Benefits of ghee according to Ayurvedic tradition

Posted by Srilata Bhat on

Ghee is liquid gold —; it's a pristine gift of nature. Life energy, known in Sanskrit as prana, is ghee's innate quality. It's obtained from the milk of one of the gentlest creatures on the planet, whom we lovingly call "mother cow." Cows give us milk, considered the most essential and potent food in Ayurveda, and the ghee extracted from this milk is regarded as its essence. 


In this article, we will look at three benefits of ghee according to the traditional practice of Ayurveda


The Many Benefits of Mother Cow


To understand the value of ghee, it is necessary first to appreciate where it comes from in cow milk. What makes cows so special? Let's take a look:


Cow Cuddling


Today cow cuddling is becoming an increasingly popular therapy for improving mental health. We feel healed and energized by spending time with the mother cow. 


Cow Dung


Even today, in India, cow dung is considered a precious commodity. Cow dung patties are an economical and environmentally friendly fuel for cooking and heating and an all-natural, organic fertilizer.


Cow Urine


Many will be surprised to learn that cow urine contains many antiseptic properties that make it effective in treating numerous diseases and an economical and environmentally friendly cleansing agent for the home.


With this, we can infer that if cows are so pleasant to spend time with and even the byproducts of cows are so beneficial, how healthy should cows' milk and ghee be?


This series of articles will study ghee in depth from tradition and the scientific evidence available. In this article, we will look at the traditional Ayurvedic presentation of ghee. 


#1: Restoring Your Gut Health with Ghee


Traditionally, ghee is hand-churned with love from cultured butter.; Ghee is referenced in the great epics of Mahabharata and the historical tales of Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna used to love butter and ghee. The cows in Vrindavan were supposed to give the best milk, which was used to make many different delicious foods, such as butter, yogurt, milk sweets, and ghee. The many products were excellent. Everyone in Vrindavan was happy and healthy, had excellent health and was joyful. Ghee gives us not just physical strength but also joy and inner peace. 


In Ayurvedic scriptures, ghee is called a "deepanam," which promotes digestion. Think of ghee as a candle that gradually gives heat and light and melts in your tummy. Ghee supports good digestion and improves your natural microbiome or healthy gut bacteria. In Ayurvedic purgation, herbs are administered with ghee to absorb the herbs better in the gut. 


Our gut needs beneficial bacteria to function properly. Scientists are researching the far-reaching consequences of low levels of healthy gut bacteria. One of the most common side-effects of Western medicines such as antibiotics anti-bacterial is that it kills off both the harmful and good bacteria in the gut, which are very difficult to regrow once lost. As a result, many otherwise avoidable health issues arise due to this lack of healthy bacteria are related to a lack of good bacteria in the gut. 


In an Ayurvedic cleanse, ghee is used as the base for all the herbs administered for cleansing the gut in a process called Virechana1 (complete cleansing of the intestines). Once the cleansing is done, the body's natural healthy microbiome is restored from the ghee. Guts are replaced with a healthy microbiome from the ghee. This is an organic way of cleansing and improving your gut microbiome. Most people who take this treatment find that their digestion improves post this process. 


#2: Invigorating the Digestive Fire


In Ayurveda, it is said that the digestive fire in the stomach is known as "Jataragni,,2," who is the Lord of Ayurveda, Lord Narayana Himself. This Agni or digestive fire is the key to healthy digestion. Once the digestive fire becomes weak, we lose all strength as our capacity to digest and absorb energy diminishes. 


All the treatments in Ayurveda are centred around igniting this digestive fire, and most Ayurvedic herbs are administered with ghee. Ghee helps build the microbiome that absorbs the foodstuffs better. Therefore, according to Ayurveda, Ghee should be used as the primary cooking oil to facilitate taste and digestion. Ghee is the only oil the demigods, or devatas, accept when the food is offered. Therefore, in all traditional temples throughout India, cooking is done with ghee for the gods. That standard is considered first class. 


#3: Nourishing the Body and Mind


Ghee also contains healthy linoleic acid, which is good for the gut. Therefore, ghee is regarded as the best for cooking. When infused with even more digestive herbs, ghee makes those herbs readily bio-available to the body3. According to traditional texts, ghee nourishes the brain.


For example: When ghee is infused with trikatu (Trikatu is a combination herb in Ayurveda that promotes fat metabolism.) It promotes digestion and fat absorption even better. When ghee is infused with Brahmi (an ayurvedic herb good for nerves and the brain), it promotes calmness and brain strength. When ghee is infused with ashwagandha (a well-known herb for strength), it enhances the effects of ashwagandha. They are available as Ashwagandha Ghee, Brahmi Ghee, Trikatu Ghee, etc. 


Ghee is free from lactose, making it easier for those with lactose intolerance to digest. Traditional Ayurveda ghee laddus (or sweet balls) are made for pregnant ladies to recover from post-partum symptoms. All the energy needed to recover from the difficulty of pregnancy is said to be available in ghee. 


Ghee is, therefore, the ideal food in Ayurveda. A few spoons of ghee in our diet on a day-to-day basis will ensure healthy gut bacteria, strong digestion and growth of muscles. 


In our next article, we will discuss the scientific research done on ghee and the outcomes so far. 


  1. Virechana - Virechana isone of the Panchakarma therapies wherein purgation aims explicitly to eliminate excessive Pitta Dosha from the body.


  1. Jataragni - Jathara - means stomach; hence, Jataragni is usually considered as digestive fire or digestion strength.


  1. Cow ghee as an efficient carrier to improve oral bioavailability of lutein -



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