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Health Benefits of Ghee – Complete Ayurvedic Details (Download PDF)

(Source for most of the text: EasyAyurveda.com)

Desi Cow ghee


Effect on Tridosha: 

Ghee calms Pitta and Vata. Hence, it is ideal for people with Vata-Pitta body type and for those suffering from Vata and Pitta imbalance disorders. 

 

Effect of ghee on digestion strength:

Pitta and fire are inter-related. Usually, the substances that balance Pitta, also cause depletion of digestion fire. But ghee is an exception. It balances Pitta Dosha but it increases digestion strength.

However, it does not help in Ama (altered digestion and metabolism condition). In a normal person, if digestion strength is a bit low, then ghee is useful in improving his digestive capacity.

Ghee is quite similar to milk in qualities, but unlike milk, ghee improves digestion. (Bhava Prakasha)


Versatile health benefits of ghee:

Herbal rectal suppositories are smeared with ghee before insertion into anal canal. 5/288

It is conducive to Rasadhatu (essence part of digested food), Sukradhatu (semen) and Ojas. It has cooling and softening effect on the body. It adds to the clarity of the voice and complexion – Charaka Sutrasthana 13th chapter


Indications for the administration of Ghee:

Intake of herbal ghee is prescribed for those with Chakshu Kama – those desiring good eye sight, Kshata Ksheena – with chest injured, For the old, children and weak, those desirous of longevity, of strength, good complexion, voice, nourishment, progeny, tenderness, luster, immunity, memory, intelligence, power of digestion, wisdom, proper functioning of sense organs and those afflicted with injuries due to burns, by weapons, poisons and fire.

Ghee is one of those dietary ingredients that can be consumed by all at all times. Ashtanga Hrudayam Su.  8/43.

 

It is one of the essential dietary ingredients for those debilitated due to treatments. It helps improve digestion power. (Ashtanga Hrudaya Su. 9/27)

 

It nourishes body tissues, suitable for people of all ages. It strengthens sense organs, immunity, It improves tone and strength of the voice. It begets longevity.  (Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 10/22)

 

It is useful for those taking alcohol regularly, for women, who do regular exercise, for old and for young.

स्मृतिबुद्ध्यग्निशुक्रौजःकफमेदोविवर्धनम्| वातपित्तविषोन्मादशोषालक्ष्मीज्वरापहम् ||२३१||

सर्वस्नेहोत्तमं शीतं मधुरं रसपाकयोः| सहस्रवीर्यं विधिभिर्घृतं कर्मसहस्रकृत्||२३२||

मदापस्मारमूर्च्छायशोषोन्मादगरज्वरान्| योनिकर्णशिरःशूलं घृतं जीर्णमपोहति||२३३||

सर्पींष्यजावि महिषीक्षीरवत् स्वानि निर्दिशेत्|२३४||

smṛtibuddhyagniśukraujaḥkaphamedovivardhanam| vātapittaviṣonmādaśoṣālakṣmījvarāpaham ||231||

sarvasnehottamaṃ śītaṃ madhuraṃ rasapākayoḥ| sahasravīryaṃ vidhibhirghṛtaṃ karmasahasrakṛt||232||

madāpasmāramūrcchāyaśoṣonmādagarajvarān|yonikarṇaśiraḥśūlaṃ ghṛtaṃ jīrṇamapohati||233||

sarpīṃṣyajāvi mahiṣīkṣīravat svāni nirdiśet|234| – Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 27

 

अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता (वाग्भट) (Contribution: Saurabh Kapoor)

शस्तं धीस्मृतिमेधाग्निबलायुः शुक्रचक्षुषाम्  । बालवृद्धप्रजाकान्तिसौकुमार्यस्वरार्थिनाम् ॥

क्षतक्षीणपरीसर्पशस्त्राग्निग्लपितात्मनाम् । वातपित्तविषोन्मादशोषालक्ष्मीज्वरापहम् ॥

स्नेहानामुत्तमं शीतं वयसःस्थापनं घृतम्। सहस्रवीर्यं विधिभिः शृतं कर्मसहस्रकृत्  

मदापस्मारमूर्छायशिरः कर्णाक्षियोनिजान् । पुराणं जयति व्याधीन् व्रणशोधनरोपणम्॥

Ghee is apt for those who wish to enhance dhi (intellect), smriti (memory), mëdha (discriminativeability), agni (digestion/ metabolism), bala (strength/immunity), ayu (longevity), sukla (virility) and caksus (vision). It is friendly for the young and the old. It is desirable for those who wish to have progenty, to enhance complexion, beauty and sweetness of voice. It is congenial for those exhausted ofksataksina (weakness after trauma), afflicted with parisarpa (cellulitis), surgery and cautery. It pacifies vata and pitta and cures visa (toxicity), unmaada (insanity), sosa (emaciation), alaksmi (inauspiciousness) and jvara (fever). It si the most important among sneha dravyas (fats), is sita (cooling) and is rejuvenative. When processed with appropriate medicines, its curative power is immense and can be used in several diseases. Old ghee is capable of curing mada (intoxication), apasmara (epilepsy), murcha (fainting) and diseases affecting head, ears, eyes and gynaecological diseases. It cleans dusta vrana (chronic ulcers) and heals suddavrana (clean ulcers).

 

Cow ghee promotes memory, intellect, power of digestion, semen, Ojas, Kapha and fat.

It alleviates Vata, Pitta Visha – toxic conditions Unmada – insanity, Shosha – emaciation Alakshmihara – it is auspicious. It is the best of all the unctuous substances. Cold in potency and sweet both in taste as well as Vipaka. When administered according to the prescribed procedure, it increases, thousand times in potency and develops manifold utilities.

 

Purana Ghrita – One year old cow ghee is useful in

Mada – intoxication,

Apasmara – epilepsy,

Moorcha – fainting,

Shosha – emaciation

Unmada – schizophrenia, insanity

Gara – remnant poisons

Jwara – fever

Pain in the ear, head as well as female genital tract. Properties of ghee of other animals viz, goat, sheep and buffalo are the same as those of their milk.

 

Ghee for weight gain:

Regular consumption of ghee or inclusion of ghee as part of diet, is recommended for those seeking weight gain. Ghee is useful for people with emaciation, having lean body, having dryness of skin.

 

Ghee for sex:

Ghee is useful to improve quality of Shukra Dhatu (male and female reproductive system). With its immense nourishing health benefits, it is indicated for people who indulge in daily sex.  (Ashtanga  Hrudayam 16/5)

 

Oral consumption of Ghee to relieve dryness:

For people suffering from extreme dry skin, dry voice and overall dryness of body, in seasons like winter, ghee along with milk helps to relieve dryness and induce unctuousness, very quickly. (Ashtanga. Hr. Su. 16/41) Ghee was also used as a dietary ingredients in post-surgical care. (A. Hr. Su 29/36)

 

Use of ghee in fever:

Ghee intake helps to relieve burning sensation after relief from fever. (A. Hr. Chi. 1/59). But note that clarified butter is not indicated while the person is having fever. It is only used in patients, after fever is completely cured, to regain strength and immunity.

 

Ghee for newborn: 2 – 5 drops of Ghee is advised to be given to newborn. (A. Hr. U. 1/9) Ghee and milk are congenial to children by birth. (A. Hr. U. 2/31) Ghee is advised for a lactating mother. It is believed to add nourishing qualities to the breast milk and to fortify milk with nourishing qualities (A. Hr. U 2/10)

 

Ghee for eyes:

In many of the eye disorders, ghee is used for a process called ‘Tarpana’. Here a compound around eye orbit is built with thick paste of floor and the compound is filled with herbal ghee. The person is asked to open and close the eyes. Ayurveda says that this procedure improves and strengthens the eye power. (Sharangdhara Samhita Uttarakhanda 13/1). Especially, Ghee processed with Triphala is used for this purpose. Ghee along with triphala and honey is told as a remedy to improve eye health. Ghee is used for application over eyes for strengthening of vision. (A Hr. Su. 24/16) Ghee is used to wash eyes for soothing effect. (A. Hr. U 9/7)

 

Ghee for gargling in place of oil-pulling:

In the method of oil pulling, in place of sesame oil, cow ghee is used. This is especially useful to heal oral ulcers and to relieve burning sensation. It is indicated in Pitta imbalance oral disorders.

 

Ghee administered from different routes:

Ghee washed with water:

A special procedure is used to wash ghee with water, called as Shata Dhauta ghrita. In pregnant woman, a special processed ghee is used to apply around the umbilical area. Ghee is used for application over wounds and burns to reduce the heat and calm Pitta. Ghee is applied over lips to heal the seasonal cracked lips. It is also useful for local application for heel cracks.

Ghee is an excellent moisturizer and gives a soothing and coolant effect when used for whole body massage. It is applied allover the body and massage is done with gentle pressure.

 

Ghee enema:

Herbal rectal suppositories are smeared with ghee before insertion into anal canal. 5/288 In Ayurveda practice, Enema of ghee is used to strengthen bones. (A. Hr. Su. 11/34) As per Ayurveda, bone gets its nourishment from fat. By administering ghee through enema, Vata gets balanced, leading to proper nourishment of bone tissue. (Bone and Vata are connected). Hence, ghee enema is useful in cases like arthritis.

 

Ghee usage in herbal smoking

Ayurveda recommends herbal smoking as one of the daily routine. Ghee is extensively used as an ingredient in Ayurveda herbal smoking procedure. (A.Hr. Su. 21/15)

 

Ghee for wounds, bleeding, burning sensation:

In leech therapy, ghee is applied over the concern area to reduce the burning sensation. (A Hr. Su 26/41) Ghee is advised for application over bleeding wounds for cooling and quick wound healing effect. (A Hr. Su. 28/25) In ancient times, ghee was used as base to prepare wicks that were used for local application after surgical procedures. (A. Hr. Su. 29/27) Ghee was used to  apply over the surgical suture for quick healing. (A. Hr. Su 29/54) In Ayurveda practice, while treating fistula and piles using a special preparation called Kshara, ghee is applied after the procedure to relieve burning sensation and irritation. (A. Hr. Su. 30/31) Ghee is an excellent wound healing agent, when it is applied locally. (A. Hr. Su. 30/34) In children, while doing ear lobe puncturing, ghee is applied first, to reduce pain & irritation and to ease piercing. (A. Hr. U. 1/31)

Ghee application over cracked lips, cracked nipples in new mothers and cracked heals softens the edges of everted skin and quickens healing. Ghee applied over skin relieves dryness and burning sensation.

 

Psychological benefits of ghee:

It is best suited for those desiring intellect, memory and intelligence.  (A. Hr. Su. 16/8) Ghee is mixed with mustard and neem leaves and used for fumigation. This helps to ward off evil forces. (A. Hr. U 3/48) Application of ghee over the scalp area helps to calm the mind down.

 

Ghee as immunity booster – references –

The term ojas is used to represent immunity. Ghee is one of the essential dietary ingredients to improve Ojas.Substances that are anti aging naturally improve immunity. Ghee along with milk is considered as the best anti aging dietary combination. (Charaka Sutrasthana 25/40)

 

Use of Ghee in Spiritual Purposes;

Ghee is considered as very pure and auspicious. Hence in Hindu custom, while serving food, a little ghee is sprinkled over the food, symbolizing that ghee purifies the food. This practice is known as “Abhighara” Ghee is used in Spiritual practices called as Homa, where Ghee is offered to fire.  Of all the sources available to use as fuel for fire, only ghee is used. It highlights the importance of Ghee.

After waking up in the morning, it is an auspicious ritual to see the face in ghee. Bhavaprakasha 5/17

 

Ghee home remedies:

Having a teaspoon of ghee before food in the morning relieves pain in the bladder region (A. Hr. Su.  4/6) In chronic fever, garlic along with ghee is advised as diet.  (A. Hr. Chi 1/55) To relieve dryness of palate and oral cavity, Amla powder and raisins are mixed with ghee and kept inside mouth for a few minutes. (Bhava Prakasha Madhyama Khanda)

Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) powder is consumed with ghee to relieve burning sensation. 1/670

Triphala decoction added with ghee and sugar is useful in the treatment of anemia. (improves liver function)  BR 12/5

 

Ghee for allergic rhinitis:

Before you go out of your house for work, try applying a thin layer of ghee to the inner wall of nostril. It really helps to avoid dust allergy.

 

During the preparatory procedure for Panchakarma: Panchakarma is a procedure wherein the imbalanced Doshas are expelled out of the body. Prior to Panchakarma, high doses of ghee is given to the person to drink within a short span of 1 – 7 days. Ghee having good penetrating capacity, penetrates deep into body tissues and acts as a vehicle to diffuse Dosha accumulation in the body. It also helps to Bring the imbalanced Dosha into the gastro intestinal tract from where it expelled out by Panchakarma procedure.

 

Ghee for diseases:

Ghee for health conditions: Ghee has a very unique capability to absorb the active constituents of an herb into it, without leaving out ghee’s inherent quality. This quality of ghee is hailed as “Yogavahi”. Hence Ghee is processed with different herbs to imbibe those useful qualities into Ghee. This processed ghee is extensively used in Ayurveda for a wide range of health conditions.

Ghee is used as adjuvant along with herbal decoctions. (Ghee is given for oral administration with herbal decoctions). Bhavaprakasha Uttarakhanda 2/6

Ghee is also used as adjuvant along with herbs in paste (Kalka) and powder  (Churna) form. Bhava Prakasha 2/13

 

Usage of Ghee during pregnancy:

In a pregnant lady, soon after beginning of labor pain, the lady is given oil massage and hot water bath. After this, lady is given a gruel along with ghee. – Bhavaprakasha 3/344

Ghee is suggested as an essential dietary ingredient in pregnancy in Ayurveda. This is because, ghee is hailed as a sweet substance which is congenial and habitual to anyone since birth.

Ghee is ideal for improving intelligence; memory, ingenuity, digestion strength, longevity,  quality of semen and ovum, and eye sight. It is useful  for children, the aged, those who desire more children, tenderness of the body, and pleasant voice.

Of all the oils and fats, ghee is the best for retaining of youth; It has the capacity of of giving a thousand good effects by a thousand kinds of processing.

During pregnancy, enlivening substances like ghee and milk should be used. Ghee can be used both externally and internally.

As per Yoga Ratnakara text book, ghee is one among the diet substances that the pregnant can take on daily basis. (Reference: Yoga Ratnakara Ksheeradosha Chikitsa)

Especially, during the first 12 days of pregnancy, ghee obtained from milk should be consumed by the pregnant mother.

In the third month, milk, ghee and honey are to be administered to the pregnant. (caraka saṃhitā śārīra sthāna 8/32)

In the fifth month of pregnancy, milk and ghee should be administered. (caraka saṃhitā śārīrasthāna 8/32)

In the sixth month, milk and ghee processed with sweet herbs should be administered.

In seventh month, ghee can be processed with wild yam etc herbs and administered. (suśruta saṃhitā śārīra sthāna 10/4)

In eighth month, milk and ghee should be given to drink.

Rice gruel processed with ghee should also be given.

 

External application of ghee during pregnancy:

In case of bleeding during pregnancy, one should apply shata dhauta or sahasra dhauta ghrita (washed a thousand times) to all the area below the level of umbilicus.

Shata dhauta ghrita – for umbilical region., water washed ghee – Ghee is mixed with equal quantities of water, mashed well and water is drained out. This process is repeated for 10 – 15 times.  This ghee is applied over below umbilical region to stabilize pregnancy.

Ghee with turmeric is an excellent remedy for cracked heals, during pregnancy.

Ghee is traditionally anointed over palm and feet to relieve burning sensation.

A cup of ghee is mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric powder. It is applied over the abdomen, flanks, lower part of breasts and buttocks to prevent stretch marks.

 

How to use ghee –

How to consume ghee?

Half a teaspoon of ghee during morning or as part of breakfast is a great way to start your day

While taking food, first ghee with hard food stuff should be consumed, followed by soft foods and in the end curds.

Usually after ghee consumption, it is good to have a warm beverage.

For example, half – one teaspoon of ghee can be consumed just before having morning cup of tea / coffee.

Contra indication:

During fever

During Ama
Unmixed ghee should not be taken in the event of the domination of Pitta specially when Pitta is associated with Ama.

Ghee taken in this condition brings about paleness (Jaundice) in the body and may prove to be fatal by impairing the consciousness.

Avoid ghee when the pregnant mother is suffering with cold or indigestion.

In case of feeling of indigestion or heaviness of stomach after ghee consumption, a warm drink or a cup of fatless buttermilk can be consumed.

 

Management of over usage:

If you think you have over-consumed ghee, do not take food till the ghee is completely digested. Anyways, you will not be feeling hunger.

Sip in warm water once in every half an hour. Use it for drinking and washing.

If you start feeling hungry, try to have hot liquid foods such as hot clear veg soup.

After you start feeling lightness in the stomach and body, you can resume your routine dietary habits.

Triphala, Trikatu – are used to cleanse the channels and improve digestion strength, if the ghee causes indigestion due to wrong use.

Fat less buttermilk is told as a specific remedy to counter the ill effects of wrong usage of ghee. It helps to improve digestion.

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