Oil Pulling: An ancient Ayurvedic treatment, or is it?
Oil pulling is a new hippie dippie thing to the commercial consumer, yoga, spiritual, and new age alternative health world. It originates from Ayurveda but is not what is being done as “Oil Pulling” out in the masses. What its benefits are being touted as is completely blown out of proportion. What is being claimed has no reference in Ayurveda making oil pulling definitely not Ayurvedic in the techniques and terms it is being defined today in America. Claims of liver detoxing and all sorts of other ridiculous statements are being said and sold about what it does. People are using all kinds of oils, such as coconut oil without knowing the details and importance of the treatment being done correctly or what substances are used and just following what is out in the web as general superficial information. It is important to try to understand the deep knowledge behind this because it originates from Ayurveda and without the details, ignorance will harm you. Really. Just because you understand it, don’t feel it or see it today, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Ayurveda doesn’t work in the paradigm that the Western paradigm works from.
This post is to inform you, what others are not. There are contraindications to this technique as well as procedure to follow. This post is to dissolve the ignorance that is abounding around this “oil pulling” fad, and give a deeper understanding of what it is and also information on Ayurveda and how it works briefly, since this is where it comes from but without stating western ideas “pretending and disguised” to look like they are Ayurvedic. This is not a brief article as to give you the correct understanding and be thorough. There is a section at the bottom that is completely quoted from an original text, to prove the validity of what is being stated. Which cannot be said for any of the articles being thrown around on those so called spiritual and health websites.
To cut to the chase and if you have too short of an attention span or can’t read more than what can be tweeted……. I have added photos at the bottom of the page of one of the main ancient texts of Ayurveda’s chapter on Gandusha Vidhi, which is the Chapter on the application and use of Gandusha. Kavala is in this same chapter and used in the same way as it is explained. (please understand that there is alot more knowledge that goes into proper comprehension of what a text is explaining in these sanskrit texts, they do not read like linear books of today)
Caveat Emptor. Not all that glimmers is gold.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” 13:20
One of the Ayurvedic practitioners out there states on her site…. “Thanks for sharing…. isn’t it amazing? I can’t believe what a huge impact this one therapy has on our overall bodily integrity. It’s the major ama suction-removal- process.”
As you will understand after reading this and the attached texts of Ayurveda how far from Ayurvedic knowledge this comment above is. Oil Pulling absolutely cannot get rid of Aama.
“”Oil Pulling” is putting coconut oil in your mouth and swishing it for 20 minutes.”
This is what is the known of what oil pulling to the masses and what is the instructions on all those other blogs and ezines and what you have been probably told by your neighbor or friend or someone you met in the grocery store or yoga studio. As how it is being told, it is not an Ayurvedic treatment as you will understand after reading the rest of this.
What is being said as being detoxing cannot be detoxing. In Ayurveda, for this to be a detoxing treatment it has to expel doshas in the treatment. The swishing oil for 20 minutes, does not. There is much more to it than what is being called “Oil Pulling”…….. Just “putting coconut oil in your mouth and swishing it for 20 minutes.”
Kavala (what is being called Oil Pulling) is from Ayurveda and has been around for over 5000 years in recorded in texts like Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Astanga Hrdayam, Bhavaprakasha and more. It does not do as all the web sites and articles have claimed. It cleanses your liver about as much as it gives you a pedicure or washes and waxes your car. Lets stick to what is stated and taught in Ayurveda by the texts to see what this is all about.
What it does do:
From Charaka Samhita, the main text of Ayurveda, it states….
“Keeping of oil gargle provides strength in jaw and voice, development of face, maximum taste and relish in food. The person practicing this does not suffer from dryness of throat, there is no lip cracking, teeth are not affected with caries rather they become firm rooted. They (teeth) are not painful nor are they over sensitive on sour taking, they become able to chew even the hardest food item.” Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5.78 – 80
And there is more that it does when use properly/therapeutically. It deals with head, eye, nose, neck, and throat diseases as well.
Kavala is the swishing of warm (not hot) sesame oil or water (yes, water can be used too as well as well as other substances for specific treatments/reasons) in your mouth until tears develop in the eyes and the nose runs. Not 20 minutes like you are being told. Liquefying of kapha is what is happening at this point and that amount of time will differ for every individual. The tearing and runny nose is the definitive sign of proper treatment is done. There are detailed diagnostic SIGNS and SYMPTOMS of correct treatment of everything in Ayurveda. Plus, by not looking at a clock on the wall or a timer, one might have a chance to actually experience themself and how the body and nature functions.
In Ayurveda, Kavala as an upakrama, is used as shodana (throwing out of the doshas). Proper sudation and fomation MUST be done prior in the treatment to liquify the doshas to then be expelled if it is to be shodana.
There are different substances that are used for specific treatment of the individual for the diagnosis of that individual but in general sesame oil is used.
Otherwise, with just sticking oil in your mouth and swishing could only be a palliative treatment that does not detox. What detoxing the oil pulling fanatics are claiming it does can only be done through shodana = cleansing in Ayurveda, and it certainly is not the same treatment. Detoxing is quite the sales phrase in the Western world today. What does detoxing mean in the West? There are plenty of real western medicine research showing that detoxing is baloney for what is being touted as detoxing in the West. Mayo Clinic and anything from real western medicine states that the detoxing that is the popular fad, is not real and not possible and one should be very careful about what they do and believe. There is also plenty of blogs out there of western science that states the same click here for those links
But they do not understand Ayurveda…….
For it to be detoxing in Ayurveda, you would also have to be using a substance that is “bitter, acidic, sour, and salty” as per Ayurveda (see the bottom actual textual reference).
In the pop fad health culture, coconut oil is being said to be used. Coconut oil is sweet, heavy, and cold…… opposite qualities. Not the same results. Actually opposite. Detoxing is not done with a substance that is anabolic in its nature. In theory only, coconut oil could be used as a snigda treatment, for the proper individualized reasons for disease treatment but as coconut oil being a proper oil to be used, it would be mentioned in the texts. They have plenty of coconuts grown in India. Also this would only be used if the coconuts were being grown in the environment that one is in (desha). Plenty of coconuts in India and used in plenty of treatments and recipes in the texts. The desha, the land and environment in India is also set for someone to use coconut oil being that is it close to the equator (hot) and coconuts actually grow there and they still don’t use it.
There is dietary restrictions/conditions that must be followed including eating a light diet (laghu aahar) as per Ayurveda, not western nutrition ideas of a light diet (heavy food or a messed up digestion will create ill health and is contraindicated to this treatment). To not follow these guidelines can and will hinder the results and can aid in the creating disease or at minimum bad repercussions that create an imbalance that can turn to disease in time. Say someone has bad digestion and aama, use coconut oil and you will create problems.
There is not a blog big enough to give you the knowledge to understand all the details behind the whys and hows of Ayurvedic treatments, that is an Ayurvedic education. This is why the education is a 6 year full time medical school doctorate in India, literally medical school were allopathy is also taught with Ayurveda. Ayurvedic treatments are specific to many many variable factors and individual to the person and are dangerous and even deadly when done incorrectly as the Ayurvedic texts state and as I have experience of with panchakarma being done by greedy Ayurvedic doctors while naive Ashtanga Yoga tourists practice down in Mysore (its contraindicated).
Ayurveda does not work from the same paradigm that the Western paradigm works from. None of the vedic sciences do. There is much more at play in Ayurveda than the Western paradigm. Ayurveda comes from a paradigm of holistic quantum logic, Western thought comes from a classical Newtonian physics and related biological considerations by compartmentalization. This is a huge part of why Ayurveda has been misunderstood in its superficial education in the West. The Western mind doesn’t like change and your paradigm needs to change to understand Ayurveda. It is not based upon simply the material gross world but works with comprehension of the subtle and the gross. They work together, they are one. The subtle is what we are terribly confused about in the West.
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. – George Bernard Shaw
There are lots negative reactions happening out there from Oil Pulling with coconut oil. Most silent but if you search you can find them on the net. But more and more are starting to be found on the bottom of those article pages where you can comment and they will start to come out as this “oil pulling’ is getting more crazy/popular daily.
Another popular Ayurvedic practitioner in America has had people writing in comments on their experiences and then she posts them on her web site. Last I check more than half of them had negative results. Most of them were Western Ayurvedic practitioners. Most of the comments any person with any Ayurvedic background could look at and kinda put together a pathogenisis of what is going on with each of those people individually from the information as to what results had occured. Kinda like working backwards in diagnosis.
Where did this treatment Kavala come from and why all the confusion?
Ayurveda is the oldest recorded science/medicinal system. It is a science based in natural law and living a healthy beneficial life. Living in coherence to those rules of nature and the cosmos, to create balance of what makes up the subtle and gross, the mind and body and soul. In creating this health one is able to perceive their imperishable, immutable soul and to see their true self. It is not a theory nor woo woo stuff but definitely would sound like it from someone that has no experience of what this is. Nor is it philosophical conjecture or the latest American diet fad that is doomed to change with short passing of time. Ayurveda is an over 10,000 year time tested science that has a spiritual, not religious, undertone…as we all are souls, and we all have a bodies. It is for the benefit of mankind and it is nondenominational and universal, it is not just Indian. It works everywhere on the planet, on any planet by its fundamental comprehension if one really understands the foundations and how to apply them.
Unfortunately, there is not a ton of really good research done on oil pulling. This is only because Ayurveda does not work within a paradigm of Western scientific research protocols comprehension. You cannot test a technique out on 100 people when each one of those people is seen as a unique individual and treated from that perspective in Ayurveda. It is not the proper way to understand Ayurveda nor even a half intelligent way to test or research it. There are other articles on this blog explaining this.
Back to Kavala…………
Kavala is to be used as per the individual’s need of it first and foremost. This is everything in Ayurveda. The individual is seen as an individual, diagnosed as an individual and treatments are based upon them. Kevala is an actual treatment in Ayurveda. The temperature of the oil or water has an effect on the results and is also dependent upon the individual and their balance/imbalance/health. It is even done cold when the indications apply. It is used to mitigate kapha in the mouth generally, and then also other diseases of the head, neck and throat etc... Bodaka Kapha is the saliva, the Western equivalent at least. An imbalance of this kapha can create cataracts, salivary stones, as well as a ton of other diseases when out of balance. Ayurveda is not used allopathically to treat symptoms but in context of holism of a lifestyle or life in many variables and ways. Every action has effects, this is what needs to be understood. If you are eating food and living a lifestyle that is creating the imbalance, then doing a treatment or taking an herb for it while continuing to do what has created that imbalance is absolutely ridiculous. That is a Western paradigm not Ayurveda. The causation must be stopped then treatments can be done to further help the imbalance. The knowledge needs to be applied.
Oil Pulling is used for “cleansing the mouth, thirst (trsna, which is a disease in Ayurveda), loss of taste (arruchi, another disease), diseases of the teeth, and it bestows lightness in the mouth.” Reference: Bhavaprakasha Chapter 5.31 – 35.
Bhavaprakasha is one of the original texts circa 14th century.
Oil pulling for daily use done with warm sesame oil, not coconut oil. Why???? Coconut oil has qualities of being heavy, sweet, and cold and will create an imbalance in kapha.
Qualities of Kapha
स्निग्ध: शीतो गुरुर्मन्द: श्लक्ष्णो मृत्स्न: स्थिर: कफ: ॥
snigdha: śīto gururmanda: ślakṣṇo mṛtsna: sthira: kapha: ||
Snigdhna – oily, unctuous, Sheeta – cold, Guru – heavy, Manda – mild, viscous, shlakshna – smooth, clear, Mrutsna – slimy, jelly, sthira – stability, immobility are the qualities of Kapha.
Qualities of Coconut:
Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet)
Guna (quality) – Guru, Snigdha (heavy and oily)
Virya (potency) – Shita (cold)
Vipaka (post digestive effect) – Madhura (sweet)
Karma (action) – Balya (strengthening), Hridya (good for the heart), Vrsya (builds reproductive tissue), Vatahara Pittahara (destroys vata and pitta), Kaphakara (produces kapha), Brmhanan (building/anabolic), Bastishodhaka (cleanses the basti), and Visthambhi
You can put two and two together and see that Kapha and coconut oil have the same qualities, yes? This will cause an imbalance (excess) in bodaka kapha. The imbalance can look like the thickening and stickiness of the saliva, bad breath, loss of taste, sinus congestion, colds, headache, insomnia and several other results from using some substance with the wrong qualities.
(What is saliva and how does it link to digestion… You think smoothies and juicing is healthy??? )
Sesame oil, the default oil to be used, has a unique subtle quality (sukshma) and is the reason for it being the only oil to be used. It is heating (ushna) whereas coconut is cold (shita) in potency.
Coconut oil is also kaphakara or builds kapha. Cold, heavy, gross, sweet will all create an imbalance of kapha. Although coconut oil has been touted for its healing properties, when you understand Ayurveda, everything becomes a medicine or a super food or healing when it is used properly. Even poisons and mercury (which are purified) are used in Ayurveda and used to heal and do.
The piece that is lost to Western eyes is to whom it is being used for, when is it used, why is it used, and how is it used. This is the biggest flaw of Western nutrition and sciences. Everyone is an individual. Once again, as you are an individual and need an individual treatment. What is medicine for one is poison for another due to this understanding. Even two people having the same disease can be in need of different treatments and different medicines. Now really think about this for a moment, with the pop health culture one size fits all and certain foods and substances being cool and new (superfoods means now you pay 10 times more than what it used to cost and a lot of new products of it are going to be sold). Think about this as you look for the next popular health fad that is being touted out there. Are you not an individual? Do you not deserve the respect to treat yourself and your health as that? Also think of this, that product was once less expensive and available to be used as a medicine by the properly educated practitioner. Now it is just too expensive to use (like Goji Berries).
Just to add the comment here that coconut oil was said to be the worst oil you could possibly use back in the 80’s yet other cultures have used it forever as their main source of oil. Why does western science not see outside of its box to see the rest of the world? Then the western science changes its comprehension of things and it is supposed to be new science????
According to Thomas Brenna, a professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University who has extensively reviewed the literature on coconut oil, a considerable part of its stigma back in the past can be traced to one major factor. Partial hydrogenation, it creates dreaded trans fats. It also destroys many of the good essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other positive components present in virgin coconut oil. And while it’s true that most of the fats in virgin coconut oil are saturated, opinions are changing on whether saturated fats are the arterial villains they were made out to be. “I think we in the nutrition field are beginning to say that saturated fats are not so bad, and the evidence that said they were is not so strong,” Dr. Brenna said.
As I stated, is it new science? Really?
If you still doubt that using coconut oil cab be harmful or how any of this could create any negative side effects, try doing this coconut oil pulling twice or three times a day. See what happens to you. You need your empirical proof…. you will get it. Promise. Infact, make sure you do it before going to sleep…… in spring time…… while it is raining. See what happens after weeks of doing it.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the doshas change throughout the day and also throughout the seasons. This is fundamental to the treatments and when they are given. Kapha time is the AM after the sun rise. This is when kapha is high in the environment. It is also the time that technical removal techniques are used to get rid of kapha from the body. This is just more reason why coconut oil would not be used in kavala as it is a technique that is done in the morning. Basic, very very basic Ayurveda.
Types of Kavala:
Kavala is of four kinds- unctuous (snigda), pacifying (shamana), purifying (shodana) and healing (ropana). Which one do you think you are doing? Shamana is palliative therapy. This would be the closest to what is being said to the masses. In Ayurveda, all the diseases are the resultant of the aggravation of the Doshas, So in Shamana, the Doshas are suppressed within the body. While in other type of treatment Shodhana is purification therapy; the aggravated Doshas are expelled out of the body. This is detoxing, not shamana. From this you can understand that the Shodhana is better than the Shamana as the disease causing factors are removed from the body but in Shamana treatment these are still inside the body; as soon as there will be favorable conditions for their aggravation; these will aggravate and again cause disease.
Other posts you might be interested in reading:
Your gut health
The newest Ayurvedic diet detox
What you don’t know about “detoxing” is actually dangerous
Proper diagnostics of health
The body’s natural cleansing system
What is health, what is disease
Modern research methods:
By taking human beings as aggregate groups and testing ideas and substances against groups for repeatable outcomes we find empirical evidence. In Ayurveda, view of the individual, rules out any research template that fits the western research model of looking at a symptoms of disease, components or studying the particular pieces and then applying it to that group. It is opposite. This is why Ayurveda is a much deeper and detailed science for an individual than modern medicine. There are far to many variables in an individual that makes them that individual to say that this technique or medicine works for everyone. Even doing a research on what the results are from the masses on oil pulling is invalid due to the understanding that everyone has their own balance/imbalance, what time of day are they all doing the treatment, under what environment, weather, season, etc. Hence why “all” western medicines have huge amounts of side effects and don’t work for everyone. This is where all Western medicine falls apart. This is also why the western science keeps proving correct what it has stated before as incorrect or vice vs. Take soy for an example. Although Western nutritional science is littered with many many more examples. Soy was said to be the healthiest and best for women’s and men’s hormones as Western scientific research had proved in the early 2000’s. Then just 7 years later, and after a huge amount of money was made on all kinds of soy protein products, it became the worst for both. Why? Modern Western research. Many parts of the rest of the world continue to eat soy (as they always have, daily) with no health problems or hormone problems. How can that be? Think about it. What is the difference?… America and the excess, quantity, consumption, as well as the fear of mortality that is driving us. And now the latest is that Western science now states that butter is once again good. Why was it considered bad before? Who is taking any responsibility for the incorrect research that has given butter a bad name since the 70’s? Yet butter has been used in Ayurveda forever and has its unique qualities and actions which define why and how it is used.
Try putting allopathic medicine to the test of Ayurvedic research and reasoning methodology and understanding and most of it falls flat on its face. Allopathic medicines deal only with symptoms of the cause and do not deal with the underlying root problem which leaves that root problem to complicate into another disease and another pathway in time when treatment is done to the symptom. This is the explanation of why all the drugs have a long list of side effects which is the imbalance that they create by taking them as well as why the Western drugs don’t work for everyone.
What happens if you research what coconut oil does in oil pulling? Any of the results of what Ayurveda touts? If it is not actually by the standards and protocol of the treatment taught in Ayurveda, how can the study have any say about Ayurveda at all? If you take motor oil and test it as ghee, do you think it will have the same results?
If you are interested, here is two peer journal reviewed articles on the subject of Ayurvedic Research explaining how/why empirical evidence based research fails…..
A Complex, Nonlinear Dynamic Systems Perspective on Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Research
Let me use an example to explain. Say they someone is using coconut oil for this oil pulling. They already have a kapha and gurutva (heaviness) imbalance as you have thick saliva that is (tandula) stringy and they also have the beginning of cataracts in their eyes. Now, take another person who is vata imbalanced and has dry mouth, receding gums, ama (toxicity due to improper intake, digestion, and metabolization of food stuff), constipation, and poor digestion. Neither of these two people are going to have the same effects from doing the oil pulling. Most likely both of these people are going to create a new disease by using coconut oil. The first person of a kapha imbalance could possible create a digestive problems, cold or flu, or respiratory problem and will definitely worsen the cataracs for sure, yet they will have no correlation from their western mind to see the oil pulling as the cause and neither would their Doctor that then gives them antibiotics for it, which is also absurd since antibiotics work on bacteria, not viruses. (Perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren’t effective against viruses. Inappropriate use of antibiotics has helped create strains of bacterial disease that are resistant to treatment with different types of antibiotic medications.) Furthermore, now they have dangerous and costly surgery on their eyes in the long run as well as creation of other diseases. This is all in the name of trying to be healthy, following the “new and cool superficial health guidance” in the masses by the masses. Lets say the vata imbalanced person did not have the digestive capacity or strength (yes, I know it makes no sense from a western view) and clogged with aama (undigested substance or toxicity) in their system to deal with the oil pulling and it just made the whole system clogged more and created further disease due to the coldness of the coconut oil just created more imbalanced vata after that. Of course these are completely fabricated examples. Had it been sesame, it would be different. It most likely would have created health for both. Had it been done with proper guidance, the one with aama would not be doing it at all. Sesame oil, is heating and subtle so it would bring down the imbalance of both kapha and vata, which are cold in nature. This is why sesame oil is used as a default substance. Let add more real world example to the complexity, these two people also have their original state or “prakriti” and then the imbalance spoke of. Due to that original state it can throw another complication into the mix. Say that vata imbalanced person was of a kapha original state or even more complex a kapha/vata original state with a vata imbalance. Wow, now you have the hardest person to work with and using coconut oil definitely just created a new disease, a complication of what they had. I hope you now understand why no empirical evidence can be gained from any study of Ayurveda because it does not work within the Western paradigm of one size fits all and to do so it to treat it as allopathy, symptom chasing using a shotgun. (maybe you followed what I just stated or maybe not, this is how complicated it gets and why it is detailed and individualized, read other posts mentioned above for more on those details)
Ayurveda does not use a general treatments blindly for everyone. There is no vata, pitta, and kapha diet plans in real Ayurveda. That is purely a Western watered down diet plan that they are “selling” as ayurveda. It is not ayurveda though. There are some very general guidelines that are beneficial for everyone but beyond this everything becomes individualized and every meal needs all six tastes in real Ayurveda, not lacking because of dosha ideas. Beside, your diet is to be based upon seasons and where you live and other factors, oh, I guess that is too complicated.
Contraindications as per the original texts:
Oil Pulling can and will create disease if used by someone that has has “poisoning, fainting disease, alcoholism, depletion, TB, bleeding diseases, low clotting factor, inflammation of the eyes, constipation, and depletion of wastes.” (any correlations to these diseases caused by kavala is hardly to be understood in Western medicine but pretty obvious from view of Ayurveda) In that, the paradigm that this treatment comes from, a totally different culture with different lifestyle and incredibly different ways of eating as well as what is eaten, and how it is eaten, and many more variables are brought into the contraindications and/or the results of doing this treatment.
A few general signs of you creating a new disease by doing oil pulling incorrect with an oil that will clog would be bad breath, itchy eyes, new sinus problems, congestion, colds, foggy head, heavy head, headaches, sleep changes, loss of taste, loss in clarity of vision, and the list goes on depending upon the person’s individuality. I hope you get that by trying all these new fangled “health” and cleanse fads, you really are playing Russian roulette and from an Ayurvedic view most likely creating imbalance. It is not like you can just stop doing this stuff and everything returns to how it was. If you create a disease by this, it will be hard to treat, specially by a Western lens that doesn’t even correlate the symptom with what you have created in the first place. Say you have created allergies by doing this with coconut oil in spring and where you live there is no sun in springtime. Antihistamines are not going to help this at all. The popular thing to do would be to take antibiotics but what help would they be for allergies?
Oh hey, another bit about this whole thing, like the part about it making your teeth whiter, its not because it is coconut oil. It is the reason why it is done for a until you tear. The swishing of the oil changes its action and saponification of the oil happens. It acts as a detergent in your mouth.
So, the bigger problem and the real statement here to make …… think about this for a second. As this misinformation is presented in those articles out in the public, definitely in the attempt to be helpful and of innocence (and not just sales, marketing, and completely irresponsibility), what about the people that are being affected adversely and being harmed, even unknowingly…….. what about them? You. You people out there. Your just trying to do what is good for your health right? Who is writing the articles? Where is it being published? Why are you listening to friends and superficial websites in the first place? Another article I read was written by someone who makes jewelry for a living, another one was written by a wedding photographer, another one was written by a writer for health magazines. None of them are educated in Ayurveda. Would you trust you house to be built by a wedding photographer? Trust her to do your dentistry? Then why your health? In America, a doctor needs a license to practice which means he/she has taken the education necessary to pass legitimate licensure examinations to get the license? Why is it not the same with Ayurveda in the West?
Do you think for one moment that these people are going to take any responsibility for what happens to you? The fact that most of you out there are following something that is a fad, blindly, because a celebrity said it is good????? Or some doctor that owns a coconut oil company that is selling his product? Or someone getting kickbacks for selling his oil on their Ayurveda site. You just want to do what is healthy right? How are you supposed to know?
This is the health and spiritual world of today and this is what YOU, the Western consumerist world is doing to Ayurveda and yourself, really. You are doing it to yourself. Then research is done upon this incorrect understanding of Ayurveda’s treatments and substances like ghee by Western research methods and they come up with research disproving what Ayurveda claims about ghee. Thats where things get messy. Translating Ayurveda to Western science isn’t easy. Kavala will never be understood from Western lens for what it is, why to do it, when to do it, who should do it, how it should be done, etc…. Without dropping the lens of Western medicine and picking up one of the context and education of Ayurveda, that improper knowledge, education, and translation can only result in that some people get hurt, Ayurveda gets a very bad name or is never taken serious for what it can actually do, and the general public is none the wiser or healthier. Think before you just jump on the popular bandwagon. Do your research. Educate yourself properly through valid channels and open your mind when looking at something from a different paradigm. It takes time to comprehend a different paradigm.
*****The following is taken straight from text of Ashtanga Hrydaya (another of the main texts of Ayurveda). (notice the lack of any mention of COCONUT OIL and trust me, they got coconuts galore in Ayurveda, specially in Southern India where this text originates from. This says volumes and is even more proof for you that coconut oil is not used in Kavala. )
The hows, whens, and whys of all of this……
Gandusha is Holding of large quantities of medicated oils in the mouth while Kavala is Swishing of oils
There are four types of Gandusha: Snigda, Shamana, Shodana, and Ropana. The first three are indicated in vitiation of doshas and the later in ulcer.
Snigda or oil holding is done with fats processed with sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Shamana (palliation) is done with fats processed in bitter and astringent tastes. Shodana is done with fats processed in bitter, acidic, sour and salty drugs. Ropana is done with astringent and bitter.
*Fat, milk, honey, water, vinegar, alcohol, soup, cow’s urine, and cereal stock (notice no coconut oil) all can be used as well along with paste of medicines, with or without cooking, in desired temperature, and as per condition.
For loose teeth, sensitive teeth, and diseases of the oral cavity due to vitiation of vata, Gandusha can be done with luke warm water or cold water mixed with paste of sesame seeds.
For daily use gandusha can be done with sesame oil or meat soup.
Ghee or Milk can be used with inflammatory conditions with burning or scalding sensations, exogenous conditions like injuries, poisons, burns and alkalis and fire
With honey (old honey, not american processed and cooked honey. Honey must be astringent!!!) it creates clarity of the mouth, heals ulcers, and soothes burning sensations and thirst
With cereal stock it alleviates distaste and sediment, coating and hallitosis. Used cold and without salt it alleviates dryness of mouth.
With mild water it instantly disintegrates the aggravation of kapha and with warm water brings lightness to the mouth.
Only to be done:
When the sun is shining and the day is devoid of breeze
After fomenting and massaging the shoulders and neck
Retain the liquid in the mouth until the mouth gets full of kapha (mucous in this case), and the eyes and nose have secretions
Filling the mouth completely and not having movement is Gandusha. Kavala is otherwise.
Diseases of manya (the occipital region, where the occipital bone joins the spine, head, ears, mouth, and eyes.) Praseka (diseases of throat, dryness of throat, dryness of mouth) Hrllasa (nausea), stupor, anorexia, rhinorrhoea, are specifically curable with Kavala.
Further references are:
Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana Ch 26 Trimarmia: Afflictions of Vital Organs
(This section is about the treatment of mouth diseases.)
Ashtanga Hrdaya Sutrasthana 2, Chapter 22 Gandushavidya: Norms of Buccal Retention etc.
Bhela Samhita Chapter 21: Diseases of Head
Bhavaprakash Chapter 5.31 – 5.35
The last bit in this article about your gum and teeth health (and probably more important and pertinent):
Every Ayurvedic practitioner should know that your gums are nothing more than an extension of the muscle and bone tissue of your system. If your gums are receding it is an imbalance in your muscle tissue or what you are doing to your mouth, like brushing to hard or with too hard of a toothbrush and/or like sweet toothpaste…. it is destroying your gum health. Your gum and tooth health has more to do with your digestion and the state of the balance of your tissues health than any coconut oil pulling nonsense will ever do for you (the symptom verses the cause)
Your teeth health is dependent upon the health of your bone tissue in the same way as your muscle to your gums. Yes, what you use to clean them and what you eat will have an effect but the main state of your teeth and gums health is not going to be found thru oil pulling. It may help but once again not the root cause, just a symptom. Receding gums for example is a statement of your bone health more than a statement of your gum health. And if you have any doubt, just go out and get a bone density test if you have receding gums. For most people this makes no sense at all but with the very foundational understanding of Ayurveda it makes total sense and treating your bone and muscle tissue most likely will bring back your gum health.
Example of a common experience: I have had several clients that have had stained teeth. One in particular was complaining about her teeth and didn’t want to use any dark toothpaste or tooth powder because she thought it was staining her teeth. After cleaning up her diet and strengthening her digestive system we worked on rebuilding her bone strength. In no time at all, the whiteness of her teeth and the shine came back to her teeth.
This is not a rare experience either.
No swishing coconut oil needed
Ayurveda is not a bunch of simplified treatments like oil pulling that is used by diagnosis of a symptom or is it done haphazardly. It is a deep and extremely detailed science. It takes years to study and understand. Please use discernment and don’t just buy into what is a popular fad.
And as an addition, for those that want to see a better view of Ayurveda and that which is not available in the West…. Here is a film made by a friend of mine Marinella Banfi, who is a French film director, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and given 6 months to live by the best oncologist in France and instead turned to Ayurveda and cured her breast cancer.
There is a whole lot more out there than what is understood by Western methods.
And here is a real Ayurvedic explanation Ancient Science of Life
This is from text Ashtanga Samgraha. It is the very simplified, generalized, and easiest of all the texts of Ayurveda to understand. This is the chapter on Gandusha/Adi “adi” means “and others”. Kavala is used in the same way here as Gandusha, the same rules apply.
(****alkaline water is not the water that is popular in the US today with the Alkalizing machines, the word “kshara” = alkalies)