Oil Pulling

In this riveting sequel to 'Skin Brushing', blogger Jess Bennett revitalizes her obsession with ancient and biblical practices to explore a detox method traditionally performed by monks.

Since we recently covered skin brushing as a detoxing remedy, I thought we could continue along the same theme with an ancient custom that’s been on my radar recently: oil pulling.

Oil pulling or oil swishing is an ayurvedic alternative medicine remedy that is traditional in India and has been popularized by monks. It is said to pull toxins out of the body through the saliva in ones mouth. Like many alternative therapies, there is a good chunk of anecdotal evidence to support its benefits, but it has not been subject to clinical studies.

People claim that the benefits range from whiter teeth, to more radiant skin as well as a reduction in colds and allergies, headaches and other daily ailments we all experience, probably shouldn't, and regularly ignore. The idea is that, as you swish oil in your mouth, it draws nasty toxins from your body and then you spit out the toxins that have been accumulated when you spit out the oil. Some have compared its effects to chlorhexidrine in reducing dental plaque and gingival risks.

As someone whose life was drastically improved by consistent use of a neti pot, I’m open to other ayurvedic remedies that are purported to elevate ones quality of life. And for those of you who have been following this blog for a long time, you will likely note my deep affection for ancient and biblical things.

How it works
Oil pulling involves taking a tablespoon of oil into ones mouth and swirling it about for approximately 15-20 minutes. It is recommended to do this in the morning. Typical oil selections include sesame or sunflower, but I’ve also heard of people gently heating coconut oil until it’s no longer solid and using it instead. As the oil mixes with your saliva, it will become frothy and white. After swishing is complete, the oil is spit out and the teeth are rinsed and brushed.

Some people have experienced a gag reflex in the early days of pulling, but this typically passes as they grow more accustomed to the practice. Since I’ve just started experiementing with oil pulling, I’ll keep you posted on whether I notice any differences!

Have you tried oil pulling before and had any success? Are you skeptical about these kinds of remedies?


  1. Okay, this is one thing I don't know I can get on board with. The thought alone had my stomach churning!

  2. So far, I've tried this once, with less than ideal results. Try, try again :)