Ghee – the gift of India to universal health
Ghee is a central component in Ayur-Vedic medicine. In addition to being super nutritious, Ghee is beneficial for detoxing and cleansing and is part of Pancha-karma treatments because its ability to pull fat soluble toxins into circulation for their elimination from the body. It’s believed to promote both mental and physical purification through its ability to cleanse and support wellness.
What is Ghee exactly?
Pure ghee (purified butter) is made from 100% fat of milk (preferably grass fed animals). Ghee is used as food and medicine. A properly prepared ghee has no expiration date and its quality increases over the years. In Ayur-Vedic literature, it is argued that a 100-year-old ghee can cure any disease!
Ghee is full of fat-soluble vitamins and healthy fatty acids. Used for thousands of years and a staple in Ayurvedic healing practices, ghee is one of the most powerful healing foods out there. Ghee is good for strengthening the vitality of the body, the digestive system (Agni), for nourishing the tissues, and for the mind.
Ghee can be used as vegetable oil or butter: for cooking, frying, baking, and spreading and for external use as in the treatment of burns.
Ghee treats deficiency
Ghee is one of the most important medicines in Ayur-Veda because it is easy to digest and ojas building, an essence that governs the tissues of the body and balance the hormones. Ample Ojas ensures a strong mind and body, resistance against disease, and is essential for longevity. Rich with the power of ojas, ghee is excellent for building strong, hearty tissue. Consuming ghee helps the body to become softer and nourishes depleted tissue. Ghee is a Rasayana (tonic) for sexual organs and an aphrodisiac. Ghee calms the liver when it is deficient, and comforts the nervous system by supporting the myelin sheath.
Ghee is heat resistant
Ghee is an excellent choice for cooking because of its high smoke point. Ghee is not easily oxidized and therefore resistant to high temperatures. This means that you can easily use ghee for baking, sautéing and roasting without the risk of destroying the important nutrients that it contains.
A rich source of fat soluble vitamins
Ghee can help boost your intake of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, all important nutrients that play a role in healthy metabolism, healthy vision, glowing skin and maintaining hormonal balance. This can be especially crucial if you suffer from any conditions like leaky gut syndrome, IBS or Crohn’s, as your body may have difficulty absorbing these fat-soluble vitamins.
Safe for milk intolerant
Since Ghee is free of lactose (milk sugar) and casein (milk protein), it is most often suitable for those sensitive to dairy products.
Ghee contains CLA and butyric acid
CLA – conjugated linoleic acid is higher in grass fed beef. CLA may help to reduce tumors, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Butyric acid is a short chain fatty acid that acts as a detoxifier, improving colon health. It has been shown to support healthy insulin levels and is anti-inflammatory, preventing inflammatory conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and even certain types of cancer.
Support the skeletal structure
Ghee will help you meet your vitamin K requirements, which is involved in bone metabolism to keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong. Ghee is also nourishing and lubricating for the tendons and ligaments of the body, helping to maintain strength and flexibility. Ghee is excellent for treating stiffness.
Ghee strengthens digestion
As mentioned above, ghee is an excellent source of butyric acid, the short-chain fatty acid that is crucial to maintaining optimal digestive health. Butyric acid provides energy for the cells of the colon, helps support gut barrier function and fights off inflammation. Additionally, butyric acid reduces pain during defecation and improves peristalsis, the contraction of muscles in the intestines, to help propel food through the digestive tract.
Ayur-Veda knowledge claims that Ghee is a powerful food for stimulating digestion and treating a slow/irregular digestion. Even heavy foods will not weaken digestion, if the digestive system is strengthened by Ghee.
For people with inflammatory bowel disease, Ghee will regulate peristalsis.
Ghee is a remedy for constipation with hard stools. In this case is it best to consume Ghee and mineral salt during the meal. Extra Ghee with food will be most nourishing and strengthening.
Ghee is recommended when digestion is weak because of general fatigue, wear and tear. If weakness is caused by fasting, treat it with porridge and ghee.
Old Ghee (PuranaGhrita)
Old Ghee is especially good for the mind and for the treatment of insanity, the older the better. Except for reasons and goals of weight gain, nourishment, strength and eye problems, it is better to use fresh young Ghee.
Ghee and the three Dosha system
Ghee, unlike vegetable oil, has a fine cooling quality, and therefore very suitable for summer use and for Pitta people. Ghee is also well suited for Vata people and is to some extent less appropriate for Kapha people.
Different types of ghee:
Buffalo Ghee – is more nutritious and heavy.
Goat Ghee – is lighter and more digestible.
Cow Ghee – the most commonly used.
Ghee vs. Butter
Because ghee is made by heating butter to separate the liquid and milk solids from the fat, it shares a similar nutrient profile to butter. Both are high in saturated fat as well as fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K. However, there are some unique differences that set the two apart.
First of all, ghee contains nearly double the amount of short- and medium-chain fatty acids as butter. These types of fats are metabolized differently in the body than long-chain fatty acids, and studies show that they are not associated with heart disease. For the same reason, Ghee is considered easier and lighter for digestion, rekindling the digestive fire, while butter is heavier and may burden the digestive fire.
Ghee also has a higher smoke point than butter, which means that it can be heated to a higher temperature without the risk of oxidizing and forming harmful free radicals.
Plus, by removing the milk solids from the final product, ghee becomes free of casein and lactose. Many people have allergies or sensitivities to these ingredients, which can result in symptoms like bloating, gas, nausea and abdominal pain.
Finally, there is a difference in taste between ghee and butter. While butter is typically described as creamy and sweet, ghee boasts a nutty, rich and deeper, more intense flavor.
Ghee is widely used as a carrier for medicinal herbs, since it is efficiently absorbed and enters all the different tissues of the body. Medicinal Ghee is used for either deep nourishment or deep cleansing. Below are two examples:
Ashwagandha Ghee – used as a tonic for muscular debility, as a male aphrodisiac, to encourage growth in children, and as an anti-tumor preventative.
Bitter Ghee – a classic formula for treating irritability, liver congestion, and gall bladder stagnation.
When not to use ghee:
Ghee is made from butter and is not vegan. If you’re following a vegan diet, it’s best to stick to coconut oil or other healthy dairy-free fats.
In moderation, ghee can be an incredibly healthy dietary addition. However, it is possible to overdo it, and eating too much can actually have a negative impact on your health. Like any type of fat, if eaten in excess, ghee disadvantages can range from diarrhea to indigestion. Long-term, an extremely high-fat diet may also result in issues like weight gain and heart disease.
Also, best avoid Ghee under the following circumstances: Kapha type disease, Phlegm conditions, alcoholism, a fever, a very cold and weak digestion.
Buy Ghee or make it yourself!
Ghee is widely available at most grocery stores and health shops and can typically be found in the ethnic food section or next to other oils, such as coconut oil. You can also easily purchase ghee online from many major retailers or even prepare Ghee at home.
Be sure to look for grass-fed, organic ghee whenever possible to ensure you’re getting the maximum amount of nutrients without extra added ingredients. If you are making your own, buy grass-fed organic butter.
How to prepare Ghee
Ingredients for making 500g Ghee:
600 grams of non-salty quality butter
Deep wide pot
Place the butter in a pot with a thick bottom
Ignite a small-medium fire
After the butter melts, notice the gradual formation of foam on the surface of the butter and the descending of solids to the bottom of the pot.
When the liquid in the pot becomes golden clear and there is an opulent smell of buttery popcorn, it’s time to check if the ghee is ready.
Roll a paper towel and dip the tip in the Ghee. Now using a match or lighter, ignite the tip of the paper towel. If it burns with a cracking sound – it’s not ready. If it burns quietly – its ready! Repeat this process as many times as needed until ready.
Remove from the heat and let the ghee cool down slightly
Pour the contents of the pot through a cotton cloth into a clean, dry glass jar. The foam and the protein deposits will remain in the cloth, the fat will pass through the cloth into the jar.
The ghee is kept outside the refrigerator and does not spoil if the protein separation was successful.
To care for ghee avoid putting any dirty utensils into the ghee. Also, any droplet of water could cause a mold to form. Always use the ghee with a clean spoon.
Type: dairy, fat
element: earth , water
Natural Attributes: light, oily, soft, cold
Dosha impact: decreases Pitta and Vata, increases kapha
Tissue impact (Vipak): nourishing
Thermal impact (Virya): cooling
Digestive impact (Agni): easy to digest
moves energy: inwards and all directions
Channels (Srotas): opens the channels when obstruction is due to excess contraction and/or dryness
strength (Bala): improves strength and immunity
Mind (Manas): calms down Rajas, Sattvic
Occasion: any meal
nutrient: fats, vitamins A,D,E,K
Chinese medicine syndrome: Yin Deficiency, Blood deficiency
- Nourishment (rasa): emaciation, weakness, anemia, pregnancy, children, the aged, dizziness, fainting, lactation
- Blood-circulation-liver: cholagogue, livotonic, bleeding disorders, hemorrhoids
- Muscles: muscle tonic
- Fat: balance fat tissue
- Bones-joints-tendon-ligaments: anti-rheumatic, bone tonic
- Nervous system: nervine, sedative, epilepsy, parkinson, headache
- Reproductive and hormonal systems: aphrodisiac, hormone balancer, promotes fertility, promotes virility, builds semen
- Immunity: Immunomodulator, anti inflammatory, herpes
- Vital essence and strength: nutritive, tonic
- Mental: anxiety
- Skin: emollient, Vulnerary, improves elasticity and glow
- Digestive system: antacid, laxative, aperient, Digestive-Stimulant, carminative, intestinal inflammation and pain due to dryness, ulcer, dry constipation, diseases of the duodenum, burning sensation, lack of appetite, heartburn, indigestion, malabsorption, gas and bloating
- Cleansing: detoxicant, fat soluble toxins