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A month into my oil pulling experiment, I remain an open-minded skeptic. Having stuck to my new regimen every morning before breakfast, except on forgetful weekends or when traveling, I am now a seasoned oil puller. Although I haven’t experienced any life-altering revelations, I do have some observations to report.
For one, the drawn-out process of oil pulling is met with the sort of reception typically reserved for swallowing a goldfish, or performing an enema. My poor roommate would cringe every morning she caught me removing my bottle of sesame oil from the fridge and downing a spoonful. My boyfriend didn’t even want me to hear me utter the word "oil". Nonetheless, I couldn’t help bringing up its extraordinary self-healing properties every chance I got, even with complete strangers at a bar.
Oil pulling has been documented as a cure for AIDS, arthritis, cancers, diabetes, heart disorders, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, leukemia, meningitis, paralysis, ulcers, and varicose veins, among many others. Within the incredible claims tied to oil pulling, I was most excited about its alleged healing powers over intestinal disorders and stomach problems. You see, I suffer from an incurable ailment known as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS for short. Today IBS afflicts one in four women, though there is little reprieve in this sorority.
Since being diagnosed with IBS, I have tried every treatment under the sun (expensive medication, insoluble fiber, tummy-taming tea, detox cleanses, herbal supplements, lifestyle changes, you name it), and I have never felt a radical improvement in my symptoms (bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, constipation). With all the hype surrounding oil pulling, I held out hope that my body might respond to this remedy better than the others.
It is hard to say definitively that oil pulling is the cause, but I have felt remarkably better in the digestive department over the past month. I haven’t endured a single debilitating episode of colon spasms, which often strikes every few weeks. Though hardly as punctual as a Japanese commuter train, my system has been much more regular than usual. It makes me wonder if maybe oil pulling leeched toxins from my intestinal tract and restored a semblance of stability.
As a child, I was always enthralled with science experiments. So maybe it’s the budding scientist in me, but I secretly enjoy the feeling of converting one compound into something completely different all within the miniature lab of my mouth. I find that if I let the oil sit still without swishing, it seems to curdle almost instantly. Around fifteen minutes into the process, the solution in my mouth is no longer recognizable as oil and has become more akin to frothy eggnog. How could such a transformation take place if the oil isn’t reacting with something in my spit?