Oil pulling for allergies, eczema and psoriasis

This morning I have been trying something a little bit different. I’ve never done this before let alone heard of it. I’ll give you three guesses what I was doing with a jar of coconut oil first thing this morning.

Thanks to my friend Julie I found myself standing nervously with a teaspoon of coconut butter and my heart racing, talking to myself in the mirror. “You can do this… how hard can it be?”

I can often be seen rubbing coconut oil into my eczema or scalp or baking with it, but this morning I was doing something altogether – weird, with the coconut oil… have you guessed what it is yet? I know the title of the blog kind of gives it away but it was a new one for me.

This morning, I’ve been oil pulling!

oil pulling with a teaspoonful of coconut butter swilled in the mouth for twenty minutes

Oil pulling – a teaspoonful of coconut butter swilled in the mouth for twenty minutes

What is oil pulling?

It’s an ancient Ayurvedic technique which dates back 5000 years. It is said to have miracle cure qualities and help with eczema, psoriasis, allergies, joint pain, teeth whitening, tooth decay; the list of possible benefits are endless. The way it works is by removing or ‘pulling’ impurities out of your body through your tongue. You finish the treatment by spitting out the oil so you flush the bad stuff out.

How do you oil pull?

Oil pulling is easy, or so they say. I think it’s a technique which takes a bit of getting used to. We are not generally used to taking a spoonful of any oil into our mouths and swilling it around. The advice I found was that you need to do this swishing and flushing around your mouth and teeth for about twenty minutes.

WHAT? I hear you cry. TWENTY WHOLE MINUTES?
Yes that’s right, but you could do ten minutes twice a day.
I think with anything you need to find your natural balance and not get disheartened if it isn’t easy first time. I didn’t find this easy to get the hang of by any means.

What you’ll need

  • Organic oil. I used organic coconut oil which seems to be the favourite amongst oil pullers on the net but you could try sesame oil or any cold pressed seed or nut oil.
  • A teaspoon
  • A tub or plastic bag to spit into – don’t spit used oil down the sink as it may solidify and block your pipes.
  • Twenty minutes to devote to something which should become relaxing and enjoyable when you get the hang of it.

That’s it. Sounds simple right?

The best time of day to do this is first thing in the morning and always on an empty stomach, before you’ve eaten or drunk any food or liquids. Don’t brush your teeth beforehand, do it after to remove any lingering toxins from your mouth.

Take your teaspoon and if you’re using coconut oil it will probably be hard. Dig out some oil. Websites I visited recommend a teaspoon or tablespoon full. I would start with a smaller amount to try at first. It feels weird and if you’re anything like me, your mouth will feel like it’s filling up and I also had an urge to swallow.

You should not swallow the oil at all if you can help as the idea is to remove the toxins and impurities from your body.

If you’re using coconut oil, pop the teaspoonful into your mouth and allow the oil to melt slowly, as it does so gently swish it around your teeth and gums.
If you feel mucous building up, spit out a little into your tub or bag and carry on swilling.
I found it helped to tip my head forward over the sink because I felt I wanted to swallow the oil… and if you feel like swallowing you can quickly spit some or all of the oil out into the tub/bag and start again.
There is no shame in finding this a bit weird.
It is a bit weird. In fact, lets face it, it’s a pretty odd thing to do if you’re not used to it.

Basically you keep on ‘pulling’ the oil around your mouth and it will be drawing all the nasty things into it. You should try to do this for twenty minutes. Maybe set an alarm, but don’t worry if you can’t do that long at first and if you don’t think you can manage to do it every day, try doing it once or twice a week. If the benefits are even half as good as they claims I’ve read it’s worth setting the alarm half an hour early for a quick ‘pull’.

Why bother oil pulling anyway? What are the benefits?

The benefits are hundred fold if you go by the reports on google and include a myriad of different things including:

  • Whitens teeth and strengthens teeth and gums – some even say it helps prevent or even heal cavities in teeth!
  • Eczema symptoms improve
  • Helps psoriasis heal
  • Aids digestion
  • Better sleeping patterns
  • Gets rid of your hangover – if it does that I’ll be converted!
  • Great at easing migraines
  • Helps people with allergies as it clears out sinuses
  • Gets rid of bad breath

Are there any side effects of oil pulling?

I did find a few references to oil pulling actually causing eczema to flare up. The reasons for this could be many but as this treatment is detoxing the body it could be a release of toxins that might cause a flare. I sometimes get this when I drink nettle tea which has the same qualities. Don’t panic, monitor the symptoms and if it last longer than a few weeks it could either be an infection or virus which needs treatment or maybe oil pulling isn’t for everyone. I don’t know yet as I’m a ‘pulling virgin’ but I will let you know how I get on.

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I will be giving this another go tomorrow morning and trying to last a little longer. The taste and sensation of putting solid coconut butter into your mouth is a little odd, but the oil soon melts and it doesn’t taste bad at all. In fact I liked the way my mouth felt afterwards, very clean and fresh.

The urge to spit some out and swallow was too hard to resist for me so I’m hoping it will get easier. Just google oil pulling and you’ll get hundreds of hits.

I found the following blog the most useful:

“WTF is oil pulling? Why I’m hooked”

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About RuthS

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.

Comments

  1. So how was your oil pulling experience? Did you notice any differences?

    • Hi Jon, Well I found it really hard to keep it up. I wanted to swallow it or spit it out all the time. My skin has flared up really badly lately too so I’ve kind of not been making time to try it. Maybe I should. My friend Julie on the other hand said she quite quickly got up to 20 minutes, her breath felt fresh, her teeth felt amazingly clean and she was loving it. She is still doing it regularly and I feel rubbish now, admitting I failed! Have you tried it?

      • Yep, I tried it for about three weeks using many different oils. I never noticed a significant difference, although maybe it would have been better if I used only coconut or sesame oil. Those seem to be recommended the most.

        • They do recommend coconut oil, not sure why it’s supposed to be better. Are you still doing it? I wonder how much coconut oil is being spat down sinks by people trying to do this… it’s far to easy to spit it out by mistake. I have to put a tub in the sink or I forget and down it goes again. Noone wants blocked drains!

          • Nope, I’m not still doing it. I always spit mine down the sink and never ran into any problems, although perhaps I would have had I done it long term? I dunno, it always seemed pretty thin. I have a hard time believing it block up the pipes ;)

  2. On Friday the 13th I began to oil pull. Coconut oil, organic. Here I am on the 17th loving the way my mouth feels in the morning after 20 minutes!! I have noticed more discharge from my nose and a bit of mucous from my throat — great side benefits. And, most surprising of all? The eczema on my lower arms seems to be disappearing! Unbelievable. Oh, and my gums have a healthier color too!

    • WOW Helen, thanks so much for sharing. I have heard mixed feedback on this. I gave up as I kept swalling the oil and couldn’t make the time. Must give it another go.

      • Helen added another lovely comment which came through as email instead of on here so: Helen: “I might add that am retired, approaching the age of 73 and was curious as to how this would work. I do the pull first thing in the morning, set my microwave timer, putter around making coffee, checking email, watching local news … All of this usually prior to 7am. It’s a lot of ‘mind over matter’ keeping the oil swishing and in my mouth … not dribbling my throat OR down my chin! Have a lovely day.”

  3. Hello Everyone,

    Hello RuthS, thank you for sharing! I enjoyed your article immensely :) The follow up comments inspired me to jump in, as I too jumped into the curious world of “pulling”. It has only been 4 days, but I feel fantastic! I pull organic coconut oil in the morning, and I must say I have noticed such a difference with my gums, and how clean my mouth feels. Like many, I suffer from psoriasis and I now use the oil topically also… It seems to be going away at present, but it can be a sneaky skin condition, so we shall see what the story is in a couple of weeks. ~B

    • WOW well if oil pulling can have such a dramatic affect on psoriasis which can be a very tricky skin condition to treat it’s got to be good. Perhaps I should give it another go? It just seemed to keep increasing and increasing in my mouth and making me want to spit out all the time, or swalling which is really not what you should do.

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