Ghee is one of the most widely used substances in preparing Ayurvedic medicines. Ghee is clarified butter, therefore containing all the healing benefits of butter, but better, because it doesn’t have the impurities. In Ayurveda, ghee is valued highly because it is made from cow’s milk, which is believed to contain the essence of all plant-life on earth.
Uses in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, ghee has dosha-balancing qualities. Ghee is excellent for Pitta types, because of its sweet and cooling properties, and for Vata types because of its oiliness. It is suitable for Kapha types in moderation. Ghee is excellent for strengthening Agni, digestive fire, which is the foundation for good health.
Many Ayurvedic medications utilise ghee as a delivery vehicle due to its lipophilic (oil loving) nature, which allows it to penetrate the cell walls of the target organ. Ghee is considered a brain tonic, helping improve concentration, memory, and eyesight, and strengthens the nervous system.
How to make ghee
- Use a good quality butter, preferably organic and unsalted.
- Place in a saucepan on low to medium heat (cut into smaller pieces to melt quicker).
- Allow the butter to melt. As it does a white foamy layer will appear on top.
- The milk solids will settle to the bottom of the saucepan. In the middle is the clarified butter.
- The foamy layer can be skimmed off and discarded.
- Ghee is usually cooked for approximately 35-40 minutes on low heat.
- The milk solids at the bottom will go a brownish colour, giving the ghee a nutty flavour.
- Once complete, strain the ghee into a clean jar through a fine muslin cloth or a coffee filter to remove all the milk solids (casein and whey proteins).
- Store at room temperature. Ghee lasts several weeks. If in a warm location keep it in the fridge.
Three ways to use ghee
Cooking with ghee
The advantage of cooking with ghee is that it has a considerably higher smoke point than butter. It also has a lovely nutty flavour and studies have shown that it helps to increase HDL (the good cholesterol) and reduce LDL (the bad cholesterol). Try using it in recipes where you usually use butter.
Consuming ghee as a tonic
As well as using ghee when cooking meals, drinking ghee with milk is known in Ayurveda to increase Ojas, the body’s life force. The rejuvenating tonic of milk and ghee is beneficial in maintaining natural immunity and preventing degeneration of the body.
Applying ghee to the eyes
Ghee is also known for improving the function of extraocular muscles. To soothe and strengthen the eyes, place a drop of lukewarm liquid ghee in each eye when going to sleep.
Did you know the Kansa Wand was traditionally used to massage the feet, using ghee?
Find out more about the Kansa Wand here!