WHAT IS GHEE?
Ghee, or clarified butter, is a medicinal, and rejuvenating saturated fat that has been used in Indian and Ayurvedic cooking for centuries! Dairy and water solids are cooked out of butter, leaving just the pure essence. All of the gunk that would clog your arteries in butter is clarified out.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Western perspective: Ghee contains a balance of easy to digest essential fatty acids, vital for healthy skin, nerves and cells. We know that fats are essential to life, thus it is necessary to provide our body with the most natural, unprocessed, high quality fats available. Ghee is all of these and more! Ghee contains both saturated (majority) and unsaturated fats made from easy to digest short-chain fatty acids and contains linoleic acid, which has anti-oxidant properties.
It also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Because ghee has such a high “smoke point”(485° F), it is very useful to cook with. The smoke point is based upon when an oil begins to burn and oxidize, increasing the potential for free radicals. Ghee is also beneficial to those that are lactose intolerant because, during cooking, the sugar solid lactose is removed. It has been shown that ghee can lower cholesterol as part of a balanced diet.
Ayurvedic perspective: Ghee is the best form of fat for absorption in the body by allowing the foods and herbs used with it be fully integrated into the tissues, thus increasing ojas, or vital energy, in both body and mind. It is revered as a rasayana, or rejuvenative, which promotes overall health. It is considered sattvic, or that which has a pure effect on body, mind and spirit.
Because ghee comes from breastmilk of a mammal, part of it’s purpose of being is to nourish mammalian tissues. This is nature of existence, and why we regard it as a more rejuvenative healthy fat than say, coconut oil.
Ghee, unlike most “healthy” vegetable based oils, is Tri-Doshic, or good for all body types (for example, coconut oil is cooling and may imbalance kapha).
Ayurveda regards ghee as a vital food for healthy skin, mental clarity, good digestion and for balancing all body types. Ghee lubricates the body, and used with proper diet and herbs, helps carry nutrients to all seven layers of tissues in the body. It lubricates the body and creates suppleness in the organs, and thus helps to rejuvenate every tissue system.
Ghee kindles the digestive fire, agni, without increasing Pitta. Ghee helps balance stomach acid and repairs the mucus lining of the stomach, priming it for proper digestion. It also aids in constipation.
Ghee is said to increase intelligence, improve memory and slow down the aging process as it helps to build myelin sheath and neuronal connectivity.
HOW CAN I INCORPORATE GHEE IN MY LIFE?
- The best way to bring in ghee is to cook with it. Yes, I mean instead of olive oil (with a lower smoke point).
- For constipation or heartburn, put a spoon of ghee in hot water or in your tea as often as needed.
- To help with insomnia, 2 teaspoons at night in warm milk, with optional spices, creates a calming effect on the mind to prepare for a restful sleep.
- For dry eyes, place 2 drops warm (liquid) ghee in eyes at bedtime and let it soak in. The best way is with a dropper bottle (which we carry in our online store).
- You can apply ghee to entire body for body massage – abhyanga. Our skin is a digestive organ and absorbs the environment around us, and what we put on it. Therefore, massage with ghee allows the ghee to penetrate directly into the deeper tissues. Especially helpful on bedsores for the elderly or debilitated, and burns or cuts. But to be honest, this doesn’t feel that great and smells a bit. I prefer daily oiling. For the skin lesions, burns, cuts,acne etc., I’d recommend this type of ghee made especially for skin rejuvenation.
- There are many, many other ways to use ghee and the above are my favorite. So get creative! I’ve had clients use ghee in nostrils to heal bloody noses, and gargle with ghee water to soothe sore throats. Ghee is safe for anywhere in your body.
- The only time you should lay off ghee is if you have kapha imbalance.
- Those with high cholesterol should limit ghee to 2 tspns/day.
WHERE DO I GET GHEE?
You can find ghee at most natural health food groceries. I know Whole Foods, Lazy Acres, Bristol Farms carry organic ghee and even Trader Joes has their own ghee (not organic) now!