative disease. It is believed that the process of oil-pulling removes these disease-causing microorganisms and toxins in the mouth that can cause ill health.

Some of the fat-soluble toxins that we are regularly exposed to are:

o heavy metals
o parasites
o pesticides
o preservatives
o additives
o hormones
o environmental toxins

When applied to the skin, these oils may attract toxic fat molecules to the surface, cleansing them through the body’s largest detox organ: the skin.

When you are doing oil pulling fatty membranes of the toxic microorganisms are attracted to the oil you are pulling or swishing. As you swish the oil around your teeth and gums bacteria that may be hiding under crevices in the gums and in pores within the teeth are then sucked out of their hiding places and become part of the thick foam which is formed after oil pulling. This is why you need to pull oil in your mouth sufficient enough time to pull all the microbes from the mouth and bond them with the solution. Your saliva and oil together can attract and pull all the food particles and cleans and free your mouth from bad substances and maintains overall health and body's capacity to self heal.

When should you do oil-pulling?

Oil-pulling is typically done in the mornings on empty stomach before brushing your teeth. A teaspoonful of sesame oil or coconut oil is swished around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. This is a form of cleansing recommended by Ayurveda. This is said to remove toxins from our body. The modern version of oil pulling is done using sesame oil or sunflower oil, before brushing your teeth.

As with all ayurvedic practices, it is best to commit to the practice for a period of time in order to experience the benefits for oneself. Oil pulling every once in a while is great, but more frequency is better. For best results, make it a regular ayurvedic morning ritual before breakfast.

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The author's pearly whites.

The author's pearly whites.

Benefits of Oil-Pulling.


Benefits of oil-pulling.

If the eyes are window to the soul, then the mouth is a window to your body's health. The state of your oral health can offer lots of clues about your overall health, as they are more connected than you might realize. The beauty of oil-pulling is that the entire family can do it, and benefit from it.

The most obvious and most immediate results of oil pulling is that of improved dental health. You will see you teeth become whiter, gums pinker and healthier looking, and breath fresher. That alone makes it worthwhile. Other obvious results are the fixing of loosened teeth, and the stoppage of bleeding gums. Other healing indications: fresh, relaxed feeling on waking up, disappearing dark circles and puffiness below the eyes, renewed appetite, increased energy, better memory, and deep sleep.

What is really remarkable is that the health benefits don't stop there. Many health problems, including those which medical science has yet to find cures for, are also improved or completely cured. Oil pulling has the potential to help with just about any illness or chronic condition.

It seems unreal that swishing oil in the mouth could benefit one’s joint, heart, and immune health....but it does. It really does!

If you knew that using oils like sesame seed or coconut, adding some essential oils or herbs to increase benefits may have a beneficial and detoxifying pulling effect on your body, would you not do it?

Oil-pulling As Part of My Early Morning Routine


How do you do oil-pulling?

Oil-pulling is safe, easy and effective!

  1. First thing in the morning, before brushing teeth or eating, swish one teaspoon to one tablespoon of natural, food-quality oil (sesame, coconut, olive, sunflower or safflower) in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. You must do it this long for it to work.
  2. Do not gargle in your throat.
  3. The oil will be milky and foamy when ‘done’.
  4. Spit out the oil into the trash. Do not swallow the oil with all the toxins that you just pulled from your system, all the 'bad stuff'. If you have a septic system, spit oil into trash can instead of sink (in order to avoid potential plumbing problems.)
  5. Rinse mouth thoroughly with warm water.
  6. Brush teeth. I use an herbal toothpowder, rather than conventional toothpaste that is loaded with more toxins and chemicals. I'll create another post on my herbal toothpowder at a later date and link back to this.
  7. Your mouth will feel clean and fresh.

How to do oil-pulling.

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Sunflower seed oil

Sunflower seed oil

What oils work best for oil-pulling?

The oils used for oil-pulling vary widely. However, the most popular oils are

sesame oil

coconut oil

sunflower oil

olive oil

safflower oil

Sometimes these oils are herbalized with turmeric or other herbs and sometimes with essential oils to enhance the effects. One tablespoon of this oil is swished in the mouth and sucked or pulled through the teeth for 10-20 minutes.

Traditionally, in Ayurvedic practices, sesame seed oil is used. Make sure to use untoasted sesame seed oil, if this is your oil of choice. My dosha type calls for sesame seed oil, but I also use coconut oil because I love the taste.

Don't use this anymore! Oil-pull instead.

Don't use this anymore! Oil-pull instead.

Essential oils and oil-pulling.

Adding essential oils to your oil-pulling oil may help you get started so you get used to having oil swishing in your mouth. You can decide to stop using the essential oils later or continue. The decision is yours. Some people report experiencing gagging when they first start oil-pulling because of the taste or the fullness in the mouth. Adding the essential oils may help with this. Check out the difference in benefits with not using them, and using them to see what you prefer and what works best for you. Using essential oils in your oil pulling routine would be better than failing at oil pulling simply because you cant handle the taste.

These are the essential oils that I add to my oil-pulling routine, and the reasons why.

Cinnamon Cinnamon is anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, tastes good, helps with bad breath, helps with candida overgrowth, and helps to promote skin health

Thieves Thieves is a great immune booster made up of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary. It is highly anti-bacteria, anti-viral and anti-infectious.

Peppermint: Peppermint is good for giving you an energy boost both mental and physical, give you lovely fresh breath, and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.

Oregano: Oregano is traditionally used to help cleanse the mouth so it’s a good oil to be used with oil pulling.


Are you ready to begin an oil-pulling regimen?

Are you ready to begin an oil pulling regimen?

Maybe you are still researching oil pulling, are just beginning your oil pulling routine or even if you have been oil pulling for a while, I hope these tips & ideas help you get the most out of oil pulling. I do recommend, researching it, researching both sides, researching deep & researching it again. Research it, Live it, Love it!

Happy oil-pulling!!

Have you tried oil-pulling?

Tips from the experts

In summary.....

You are probably feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information, but there's no need to be. Oil-pulling is probably the easiest routine you can add to your day. Just choose your oil, whether it be coconut, sesame seed, sunflower or olive oil. You can add a couple of drops of your choice of essential oils to it, put it in your mouth and start swishing. It really is that easy. Swish for 15-20 minutes. Spit it into the trash. Please remember: DO NOT SWALLOW any of this oil. It contains all the toxins that you have pulled from your body. You certainly don't want to put them back in, do you?

Please feel free to post comments or questions. I welcome them.

Happy pulling!

© 2015 Gina Welds


S P Austen from Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada on November 04, 2018:

This is brilliant Gina, and I can tell you that I did oil pulling with sunflower oil some years ago, for a loose tooth and it repaired beautifully, helping the tooth to fit tightly in the socket and gums. This was in 2011-2012 and there has been no problems with that tooth since that time. You write excellently and this article is a good reminder to do this again, for all the health benefits. I particularly like the idea of adding essential oils to the mixture. Best wishes, Steve.

Gina Welds (author) from Tampa, Florida on August 14, 2016:

Thanks for visiting, Nellieana. I start the day with prayer, then oil-pulling. Recently my youngest son developed a slight cold, but the infection appeared in his eye, causing his left eye to swell up so badly. He decided to wear shades to hide his eye.

He did the oil-pulling twice, about two hours apart. By the end of the day, the swelling had gone down to where he felt comfortable enough to not wear his shades. By the next day the infection was gone.

I truly believe that oil-pulling and proper oral hygiene, of course, saved my teeth.

Please, let me know of your experiences with it. Take a before pic of your face, and tell me if you notice any differences in your skin over two weeks of use.

I also do the lemon detox in the morning. I also add a little ginger to mine.

Thanks for sharing the article. I am a huge advocate for natural remedies for healing.

I appreciate the connection.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on August 14, 2016:

I'm quite impressed by this method as you've described it! I am an enthusiastic natural health proponent. My parents were ahead of their time (born 1890 and 1892) in their belief in natural cures and eating healthily, though then, many things were consumed which have been eliminated from healthy diets such as animal fats and heavy meats.

I'm also a proponent of the best natural oils. I normally drink a first-thing-of day cup of freshly squeezed lemon-juice in warm water for its benefits. Today I'll try the oil-pulling with organic virgin coconut oil first. We'll see. I'll let you know.

By the way, I have a friend with lupus, so will suggest that she read your hub.

Thank you for following me, too!

Gina Welds (author) from Tampa, Florida on October 10, 2015:

Lipnancy, I've noticed my whole face brightens up after oil pulling. I love it!

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on October 10, 2015:

For some reason, oil pulling makes you feel brighter, maybe the result of the toxins being removed from your body.

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