In looking up natural remedies for keratosis pilaris for a friend I saw the subject of oil pulling come up. Curious, I googled around and found that it’s the kind of holistic treatment that I like- minimal possibility of side effects, inexpensive, not time consuming.
What is oil pulling?
It’s essentially swishing oil around in your mouth to pull out toxins from your body, which clears up many chronic conditions. Because of my love of coconut oil, I tried that. I was a little squeamish to actually put the whole recommended tablespoon of oil in my mouth so I just used a teaspoon, chewing to melt the coconut oil. It’s kind of weird to get used to, but doable. Then I swished for about 5 minutes, spit, and brushed. My mouth feels cleaner afterward, and I notice a little more phlegm running down the back of my throat (a sign of cleansing, I think) after. If I could remember to consistently do this daily or even every other day, perhaps I’d know if it cleared up keratosis pilaris for me or not ~grin~.
With holistic methods (or anything, actually) I’m always interested in knowing the reasoning behind the treatment. There are a few different theories behind why oil pulling works, here are the ones I came across that seem plausible.
- Oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which cleans out the mouth naturally. Because everything in our bodies is tied together, a clean healthy mouth supports a clean healthy body. A chronic condition may be a symptom of another underlying problem, such as buildup of toxins within the mouth/digestive system.
- The oil actually is pulling toxins out of the body through the mucous membranes in the mouth.
- Chronic conditions are a oil deficiency, and the essential fatty acids are being absorbed sublingually, correcting the deficiency.
Some of the chronic conditions that may be helped by oil pulling:
- Keratosis pilaris (those little bumps commonly on the back of the arms)
- Migraine headaches
- Discolored teeth
If you think about it, these conditions are most likely a symptom of an underlying problem. As with a lot of holistic treatments that address the root of a problem, you’re likely to get worse before you get better. I noticed that I got more phlegm in my throat after oil pulling at first. Presumably this is from toxins being released.
There seem to be differing opinions on how long to ‘pull’ (I don’t know why it’s not called swishing) for, from pulling for no longer than 3-4 minutes so as not to re-absorb the toxins that were pulled out, to pulling for 20 minutes to fully benefit from the treatment. I decided 5 minutes seemed doable, so that’s what I started with.
While you may feel silly doing it (my children find this highly amusing), doing this daily for a couple weeks or so doesn’t seem to have many downsides if it clears up a lingering chronic condition without side effects.
More cheap-and-easy natural remedies:
Garlic Ear Oil for Earaches
Tea Tree Oil for Mastitis
Plain Water for Pink Eye
An elimination diet for a breastfeeding mother to clear up baby’s rash (okay… perhaps not completely easy!)
Have you tried oil pulling before?