Since our childhood, we were taught that
“আমাদের দেশে হবে সেই ছেলে কবে, কথায় না বড়ো হয়ে কাজে বড়ো হবে I
মুখে হাঁসি বুকে বল, তেজে ভরা মন, মানুষ হইতে হবে এই যার পণ I
But on the contrary, when I look around, I find that our boys and girls are having thick spectacles obesity, unfit body, gloomy face, lack of confidence, etcin their childhood onwards. This picture provoked me to think about why is it so. Ultimately, causes of these issues point out towards our little learning and disrespect to our own ancient culture of Ayurveda in the light of modern perspective having little understanding about the past. Thomas Babington, better known as Lord Macaulay, is the man who brought the English language and British education to India to produce clerks for their administration. He wanted to destroy India and he believed “if you want to destroy a nation, destroy its education system.” He did exactly the same by introducing The English Education Act, 1835. All establishments of Gurukul and Oriental institutions like the Calcutta madrasa and Sanskrit college were stopped. That was the nail, he struck on the coffin of our all ancient wisdoms. I think, many of us may recollect the story of the Novel “ Arogya Niketan” written by of Sri Tarashankar Bandopadhya on a conflict of two doctors, one MBBS and the other Ayurvedic who used to predict lifespan of the patients accurately. Have we ever realized about what is the treatment strategy of modern doctors? It is to make you drug dependent for the rest of your life. If you have a heart disease, medicine is lifelong; diabetics, medicine is lifelong; glaucoma, medicine is lifelong; cancer, medicine is lifelong; High Cholesterol, medicine is lifelong; Blood Pressure, medicine is lifelong; Thyroid, medicine is lifelong, it goes on. If you pip in our current education system, you will find the cause of this modern medical system.
Sir Albert Einstein said, education is that which remains when everything that learnt in school is forgotten. If we evaluate modern education by this definition, we will find its paramount outcomes which can easily be identified as aggressive competition, pride and envy. At its best, the modern education system imparts some professional knowledge and skills, but it neglects cultivation of heart. As a result of it, our society has become the victim of twine devils, greed and shameless consumerism in all walks of life you name. Doctors, engineers, lawyer, judiciary, police, politics, poet, intellectuals, etc. are not the exceptions. It is becoming worst day by day. As the Buddha said, nothing is permanent in this impermanent world and that is the ray of hopes we have for a change to come.
We were taught that if wealth is lost, nothing is lost; if health is lost, something is lost and if character is lost, everything is lost. And I consider that our health is our wealth. We cannot enjoy our wealth, if we have a poor health. Considering that in mind, let’s go back to our ancient wisdom of Ayurveda for our healthy life. I would like to discuss here a very common practice that has disappeared due to modern days propaganda that all forms of fat and oils are bad for our heart and increases cholesterol level. Which is why we are now compromised badly in our health.
Since the time immemorial, Ghee has been an integral part of a “sattvic bhojan” (sound eating regimen) to annihilate side-effects of sicknesses in the body. It is the solid fat in ghee that works towards building a healthy liver and gut.
My appeal to modern mothers to realize the importance of consuming Ghee daily by their children if they want their children to be intelligent, strong and healthy. They should remove from their mind that Ghee is unhealthy, it increases cholesterol level, etc as sometimes endorsed by some uninformed or little informed modern doctors. I wish to place on record now before you about the goodness of Ghee for maintaining our healthy life.
Ghee is one of the most healing substances in Ayurveda. It is viewed as medicine in Ayurveda. In Ayurvedic literature, ghee is considered beneficial for the body. It helps to build the sapta dhatus in our body. That’s not all — it is rich in antioxidants, fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, and D. It also purifies the vata, pitta, and kapha doshas which get aggravated in our bodies.
Now, here’s an important question — if there are so many significant uses of the consumption of ghee, which Ghee is favoured by Ayurveda? Answer is deshi cow ghee.
More than just clarified butter, ghee made from cow’s milk has a slightly nutty, golden flavour. It’s full of medium and short chain fatty acids including butyrates, which support a strong digestion, bile flow and a healthy microbiome.
Description in scriptures
“Ghee promotes memory, intelligence, agni, ojas, Kapha and medas. It alleviates Vata, Pitta, poison, insanity, inauspiciousness and fever. It is the best of all fats and is cold, madhura rasa, madhura vipaka. It has 1000 potentialities and so, if used properly according to prescribed methods, exerts 1000 types of action. ”
– Charaka Samhita
An Ayurvedic classic, claims ghee is beneficial for the whole body, and recommends it as the ultimate remedy for problems stemming from the pitta dosha, such as inflammation.
-The Sushruta Samhita
Here are some benefits of ghee
Cow ghee is known as amritam in Ayurveda, and is packed with A2 (absence of β-casein proteins) content, which is very useful in treating cholesterol issues. It must be a part of your daily diet, since it improves:
Reduces acidity and improves digestion
Helps to reduce stress, anxiety, risk of cancer, diabetes, and improves immunity
It is also anti-inflammatory in natureHelps to increase appetite and promotes flexibility.
Consumption of cow ghee is beneficial during pregnancy, but only after consulting a doctor.
Cow ghee improves the absorption of minerals and fatty acids in the body.
In facial paralysis, cow’s ghee is introduced in nostrils through nasya therapy in panchakarma.
It increases ojas and sattvic guna in the body.
Ghee for weight gain -For Shukra dahatu (Ashtanga Hrudayan 16/5)
How is ghee made?
Cow’s milk is boiled and cooled. Then a spoonful of curd is added to this milk and kept at room temperature overnight. The curd is then churned to extract butter from it. This butter is then heated so that the water evaporates leaving behind pure ghee.
Cream is separated by centrifugation and the fresh cream is heated to give pure ghee. However, this preparation gives less flavour than the traditional Ghee preparation.
Chemically, ghee is a complex lipid of glycerides (usually mixed), free fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols, sterol esters, fat soluble vitamins, carbonyls, hydrocarbons, carotenoids (only in ghee derived from cow milk), small amounts of charred casein and traces of calcium, phosphorus, iron, etc. It contains not more than 0.3% moisture. Glycerides constitute about 98% of the total material. Of the remaining constituents of about 2%, sterols (mostly cholesterol) occur to the extent of about 0.5%.
Ghee use in Hinduism and Buddhism
Traditionally, ghee is always made from bovine milk, as cows are considered sacred, and it is a sacred requirement in Vedicyajña and homa (fire rituals), through the medium of Agni (fire) to offer oblations to various deities. (See Yajurveda).
Fire rituals are utilized for ceremonies such as marriage and funerals. Ghee is required in Vedic worship of mūrtis (divine deities), with aarti (offering of ghee lamp) called diyā or dīpa and for Pañcāmṛta (Panchamruta) where ghee along with mishri, honey, milk, and dahi (curd) is used for bathing the deities on the appearance day of Krishna on Janmashtami, Śiva (Shiva) on Mahā-śivarātrī (Maha Shivaratri). There is a hymn to ghee. In the Mahabharata, the kaurava were born from pots of ghee.
Finding ghee pure enough to use for sacred purposes is a problem these days for devout Hindus, since many large-scale producers add salt to their product. Ghee is also used in bhang in order to heat the cannabis to cause decarboxylation, making the drink psychoactive.
Ghee is one of the most healing substances in Ayurveda when used appropriately. It’s full of medium and short chain fatty acids including butyrates, which support a strong digestion, bile flow and a healthy microbiome. Research suggests it can even shut off gene expression for cancer and inflammation. Contrary to popular belief, ghee does not raise cholesterol, and is high in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), needed to build lean muscle mass and support weight loss. It is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins, including A, D, E, and K.
Ghee is taken with food for all who desire nourishment. It is best for those of Vata and Pitta constitution and especially those affected with fatigue, loss of strength, anaemia, jaundice and eye diseases. Young children, elderly and kapha individuals may enjoy ghee in moderation in small quantities. Add ghee to the daily diet of women, especially those who are pregnant. It is said to fortify the bones and the immune system.
It’s high smoke point (485º F) makes it great for cooking. You’ll find it used in everything from traditional Indian recipes to bulletproof coffee. Enjoy it on kitchari, sautéed vegetables or even popcorn.
In Panchakarma and Ayurvedic cleansing, ghee is used because:
- It penetrates into and helps dissolve toxins in the tissues of the body. These wastes are then eliminated via the gut.
- Ghee increases agni // digestion, without aggravating pitta dosha.
- Ghee calms Pitta and Vata
- Ghee keeps all tissues of the body young and supple.
- Ghee can also be used in beauty and skin care.
- For dark circles: give your under-eye creams and serums a break and try ghee instead.
- For chapped and dark lips. Pour a drop of ghee on your fingertip and massage it gently over your lips.
- For dry skin: use ghee for abhyanga – apply it on your body before bath for soft and smooth skin.
How and what quantity to eat
People of Vata and Pitta constitutions (adult) may take 1-2 spoonful of Ghee daily. Children should be given ½ spoon to 1 spoon depending upon their physic. There are five different methods of Ghee consumption as per the diseases:
- For all the diseases below the naval cord such as piles, constipation, knee pain, swelling of legs, etc- drink 1-2 spoon full of Ghee just before the principal meals with hot water and then have your meal.
- For diseases around naval cord such as diseases of kidney (stone) liver disorder, Pancreas disorder, gall bladder stones, etc- drink 1-2 spoon full of Ghee in between the meal with hot water.
- For all circulatory diseases, blood related diseases, cardio-vascular diseases- drink 1-2 spoon full of Ghee just after the meal with hot water.
- For Kapha related diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, dry cough- take 1-2 spoon full of Ghee along with the meal with hot water after the meal.
- For all diseases of Eye-Nose-Throat, mental disorder- drink 1-2 spoon full of Ghee before going to bed with hot water. One can add Triphal and honey with Ghee and may drink with hot water.
Findings of Modern Science
- Modern science has confirmed at least a part of the ancient wisdom concerning the benefits of Ghee. One interesting finding is that the saturated fat in ghee is primarily in the form of short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids are easy to digest and help to promote the production of hormones and to strengthen cellular membranes. On the contrary long chain fatty acids present in other fats and oils, are associated with a host of health problems, including blood clotting, thrombosis, and cancer.
- Modern science tells us that ghee also harbors phenolic antioxidants, which bolster the immune system.
- One of the qualities of Ghee that makes it particularly useful in cooking is the fact that it has a very high “smoke point.” (385 degrees F). The “smoke point” is the temperature at which an oil starts to burn. It is at this temperature also that the oil begins to oxidize and creates the potential for cell damaging free radicals.
The last word
Ghee is nourishing and healing. Some consume it for weight reduction; others for weight gain and heart-related issues. So, accepting ghee as a part of your daily diet can be advantageous for your well-being and to fulfil well cherished desire of having healthy, strong (physically and mentally) and intellegent future generation. Young or old, no matter, add ghee in your daily use.
Ghee has been considered immensely superior to other fats mainly because of the presence of characteristic short chain fatty acids, carrier of four fat soluble vitamins viz., A, D, E, K and essential fatty acids such as linolenic acid and arachidonic acid.
Daily consumption of ghee in an adequate amount, imparts various health benefits such as binds toxins, enhances complexion and glow of the face and body, a great rejuvenator for the eyes, increases physical and mental stamina etc. in addition to providing sustaining energy.
Since, ghee is a fat-rich product; therefore natural antioxidants and other constituents like phospholipids and protein residues etc plays major role in preventing acidity.
Let’s remember the Health Benefits of Ghee once again:
- Ghee lubricates the connective tissues and promotes flexibility
- Traditionally, the preparation has been used to promote memory, intelligence, quantity and quality of semen, and to enhance digestion. Ghee is believed to assist with digestion by allowing food to be broken down more efficiently, by stimulating digestive enzymes.
- In Ayurveda, ghee is also believed to enhance ojas, or “life energy.”
- For centuries, ghee has been considered a rasayana, which means a healing food that balances both body and mind.
- Aged ghee—up to 100 years is even better than fresh ghee —which treats alcoholism, epilepsy, fever, and vaginal pain
- Ghee’s benefits extend to topical use as well. Ghee as a massage base to calm sensitive pitta-type skin.
- Ayurvedic remedies, recommends ghee, sometimes mixed with honey, as an application for wounds, inflammation, and blisters.
- Ghee also contains known vitamin E and beta carotene, which are known antioxidants.
- It can cure 80 diseases of Vata; 40 diseases of Pitta and 20 diseases of Kapha constituents.
The Buddha said that knowledge does not become wisdom until it is tested within the framework of our body. I tried to convert this ancient wisdom as mine by testing it within my framework of the body. Therefore, what I expressed here is my life-time experience. Some may not agree to it and I don’t mind for it. Ultimately, it is your life and you should decide what is right for you. Anyway, enjoy the life.
Let us end this discussion remembering always the age old saying
जबतक जिओ सुख से जिओ I
उधर लेके वि घी पीओ
- Benefits of Ghee: Why You Should Add It to Your Diet by Linda Knittel
- Essential Ayurveda by Shubhra Krishan
- The Indian Materia Medica
No part of this article is my own work. Information presented in this article have been collected from various internet sources and literatures available in public domain.