Ten Reasons to have Ghee (Clarified Butter) in your Kitchen

Ghee(Clarified butter) has always occupied the center stage of Indian tradition and Indian cuisine since time immemorial. It has been regarded as an auspicious element that draws positive energies into the household and our lives. Ghee has been used for thousands of years for the Vedic Practice of Agnihotra – offerings made to Agni Dev- the God of Fire every day during sunrise and sunset for welcoming positive energies, prosperity and tranquility into the household. A staple in Indian cuisine, Ghee has a hoard of health benefits.

DSCN0696 001 Ten Reasons to have Ghee (Clarified Butter) in your Kitchen

Like most other Ayurvedic diet principles, Ghee treads off the beaten path! Ghee has been berated by the contemporary nutrition gurus due to its high saturated fat content.  However, Ayurveda has placed Ghee at the Pinnacle of healthy diet. Acharya Charaka has proclaimed that Ghee made from Cow’s milk as the superior most unctuous substance (others being oils, fat and marrow). It has been used for facilitating detoxification in Ayurvedic Panchakarma (Five cleansing/detoxification therapies). Ghee has been prominently used for countless Ayurvedic classical preparations for the core therapy of diseases ranging from fever, skin diseases; joint disorders to various psychological disorders and rejuvenation therapies (Rasayana Chikitsa). When taken in moderation (10% of total daily calories i.e. not more than 2 tbs. /day), it does not increase serum cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.1

Ghee has a high smoke point as compared to other cooking oils. It enriches the flavor of food and also makes it healthy. Ghee synergizes the medicinal qualities of other herbs and even food. The nutrients in food, especially fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D E and K are better absorbed in the presence of healthy fats like Ghee.

Ghee pacifies Vata, Pitta dosha and is an ideal for individuals and disease conditions dominant in these two doshas. When taken in moderation it helps in nourishing Kapha and Meda (fatty tissues). However, excess Ghee consumption can overtly increase Kapha and Meda which may lead to imbalance and diseases. Hence individuals with Kapha dominant body type; those who are over-weight or obese should consume Ghee in moderation. Also, exercise is a must for people who consume Ghee on daily basis, to keep its Kapha and Meda increasing qualities under check.

For gastronomic reasons or as a health-conscious decision; Ghee is a ‘must-have’ ingredient in your kitchen. Here are ten reasons why –

  1. Boosts Digestion: Drizzling 1-2 tsp. Ghee over food, (soups, salads, rice, lentils, daals, roti, naan, pita breads etc.) helps in stimulating appetite and digestion. It is also improves healing of gastric or peptic ulcers, relieves hyperacidity and acid reflux (using excess Ghee can induce acid reflux hence use in moderation).
  2. Enhances Strength and Vitality: Ghee enhances Ojas- the quintessence of purest and healthiest body tissues that sustains our health, strength, immune system, vitality and life. Ghee and Ojas have strikingly similar qualities. Metaphorically, the way Ojas is the purest essence of our tissues; Ghee is the essence of milk!
  3. Laxative: Ghee is a potent laxative. 1-2 tsp. Ghee with a cup of warm milk taken at bedtime helps in relieving constipation and soothes nerves.
  4. Nasal massage: Dipping our little finger in Ghee and gently applying it to the inner surface of our nostrils, once or twice a day (best done at bedtime or early morning) helps in reducing headaches, nasal allergies, nose-bleeds and strengthens eyesight.
  5. Brain Tonic: Ghee rejuvenates and promotes intellect, memory and concentration in children as well as adults. Using Ghee in cooking, instilling Ghee into nasal passages (errhine therapy or Nasya) or using Ghee as an adjuvant with Ayurvedic nootropic (Medhya) herbs like Brahmi, Mandookparni, Yashtimadhu, Shankhapushpi, Guduchi etc. helps in improving memory, concentration and allows intellect to function to its best abilities.
  6. Chapped lips and Mouth Ulcers: Massaging lips with Ghee helps in soothing dry chapped lips. Also, applying Ghee over mouth and tongue ulcers helps in reducing pain and promotes healing.
  7. Burn healing: Ghee is the best treatment for burns caused by heat, chemicals or electricity. Apply Ghee to the affected area to reduce pain, reduce blistering; promote healing and to prevent scarring. Ghee is also good for sunburns. Applying Ghee to sunburnt skin helps in reducing pain and enhances skin repair.
  8. Piles and Fissures: Apply Ghee for relieving pain and burning sensation associated with anal fissures and piles. Also, Ghee taken internally helps in softening stools and relieving constipation- one of the chief causes for piles and fissures.
  9. Ghee Massage: Ghee is excellent for massage. Body and face massage with Ghee is especially beneficial for those with dry and sensitive skin. It moisturizes the skin, helps in slowing down premature aging and improves complexion.
  10.  Anticancer Properties: Ghee has special kind of fats like the conjugated linoleic acids a.k.a. CLA, which prevents cancers like malignant melanoma, breast and colorectal cancers.2

Put away some Ghee in a clean and dry glass container with a secure lid and allow it to age. The medicinal properties of Ghee are enhanced with aging. Ghee that has aged 10 year, 100 years has tremendous healing potential. Although this Ghee cannot be used for cooking, it is useful in number of health conditions ranging from epilepsy to uterine pain. It is also a powerful antidote to poisons. Older the Ghee, better it is!

Reference:

  1. Matam Vijaya Kumar, Kari Sambaiah, Belur R Lokesh, Effect of dietary Ghee—the anhydrous milk fat, on blood and liver lipids in rats, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Volume 10, Issue 2 ;96-104, February 1999
  2. Peter W. Parodi, Cows’ Milk Fat Components as Potential Anticarcinogenic Agents, J. Nutr. vol. 127 no. 6 1055-1060, June 1997
Profile photo of Dr Chetali Samant

Author:

Having practiced Ayurveda in entirely diverse cultures like India and United States, Dr Chetali Samant has experienced the myriad facets and the true meaning of Ayurvedic Health Care. She has received her master’s degree in Ayurveda (M.D Ayurveda) from Gujarat Ayurveda University- one of the most prestigious universities of Ayurveda in India and the only Ayurveda University in the world. She has been honored with a gold medal for her academic achievements during her postgraduate studies. After specializing in the field of mother and child care, she realized that the health of one family member indeed depends on the health status of every member of the family. Ever since, she has encouraged and educated many families in promoting and maintaining health.

Comments

  1. Darla Wells says:

    And it tastes wonderful. I have found that eating real foods like ghee, as opposed to fake foods like margarine, makes it easier to eat reasonable portions. One’s body is not craving the promised food or being teased by something that tastes like food, but isn’t.

    • Nicely put Darla! I completely agree with you. Healthy and natural fats like Ghee, coconut oil etc. have long faced defamation due to highly biased attitude of contemporary health faculty. Its nice to know that people are now choosing mindfulness over ignorance and taking the reigns of their health in their own hands.

  2. I am 10-12 KG overweight.. Can I still include Ghee in my regular diet ? Will it lead to weight gain ?

  3. jaigmvenkatadri says:

    interesting

  4. Great info. I learned a lot from this article.

  5. Hi, I’m actually suffering from eczema, quite severe, the whole body. So can I use ghee to heal my eczema by consuming it or massage it to my skin? Now I’ve also change my diet to 90% veggie ( including sweet potato and potato) and I drink lemon with olive oil too every morning.

    • Hi,

      Yes including ghee in diet and for massage will be great especially if your eczema is pitta dominant in nature. Also, ghee contains very little or no caesin (milk protein) hence is a lot less allergenic then most dairy products. vegan diet is great for eczema, so great start there! However, also include fish in your diet whenever you can once or twice a week for the very important omega 3 and 6 fatty acids or take supplements. If you are strict vegan then include flax seeds. Organic Wheat grass juice or freeze dried juice powder is also a great supplement for relieving inflammation in eczema and to promote skin healing.

      Regards,
      Dr. Samant

  6. Is old ghee more effective as a massaging agent compared to other oils for body aches and stiffness of joints? Also as I have oily skin and get pimples sometimes, is ghee massage over face is suitable for my skin or I should not apply it over face? Can old ghee be applied over face and lips, or only fresh ghee should be applied on these areas?

    • Hi Swati,

      If you have pitta dominant body type and skin then old ghee will help you. However, i would not recommend an old ghee massage since you have oily skin. You can rather go for astringent and cleansing face packs with rose water or gently massage with aloe vera gel or fresh aloe pulp. Avoid over massaging your skin as it will stimulate the oil glands and will make your skin more oily.
      Old and new ghee can be both used safely for your lips and for any cuts, insects bites, itching and ulcers. Massaging stiff joints will old ghee may not help much. You can go for plain til/sesame seed oil or mustard oil for massaging stiff joints followed by a warm bath or hot water fomentation.
      Regards,
      Dr. Samant

      • Thanks a lot for your prompt reply Chetali, I find it quite useful, also I had some was bit confused about the usage of old ghee but the doubts are clear now. Thanks again!!

  7. Hi Dr. Samant,

    Thanks for the info!! Ya, I’ll now eat salmon once a week. And may I ask can I eat oatmeal and will by doing yoga helps eczema too? Am I going to be a vegetarian forever then to prevent my eczema?

    Pauline

    • And I did the test from the link above, mine is vata pitta. What should I avoid to eat and what should I eat more?

    • Hi,

      Yoga will definitely help eczema as it may include psychological involvement in terms of stress and negative emotions. Hence regular practice of yoga will help you. Oatmeal is fine however just check if you have any gluten allergy. oatmeal being barley contains gluten and some people with eczema can have flare-ups after eatign gluten rich foods like those containing wheat, rye, barley etc. So, just make sure of that aspect before you include oats in your diet.
      About your diet based on your body type, there are lot of details about what should be included and what should be avoided keeping in mind your prakriti and your prevailing dosha imbalances. Let me know if you want to go ahead with a detailed diet plan and we can take it from there.

      Regards,
      Dr. Samant

      • Hi dr. Samant,

        Ohh, that’s great !!! Can you please give me the detailed diet plan? I would like to have it!!! so that I can vary my diet and also avoid the food that I cannot eat :)

        Regards,
        Pauline

  8. Sir / Mem,

    My son is suffering from OCIPITAL LOBE EPILEPSY,
    Can PURE COW GHEE be helpful to him.
    Or
    Please do suggest me the best remidies for him
    We are taking ALOPATHY Medicines, but yet not
    satisfied, and still minore seziures are coming

    thanks for sparing your valuble time

    regards.
    Vikrant Shah

  9. Thanks. Great article!

  10. Dr. Samant,
    I have done facial three month ago as the lady in the beauty parlour rubbed my face with scrub very badly and put some facial cream,after that day I had swollen face,redness and inflammation on my face.now after more than two months it has been improved but still I have a bit inflammation and a bit redness on my cheeks,can I do the direct application of ghee on my cheeks? can ghee heal my skin disorders as I miss my supple and soft skin very badly,how much more time it will take to heal my skin disorders on face? I really need your help.
    Regard,
    jayshree

    • Hi Jayashree,

      What is your skin type? If you have dry skin and your skin is getting cracked and flaky- then ghee will help.However, if you have a sensitive skin- I would suggest applying fresh aloe vera pulp/juice or pure alow vera gel twice daily and after sun exposure.

      You can take ghee internally with food maximum 10 ml /day. Drink plenty of warm water and avoid excess exposure to sun.

      Hope this helps,

      Regards,
      Dr. Samant

  11. Dr. Samant,
    I was bitten on the face by a dog a week ago and had to get stitches. An ayurvedic doctor mentioned applying ghee to the wound to prevent scarring. I believe that will help but can you guide me on the specifics i.e. How many times a day? I assume I should start as soon as my sutchers are removed?
    Thanks!
    Sanjay

    • hi Sanjay

      Sorry to hear about this.

      Yes Clarified-Butter/Ghee works best.. Even better, if its Old ghee (aged for more than a year -older the better).
      Make sure the wound is completely dry after removing the sutchers and before you start applying ghee.
      You can apply twice a day.

      Regards
      Dr. Chetali Samant

  12. Thank you for your prompt reply Dr. Samant. I’m not sure if aged ghee is available in the US? I have seen Organic Cow Ghee at my local Whole Foods store but not sure how I could get aged ghee. Any suggestions?
    Sanjay

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