LIVING

What Is Oil Pulling (And Is It Worth Trying)?

03/06/2014 11:08 EST | Updated 03/06/2014 11:59 EST

For those who have battled a slight cold for this entire winter, they know there's no such thing as a miracle cure for the immune system, but one new method is purporting to be just that. Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic method of detoxing and rejuvenating the body, is having its moment in the spotlight, thanks to its easy-to-try technique and already-in-the-pantry ingredients.

So what is oil pulling? It's literally consists of swishing oil around in your mouth, much like you would do with mouthwash, and allowing the benefits of it to take hold. According to Food Matters, studies have shown that oil pulling can reduce the amount of S. mutans (germs) in the teeth and mouth. The theory holds that thanks to the slick surface the oil creates (which you're already familiar with from your frying pan), it keeps bacteria from getting a good hold in your body.

Other studies have found actual "saponification" or cleansing effects that literally get rid of bacteria and fungus that can cause anything from bad breath to sore throats, according to Elephant Journal.

Popular oils to use for the process include sesame oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, or most recently, the very popular coconut oil. And here's what you do:

  • First thing in the morning (before brushing or eating or drinking anything), pour yourself a tablespoon of the oil of your choice
  • Put it in your mouth, and swish it around for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes
  • Spit it out into a plastic baggy (because it can solidify and clog your pipes)

  • Rinse your mouth out with water, and then drink a glass of water

Many reports have people blowing their noses and clearing their throats right after oil pulling, as one of the many benefits include clearing out mucus in the body. As far as negative effects go, like most natural techniques, there hasn't been a huge amount of research done in the area, though it has not been found to be harmful by any studies conducted.

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