Perhaps your friend’s cousin’s girlfriend posted about it on Facebook. Or maybe the slightly annoying health nut in your class won’t stop raving about how it can heal your gums, clear your skin and resolve conflict in the Middle East. Whoever relayed the message to you, odds are you’ve recently at least heard about oil pulling one way or another. Yes, the ancient health remedy known as Oil Pulling seems to be the latest health craze making its way around social media and into water cooler discussions.
Oil pulling traces its roots to oil gargling practiced in Ayurvedic medicine and claims to be able to whiten teeth, nix bad breath, improve energy levels, kidney function, clear sinuses and more. Your (and my) first thought after hearing such lofty claims? Snake oil! It certainly sounds too good to be true, so is it? Since I know your skeptical self isn’t running to the health food store to ingest a heaping spoonful of coconut oil to swish in your mouth just yet, I decided to give the sworn by practice a try for you. Yeah, yeah. What can I say? I’m a nice person. You’re welcome. By the way, if you’re not fond of coconut, other popular oils used for the process include sesame oil and olive oil.
In my humble opinion, there is nothing more marvelous and splendid than unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil—as a MOISTURIZER. I’ve been using virgin coconut oil on my skin for the past few years with great results, but internally? Though it smells quite nice, eating a spoonful of the raw stuff is not something I’ve ever wanted to try.
That said, I’m always thinking of you, dear readers, and with claims like these, I was intrigued. I had to give oil pulling a shot– for us. Thus, I began my ‘journey’ with oil pulling one short week ago. As soon as I woke up on Saturday morning (with an empty stomach and a familiar slight hangover) I gathered a tablespoon full of coconut oil and with a ‘here goes nothin’, I indulged in its strange consistency. GOOD NEWS, PEOPLE! The wad of unrefined coconut oil didn’t taste that bad, nor did it make me want to gag instantly as I suspected it would. After doing some household chores and tidying, I couldn’t believe how fast the twenty minutes of swishing went by! It was pretty painless, folks. So, I swished and pulled the oil between my teeth a little longer then spit the frothy, discolored remainder into the garbage and rinsed my mouth with water diligently. At the very least, it felt like the coconut oil’s antibacterial properties cleaned my mouth very well. And the true piece de resistance? I’ll be damned (or ‘placebo’d’) if the oil pulling didn’t ease my hangover just a little bit. Yes. I did just made up the word ‘placebo’d.’ (Pro tip: if you’re going to try oil pulling, never swallow or gargle the oil. The liquid is full of revolting toxins that you don’t want to ingest. And be sure to always spit the contents into the garbage, NOT the sink. The coconut oil could harden and clog your drain.)
I was so impressed with how clean the practice made my mouth feel afterwards that I went for round two just before bed. After some more much needed toxin pulling, I had one of the best sleeps I can recall that night. True story.
What’s more, after a week of twice daily oil pulling, I can honestly say that my teeth appear much whiter, cleaner and generally brighter than before. Plus, a co-worker commented that my skin looked ‘glowy’ and fresh on Monday morning. I REPEAT. GLOWY AND FRESH ON A MONDAY MORNING. This just doesn’t happen, people.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking to yourself: Annabel, you doe-eyed band wagoner, how can I be sure I won’t be wasting my time Oil Pulling? And the simple truth is that you can’t be sure it’ll do anything for you. Studies on Oil Pulling are few and far between and there is very little hard evidence that it works at all. But can it make you feel better? Absolutely! Further, what’s the worst that can come of it? Tired cheeks, reduced oral bacteria and moisturized lips? Sign me up.
The truth is, this technique is so quick and convenient that it’s almost definitely worth a shot. You can oil pull just about anywhere to make those twenty minutes zoom by; like while in the shower or while reading your favourite online magazine, for example.
So, Say what you will about Oil Pulling. Though it may not be a ‘miracle’ cure, after one week of treatment I can already attest to how noticeable the benefits have been for me. I, for one, am going to continue with the practice. (Whether my boyfriend appreciates the ‘swishing noise’ or not)
Have you tried Oil Pulling? What do you think? Snake oil or real deal? Comment below!