How To Do Oil Pulling In Genuine Ayurvedic Way? 9 Tips

The title says as oil pulling but it is actually a procedure called mouth gargling using oil. Not only oil, but many types of liquids can be used for this purpose based on desired benefits. Let us look into these liquids, procedure of oil pulling, its different benefits, etc in a detailed way. 

oil pulling

Ayurveda explains two types of similar procedures.
Gandusha – let us call this as oil pulling. (though other liquids than oils are also used). Here, there is no gargling. The liquid is filled to the capacity of mouth and it is held inside the mouth for specific amount of time. Later, it is spit out.

Kavala – It is actually mouth gargling. Here, lesser quantity of liquid is used to rinse mouth for specific amount of time. Later, it is spit out.

Types of Oil pulling –
Lubricating with oils and fats – for Vata imbalance disorder. It is done by the use of oil processed with herbs of sweet, sour and salt tastes.
Palliative for Pitta imbalance disorder. It is done by herbs of bitter, astringent and sweet tastes.
Cleansing / purifying – for Kapha imbalance disorder. It is with herbs of bitter, pungent, sour, salt tastes and possessing hot property.
Healing – It is done with herbs of astringent and bitter taste.

Different liquids used in oil pulling – 
Fats – oil, ghee  milk,
Honey with water
Fermented gruel,
juice of meat / meat soup
urine of animals such as cow urine.
Dhanyamla – Fermented grain liquid

The liquids may be mixed with a kalka (herbal paste)
The liquids may be cooked or raw
The liquids should be comfortable to touch and to hold in the mouth.

A few practical examples – 
Sesame seed paste with water – A tablespoon of sesame seed is made into paste. Add this to a cup of luke warm water. Use this mix to gargle. It is useful in relieving tingling sensation in teeth, tooth weakness, disease of the mouth caused by Vata (which involves pain as a symptom).

For daily use, oil pulling with sesame oil / meat soup
Benefits of oil pulling with sesame oil, daily: Sesame oil gargling is beneficial for the strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, excellent gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One will never get dryness of throat, nor does his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never develop caries and will be deep-rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables Reference: (Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5)

Ghee and milk is very useful for oil pulling When there is local or general burning sensation, ulceration and wounds caused by foreign bodies, poison wounds, alkalies (Kshara) and burns by fire, it is best to hold either ghee or milk.

Honey – Holding honey in the mouth removes the sliminess of the mouth, heals the ulcers quickly, relieves burning sensation and thirst. It is also useful in quick healing of oral ulcers.

Holding Dhanyamla – fermented grain liquid in the mouth removes distaste, dirt (of teeth and tongue) and bad smell from the mouth.

Dhanyamla without salt, used cold, is best to remove dryness of the mouth.

Holding Ksharambu – water containing alkalies (like Yavakshara) in the mouth quickly breaks up the accumulation of Kapha.

Holding comfortable warm water brings about lightness and cleansing of the mouth.

How to do oil pulling methodically – 
The person should sit in a place devoid of breeze but in mild sunlight.
His shoulders and neck should be massaged with plain sesame oil / Maha Narayana Taila / Bala Ashwagandhadi Taila / Ksheerabala taila. massage can be given for 5 – 10 minutes.
After gentle massage, fomentation is given for 2 – 3 minutes. It can be just washing face and neck with hot water, or mopping face with towel dipped in hot water or exposing the face to steam. Eyes should be covered with cold cloth, during fomentation.
After fomentation, oil pulling is done.
Keeping his face slightly lifted up, he should hold the liquid in his mouth till the mouth gets filled with Kapha (sputum / slimy liquid) or till the nose and eyes start secreting liquid.
Then the contents of the mouth are spitted out.

After this usually herbal smoking is done

Kavala – mouth gargles –
It is used in treating
Diseases of the neck, head, ears, mouth and eyes,
Praseka – excess salivation, diseases of the throat,
dryness of the mouth, nausea,
Tandra – stupor,
Aruchi – anorexia and
Peenasa – rhinitis are curable by Kavala – mouth gargles

Side effects of oil pulling:
Irimedadi taila is the most common herbal oil prescribed for oil pulling.
One person reported about frequent throat infections(small white or red bumps on tonsils and throat) after starting using it for oil pulling.
This can be due to bad quality / brand of the oil.

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  1. patricia chandrashekhar says:

    thanks for the information. The sesame seed paste and warm water – how long should it be kept in the mouth?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Till the time secretions from nose and mouth come out. Please read the above article – how to do oil pulling section last few lines.

  2. Sir, for a healthy person(who does not have any cold/running nose), how long does sesame oil have to be kept in mouth. What is the average time for the oil to be kept in mouth before kapha starts secreting??

  3. vanitha says:

    Dr ,
    Can the oil pulling be done in the evening ?? Should we do it only in the morning..

  4. Pranali says:

    I do oil pulling (before brushing the teeth) with cold pressed sesame oil as soon as I wake up. In your other posts you have said that getting up 30-45mins before sunrise is important. So should I wait for sunrise so that I can do it in mild sunrays or doing it when it is still dark is alright..

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, it is best to wake up before sunrise and do oil pulling after you see some Sun light.

  5. Gaurav says:

    Must oil pulling, and clearing the bowels in the morning, be done in a particular order?

  6. Thank you for posting such informative articles.
    What oil/herb should be used for pitta dosha?

  7. Respected Sir , Is the oil to be simply kept in the mouth or is it to be squished and swished around in the mouth ? What herbs can be used for PITTA doshic body oil pulling ?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      In Gandusha, the oil (or any suitable liquid such as milk, buttermilk etc, based on disease), is filled to mouth’s capacity. Hence, there is no room for movement of liquid inside mouth.
      In Kavala, a smaller quantity of liquid is squished and swished around in the mouth.
      For Pitta, milk, Ksheerabala oil, Maha Narayana oil, Manjishtadi oil, Coconut oil etc are used for oil pulling.

  8. Thank you for the informative article. I have a doubt abt Sesame oil. Can application of plain Sesame oil in knees and legs at night before going to sleep lead to developing pains? I have a vatha body. And I have developed such pain. Only thing I am doing differently these days is applying plain sesame oil in eye lids, sole of foot and lil on knees and legs like moisturiser. What am I doing wrong here? Thank you for your time. looking forward to hearing from you.

  9. Monique says:

    I had done oil pulling with coconut oil for 20 min in morning before breakfast.. Now I drink ghee with warm milk first thing in the morning. Which of the two is more important. Thanks for reply.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Both are equally important. If you want to chose one over the other for your morning ritual, please go ahead with oil pulling. Ghee with warm mil – you can take in the afternoon or in the evening.

      • Shilpa Jain says:

        Hello Doctor,

        what benefit does having warm milk with ghee have?


        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

          As per Ayurvda, milk with ghee is the best rejuvenating and anti aging combination.
          Gargling (Oil pulling) with this will help in relieving repeated oral ulcers and gastritis.

          • Does it need to be cow ghee only or buffalo ghee too would do ?

            • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

              Cow ghee is the first choice. If that is not available, buffalo ghee can be sued.

          • Mentioned above ghee is better oil pulling for gastrist I have Gastrist Should I avoid Seamse oil for oil pulling and use ghee instead for oil pulling since I have gastrist ?.

            • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

              No. Oil pulling does not affect stomach in a severe manner. Hence, you can continue using sesame oil for oil pulling.

  10. Bharat Mallapur says:

    excellent post Dr Hebbar… So much more informative than the simplistic oil pulling method of Dr. Karach being touted by many people.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Every oil pulling method that I know, are just derivatives / small variants of ancient methods, explained above. 🙂

  11. malicka says:

    This article is quite informative.i am doing oilpulling with coldpressed gingelly oil much before sunrise.isit ok.

  12. Yadhavi says:

    How should we rinse our mouth after spitting out the oil? I usually rinse with rock salt mixed in warm water.

  13. Monique says:

    Thanks for great articles. I would like to know in what order the following. Oil pulling, ghee with milk, ashwaghanda, triphala and chywanprash. All are great but want to do in proper order if I can. I get confused which and when. Thanks so much.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      You will have to consult a doctor directly for the right advice.
      If I were to arrange them,
      Oil pulling early in the morning, before bath, but when there is sunlight.
      Chyawanprash with milk, in the morning before food.
      Triphala with ghee at night, after food.
      Ashwagandha with ghee and milk – 10 minutes before food.

  14. Hi,
    Do we need to brush our teeth after rinsing? Or is the warm water + salt rinse enough?

  15. Bhupesh Gupta says:

    Which oil is best for Oil pulling..Cocunut oil or Seasme oil

  16. <3 God bless you Doctor Hebbar. Hare Krishna.

  17. Thank you Dr. Such a good information
    What oil can be used for kappa -tinnitus ? and what is kavala . Is this oil? So need to swish around the oil JUST hold the liquid / oil in the mouth ?.
    Above you wrote honey in mouth get rid sliminess of face do you mean it will be plum the face from skinny face?

    • Dr Malini Bhat says:

      Dear Madam, You can use either Sesame oil or Ksheera bala taila for the Tinnitus.

      > Oil pulling is known as Gandusha or Kavala Graha in the Ayurvedic treatment text. This procedure is believed to be the pulling out of toxins or the Ama and also enhance the immunity and health of oral cavity. In Kavala Graha, a comfortable amount of liquid is retained with the mouth for about 3 minutes, and then gargled.

      > Oil pulling may be performed by placing a tablespoon of the oil into the mouth and swishing the oil around the mouth for approximately 10-15 minutes, holding it there and then spitting it out.Ayurveda recommends that the oil used for oil pulling in the form of Kavala, needs to held in the mouth for as long as saliva tends to fill the mouth to the brim and mixes into the oil. Also until there is watering from the eyes and nasal cavity and the (bitter) taste of the oil seems to be overcome with saliva or Kapha formation.

      > And by sliminess Sir means dental plaque on the teeth and the whitish plaque you see on the Tongue.

      • Dr. Bhat so for Tittinus Kavala Graha is recommended ( keeping oil for 3 mins then gargal with it )?.

        • Dr Malini Bhat says:

          Yes madam, it is.

          • If I just keep the oil in the mouth 3 mins then gargal like water gargle or you referring to the oil pulling swishing around as gargle ?
            If gargle like water how long to do gargle with oil after holding 3 mins ?.
            How long will it be before the Tinntus goes away by this method?.its 5 years very loud

            • Dr Malini Bhat says:

              Dear Madam, I was referring to the oil pulling swishing around as gargle in this case. And it depends on the individual on how many days it would take to reduce. Would like to suggest you to go to a Ayurvedic Physician for the exact method of doing it. As by seeing it you would get exact idea on how it will be helpful and the effects of it.

  18. Does oil pulling with seame oil causes to gain weight?.And this practice should be done off and on for cleaning purpose only ?.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, oil pulling does not cause weight gain.
      It can be done regularly on daily basis, excluding those days when the sky is cloudy or during extreme winters.

  19. Monique says:

    What is the reasoning for not oil pulling during cloudy sky and during extreme winters? I don’t understand this?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      It may cause Kapha dosha increase, leading to symptoms like cold, cough, sinusitis etc.
      Oil pulling, if done on a sunny day, the hotness of the day would help in extracting out the toxins from face and head region better.

  20. Hi Dr, I have tinnitus, hypothyroid vata-pitta imbalance. Can you help me with right oil ghee, coconut with herb. Thanks!

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, in your case, oil pulling alone might not be sufficient to take care of both problems. Please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.

  21. Dear Dr, I have rheumatoid arthritis and also Schogrens syndrome. i have dry eyes and dry mouth. Will oil pulling help? If yes, please tell me which oil i should use and the method? Also, I have read about Triphala Ghrita for dry eyes? Will this help? From where can one purchase the same?

  22. Hi doctor, do you recommend oil gargling before brushing teeth or after? I have medicines to take on empty stomach. Can i do the gargling after brushing and taking those medicines?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      I recommend oil gargling after teeth brushing.
      You can do gargling after brushing and taking those medicines.

  23. Amleth says:

    Hello Doctor,

    Is it true that oil pulling can cure cavities and other dental ailments, such as weak gums, plaque and so on? I have read other websites that claim such results with oil pulling.

    Please advise.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Yes. As per Ayurveda, the way to treat bone tissue deformities is through oil and fat. Hence, when there is osteoporosis, we suggest gandha tailam oil oral intake along with calcium supplement.
      This is because as per Ayurveda, medo dhatu (fat tissue) nourishes Asthi dhatu (bone tissue). Hence, with the same logic, oil pulling is very useful in curing caavities and dental ailments such as weak gum and plaque.

  24. Dear Sir,
    Which oil is good for halitosis and frequent stains formation on the teeth (stains though no bad habits, no tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolates – consumption, no smoking, no chewing of tobacco. inspite of proper cleaning of the mouth- swishing with water after food consumption, brushing the teeth as per dental procedure in the night, using mouth wash in the night). Thanks in advance sir

    • Dr Malini Bhat says:

      Hello Sir, You can gargle with Yashtimadhu water it reduces the bacterial laod in the oral cavity. Gandush with warm water, or Triphala decoction also serves the same purpose.

  25. Aahlad says:

    Namaste Sir,

    Thank you for this very informative article. Just wanted to ask you, which oil can be used by all (regardless of dosha or physical ailment)?

    Many thanks,

  26. Uh, what bullshi*? ‘Genuine Ayurvedic way’, and you’re discussing ‘meat juice’ and ‘wine’? Sorry to burst your bubble, but these things are never part of Ayurveda, Hinduism, and India. Goes to show how false online sites are. I would much rather learn about ‘real Ayurveda’ from my ancestors and Hindu relatives, not these warped versions.

  27. Michelle says:

    Hi, I was introduced to oil pulling by my holistic dentist. I never knew about fomentation so I will add this to my regimen. Thanks. I use sesame oil because of my constitution. My question is what kind of salt, how much salt in warm water solution, and how often should one rinse your mouth after spitting out the oil? I am using a blend of unrefined and untreated Mediterranean sea salt and pink Alaea Hawaiian sea salt produced by Quantum Nutrition Labs. Some folks recommend pink Himalayan salt or celtic salt.Thanks!

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, after oil pulling, take a cup of hot water. Add a teaspoon of Himalayan Pink salt (This is preferred as per Ayurveda) and gargle and spit out. Do this till the cup of hot water is empty. Then you can go ahead with your normal routine.

  28. Manjiri says:

    Can i use mustard oil for oil pulling as i have a lot of it…
    I want to improve teeth health..
    Would mustard oil have adverse effect??

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Mustard oil is considered hot. If you do not have any mouth ulcers, then you can use it. No issues.

  29. Hi Dr. Hebbar,

    I have a few questions:

    1) As I understood, we can do Kavala during winter but not Gandusha?

    2) Can I do Kavala after oil massage of full body or should it be only face and neck?

    3) How long should Kavala be done before spitting out? Can I use sesame oil in winter and coconut oil in summer or is it best to stick with one oil?

    Thank You!!!

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, Kavala or Gandusha – not good to do in winters, if you are prone to cough, cold and Kapha symptoms.
      You can do kavala after full body oil massage
      Usually kavala is done for 5 – 15 minutes.
      Sesame oil in winter and coconut oil in summer is good.

  30. Hi! Doctor, can we do oil pulling with irimedadi taila ?

  31. Mirza Saeed Ahmed says:

    I am the patience of tinnitus I have read about oil pulling. plz tell me after massage on neck, head and oil pulling i can take bath what duration between massage, oil pulling & bath.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, after oil pulling, you can do massage and then after 10 minutes, take bath.

  32. Hello, does the second method help in sleep and depression anxiety etc. And can we use sesame oil? What is face flabbiness and how does this improve it? What do you suggest for hair fall?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      1. By balancing Vata dosha and improving Kapha Dosha, it helps in sleep.
      2. Yes.
      3. Flabbiness – it improves the tightness of face and gets rid of wrinkles and flabbiness.
      4. Hair fall –
      Take as below for 1 month
      Bhringaraj capsule -1 capsule 2 times a day after food, for 1 month – Available locally, or here –

      Trichup hair oil – Apply this, 30 minutes before hair wash, at least 3 times a week. You can also apply this oil at night. Available in amazon website here –

      For personal health advice, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.
      If you want my help in finding a good Ayurveda doctor for you, then let me know your place.

      For email advice (not a reliable option, we do not promise any cure), please write to our health experts here (paid service) –

  33. Sir, I wake up at 5AM and drink 2 glasses of water then I do oil pulling immediately after that. Can I do oil pulling (seamme oil) after drinking water or should I wait for few minutes or should I oil pulling first then drink water. Please help?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, wait for 10 minutes after drinking water, to do oil pulling.
      It is best to do oil pulling first up.

  34. as always very useful article. Which oil or liquid can be used for wisdom tooth pain?

  35. Why is oil pulling meant to be done only after the sun has risen?
    What is one supposed to do in winter, when the sun rises hours after i have performed my morning routine?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Because, it can increase Kapha Dosha and sputum / phlegm production. After sunrise, the phlegm will be liquefied and thrown out.
      During winter, it can be done at around 11am – noon. When the Sun is strongest.

  36. Raghvendra tripathi says:

    Sir..pls guide me..I wake up around 5.30 morning and sit for sometimes then leave the place and put 10ml parachut cocont oil for mouth gargling, 5 mint .then rinse with warm water and brush my teeth ..then after 10 mint..I do jaldhauti followed by jal neti and rest of the yoga asanas…is it right way to do??

  37. Raghvendra tripathi says:

    Thank you so much Sir..But I do oil pulling before sunrise as I have mentioned in my above comment.And which oil is best for bleeding gums and teeth whitening??

  38. first we should do oil pulling or jal neti ? We should brush our teeth before or after oil pulling ?

  39. I do oil pulling daily with irimedadi taila. Since I started doing this, I am suffering from frequent throat infections(small white or red bumps on tonsils and throat) Can these infections be somehow related to our pulling?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Yes. Consider changing the oil brand. Consider heating the oil just above the room temperature before using for oil pulling.

  40. Dear doctor, I love reading the articles posted by you. Very simple and informative. I live in a cold country and what I understand is it is not good to do gandusha(oil pulling) and kavala(mouth gargle) on cold and cloudy days. Do we have to compleletly avoid this in the winter as it is very less chance to see the sunrays during this time and do during summer.
    Also, is it madatory to do massage and fomentation before doing gandusha and kavala.
    I wanted to follow this as a dinacharya,but please clear my doubts. If you can suggest for people living in cold countries what would be the best daily regimens to follow for starting a day.
    Awaiting for your response.
    Thank you,

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      In a cold country, Gandusha or Kavala can be done in afternoon or when the sun is out.
      If the sun is not out at all, better to skip it on those days.
      massage and fomentation are good to do before oil pulling.

  41. Raghvendra tripathi says:

    Thank you so much Sir..I just place my order ..kamdhenu irimedadi tail..plz to use this oil for oil pulling ..can be used before jalneti..and after brushing teeth..

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Take 10 ml of oil into mouth and rinse for 15 minutes then spit it out. Avoid this during cloudy days. Better to do this after brushing and Jalneti.

  42. Thank you very much for the reply.

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