Ayurvedic ghee (also known as Ghruta) is one of the most important substances in Ayurveda. Rich in digestible, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, including Omega 3s, butyric acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), as well as trace minerals, the Ayurvedic benefits of ghee are innumerable. It's important to distinguish that ghee is different than Ayurvedic ghee, which is also known as Ghruta, we'll be referring to the latter in this article.
Ayurvedic Benefits of Ghee
These are some of the most powerful health benefits that you can experience by beginning to consume ghee.
Stimulates Agni & DigestionOne of the most important ways ghee impacts the body is through the digestive system. Ghee boosts the body's agni, which is the Ayurvedic term for 'digestive fire,' but the term covers more than the assimilation of nutrients from food (although ghee is known to aid in this directly by stimulating the secretion of stomach acids to improve the breakdown of food and enhance nutrient absorption). Agni fuels ojas and tejas, and encourages the absorption of ethereal nutrition: prana, absorbed from sunlight and air. Ghee is able to help encourage all forms of agni to function at their best. The Rig Veda, an ancient collection of Sanskrit hymns, even states:
Streams of ghee caress the burning wood. Agni, the fire, loves them and is satisfied.
Ghee also lubricates the digestive system to maintain and repair the mucus lining of the stomach while delivering butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that inhibits the growth of bad bacteria and fuels the repair of the intestinal wall. This improves the overall functioning of the digestive system and - according to Ayurveda - proper digestion is essential to our well-being and longevity.
Boosts Ojas & Immunity
A person's ojas is believed to be involved in their overall health, vitality, and well-being. Those with a high ojas are said to have more life force than others, and are less likely to develop diseases or immune problems. Ghee can help to restore depleted reserves of ojas. In this sense, it is believed to be a strong immune booster. Pure ojas is believed to be yellowish in color, have a sweet taste, and to smell a bit like fried rice - all qualities that this ethereal substance shares with ghee. This is further confirmed by the well-known Ayurvedic ideology that ‘like increases like’.
Aids Detoxification & the Excretory System
Ghee can be very useful for helping the body excrete toxins. Ghee increases rasa within oneself while penetrating the body’s tissues. As a result, ghee dislodges toxins (ama) and drains them into the gastrointestinal tract for elimination. During an Ayurvedic detox regiment known as Panchakarma, a person will take larger doses of ghee internally every morning to prepare themselves for the purging process. They will be given daily ghee massages to help encourage the release of toxins from fatty tissues. Panchakarma has been shown to help speed up the elimination of at least 14 different fat-soluble toxins. These toxins would normally remain in the body for quite a while, since the body is most efficient at removing only water-soluble toxins.
Enhances Reproductive Health
Ghee helps prepare the body for conception by delivering nutrients, providing energy, and keeping illnesses at bay. It also uniquely increases cholesterol, which is essential for the production of sex hormones that are critical for fertility. In addition, ghee is often prescribed to pregnant women to aid in the development of their unborn child.
Fosters Cardiovascular Health
Ghee is known to help improve cardiovascular health by regulating blood glucose and reducing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. This is because ghee can increase the range of vitamins soluble in fat, like Vitamin E, preventing the oxidation of LDL. It also increases the secretion of biliary lipids.
Strengthens Bones, Joints & the Skeletal System
Ghee lubricates joints and delivers healthy fat–soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K deep into the body's tissues and bones. It can also help the body absorb calcium.
Supports Hormonal Health & the Endocrine System
Our hormones require a healthy source of fat to function well. Ghee can help to ensure the proper functioning of these systems by supplying a clean source of fat and lubrication. Furthermore, by acting as a nerve tonic, ghee can help reduce discomfort caused by overactive adrenals.
Improves Cognitive Function
Ghee is often one of the main ingredients found in tonics and supplements developed by Ayurvedic practitioners to help restore or enhance cognitive health. One of the reasons for this is because of ghee's characteristic sweetness. Sweet tastes are believed to nourish nervous tissue and the brain, enhancing cognitive ability and communication between nerve cells. In addition, saturated fat is essential for proper brain health and ghee is one of the highest-quality sources of saturated fat available. Saturated fats are essential for myelin sheathing, which helps neurons, axons and nerve cells fire and communicate properly. Ghee is also rich in cholesterol, choline and omega-3 fatty acids, which are vitally important brain nutrients. Aged ghee, which is generally more bitter and possesses more of a heating quality, is believed to be useful for helping to remove mental blockages. This could be useful for helping to remove trauma or barriers preventing one from seeking treatment.
Nourishes Skin, Hair, & Nails
As a potent regenerative agent, ghee is known to moisturize and improve the appearance of the skin, hair, and nails. It does this by promoting the growth of new, healthy cells.
Restoring Balance to the Doshas
Ghee can also be used to balance the doshas. It's tridoshic, but especially fantastic for managing imbalances of Pitta and Vata. Ghee has soothing qualities that calms and nurtures the body and mind. It is particularly useful during autumn when Pitta and Vata can become easily disturbed. For those with a Kapha constitution, ghee is best taken in smaller quantities for maximum benefit.
In addition to the numerous Ayurvedic benefits of ghee, it’s also important to note that ghee is rich in butyric acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which decrease inflammation and have been linked to the prevention and treatment of cancer. Ghee also contains medium chain triglycerides that help the body achieve optimal weight. Ultimately, ghee is a powerful medicinal substance with a vast array of health benefits. Its ability to assimilate herbal concoctions and heal the body is surpassed by very few other substances. Keep in mind that Ayurvedic ghee (Ghruta) is different than conventional ghee.
To maximize the benefits of ghee, be sure to make or purchase a form that's been crafted using Ayurvedic traditions, like PIOR Living Ghruta.