However you feel about the aging process, we all want to age gracefully. How that process unfolds has a lot to do with the choices we make on a daily basis. According to Ayurveda, Ghee and Ghruta are substances that can help with anti aging and enhancing longevity. Here is an Ayurvedic perspective on ghee for anti aging. First of all, as a reminder, ghee is a deeply nourishing substance and is highly revered in Ayurveda. Beyond being a high-quality cooking oil, ghee improves agni (digestive fire), nourishes all tissues in the body, and builds ojas (vitality and health).
Ghee and Vata Balance
One way to understand just how helpful ghee is for anti aging is to understand the connection between ghee and Vata dosha. Each phase of life is characterized by one of the three doshas. Childhood is considered the Kapha time of life, adolescence through middle age is the Pitta time of life. The winter years are the Vata time of life. There are many gifts that come with the Vata time of life. For instance, in this phase, individuals are often able to step back from their career and family duties and there may be more of an emphasis on inward or spiritual pursuits. At the same time, it is important to be aware of the potentially ill effects of Vata dosha, particularly in the aging process. Vata dosha is characterized as light, cool, and dry. It is also associated with autumn and the end of the life cycle. Dryness (as in dry skin and tissues) and lightness (as in muscle loss) are common attributes of the aging process. Our bodies and minds change and evolve with time without a doubt. However, by bringing opposite qualities such as oiliness, and nourishing, earthy foods, one can help mitigate the predominance of Vata dosha as one ages. This is where ghee and anti aging is especially relevant. To nourish and moisten dry tissues, eating ghee on a daily basis can help tremendously. Ghee will help keep tissues moist and pleasantly plump from the inside out. Also, our ojas, or vital life sap, naturally depletes with age. Ghee is one of the primary ojas-building foods.
Ghee for Keeping the Mind Sharp
As we age, we are often looking for ways to keep our minds and memories sharp. Ayurveda teaches that ghee nourishes the brain and is a medhya rasayana, meaning that it supports memory. Therefore, ghee, ghruta, and other high quality fats may be helpful with anti aging because they assist in brain health.
Ghee for Moisturizing the Skin
Also, as we age, we are often aware of changes with our skin. Since ghee provides moisture and builds rasa (plasma, bodily fluids), it can help:
- Hydrate the skin, reducing the onset of wrinkles
- Repair damage done by various skin conditions
- Speed up wound and scar healing
Ghee also improves digestion which has a direct impact on our skin, nails and hair. From aiding in the assimilation of nutrients to repairing the gut wall, ghee improves the overall functioning of the digestive system, resulting in healthier, brighter and clearer skin.
Ghee for Improving Eyesight
In addition, many people experience vision challenges as they age. Ghee may not mean you never need glasses, but Ayurveda teaches that ghee is highly beneficial for the eyes. Ayurvedic scholar Dr. David Frawley teaches that “Ghee itself is the most important food for the eyes, and by taking 1-2 teaspoons twice a day, vision can be improved” (1). There are many factors to consider in anti aging, but by nourishing ojas and rasa, and supporting brain health and eye health, ghee and Ghruta just might be one of your key foods for longevity.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.
(1) Frawley, D. (2000). Ayurvedic healing: A comprehensive guide. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.