(From "Jeevani - Ayurveda for Women", by Dr. P.L.T.Girija)
Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Ghee is used as food as well as medicine. It has very high nutritional and medicinal value. Any text of Ayurveda can provide you with a long list of properties that ghee possesses.
Ghee is an ideal food which should be consumed daily. Ghee is sweet in taste. It improves intelligence and memory. Consumed in small quantities, ghee aids digestion. It increases semen, virility and
life-span; improves eyesight and preserves youthfulness. Ghee is ideal for children, the aged and those wanting to have healthy progeny. It is good for voice and appearance. Ghee is nourishing for
those suffering from emaciation, visarpa (herpes), injuries to the chest and injuries from weapons and fire. Ghee alleviates diseases caused by the aggravation of Vata and Pitta. It is useful in countering
poison, insanity, consumption and chronic fevers.
From the therapeutic angle, ghee is considered the best among fatty substances used in treatment of various diseases. Ghee is cold in efficacy. Ghee possesses a special quality namely, when it is processed with other substances, it can acquire the quality of those substances without giving up its own natural qualities. This is why a large number of medicated ghees (ghees processed with medicinal herbs) are used in Ayurveda.
Even though ghee used to be an indispensable part of our daily diet, it has been in the midst of a major controversy lately which has brought it down from its pedestal. Overnight young and old alike gave up consumption of ghee and children started growing up without consuming it. Ghee is being equated to ‘saturated fats’ and is accused of giving rise to the ‘silent killer, cholesterol’. To refute this unscientific claim, four cases of patients with relatively high levels of cholesterol, who were administered large quantities of ghee (as part of treatments they were undergoing) are provided in the appendix. In all four cases, after the administration of relatively large quantities of ghee as ‘sneha pana’ (a specific therapy where measured quantities of fat are administered), the total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride showed lower and normal readings. This leads to the conclusion that vegetarian diet devoid of ghee and generally low on fats need not necessarily mean low levels of cholesterol; on the contrary, they can also sometimes lead to high levels of cholesterol as in these cases. In these four patients, administration of ghee helped in lowering the levels of cholesterol. Therefore, for patients fit to be given ghee as part of their treatment, their having a high cholesterol level need not be a cause for worry. [for details, see
Appendix II, page 214]
(At Sanjeevani Ayurveda Centre, pregnant women consume medicated ghee throughout pregnancy. They are encouraged to use ghee, milk and butter in their diet. For pregnant women, butter extracted from milk, and ghee prepared from this butter are recommended as these are good for blood and arrest bleeding.
At the end of pregnancy, the total amount of ghee consumed adds up to 10 to 15 kg. The average weight gain during the period of pregnancy is around 8 to 12 kg. Incidentally, the traditional practice in North India, especially in Rajasthan is that, as soon as the parents hear of their daughter’s pregnancy / conception, they send her a vessel containing 15 kg. of ghee.)