Ayurvedic Ghee, or clarified butter, has the healing benefits of butter without the impurities. Learn how it can fight inflammation, promote flexibility, enhance digestion, bolster the immune system, and more.
Ghee is made by heating unsalted butter until it clarifies into its separate components: lactose (sugar), milk protein, and fat. In India, ghee is a sacred symbol of auspiciousness used medicinally as well as in cooking, VanGilder reports. It also makes appearances in ancient texts including the Mahabharata, in which it is described as an essence flowing through and sustaining the world.
The Sushruta Samhita, an Ayurvedic classic, states Ghee is beneficial for the whole body, and recommends it as the ultimate remedy for problems stemming from the pitta dosha, such as inflammation. Long a favorite of yoga practitioners, ghee lubricates the connective tissues and promotes flexibility, and its great for self-massage. Traditionally, the preparation has been used to promote memory, intelligence, quantity and quality of semen, and to enhance digestion. Modern science tells us that ghee also harbors phenolic antioxidants, which bolster the immune system.
Ghee is believed to assist with digestion by allowing food to be broken down more efficiently, by stimulating digestive enzymes and believed to enhance ojas, or "life energy.” For centuries, ghee has been considered a rasayana, which means a healing food that balances both body and mind.
Even better than ghee is aged ghee—up to 100 years—which treats alcoholism, epilepsy, fever, and vaginal pain, according to Ayurvedic physician Robert Svoboda. Medicated ghee (ghrita in Sanskrit), meanwhile, combines clarified butter with healing herbs. Ghee also contains known vitamin E and beta carotene, which are known antioxidants.