Getting rid of waste products is a normal operation for each one of our cells, organs, and organ systems. If we lived in a perfect world, ate perfect food, that would be enough. Since most of us live busy lives in a toxic world and sometimes eat less-than-healthy foods, we walk around with a toxic load that can manifest as fatigue, insomnia, and illness. I have written about cleansing in past columns, and I want to introduce you to an updated version of an ancient Ayurvedic method of cleansing called Oil Pulling. This practice is comprised of keeping a tablespoon of vegetable oil in your mouth for a few minutes and swishing it around as you sit quietly. Oil pulling has its roots in the Ayurvedic practice of oil gargling.


First I would like to offer a brief description of the healing modality called Ayurveda. Ayurveda, which translates from the Sanskrit as “science of life”, is a healing practice and philosophy originating in India. But although it originated in India, Ayurvedic medicine is practiced all over the world as a complementary and alternative medicine. As it has evolved over the years, Ayuvedic medicine remains an influential form of medical care around the world. Ayurvedic medicine is all about balance, and emphasizes prevention of disease and rejuvenation of all of our body’s systems. This results in a longer and healthier life. Ayurvedic practices are believed to prevent diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and include yoga and meditation. Ayurvedic principles suggest the mind-body connection, that there cannot be mental health without physical health.


One method of detoxification that we all can benefit from is oil pulling. In his book Perfect Health, Dr. Deepak Chopra writes that oil pulling is an important way to start your day, by cleansing your mouth and your taste buds. I myself have seen this connection, and have been enjoying my breakfast more in the few months since I started this daily practice. I have improved gum health, whiter teeth, and reduced joint pain since I started oil pulling on a daily basis. Traditional ayurvedic practitioners suggest we use only sesame or sunflower oils, as these produced the best results. Make sure you use good quality organic cold pressed oil. It does not make sense to use chemically extracted oil or poor quality oil for detoxification. Author and physician Bruce Fife, ND suggests that coconut oil works well as an alternative. As I’ve written in past columns, the lauric acid in the coconut oil is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Killing harmful bacteria in your mouth will sweeten your breath and improve your health. Dr. Fife explains in his book Oil Pulling Therapy that our mouths are teeming with microorganisms and toxins and act as their gateways into the bloodstream. The more toxic we are, the more we will be plagued with health issues. In an interview he said, “Some people think I’m crazy when I tell them that oil pulling can help those with asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, diabetes, migraine headaches, PMS, and chronic skin problems.” But oil pulling works by detoxifying or cleansing the body through the mouth. In this way, disease-promoting toxins are removed, allowing the body to heal itself. As a consequence, health problems of all types improve. Dr. Fife compares oil pulling to the oil in your car’s engine. The motor oil absorbs debris in the engine and is expelled when you drain the oil. The method for oil pulling he describes was reintroduced in the west by an eastern European doctor named F. Karach, and most of my searches for information referenced his research.


First thing after you awaken, perform your morning eliminations, then put a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around, breathing through your nose and working or “pulling” the oil around your teeth. Do this as you sit quietly for at least 20 minutes. This can cause a release of mucous from your sinuses, and if you need to, spit out the oil and then take another spoonful. Spit the oil in the trash, compost, leftover shampoo bottle or glass jar and then throw it away when full instead of spitting down your sink to avoid clogging your drains. Many people with sinusitis will feel immediate relief from sinus pain and headaches. After you spit out the oil, which will be thin and white colored, you should rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm salt water. Never swallow the oil as it is loaded with toxins. After you rinse with salt-water, brush your teeth. You will notice your tongue is a healthy pink color, and your teeth and gums will sparkle. Some practitioners suggest brushing with toothpaste without glycerin as glycerin seals off your teeth and prevents remineralization. I use glycerin-free toothpaste made by Vicco and Uncle Harry’s tooth powders. I invite you to try this simple method of detoxification. It has been a long winter of heavier (and sometimes less healthy) foods, and as we work on cleaning up our gardens, or spring-cleaning our homes, let’s give some needed attention to our bodies. As the Ayurvedic doctors suggest, let’s bring our bodies back into balance. I encourage you to try oil pulling, and to let me know what results you achieve. For additional information regarding Ayurevedic medicine and oil pulling please contact me at nutritionallyspeaking@gmail.com.