Adding olive oil to one’s daily diet has long been touted as a healthy way to boost the immune system and help fight against everything from heart disease to cancer. But another trend, known as “oil pulling”—in which several teaspoons of olive oil are held in the mouth—is also finding its way into wellness regimes. Local nutritionist Kasia Kines—founder of Holistic Nutrition Naturally—is one of the few local practitioners who is well versed in this centuries-old practice derived from Eastern alternative medicine. “It’s not for everyone,” says Kines. “Some of my clients find it disgusting and say they can’t do it, but it doesn’t hurt, it’s not invasive, and it’s free.”
How does oil pulling work? Oil pulling is taking oil such as sesame, olive, sunflower, or coconut and swishing it in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes before spitting it out. Oil pulling has been around for centuries and comes from traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It’s gotten popular with young, healthy celebrities such as Shailene Woodley, so now people are talking about it.
What kind of oil is best to use? In Poland, where I’m from, sunflower oil is popular, but I’d lean toward using coconut oil or olive oil because they both have antifungal properties. Olive oil is the most practical since it’s something that most people keep in their cabinets and coconut oil turns hard in the winter, and you have to wait to let it melt in your mouth.
How does one practice it? I recommend doing it in the shower. Like anything natural, it takes time to see results—you have to give it a chance. I recommend doing it every day for at least 45 to 50 days.
What is it used for? It’s used for many things including migraines, teeth whitening, plaque, and gingivitis.
How does it help? The oil has antifungal properties. It strengthens your gums and cleans the oral cavity. On a larger scale, you have gallons of saliva circulating in your mouth every day. We have a lot of mucosa in our gut and in our nasal cavity and saliva may carry toxins with it. Most of the toxins are fat-soluble. When people detoxify, the toxins are released into the bloodstream and are circulated. In oil pulling, the toxins bind with the oil, which helps you get rid of them. In fact, when you spit out the oil at the end of the process, you will spit out something that looks like milk
WHAT YOU NEED:
Get the most out of oil pulling by using these tips.
Coconut or olive oil: both contain antifungal benefits.
You want to swoosh the oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes.
It takes about 45 days before results are noticeable.