Ghee Glorious Ghee
Ghee is traditionally used in Indian cooking but has many other uses. You can spread it on your toast, fry spices in it, apply it to burns and even rub it on the soles of your feet. It’s the Ayurvedic solution to almost everything.
For centuries in India Ghee was seen as a sign of wealth. In Vedic times one who had ample stocks of ghee was said to possess liquid gold. These days you can make it yourself from butter or cream.
Ghee is butter that has had the milk solids removed. It is golden in colour and has a pleasant flavour. Ayurveda considers ghee to be one of the most health promoting foods. It can be used in cooking and also applied externally. Taken internally it is good for stimulating digestion, nourishing the eyes, promotion of memory and stamina, enriching the luster of the skin, enhancing longevity, improving mental functioning and protecting the body from disease.
Ghee is a very effective carrier of herbs and spices as it is able to pass fat-permeable cell membranes. Thus transporting nutrients to areas otherwise inaccessible such as the brain. Although ghee comes from butter and contains a great deal of fatty acids it does not raise cholesterol levels.
Fats fall into the category of either saturated or unsaturated. The saturated fats are divided into long-chain fatty acids or short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids are assimilated, absorbed and then metabolized so that they release energy while the long-chain variety are not completely metabolized and are associated with cancer and blood-clots.
Unsaturated fatty acids can either be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturates, such as vegetable oil, were previously considered to be healthy but have now been found to cause oxidation. Whereas monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, mustard oil and rapeseed oil have been associated with the prevention of heart disease and cancer. Ghee predominantly contains short-chain fatty acids and has a much larger percentage of monosaturated fatty acids.
Used externally ghee can be used to cool down irritated skin and rashes and sooth sore eyes. Rubbed on the soles of your feet at night it can reduce heat from the body and ensure a sound sleep. It can also be applied to burns and sun burnt skin.
Ghee can be made by gently heating unsalted butter. The water will boil away and milk solids will rise to the surface or fall to the bottom of the pan. The process takes about an hour for a couple of blocks of butter. The ghee is ready when the milk solids on the bottom of the pan turn brown and the liquid becomes transparent and golden. The ghee is then strained through a cotton cloth and can be stored a room temperature. If properly made ghee can last a long time. In fact some Ayurvedic remedies call for hundred year old ghee.
Ghee is particularly useful for students. A teaspoon taken with boiled milk at night can rejuvenate a tired mind and improve the memory. Its nourishing, unctuous properties are good for breast-feeding mothers, elderly people and anyone trying to improve their strength. However ghee should always been taken to suit your individual needs and dependant on your digestive ability.
"When administered properly it has a thousand properties and potencies" - Charak Samhita (Ayurvedic Seer)
The author, Wendy Rosenfeldt BA DipHealth(MAVHEC), is a Maharishi Vedic Health educator. She is based in Melbourne but travels regularly to the Gold Coast. For further information on seminars, consultations or any aspect of Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health call 03 9846 5294 or 0438 507 188.