“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
The last time I went home to Mumbai, India, I noticed that the young generation has an unreasonable aversion to ghee because they think it’s an unhealthy fat. But they are so wrong! I remember my grandmother always cooking with ghee and putting extra ghee on my kitchari, aloo parathas, chapattis, rice pilafs, and many other of my favorite dishes to help me digest my food and keep my immunity strong. But at the time, I used to grimace and make faces when my grandmother would pour ghee on my food.
When I came to the West, I studied Ayurveda, and I realized the innumerable benefits of ghee, which I had taken for granted growing up in India. Ghee has become more and more popular over the past few years as there is a trend toward alternative diets. Ghee is beneficial for the entire body, from beauty to pregnancy, hair growth to positive weight gain.
It is said that only ghee from cow’s milk can increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the body. All other types of fat usually increase LDL (bad cholesterol). “It is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid that offers enormous value in a wholesome diet. Indeed, recent research indicates that CLA may be useful in the prevention of and fight against cancers as well as in the mitigation of type II diabetes and associated adipose obesity.” (http://nourishedkitchen.com/ghee-a-wholesome-fat/).
The three important pillars of Ayurvedic health are strong digestion and elimination, and sleep. If you improve these three basic things, there will be a positive domino effect in your overall well-being. In Ayurvedic medicine, doctors widely use ghee to treat degenerative diseases because the approach to healing begins with improving your digestion, or agni, based on your constitution (prakriti). Ghee ignites your agni, your digestive fire, improving digestion and elimination. In addition, ghee induces sleep. A common Ayurvedic remedy is to apply ghee to the soles of your feet and wear socks. This method will calm your mind and reduce stress. There are many more health benefits of ghee for the entire body, mind, and spirit, as you can see below.
Health Benefits of Ghee:
• Lubricates all the channels and tissues of the body, including lymph, and forces the toxins out of the digestive tract.
• Because of the lubrication, reduces inflammation.
• Beneficial for detoxification because it increases the peristalsis movement of the intestines to aid in elimination and removal of toxins.
• Aids in digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive fluids.
• When mixed with warm milk, ghee can help with constipation.
Body Structure and Function
• Improves joint lubrication.
• Aids in growth of healthy bones.
• Used as a massage balm to moisturize skin and lips for a radiant glow.
• Enhances the growth of hair and makes it shine.
• Applied to pregnant bellies to reduce appearance of stretch marks.
• Enhances growth and health of fetus.
• Increases memory, intelligence, and clarity.
• Prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
• Alleviates chronic fever, anemia, and blood disorders.
• Increases the bioavailability of herbs and spices. Ayurvedic doctors mix ghee with herbs and spices into custom concoctions to make it easier for the body to assimilate and use nutrients from food. When combined and prepared properly, the medicinal properties of herbs are extracted into the ghee and become usable when administered as herbal-ghee infusions and can be used to treat illnesses. By changing the types of herbs and spices mixed with ghee, they create many mixtures to treat many different conditions. For example, the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sells ghee nose drops to lubricate the sinuses and provide antibacterial and antifungal protection. The sky is the limit!
• For me, ghee is associated with going to temples in India and special ceremonies. In India, ghee is sacred and associated with every important ritual (yagna) and keeps ceremonial fires going. Symbolically, you are recognizing that the spark of the divine resides within you.
• Ghee is also used to light a lamp every morning as an offering (puja) to the divine. We are honoring the divine within us and around us.
The health benefits of ghee are so much more than I can tell you in one article. As I noted at the beginning of this blog, the younger generation have misunderstood ghee because they consider it an unhealthy saturated fat. That couldn’t be further from the truth! People are now starting to understand the value ghee provides for many facets of health. Start out by using at least one teaspoon of ghee a day in your food. Use it to make your eggs or add it to your oatmeal in place of butter.