An age old health and beauty regimen has become the talk of the Internet. This week, the term "Oil Pulling" is trending on social media and on search engines (it's spiking by 1331% on Yahoo). If you've been wondering just what oil pulling is, here's a breakdown.
The term may sound like a very complicated, but all it really involves is swishing oil around in your mouth once a day. The ancient Ayurvedic practice requires you to gargle a teaspoon to a tablespoon of natural, cold-pressed oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. Most people prefer to use coconut oil because of the taste. Once you are done, you spit out the oil and brush your teeth, reportsStyle Caster.
It is believed that the oil absorbs toxins and bacteria in the mouth, preventing them from being absorbed into the body. The practice is best done daily in the morning when the mouth is said to have the most bacteria. It is important that you do not swallow the oil as it carries bacteria, and it is recommended that you spit the oil into the garbage, as it might clog your sink drain.
Many who have tried the practice swear by it. Proponents say it can improve gum disease, toothaches, headaches, acne, eczema, sleep issues, hangovers, allergies and ulcers. Not to mention help heal cuts, whiten teeth and improve nails. That's a tall order!
Whether oil pulling really helps all those ailments is another story.
So far, anecdotal evidence is all we have to go on. The scientific evidence supporting the practice is lacking, as no credible long-term studies examining its presumed health and beauty benefits have been conducted to date.
It's worth nothing that Deepak Chopra, an alternative medicine guru, endorses the practice in his 2001 book Perfect Health.
Also see: Surprising sources of hidden sugar
Oil pulling was brought to the west in 1992 by Dr. F. Karach who claimed the practice could help with heart disease, digestive troubles and hormonal disorders.
What are your thoughts on oil pulling? Are you interested in trying it?
This story has been updated since it was originally published.