In Ayurveda, ghee is practically considered liquid gold. It has such a far-reaching range of uses that it’s considered one of the most widely-used and versatile 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 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.
How To Use Ghee in Ayurveda
There are many different uses for ghee in Ayurveda, including cooking, a general health booster, or as a base for a medicinal formula. Naturally, the time and place to use ghee will depend on your purpose for using it.
Cooking with ghee is ideal. Ghee has a much higher smoke point than vegetable-based oils and butter, meaning that it is safer to cook with. 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, and can be added to coffee, tea, smoothies, or soup.
In addition, ghee can be used in abundance for cooking 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
Ghee can also be used for general health and wellbeing as it offers a wide variety of health benefits. One of the reasons that ghee is so powerful is because it possesses the ability to deeply nourish all seven of the dhatus or bodily tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow or nerve, and reproductive tissues.
Simply take 1 tablespoon on an empty stomach in the morning or evening. 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 so that you can better digest and absorb nutrients, it’s wise to consume a tablespoon of ghee on an empty stomach 15 to 30 minutes before meals.
Ghee can help the body eliminate ama, or toxic substances that can contribute to disease. Ama can disrupt the flow of energy in our body by creating imbalances in the cells of our tissues, as well as preventing us from absorbing nutrients.
Through its ability to increase rasa (bodily juices) and deeply penetrate the tissues, ghee loosens and dislodges ama, then drains them into the gastrointestinal tract for elimination. Essentially, ghee can help speed up the elimination of ama, thus improving the health of our tissues.
If you’re interested in using ghee for detoxification, consider Panchakarma, the comprehensive Ayurvedic detoxification process, under the supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner.
As an Anupan
Ghee has long been used as an anupan or anupana (carrier substance) to bring the medicinal benefits and nutrients of botanicals deeper into the bodies tissues. If you’re looking to use ghee as an anupan, it’s best to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn appropriate dosages.
Ghee can be used in the practice of nasya. Nasya involves the application of oil to the inside of the nasal passages. Nasya 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.
Netra tarpana is an Ayurvedic therapy that uses ghee to improve the health of the eyes. Specifically, it is used to soothe, heal and restore tired, sore, or disordered eyesight. It is also effective at removing ama. Often, the ghee is mixed with medicinal 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 to improve the health of your gums, whiten teeth, and prevent 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 a couple of minutes to 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. Abhyanga provides a number of health benefits, including increased circulation and detoxification, toning of the skin and muscles, calming for the mind and nerves, lubricating of the joints, and softer skin.
It’s recommended that Abhyanga is practiced every morning, but it can also be practiced in the evening before bedtime. Rub several tablespoons of 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. Ghee can be used topically for moisturizing and to aid in the healing of wounds, burns and scars. It can also be used internally to nourish the tissues from the inside out and improve agni and ojas, resulting in clearer, brighter skin.
Ghee can also be made into candles to illuminate the home, purify the air, and foster a spiritual and peaceful energy.
Remember that there are many uses for ghee in Ayurveda and it’s important to understand how to use it for maximum benefit. Although we’ve provided some general guidelines, it’s best to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn how ghee can be best consumed for your benefit.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)