To Gandoosh or not to Gandoosh?
I’ve been gandooshing almost everyday for the past 4 years. I have to say, I’ve personally found it to be extraordinary. Such a simple practice with profound mental and physical benefits.
Oil Pulling as it’s also known, maintains the health of the teeth, mouth and gums, offering a multitude of benefits yet to be discovered through western medical science.
Traditionally your Ayurvedic doctor would prescribe a medicated herbal oil specific to your constitution and the season and health needs. This still happens in many Ayurvedic hospitals and clinics, though as a general rule, if you are choosing to try oil pulling without a practitioners guidance, cold pressed organic sesame oil is recommended. I recommend the Melrose Organic Sesame oil, it’s cold pressed, organic certified and readily available in most organic whole-foods stores throughout Australia.
Why Cold Pressed?
There are several ways vegetable oils can be extracted. One of them is through cold pressing, this means the oil has been cold press extracted from the sesame seed. Cold pressed oils retain their nutritive value and medicinal properties maintaining the integrity of the oil. Using cold pressed oils also reduces the risk of rancidity and potentially free radical damage to our body’s cells.
Sesame oil is tri-doshic, meaning it can be used by all constitutional types (vata, pitta and kapha) in a variety of environmental conditions without the risk of aggravating the dosha. Organic sesame oil is said to be the safest for anyone to use without advice particular to your constitution.
Through Ayurveda, we understand there is a connection between the world we live in and the human body and mind, seeing all things as a varying combination of the five elements, earth, water, fire, air and ether and their properties. Through recognising the constant interplay between these elements, we can see the potential effect that certain foods, substances and lifestyle choices and can have on our health.
You may have come across one of the many articles online mentioning the use of coconut oil for oil pulling, and why not!? It tastes delicious, and does a fabulous job leaving the teeth bright white, and many of the benefits that have been studied from the effects of sesame oil can often be noticed. Though what it also does, is have a cooling effect on the body with the potential of aggravating Kapha dosha, if other herbs are not added to balance the cooling effect, particularly if you are susceptible to this type of aggravation.
If, for example coconut oil is used in Melbourne, in the middle of winter, by someone who is prone to sinus congestion, or who has a kapha body type and or aggravation due to food and/or lifestyle factors, the risk of more Kapha aggravation increases. This can manifest as congestion in the head, sinus, chest, throat and lungs.
Some of the many benefits of oil pulling include improved teeth and gum health, alleviation of ulcers, sensitive teeth and removing ama (toxic build up) from the mouth and tongue. Recent studies published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research has shown that oil pulling reduces the build up of plaque and gingivitis where as other studies have indicated prevention of halitosis (bad breath) and cavities, decay, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, and soothing cracked lips.
More info on oil pulling with sesame oil…
Ayurveda also recognised the practice of oil pulling improves Agni or digestive fire. Healthy Agni means optimum metabolism and absorption of nutrients, increased energy, improved mental clarity and a robust immune system. But don’t take my word for it!
1. Take 2 tablespoons of cold pressed organic sesame oil in to the mouth and swish for a minimum for 5-10 minutes
2. You will know the oil has ‘done it’s work’ when the thickness changes in your mouth and begins to emulsify.
3. You want the oil to go from a thick oily viscosity to a thin milky texture, when this change happens, you know the ama (toxins/bacteria) has been ‘pulled’ from the mouth, teeth and gums. The colour will also change.
4. Be sure not to swallow the oil, spit out and rinse the mouth.
5. Practice every morning after tongue scrapping and cleaning the teeth and before food.