rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


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.

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.

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”

“I’ve been oil pulling for six weeks – here’s what’s happening”



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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