Oil pulling is said to be a powerful means of maintaining good health as well as an effective cure for a variety of ills. This is an ancient technique, first described in 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic texts, Charaka Samhita, where it is called Kavala Gandoosha or Kavala Graha.. The practice is simple. Soon after waking, before eating or brushing your teeth, swish your mouth with a spoonful of high quality oil in order to “pull” bacteria, parasites and other toxins from your teeth and mucus membranes.
First thing in the morning (and before meals, on an empty stomach), oil is swished around in the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, then spit out. That is all there is to it. No fancy equipment or complicated techniques are required. Cold pressed sesame oil is regarded as the best oil for this use. Sunflower oil also comes highly recommended. If these are not available, you may try refined oils or another pure vegetable oil that does not have genetically modified sources. However, oils other than sesame or sunflower have not been shown to be as effective.
Sesame oil is derived from the plant Sesamum indicum of the Pedaliaceae family. The seeds of the plant are known as benne, `gingelly` or `teel`. It is often used for cooking and as a flavor enhancer in Indian, Chinese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine. Due to the natural antioxidants present in the oil, it is least prone among cooking oils with high smoke points (its average smoke point is 420 degrees F) to turn rancid when kept at room temperature. Still refrigeration is recommended for optimum freshness.
Sesame, one of the first crops processed for oil, is considered the queen of the oil seed crops because of its nutritional qualities and many desirable health effects. Few people have allergic reactions to sesame. If you have a mild allergic reaction, try a different brand of oil, as manufacturing practices vary from one to another.
Sesame oil has a high concentration (41 percent) of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is a good source of vitamin E. Among six edible plant oils tested, sesame oil had the highest antioxidant content. The antioxidants present in it are mainly sesamol, sesamin, and sesamolin. Sesamin has been found to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol as well as limiting cholesterol production in the liver. It reduces the formation of fat cells and acts to lower blood pressure. Sesame oil is said to generally fortify the constitution during recuperation from severe or prolonged illness.
As with most plant based condiments, sesame oil contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6. Copper provides support for the nerves which regulate heart beat and provides relief for rheumatoid arthritis. Magnesium supports muscle, blood vessel, and respiratory health. Calcium helps prevent colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraine and PMS. Zinc promotes bone health.
Sesame seed oil helps joints keep their flexibility.
Keeping the skin supple and soft, sesame oil has multiple uses in skin care. It heals and protects areas of mild scrapes, cuts and abrasions. It helps tighten facial skin, particularly around the nose, controlling the usual enlargement of pores as skin ages chronologically.
In The Green Pharmacy, the prominent herbalist James Duke states that sesame contains at least seven pain-relieving compounds. Thus, sesame may also have some power as an analgesic.
In lab cultures, sesame seed oil inhibited the growth of malignant melanoma – a skin cancer – (Prostaglandin Leukatrines and Essential Fatty Acids 46: 145-150, 1992) and replication of human colon cancer cells (Anti Cancer Research 11: 209-216, 1992).
Two scientific studies indicate the effect of oil pulling against specific bacteria in the mouth cavity. Streptococcus mutans, which reportedly causes dental caries, was measured. Subjects swished sesame oil in their mouths for ten minutes a day. Within a week, bacterial counts in the mouth were significantly lowered.
The mouth contains many blood vessels quite close to the surface. When food is thoroughly chewed, it mixes with saliva which contains a large number of enzymes. Many nutrients are absorbed through the buccal tissue (tissues inside the mouth) before food descends to the stomach. In fact, with enough chewing, forty percent of carbohydrate digestion takes place in the mouth. Thus, the beneficial effects of the sesame oil can be transmitted to the body, without swallowing it. While some controversy exists about whether molecules can be passed through these membranes into the mouth, there is a sense in which oil pulling may remove toxins from the body.
Oil, which is composed of fat molecules, is a medium which is very absorbent. The fat in your body stores certain vitamins, excess hormones, and many toxic chemicals.
Sesame oil is reputed to penetrate the skin easily, and is used in India for oil massage. Sesame seed oil absorbs quickly and penetrates through the tissues to the very marrow of the bone. It enters into the blood stream through the capillaries and circulates. The liver does not sweep sesame seed oil molecules from the blood, accepting those molecules as friendly. Oil soluble toxins are attracted to sesame seed oil molecules which can then be washed away. These same properties may take place in the buccal tissues during oil pulling.
Here is the oil pulling procedure, step by step:
Step 1: First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and before drinking any liquids (including water), pour exactly one tablespoon of sesame or sunflower oil into your mouth. Use one teaspoon for children old enough to be able to swish it without swallowing it – most sources suggest an age of five. If you wear dentures, oil pulling is done with the dentures out of your mouth. Some people choose to accelerate oil pulling`s effects by swishing two or three times a day. It should be done before meals or several hours after a meal, on an empty stomach.
Step 2: Swish the oil around in your mouth without swallowing it for about twenty minutes. Move it around in your mouth and through your teeth. Sip and suck it through the teeth. Use a gentle chewing motion from time to time. Don`t tilt your head back to gargle. Keep swishing. If your cheek or jaw muscles get sore while swishing, you are putting too much effort into it. Relax your jaw muscles and use your tongue to help move the liquid around the inside of your mouth. When you do this correctly, you will feel very comfortable. Pretty soon, it will become second nature. You will find that the oil starts to get watery in the first ten minutes, as your saliva mixes with it.
Step 3: As the end of the oil pulling session approaches, the oil/saliva mixture in your mouth becomes thicker. This is quite normal, since it is pulling out toxins from your body. When 20 minutes are up, spit out the oil into the commode. It is best if you do not spit into the sink. Do not be alarmed if it looks yellow or whitish – this also is normal.
Step 4: Rinse out your mouth a couple of times with warm water or with a good mouthwash and spit into the commode. One method is to rinse and spit with regular hydrogen peroxide diluted half and half with water (or use full strength). Once again, do not swallow. The hydrogen peroxide is very effective in rinsing out any toxins or organisms which may be left in the mouth.
Step5: Brush your teeth. Use a damp toothbrush with a small amount of baking soda. A small amount goes a long way and minimizes the abrasive effect of the baking soda. The baking soda will normalize the pH of the mouth.
Sesame oil has the following advantages over the standard and commercially available mouthwashes: it causes no staining, has no lingering aftertaste, and causes no allergic reactions. It is five to six times more cost-effective than the commercially available mouthwashes and is, moreover, readily available in the household.
For more information: