Oil Pulling in Ayurveda

Over the past several weeks, I have been approached by quite a few health enthusiasts enquiring about “Oil Pulling”. And I was I absolutely amazed at the impression people have about this wonderful technique. Therefore I decided to write an article on this ancient Ayurvedic technique of anti aging.

You may have read or heard that oil pulling is quite an Eastern technique. But to be more precise it is a typical Ayurvedic technique of everyday lifestyle routine.

The actual term for Oil Pulling in Ayurveda is either “Gandusha” or “Kavalagraha”. Many people wonder what exactly is this technique and several of them have also asked if it was a massage or a manual therapy technique. In reality neither is it a massage or body technique. It is actually one of the daily routines that we follow in Ayurveda.

Ayurveda talks about five approaches towards balancing your health and life.
These are

  • Foods
  • Herbs
  • Massages
  • Yoga
  • Daily lifestyle or routine.

Oil Pulling falls under the category of daily routine or lifestyle. And even the term “Oil Pulling” is quite Indian too.


Classically, one takes warm or hot Sesame Seed Oil into the mouth and gargles with it. Or more precisely “swishes” it around for a few minutes before spitting it out. This is usually done in the mornings on an empty stomach.

Oil Puling is always done only in the morning on empty stomach before drinking or eating anything. It is never done any other time during the day.


The aim of this technique is to cleanse. When one gargles or does a “mouth wash” with sesame seed oil in the morning, it helps to draw out the toxins from the body, especially the stomach. Stomach is the first primary area where toxins may start building up.So it means the oil helps to pull out the toxin from the stomach, therefore the term of “Oil Pulling”.


Technique in detail:

Upon waking in the morning and before brushing your teeth, warm up some cold pressed Sesame Seed Oil. Take approximately 2-3 tablespoons into the mouth. This amount should just half fill the mouth so that you are able to move the oil around. Now “swish” the oil around for 30 seconds. Then simply hold the oil in the mouth for 30 seconds. Repeat the on and off method for approximately 2-3 minutes. Thereafter spit out the oil. Make sure to brush your teeth and clean the mouth thoroughly so that no oil remains. Also make sure to gargle with warm water at the end.

Please Note: Contrary to what lots of websites or places say, it is not essential to carry out Oil Pulling for 20 minutes! That’s way too much for a daily routine. I remember my teacher joking about it and saying if someone did Oil Pulling for 20 minutes everyday they will definitely attain enlightenment (through excess painful mouth and cheeks!).

Wait for approximately 20 minutes before you drink or eat anything.  It would be best to start off with a Ginger Lemon Zest Tea to further cleanse and de-tox the system.


Sesame Seed Oil is usually golden orange in colour. But when you spit it out after Oil Pulling, the colour completely changes. It could be anything from cream to off white to blotchy to patchy. This change in oil is due to toxins being drawn out into the oil and thus eliminated from the body.


  • This technique is one of the best anti aging routine in Ayurveda.
  • Ayurveda says that when toxins build up in the body, they lead to disease. This disease then may shorten lifespan. But when toxins are removed regularly, there is no disease, therefore this would mean anti aging or prolonging life.
  • When done regularly, oil pulling helps to correct receding gums, helps to prevent bad breath and reduces teeth sensitivity.
  • Ayurveda also says that when done regularly, oil pulling will help to reduce appearances of fine lines and wrinkles. It is also one of the best techniques to help prevent dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.
  • In Ayurveda oil pulling is also indicated for people suffering from insomnia and tinnitus. When done regularly, this technique will also help with facial palsy and dry eyes.
  • This technique is not only helpful for local ailments but also more systemic ailments like constipation, lower back ache, sciatica, irregular periods, dysmenorrhoea.

When not to do Oil Pulling:

Oil pulling is not advised during pregnancy, breast feeding or post natal period. Likewise, it would be best not to do oil pulling during periods, immediately after consuming food, with an acute headache or during the post operative phase.

Other ingredients used:

Oil pulling is a technique done not just with oil but also with various herbal decoctions or liquids. Click on names to buy these products.

For best results:

To see proper results, it would be best to do Oil Pulling regularly every morning for at least 2 or 3 weeks.

Reminder: If there are any medical conditions or if you are on any medication it would best to take advice from an Ayurvedic consultant or practitioner.


    1. best to use cold pressed sesame seed oil which you will heat up to make warm/hot

    1. Its always best before scraping of tongue as oil pulling first helps to pull out toxins from within the body and then scraping of tongue helps to remove local toxins. Warm Regards, Dr Deepa Apte

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