Oil-Pulling, You Ask?
WHOA boy…it’s my job to promote and protect Ayurveda so here I go.
Oil-pulling is getting all kinds of attention. This particular post has been all over facebook and several folks ping’ed me to find out what the dealio is on the pullage of oilage. Now, this gal has a lovely blog but she’s not a trusted Ayurvedic source so it can be hard to know what to believe.
Ok, I’ll make it simple and trusted.
There are two daily practices in Ayurveda to help nourish and purify the mouth, called gandusa (filling the mouth with oil and holding it) and kavalagraha (swishing oil slowly between the teeth and gargling = oil-pulling). The ancient texts call for sesame oil, but you can also use ghee or coconut oil for high pitta types. I searched online and ALL I see is to use coconut oil (from non-Ayurvedic sites)…and that worries me because it might not be the best for everyone. And if everyone tries it and it doesn’t work, they are going to blame our lovely Ayurveda, when it was just incorrect instructions.
Since I was concerned about wrong messaging and also certain that sesame is the oil of choice (I like to worry and be right=vata-pitta), I emailed my dear trusted teacher to be sure. My dear trusted teacher (I can’t share his name cause last time ya’ll started emailing him. Nice going.) said this: The best oil or ghee treatment is arimedas. It is a formula specific for this. You cannot get it in the States :( Sesame: very rich and heating…good for vata and kapha and okay for pitta except high pitta imbalance then use coconut which is also good but may not be that good for vata except in mid-summer. You can also use olive or sunflower for most people. And yes, sesame is traditionally the oil of choice unless you can get “arimedas” — Monica’s Teacher Ji
Mwaahahaha, I was mostly, kinda right. So, please: Vatas use sesame oil. Kapha use sesame oil too. Pittas can also use sesame unless their pitta is very high, then they should use coconut oil or ghee.
Got that? Easy? Ok good, carrying on.
How do you oil-pull as a daily practice?
• Wake up
• Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper seven times to get off any night crud, check for ama. If there is ama, do not put oil in your mouth. Head straight for warm water and ginger tea. Drink up and do not eat until your tongue turns pink, try again tomorrow.
• Brush teeth
• 1 Tblsp sesame oil in your mouth.
• Slowly swish between the teeth 10 minutes and do not swallow any of it. Note: It’s not vigorous mouthwash swishing. Think of it like sucking and spitting between your teeth.
• When done spit in sandwich baggie or toilet
• You might use your finger as a fingerbrush to get any remaining out, wash hands well afterwards
• Quick rinse/one swish with water
• Really white teeth
• Strong, healthy gums and teeth
• Strengthens bones of the face and jaw (may help TMJ)
• Better breath
• Prevents dryness of the mouth and lips
• Purification of the mouth, if sesame is used
• Gives richness to the voice
• May help to relieve sinus pressure/aches
• May help relieve neck tension and headaches (cause it’s all related: tight face, tight neck, tight head. see?)
All this said, there are many, specific herbal mixes practitioners cook up with the different oils and use it as medicine! But that’s unique to each person and each condition just like everything else in Ayurveda. One size does not fit all. At all, at all. Ok? There is lots of magic in Ayurveda, but there are no blanket statements. And not really magic either, it’s really logical actually. But it’s so logical that it smacks you in the face with magic. I digress…
Other reliable resources
1) If you are the sciencey type and curious about text-book info about oil-pulling, check out this post from Todd Caldecott. He just posted this so he’s probably trying to clear up misconceptions too.
2) Dr. John Douillard has a great video and article about it.
3) The most trusted and ancient text of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita, says (from Dr. Douillard’s article): 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.
See? Traditional oil-pulling does not claim to do anything crazy. It’s just a part of Ayurveda’s daily health practice for prevention – which is AWEsome! **waving pom-pons for prevention** But maybe not newsworthy. Or maybe that is newsworthy?* I don’t really know. I will say that your teeth get SUPER white. And heck, if you are going to either oil-pull or buy whitening strips, save your dough and your poor sensitive teef and go with the sesame pull! :)
HOHkay. Who has all kinds of questions? What do you want to know? Btw, I’m totally not answering any questions about cancer or chronic illnesses, mmmkay? LOVE YOU and your swishy teef.
*If you have a suggestion that would be newsworthy, do let me know and I’ll write about it. I want Ayurveda to be in the news! Ok thanks.