Oil pulling: sounds like something to do with ongoing worldwide petrol issues, right? Well, not exactly. It’s actually a natural remedy that has its roots in Ayurvedic medicine. According to Wikipedia, the modern practice we know today was popularised in India in the 1990s, and involves swishing food safe oil (most commonly coconut, sesame or olive oil) around in the mouth for about 20 minutes every morning to rid the mouth and body of toxins.
While some swear by its life-changing properties, others think it’s a whole lot of hogwash. There was a scientific study done regarding its effect on oral health, which found fairly positive results, but was inconclusive about its effects on the rest of the body. The general consensus, therefore, is that it definitely can’t hurt. But before you rush to the nearest organic market to buy an industrial tube of coconut oil, consider fully the following pros and cons:
- It removes hard-to-reach bacteria from the teeth and gums that often results in plaque build-up and bad breath. It can also whiten teeth.
- It has a detoxifying effect by essentially “pulling” out and soaking up the germs and bacteria in our mouths — the place in our body where these things are the most plentiful.
- According to personal testimonies, it markedly improves the skin. Even though no scientific evidences backs this up, it makes sense that since the process pulls toxins from the body it would have a noticeable effect.
- It’s a bit gross. You’re swishing around a mouthful of oil for at least 15 minutes, first thing the morning, on an empty stomach.
- It’s bad if you swallow it, because then all those toxins you’ve been purging are reabsorbed back into the body from whence they came — so it’s imperative to spit it out at the end.
- It requires discipline, and a time commitment. According to various studies, benefits were seen after subjects had been doing it for 45 days. And since you’re constantly exposed to toxins in your environment, you’ve got to keep it up as a regular habit.