Ayurvedic Gandush (mouth-filling)

Gandush (mouth-filling)

Mouth pulling or Kaval is very famous. Kaval is also known as “kulla” in Hindi. However, there is another more steady procedure called Gandush. It can be defined more as mouth-filling rather than mouth-pulling, as you don’t have to move the liquid inside your mouth.

Some people call it oiling pulling or oil filling, however, gandush uses a wide variety of ingredients than just oil. And therefore, I prefer to call it mouth-filling, with respect to the site of process rather than the ingredient used.

Pain is the defining symptom that you have a vata imbalance. The most relevant gandush for pain related head disorders like migraine, sinusitis, tonsilitis is oil mouth-filling. As we know, oil is the best remedy for all vata related disorders.

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Besides, oil gandush is very important for people suffering from an extreme form of pain disorders like migraine, facial paralysis, with complications of the oral cavity, like dryness in the mouth, pain, and twitching in mouth muscles, hearing problems or blurred speech.

Also, gandush also offers multiple side benefits –

It provides immense strength and immunity to jaw muscles and roots of the teeth. Gandush also helps to prevent tooth decay and morbid sensitivity.
With gandush, you can develop a deep and soothing voice, great for all people who have a squeaky voice.
It also helps to shape and strengthen the mouth muscles.
You will never face dry or chapped lips, no matter what the season or your age is.
This exercise is also a part of the treatment for anorexia or oral numbness.

Types of Gandush

There are 4 types of gandush –
Snehik – for vata imbalance
Shaman – for pitta imbalance
Shodhan – for kapha imbalance
Ropan – for oral wound healing

Out of all the above gandush, snehik gandush is applicable for all vata disorders, including migraine (ardhavabhedaka).

Simple gandush ingredients for migraine – coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil, and mustard oil(if you can manage them, castor and mustard are great for vata dosha), sesame oil, milk, cow’s ghee, honey mixed in water, meat soup (no spices), milk-rice (particle-less) porridge, rice water with ghee, diluted gomutra, etc.

Ideally, it is better to have lukewarm oil/liquid for gandush in case of migraine. Also, in no case you should use chilled/cold liquid for gandush. It should be warmed to normal room temperature(approx 23-25 degrees celsius) before using it for mouth-filling.

One should always keep the basic sutra in mind that in no circumstances, we should compromise on the heat homeostasis of the body.

In fact, if you happen to use cold gandush ingredients, esp. milk and if you are kapha dominant person suffering from frequent obstructive disorders, the cold gandush can even aggravate your cold, cough, sinusitis, tonsilitis, migraine, etc.

This is true especially in case of cold temperament liquids like milk, rice soup/porridge, coconut oil.

It is extremely important that you must spit out the gandush liquid after the mouth-filling procedure is over. This liquid absorbs all excess mucus, toxins, stuck and rotting particles from the oral cavity. In some cases of excess congestion, even the mucus from the nasopharyngeal cavity melts into gandush liquid. And therefore ingesting mouth-filling liquid is absolutely prohibited.

In case, you happen to ingest a small amount of liquid by mistake, there is no problem if you are not suffering from indigestion and have a good hunger. But otherwise, you should reinforce the digestive enzymes by using Trikatu and Hinguashtaka churna (Ayurvedic medicines) – 1/2 tsp after every meal till you feel normal.

Procedure for gandush

Primary ingredient for Gandush

When you are starting the process of mouth-filling, first try it with warm water. Here I have used some ginger flakes and salt for fast relief. You can include different spices like cardamom, clove, bay leaf etc.

Benefits of Warm Water

Initially, your mouth will pain and you might not be able to hold the liquid for more than 10 min. With warm water, you can spit the liquid every 10 min and refill it.

Most of the time it is not affordable to use other ingredients (My heart aches when I have to throw away a mouth-full of cold-pressed coconut oil :)). And therefore, initially warm water may help you to get used to gandush economically.


Ideally, you must not use normal/cold water. It may aggravate kapha problems like cold, cough, sinusitis, etc. Too hot water is also not advisable as it may trigger mouth ulcers, inflammation, and dryness in the mouth, eye disorders, etc.

Therefore, let us start the process with warm water for this week.

This is the classical procedure for gandush mentioned in Ashtang Hridya .

Once you are comfortable, you can go for Mouth filling with baladi thailam, castor oil, mustard oil, and sesame oil.

Mouth filling with Ayurvedic medicinal preparations like mahanarayan telam,Narayan thailam,mahamasha tailam, has an incredible effect in severe migraine.

Step 1

Choose the location and time

Choose a spot with mild sunlight and without wind. The best time to do gandush is – the early morning after sunrise (7-9 am approx.).

I have tried using gandush even after sunset and before sunrise without any harm. However, early morning is indisputably the best time. If you are suffering from a disease or experimenting it for the first time, then try to do gandush at this time only.

If you are sitting inside a room, try to use Ac than a fan.

Cool air is not prohibited, but moving air(breeze, wind) has a different effect as compared to stable air, just like calm waters are different than turbulent ones.

Therefore, the ideal time for gandush during Indian(harsh) summer (Mar-Jun), try gandush from 6-9 am. during Indian winter(Sep-Feb) from 7-10 am during the rainy season(Jul-sep), it is better to use it during the clear sky/less cloudy sky.

Step 2-3 make gandush very effective and protect the person from any complication. If you are doing it for the first time, you might like to try it the best way. However, I myself skipped doing gandush for a long time because the method looked a little cumbersome. However, once you get used to it, it hardly takes 10-15 min to complete step 2 and 3.

However, there are times that I have tried gandush without using any of the following steps and still faced no problems.

Step 2

Swedana (Heat Therapy)

Ideally, before using gandush steam/sweat treatment on shoulders and throat is advised. It is important to use this step when you are doing gandush for the first time. It helps to ensure better absorption of gandush liquid.

Put 1 kg of washed/cleaned sand on a cloth and make a bundle with it. You can also use uncooked wheat, flaxseeds, corn, rice grains. However, I sincerely believe that real respect for food is in eating it and therefore I use only sand. This bundle is called potli in Ayurveda.

Heat this sand potli on top of a pan. Apply mildly heated potli on shoulders and throat region minimum 5-6 times for 1 min each.

Step 3

Snehana (Oil massage)

Normally, oil massage is done before the steam/sweat treatment. But in the case of gandush, it is indicated after fomentation.

After potli sweat, do a mild massage on throat and shoulders, with coconut, mustard, olive or sesame oil. The below image is indicative. You can do this process by yourself in a sitting position too.

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Step 4

Gandush (Mouth Filling)

Sit in a comfortable position. Pour a comfortable amount of gandush liquid in the mouth. It is advisable to keep the head up till the time gandush is kept in the mouth.

Timing for gandush

Initially, you can start with 10 min, then 15, 20, 25 min and so on. After few months, you should be able to keep gandush till the time the entire mouth is filled with kapha or mucus.

Ideal State of Gandush

The ideal state of gandush is reached only when natural secretions start from eyes and nose. However, it might take some time to reach this state.

After an appropriate time, spit out gandush liquid. If you have time, you should repeat step 4 five to six times at one go.

However, it is always best to start with a short duration and a small amount of gandush liquid. And this is mainly to counter the psychological barrier. If you are mentally prepared for gandush, you can reach ideal state even in a few sittings.

Hope that this information helps you to make the best decision. Please consult your physician or get back to me in case of any doubts.


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