In Ayurveda, ghee is practically considered liquid gold. It has such a variety of uses, it is easily one of the most versatile and popular substances in the whole of Ayurveda. However, like any other health-boosting substance, it's important to know how to use ghee properly for maximum benefit. But first, it’s helpful to become familiar with different types of ghee. Ghee is different than Ayurvedic ghee, which is also known as "Ghruta." We’ll be referring to the latter (Ghruta) in this article.
How To Use Ghee in Ayurveda
As mentioned earlier, there are many different uses for ghee in Ayurveda. Ghee is used in cooking, as a general health booster, and as a base in herbal formulas. Ghee specifically supports ojas, the subtle essence of the immune system. Naturally, how you will use ghee will depend on the intended purpose.
Ghee in Cooking
Cooking with ghee is ideal for a number of reasons. Ghee has a much higher smoke point than vegetable-based oils and butter. This means that it is safer to cook with than many other oil options. Oils that reach their smoke point can become carcinogenic. Therefore, any time that you would use oil or butter, you can use ghee instead. You can also ghee as a spread or dressing. You can even add ghee to coffee, tea, smoothies, or soup. In addition, you can use ghee in abundance for cooking purposes since it does not increase cholesterol levels. In fact, regular consumption of ghee is known to reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
General Health and Wellbeing
In addition to its culinary usages, you can enjoy ghee for general health and wellbeing. In fact, it offers a wide variety of health benefits. One of the reasons why ghee is so powerful is because it possesses the ability to deeply nourish all seven of the dhatus (bodily tissues). Those seven dhatus are: plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow or nerve, and reproductive tissue. A straightforward way to consume ghee is to simply take 1 teaspoon on an empty stomach every 12 hours. Using ghee in the morning will soothe the nerves. Using it before bed can encourage restful sleep. If you're using ghee to boost your agni (digestive fire), then take 1 teaspoon of ghee on an empty stomach 15 to 30 minutes before meals.
Ghee can help the body eliminate ama. Ama is metabolic waste and undigested food matter that can contribute to disease. This sticky, clogging substance can disrupt the flow of energy in your body. Ama dampens the digestion on a cellular level, clogs physical channels, and may prevent you from properly absorbing nutrients. Through its ability to increase rasa (bodily juices) and deeply penetrate the tissues, ghee loosens and dislodges ama. The waste matter is then drained into the gastrointestinal tract for elimination. Essentially, ghee can help speed up the elimination of ama, thus improving the health of your tissues. If you're interested in using ghee for detoxification, take 1 teaspoon of ghee on an empty stomach 15 to 30 minutes before meals. Do this several days before an Ayurvedic cleanse and each day during the cleanse itself. For a deeper cleansing, consider Panchakarma, the comprehensive Ayurvedic detoxification process. That said, this is a deep-cleansing process that should be done under the supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner, and preferably in an Ayurvedic clinic or spa.
As an Anupan - Carrier Substance
Ghee has long been used as an anupan or anupana (carrier substance). It works particularly well to carry the benefits and nutrients of botanicals deeper into the bodily tissues. If you're looking to use ghee as an anupan, it's best to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn appropriate dosages. Special herbal ghees such as ashwagandha ghee and shatvari ghee are available for purchase from various Ayurvedic product suppliers.
Ghee can be used in the practice of nasya. Nasya involves the application of oil to the inside of the nasal passages. This Ayurvedic practice helps to soothe and protect the nasal tissues, preventing the buildup of toxins, pollutants, and allergens. In fact, nasya with ghee has become so popular in Delhi that it is recommended to prevent toxic buildup from high levels of airborne pollution. Nasya should be done on an empty stomach about an hour before or after a shower. You can get a special nasya treatment from an Ayurvedic practitioner or at various Ayurvedic centers. However, many people opt for the daily practice of simply using a finger to coat the nostrils with a bit of warmed ghee or sesame oil.
Netra tarpana is an Ayurvedic therapy that uses ghee to improve the health of the eyes. Specifically, it is used to soothe, balance, and restore tired, sore, or disordered eyesight. This treatment is also effective at removing ama. Often, the ghee is mixed with beneficial herbs to create a formula called Mahatriphalaghrita. Alternatively, one can put a drop of liquid ghee in the eyes every night before bed to help strengthen the eyes or soothe any discomfort associated with eye problems.
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practice that helps dislodge and remove ama from the mouth. This practice improves the health of your gums, whitens teeth, and prevents bad breath and cavities. Ghee is one of the best oils for this practice. Simply swish 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of ghee in your mouth gently for 2-15 minutes, then spit into the trash.
Ghee is considered one of the best substances for abhyanga. Abhyanga is a self-massage with warm oil that is typically performed 15 minutes before bathing. This nourishing, luxurious daily practice provides a number of health benefits, including increased circulation and detoxification, toning of the skin and muscles, calming for the mind and nerves, lubrication for the joints, and softer skin. It is ideal to practice abhyanga every morning, but you can also do it in the evening before bedtime. Massage warm ghee all over the body, including the head, ears, and nostrils. Use circular motions over round areas, like your face, head and joints, and sweeping circular motions over the rest of your body. Always massage toward the direction of your heart.
In Ayurveda, ghee is also used for skincare and anti-aging. Use this nourishing golden oil topically for moisturizing and to aid in the mending of wounds, burns, and scars. Also, use it internally to nourish your tissues from the inside out and to improve agni and ojas—resulting in clearer, brighter skin.
Finally, you can also use ghee to make candles to illuminate your home, purify the air, and foster a spiritual and peaceful energy.
As you can tell, the ways and wonders of ghee are many! However, in order to reap the most benefits, be sure to use ghee that's made according to Ayurveda traditions (also known as Ghruta). PIOR Living offers Ghruta that honors traditional ancient practices and uses free range, grass fed Indian Gir Cows.