Ghee – An Ayurvedic Perspective: 10 Astounding Qualities of Ghee
The ingestion of Ghee is like offering the finest of fuels into the fires of digestion-Agni. In accord with this, Ghee builds the aura, makes all the organs soft, builds up the internal juices of the body-Rasa, which are destroyed by aging and increases the most refined element of digestion-Shukra or Ojas, the underlying basis of all immunity and the “essence of all bodily tissues”. Ghee is the “single most ojas producing food on earth”. Ghee is known to increase intelligence–Dhi, refine the intellect-Buddhi and improve the memory-Smrti.
Although Ghee kindles or increases the digestive fire- Agni, on which all nutrition depends, it does so without aggravating Pitta- the elemental functioning of fire within the body. In fact, Ghee cools the body, essential in much of today’s world in which everything is overheating.
Ghee causes secretions and liquification in the dhatus-bodily tissues that dissolve wastes allowing the functional intelligence of the body-doshas to carry away toxins-ama (also known as aam). The ingestion of Ghee is used in Panchakarma specifically to first penetrate into and then dissolve ama in the dhatus, allowing the wastes to be then carried to the intestinal tract and then expelled.
It is traditionally considered, that the older Ghee, the better its healing qualities. 100-year-old Ghee is highly valued in India and fetches a very high price. Such Ghee was often kept in Temples in large vats and families often pass on aged Ghee to their next generation to be used as medicine.
Qualities of Ghee
Ghee is known as a substance that gives longevity… This is because it has opposite qualities (heavy, slow, oily, liquid, dense, soft), and thus pacifying effects, to the light, dry and rough qualities of Vata Dosha. It is the increase in the qualities of Vata that are synonymous with ageing. Ghee, in a very sure and steady way, slows the ageing process by balancing the living one.
1. Ghee has the quality of snigda, oiliness, and unctuousness. It is smooth, lubricated and nurturing. Ghee is thought to make the voice soft and melodious.
2. Ghee is Guru, heavy. It increases the qualities of Kapha and decreases Pitta and Vata, which are both lights.
3. Ghee has the quality of mrdu, softness. In Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatments, Ghee is the oil used on the eyes. In Netra Basti, a small dam is built around the eyes and filled with warm Ghee. Then, you open your eyes to its soothing softness. It seems after that treatment, that you see the world through a soft diaphanous curtain of love and loveliness.
4. Healing Properties of Ghee
In ancient India, wells full of Ghee were especially for those who suffered wounds… When a surgeon cuts open a body, he only does so knowing that the body will be able to heal itself. The surgeon cannot do this. Ghee is known for the quality of Ropana- healing, and its effectiveness in facilitating recovery from wounds. In Ayurveda, when a person has a chronic peptic ulcer or gastritis, Ghee is used to healing that ulcer inside the intestinal tract. Ghee works wondrously on bedsores for the elderly or debilitated.
It can be applied for broken bones and bruises. It is highly effective for all sorts of skin rashes. It is also used on burns of both fire and chemicals. Once, I accidentally got some sandalwood oil in my eye. It burned intensely and I was unable to wash it out with a variety of eyewashes. I spent hours in pain and finally, I remembered to use Ghee. Almost immediately, the Ghee pacified the burning and the eye irritation ceased.
Those with obesity should be very frugal in their use of Ghee and those with high ama should not take Ghee at all.
5. Ghee increases the overall strength, lustre and beauty of the sarira-the body. Let us look at a variety of ways:
Used on the skin, Ghee softens and strengthens, protects and nourishes. Up until the last generation in India, there used to be men who gave Ghee massages on the street. It was always the preferred substance for the skin, but since it was more expensive than oil it has come to be used only for internal purposes. For generations, Indians have used Ghee for cooking and as an added measure on the top of their food and as a medicine. In India, medicinal ghee is passed on from one generation to the next.
It was used for old and young, for new babies (Mothers in India will massage their children with Ghee) and for those in the last days of their life. I massaged my Father’s body with it before he died- He loved it. Sometimes, when he could not sleep, I rubbed it on his feet and temples and it soothed his agitation. It is considered it one of the best substances for self-massage-Abhyanga.
6. For Body Massage-Abhyanga. Apply ghee all over the body, rubbing into head, chest, limbs, joints and orifices. This will bypass the digestive system and allow the qualities of Ghee to penetrate directly into the deeper tissues. It is said that 60% of what is placed on the skin is absorbed into the body. We literally “eat” what we put on our skin. Western science has discovered that massaging the skin creates endorphins or peptides, which enhance the body’s immune system. Peptides are thought to be the vehicle that the mind and body use to communicate with each other, literal chemistry of emotion. According to the Charak Samhita, regular Abhyanga slows the ageing process.
7. Ghee is used in Purvakarma, (early Panchakarma) where a small amount of Ghee is taken first thing in the morning by the practitioner to oleate the internal organs and “dissolve” the ama or toxic wastes in the tissues, allowing them to be carried to the digestive tract for elimination.
8. Ghee is used as a carrier or “yogavahi” for herbs and bhasmas because of its supreme penetrating qualities and thus ability to carry these substances deep into the dhatus or tissues.
One or two teaspoons first thing in the morning followed immediately with hot water will promptly produce a bowel movement. It will also warm the body quickly. Two spoonfuls of Ghee in warm (non-homogenized) milk before bedtime is soothing to the nerves and lubricates the intestines and facilitates a bowel movement in the morning.
9. Ghee is excellent for cooking and sautéing or stir-frying. Ghee has one of the highest flash points of all oils and is very difficult to burn. In India, it is said that food is incomplete without the use of Ghee.
10. Ghee is excellent for a gargle-gandush, to improve the health of the teeth and gums.
11. Ghee can be used as a bath oil. Take two tablespoons of Ghee and mix with several drops of essential oil of your choice.
12. Ghee is excellent for scrapes and both chemical and heat or fire burns. Ghee can be used in the eyes for tiredness or fatigue.
13. Ghee is an exquisite facial moisturizer.
In India, it is said that if a few drops of ghee are placed in the nostrils then nosebleed can be checked. If this is done twice in a day, then headache can be relieved.
I hope the above mention information is useful for you.
Do you have any query please get in touch with me.
Dietitian Vinita Jaiswal