How Ghruta Can be Used

Ghruta is the traditional Ayurvedic clarified milk product that has been used for thousands of years as a successful companion to human health. There are four types of lubricating substances (sneha) mentioned in the original Ayurvedic texts, Ghruta is said to be the best. It states that it is the most medicinal and flexible, with the widest selection of uses.

Why Ghruta is so special

In order to make Ghruta as per the ancient formula, it is not just about heating butter and waiting for the lipids to separate from the milk solids. There are in fact five steps or sanskars that need to be performed on milk to make Ghruta to the ancient Vedic standard.

The five sanksars or processes include: boiling the milk, curdling it, churning it, separation and finally heating to clarify the butter and make the final golden product. One of its most magical qualities is that it is sanskar anu vartana meaning this specific process brings about life. In that, these practices create a supremely medicinal product, greater than the sum of its parts. In a similar vein to chyawanprash, where the formula brings together ingredients creating a greater end-product than each ingredient could muster on its own.

What makes it so good for us?

Its qualities

Ghruta is cooling, sweet, unctuous, and astringent. Meaning, at its most basic, it balances vata and pitta due to these qualities. It can be used both externally and internally. It can be used in both shodhana (detoxification) and shamana (palliative) therapies, which are two categories of treatment in Ayurveda.

It can penetrate into the tiniest channels of the body

Another key aspect of Ghruta is it is suksma, meaning it can penetrate into the minutest channels. This is at the heart of its healing and rejuvenating capacities. As part of the purva karma or preliminary steps of panca karma treatment, the patient undergoes snehana or lubrication therapy with Ghruta. This is the means by which the cells, channels and body is lubricated and prepared from the inside out. The Ghruta is heated and liquefied so it can be drunk. Then it penetrates the micro channels of the body (and even nervous system and mind) where it slightly solidifies around the toxins, loosening them from the walls and channels, allowing them to be removed with the cleansing steps that follow.

It can help treat the nervous system and brain

Its capacity to penetrate the micro channels is so deep, that it can pass the blood brain barrier (nourishing the lipids of the brain as well as pulling out toxins), as well as treating the nervous system. An imbalanced nervous system needs grounding unctuousness to help restore balance. Ghruta is just that.

A recent research paper investigates the benefits of using Ghruta in treating nervous system, neurological disorders and even insanity (unmada as it is called in Ayurveda):

“Ghruta, the best drug of oleation…opposes each of the etiology of Unmada at the level of constitution, diet and lifestyle… The anti-oxidant property of clarified butter is able to repair the degenerative changes in brain. The DHA, an omega 3 long chain poly unsaturated fatty acid is abundant in ghee which is seen in retinal and brain cells. The chemical changes in the brain due to the disorder are also corrected by the ghee. So Ghruta and its various combinations can be the appropriate medicine in diseases where higher mental functions and psyche is grossly impaired.”

Penetrating Qualities of Ghruta that make it the best vehicle

As a result of these penetrating qualities, Ghruta is also one of the best anupanas (vehicles or carrier substances) for delivering nutrients and medicinal formulas deep into all seven dhatus (tissues). Astanga Hrdayam one of the foundational Ayurvedic text books states:

“Ghruta is best for retaining youth; capable of giving a thousand good effects by a thousand kinds of processing."

By Selina Van Orden

Selina Van Orden is an Ayurvedic physician living and working in the UK @_atyourbest

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