The Ancient Ayurvedic Practice of Oil Pulling

May 25, 2014

3144_Sesame Oil 16 ozPrintI’ve had many requests lately for information on the ancient Ayurvedic practice known as oil pulling. Below is a short video which explains how and why the practice is so beneficial.

The video demonstrator uses sesame oil which is considered the best choice by Ayurvedic practitioners, but you can also use unrefined virgin coconut oil (my personal choice) or unrefined sunflower oil. I always use organic oil.

Note that sesame oil is a heating oil and is better for Vata and Kapha types. Coconut and sunflower oils are cooling and are better choices for Pitta types (fire). My constitution is Vata-Pitta, so I generally use sesame oil during the cold months and coconut oil when the weather gets warm. Although I admit to sometimes using coconut oil year-round because coconut oil is more pleasing to me.

I have practiced oil pulling on and off for a few years. But I decided to try it consistently for a month (every morning after brushing my teeth and scraping my tongue) before my last dental checkup. Both the hygienist and the dentist commented on how much better my gums looked and I have to admit, it was the easiest cleaning I’d had in a long time.

The benefits reach far beyond just a clean mouth, however. Ayurveda teaches that our mouth is not separate from the rest of our body and is in fact, a good indicator of health in other areas. So, it made perfect sense to me that oil pulling would be beneficial to my general health.

I admit, the first time I put a tablespoon of oil in my mouth I wondered what the heck I was doing! But I’ll try just about anything when it comes to holistic health. 🙂 Now I just put the oil in my mouth and go about my morning routine: brushing my hair, washing my face, putting water on for tea, making the bed, etc. Before I know it, twenty minutes has passed.

Check out the video, give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Much love,

  1. A few weeks ago when I had a dental checkup, the hygienist asked me hesitantly “Have you heard of oil pulling?”, as if she was suggesting I might know about witchcraft. She said another patient had made a remarkable improvement in her oral health from this practice. I’ve played with it, but one thing that always stops me is that I thought you were supposed to do it as soon as you woke up, and being so Vata I’m always thirsty then! If I can do it at any time of day, maybe I’ll start. Thanks, Barbara!

    • LOL, Nancy, You crack me up! The reason it’s recommended you do it first thing (after brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue) is that it eliminates the bacteria that has gathered in your mouth overnight. If you get up and drink a big glass of water right away, you are flushing that bacteria right back into your system. I’m also very thirsty when I get up, but I figure I can wait another 10-20 (or even 5) minutes before drinking water. Give it a try! xoxo

      • Oh, I think I like the idea of sesame oil better because I understood that the coconut oil is solid and then melts in your mouth? Is that true? That really grosses me out, so I’d prefer an oil that is an oil. That is what actually held me off of trying this method.
        I’ve been brushing my tongue with my toothbrush for a year or so now and not a tongue scraper. Does it really matter?
        Thanks for all of the info., Barbara!

        • Hi Naomi, Coconut oil is only solid below a certain temperature and if it is solid when you use it, it immediately melts in your mouth. This morning when I used it, it was completely liquid. You could also just set the jar in warm water for a minute. But sesame oil is what Ayurveda recommends anyway, so give it a try! Each individual has different needs, and certainly if someone if allergic to coconut or sesame seeds they need to take that into consideration. The smell of sesame has always made me gag a little, so I prefer coconut oil, but I will also use sesame oil during the cold months.

          Using a toothbrush on the tongue can be a bit abrasive and doesn’t have quite the same results as tongue scraping. You will know what I mean the first time you do it and see what accumulates. You can get a tongue scraper in the drugstore or health food store. Or order online from Banyan Botanicals.

          Keep me posted! 🙂

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