spit or swallow?
it’s not what you think.

When you’re adapting to the fact that you have a chronic skin ailment that posits itchy, ugly patches at random all over your body (including your penis), you’ll do pretty much whatever is necessary to combat it.

I found out recently that I have eczema/psoriasis, and in my research into non-prescription practices, I discovered an ancient remedy called oil pulling that is supposed to cure most skin maladies that you can think of (leprosy not included), and according to Jezebel it allegedly does a gamut of other beneficial things for the human body, including:

  • Detoxes the bod
  • Cures a hangover
  • Cures a migraine
  • Prevents cavities and gum diseases (though if you already have a gum disease, you should stay away from oil pulling, as it may make your teeth fall out)
  • Helps you sleep
  • Ramps down allergies
  • Makes your breath fresher for morning makeout sessions
  • Flushes out your sinuses so you’re like, totally Claritin clear without the Claritin
  • Helps balance hormones
  • Soothes general pain
  • Makes your chompers more pearly white.

Sounds pretty damn dope, right? But what is oil pulling?

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil around in your mouth daily (or at least four times a week) for about 20 minutes straight. No, not motor oil. The most widely recommended is sesame oil, with sunflower oil and coconut oil as other safe options.

For the past few days, I’ve been swishing a tablespoon of sesame oil around my mouth for 20 minutes. It’s monotonous, and taxing on the ole’ jaw, but it’s not entirely unpleasant. It doesn’t burn like mouthwash, which is important. The sesame taste doesn’t bother me, and I haven’t had any issues keeping it in my mouth for a full 20.

In short, if I can benefit health-wise from oil pulling five times a week, I’ll gladly do it. The perceived benefits would outweigh the daily inconvenience by a wide margine.

According to the experts, I’ll have to continue this practice for anywhere from two to four days, to an entire year or so before I see the results I’m looking for—depending on the seriousness of the malady I’m trying to quash. In the wake of a three-day trial, I’ve noticed only that my teeth may be slightly whiter than they were before. But this could be a placebo effect. I didn’t, like, take a picture of my grill before I started my first solo pulling party. (Though now I wish I would have.)

Each day when I’m done swishing, I spit the oil into a cup before dumping it into the garbage can. (Note that you best not spit the oil into the toilet or down a drain, because this will wreak havoc on your pipes.) I do this because it’s encouraging to see tangible results that what I’ve done has worked in some way. It turns from run-of-the-mill sesame oil into a milky white substance that resembles…something I have never had in my own mouth but that I use to write my name from time to time on my shower walls. (Semen. It looks kind of like semen.) The white stuff is supposedly the germs and other nastiness that has been pulled out of me.*

In closing, exercise caution if you decide to try out oil pulling for yourself, because accidentally breathing it into your lungs will put you into some real deep shit. Like ICU-bound-for-oil-pneumonia deep shit. So if you ever feel like you’re going to sneeze or cough or anything like that, don’t be a hero: spit it out and pour yourself another tablespoon later on.

*Can I get a digital high-five for writing “semen” and “pulled out” in the same paragraph in an article that has absolutely nothing to do with sex?