Ghee and Ayurveda – The Health Benefits of Using 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”. Maya Tiwari calls Ghee 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 intelligences 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 of the qualities of Vata that are synonymous with aging. Ghee, in a very sure and steady way, slows the aging process by balancing the living one.

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.

Ghee is Guru, heavy. It increases the qualities of Kapha and decreases Pitta and Vata, which are both light.

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 though a soft diaphanous curtain of love and loveliness.

Many Uses of Ghee

  1. 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, a literal chemistry of emotion. According to the Charak Samhita, regular Abhyanga slows the aging process.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Ghee is excellent for a gargle-gandush, to improve the health of the teeth and gums.
  7. Ghee can be used as a bath oil. Take two tablespoons of Ghee and mix with several drops of an essential oil of your choice.
  8. Ghee is excellent for scrapes and both chemical and heat or fire burns. Ghee can be used in the eyes for tiredness or fatigue.
  9. Ghee is an exquisite facial moisturizer.
  10. 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.