When being treated by an Ayurvedic doctor you will in many cases be prescribed ghee as part of your treatment, you may feel that it is rather unusual, and be a little skeptical. Ghee is made from butter and we all know that butter is not particularly good for cholesterol or weight management, hopefully, this article will put your mind at ease regarding the consumption of ghee, especially when prescribed by your Ayurvedic doctor.
In Ayurveda treatments one of the most important milk products is GHEE. We do not mean the hydrogenated clarified butter but pure Ghee. Although it has a lot of fat content, it is an ideal cooking medium. Ghee is a form of naturally saturated fat, which has a very conductive effect on the human system. In Ayurveda ghee is an integral ingredient in many treatments and is also considered the ultimate cooking oil, according to ancient texts it is believed to benefit the mind and the body in many ways.
- Ayurvedic Balance: Ghee balances both Vata (the ayurvedic mind/body operator that controls movement in mind and body) and Pitta (the operator that controls heat and metabolism).
- Absorption: Since ghee is an oil, it can bond with lipidsoluble nutrients and herbs to penetrate the lipid-based cell walls of the body. It is stated to increase the potency of certain herbs by carrying the active components to the interior of the cells where they impart the most benefit.
- Digestion: The ayurvedic texts say that ghee helps balance excess stomach acid, and helps maintain/repair the mucus lining of the stomach.
- Mild Burns: Like aloe, Ghee is said to prevent blisters and scarring if applied quickly to affected skin.
- Mind: Ghee is said to promote all three aspects of mental functioning – learning, memory and recall.
- Preservative: Ghee does not spoil easily, and actually preserves the original freshness and potency of herbs and foods. It does not need refrigeration.
Ghee has been given the cherished title of “Rasayana” in Ayurveda – pre-eminent herbs and foods that help overall health, longevity and well-being. Milk, according to AYURVEDA, is nectar for the human system. In Ayurveda, cow’s milk & Ghee is believed to be the best for human consumption. It is full of nutritive qualities and ideal diet for these heart patients who suffer due to excessive cholesterol in their blood. Its regular consumption enhances physical and mental strength, keeps the body healthy and increases the potency of the body. It is not only nutritive, but helps in also taking out the impurities from the body. It improves eye site, keeps muscles and tendons healthy, and bone sturdy yet supple.
A totally fat-free diet can actually accelerate aging of the skin, nerves and brain cells. Without an adequate quantity of the right kind of fat in the diet, cell regeneration can be adversely impacted. Fats are needed for efficient absorption of crucial lipid-soluble vitamins such as A, E, D and K. The stomach lining, which protects the stomach from the acids it secretes to help break down foods, needs fat to maintain a healthy coating. Similarly, cholesterol in the body serves functions that are crucial to health, such as building cell membranes, and hormone and bile balance It is only when cholesterol is damaged by harmful free radicals that it leads to clogged arteries and heart problems. Ghee imparts the benefits of the best essential fatty acids without the problems of oxidized cholesterol, trans fatty acids or hydrogenated fats. It is also resistant to free radical damage and is both salt and lactose free.
To make pure Ghee one must get rid of all impurities and water out of the butter so you are left with pure fat.
A couple of points to remember when making ghee:
- Never stir the butter while it is cooking
- Keep a close eyes on the colour to make sure you don’t burn the ghee
- Melt one pound of unsalted butter in a sauce pan on medium heat, the better the butter, the better the ghee, so use organic butter if you can.
- When the butter melts it will begin to boil and separate (white froth on top with sediment settling to the bottom of the pan). Keep the butter boiling steadily.
- Do not stir, Allow the butter to continue to cook until the bubbling slows down and the sediment at the bottom of the pan starts to turn golden brown (you can check the colour of the sediment by gently tilting the pan), and the liquid under the froth begins to turn an amber colour (it usually takes about 20 minutes).
- The smell also change to that of freshly baked croissants. All these signs indicate that all the water has evaporated, and that you must turn off the flame immediately or the ghee will burn quickly.
- Leave the cooked ghee to cool for half an hour, then line a strainer with some cheese cloth and strain the ghee into sterilized jars. Discard the sediment (in India, it is used for pujas, fire rituals. The ghee will turn hard when cooled and look yellow in colour – it melts quickly when exposed to heat. If it is properly made, ghee will keep for over a year, even outside the fridge.
Other benefits of ghee
- Ghee is also used for healing digestive disorders, it is known to repair gut lining (mucosa) and should be used liberally by people working on healing such conditions as leaky gut and gut dysbiosis.
- Ghee balances cholesterol and is used for preventing and healing heart disease.
- Ghee also promotes optimal thyroid function.
- It is nourishing for the brain and is used to support good memory and high mental function.
- Ghee contributes to maintaining beautiful complexion and healthy glowing skin.
In Ayurveda, ghee is considered sacred for all of these (and more) healing properties. It is one of the most versatile remedies used in Ayurvedic medicine. Ghee is tridoshic, meaning that it is beneficial for people of all 3 body-mind constitutions (vata, pitta, kapha).