Benefits Of Ghee, its Side Effects & Contra Indications
If you ever have heard anything bad about cow ghee, please forget that for a moment and read the following. Ghee is probably the most sacred, spiritual and physically health benefiting substances that is ever known to human beings. A person who is allergic to dairy products or gluten, need not be allergic to ghee. If you fail to consume ghee, there are so many ways it can be used for skin, nasal drops, enema etc.
Here, ghee means cow ghee. Ghee is also referred to as clarified butter.
Effect on Tridosha –
Ghee calms Pitta and Vata. Hence, it is ideal for people with Vata-Pitta body type and for those suffering from Vata and Pitta imbalance disorders.
Effect of ghee on digestion strength: Pitta and fire are inter-related. Usually, the substances that balance Pitta, also cause depletion of digestion fire. But ghee is an exception. It balances Pitta Dosha but it increases digestion strength.
However, it does not help in Ama (altered digestion and metabolism condition). In a normal person, if digestion strength is a bit low, then ghee is useful in improving his digestive capacity.
Ghee is quite similar to milk in qualities, but unlike milk, ghee improves digestion. (Bhava Prakasha)Versatile health benefits of ghee:
Herbal rectal suppositories are smeared with ghee before insertion into anal canal. 5/288
It is conducive to Rasadhatu (essence part of digested food), Sukradhatu (semen) and Ojas. It has cooling and softening effect on the body. It adds to the clarity of the voice and complexion – Charaka Sutrasthana 13th chapter
Indications for the administration of Ghee:
Intake of herbal ghee is prescribed for those with
Chakshu Kama – those desiring good eye sight,
Kshata Ksheena – with chest injured,
For the old, children and weak,
those desirous of longevity, of strength, good complexion, voice, nourishment, progeny, tenderness, luster, immunity, memory, intelligence, power of digestion, wisdom, proper functioning of sense organs and those afflicted with injuries due to burns, by weapons, poisons and fire.
Ghee is one of those dietary ingredients that can be consumed by all at all times. Ashtanga Hrudayam Su. 8/43.
It is one of the essential dietary ingredients for those debilitated due to treatments.
It helps improve digestion power. (Ashtanga Hrudaya Su. 9/27)
It nourishes body tissues, suitable for people of all ages.
It strengthens sense organs, immunity,
It improves tone and strength of the voice.
It begets longevity. (Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 10/22)
It is useful for those taking alcohol regularly, for women, who do regular exercise, for old and for young.
Cow ghee promotes memory, intellect, power of digestion, semen, Ojas,
Kapha and fat.
It alleviates Vata, Pitta
Visha – toxic conditions
Unmada – insanity,
Shosha – emaciation
Alakshmihara – it is auspicious.
It is the best of all the unctuous substances.
Cold in potency and sweet both in taste as well as Vipaka.
When administered according to the prescribed procedure, it increases, thousand times in potency and develops manifold utilities.
Purana Ghrita – One year old cow ghee is useful in
Mada – intoxication,
Apasmara – epilepsy,
Moorcha – fainting,
Shosha – emaciation
Unmada – schizophrenia, insanity
Gara – remnant poisons
Jwara – fever
Pain in the ear, head as well as female genital tract.
Properties of ghee of other animals viz, goat, sheep and buffalo are the same as those of their milk.
Ghee for weight gain:
Regular consumption of ghee or inclusion of ghee as part of diet, is recommended for those seeking weight gain. Ghee is useful for people with emaciation, having lean body, having dryness of skin.
Ghee for sex:
Ghee is useful to improve quality of Shukra Dhatu (male and female reproductive system). With its immense nourishing health benefits, it is indicated for people who indulge in daily sex. (Ashtanga Hrudayam 16/5)
Oral consumption of Ghee to relieve dryness:
For people suffering from extreme dry skin, dry voice and overall dryness of body, in seasons like winter, ghee along with milk helps to relieve dryness and induce unctuousness, very quickly. (Ashtanga. Hr. Su. 16/41)
Ghee was also used as a dietary ingredients in post-surgical care. (A. Hr. Su 29/36)
Use of ghee in fever:
Ghee intake helps to relieve burning sensation after relief from fever. (A. Hr. Chi. 1/59). But note that clarified butter is not indicated while the person is having fever. It is only used in patients, after fever is completely cured, to regain strength and immunity.
Ghee for newborn: 2 – 5 drops of Ghee is advised to be given to newborn.
Ghee and milk are congenial to children by birth.
Ghee is advised for a lactating mother. It is believed to add nourishing qualities to the breast milk and to fortify milk with nourishing qualities
Ghee for eyes:
In many of the eye disorders, ghee is used for a process called ‘Tarpana’. Here a compound around eye orbit is built with thick paste of floor and the compound is filled with herbal ghee. The person is asked to open and close the eyes. Ayurveda says that this procedure improves and strengthens the eye power. (Sharangdhara Samhita Uttarakhanda 13/1). Especially, Ghee processed with Triphala is used for this purpose.
Ghee along with triphala and honey is told as a remedy to improve eye health. Read more
Ghee is used for application over eyes for strengthening of vision. (A Hr. Su. 24/16)
Ghee is used to wash eyes for soothing effect. (A. Hr. U 9/7)
Ghee for gargling in place of oil-pulling:
In the method of oil pulling, in place of sesame oil, cow ghee is used. This is especially useful to heal oral ulcers and to relieve burning sensation. It is indicated in Pitta imbalance oral disorders. Read more about oil pulling
Ghee administered from different routes:
Ghee washed with water:
A special procedure is used to wash ghee with water, called as Shata Dhauta ghrita.
In pregnant woman, a special processed ghee is used to apply around the umbilical area.
Ghee is used for application over wounds and burns to reduce the heat and calm Pitta.
Ghee is applied over lips to heal the seasonal cracked lips.
It is also useful for local application for heel cracks.
Ghee is an excellent moisturizer and gives a soothing and coolant effect when used for whole body massage. It is applied allover the body and massage is done with gentle pressure.
Herbal rectal suppositories are smeared with ghee before insertion into anal canal. 5/288
In Ayurveda practice, Enema of ghee is used to strengthen bones. (A. Hr. Su. 11/34)
As per Ayurveda, bone gets its nourishment from fat. By administering ghee through enema, Vata gets balanced, leading to proper nourishment of bone tissue. (Bone and Vata are connected). Hence, ghee enema is useful in cases like arthritis.
Ghee usage in herbal smoking
Ayurveda recommends herbal smoking as one of the daily routine. Ghee is extensively used as an ingredient in Ayurveda herbal smoking procedure.
Ghee for wounds, bleeding, burning sensation:
In leech therapy, ghee is applied over the concern area to reduce the burning sensation. (A Hr. Su 26/41)
Ghee is advised for application over bleeding wounds for cooling and quick wound healing effect.
In ancient times, ghee was used as base to prepare wicks that were used for local application after surgical procedures
Ghee was used to apply over the surgical suture for quick healing.
In Ayurveda practice, while treating fistula and piles using a special preparation called Kshara, ghee is applied after the procedure to relieve burning sensation and irritation.
Ghee is an excellent wound healing agent, when it is applied locally.
In children, while doing ear lobe puncturing, ghee is applied first, to reduce pain & irritation and to ease piercing.
Ghee application over cracked lips, cracked nipples in new mothers and cracked heals softens the edges of everted skin and quickens healing.
Ghee applied over skin relieves dryness and burning sensation.
Psychological benefits of ghee:
It is best suited for those desiring intellect, memory and intelligence.
Ghee is mixed with mustard and neem leaves and used for fumigation. This helps to ward off evil forces.
Application of ghee over the scalp area helps to calm the mind down.
Ghee as immunity booster – references –
The term ojas is used to represent immunity. Ghee is one of the essential dietary ingredients to improve Ojas.
Substances that are anti aging naturally improve immunity. Ghee along with milk is considered as the best anti aging dietary combination. (Charaka Sutrasthana 25/40)
Use of Ghee in Spiritual Purposes;
Ghee is considered as very pure and auspicious. Hence in Hindu custom, while serving food, a little ghee is sprinkled over the food, symbolizing that ghee purifies the food. This practice is known as “Abhighara”
Ghee is used in Spiritual practices called as Homa, where Ghee is offered to fire. Of all the sources available to use as fuel for fire, only ghee is used. It highlights the importance of Ghee.
After waking up in the morning, it is an auspicious ritual to see the face in ghee. Bhavaprakasha 5/17
Ghee home remedies:
Having a teaspoon of ghee before food in the morning relieves pain in the bladder region (A. Hr. Su. 4/6)
In chronic fever, garlic along with ghee is advised as diet. (A. Hr. Chi 1/55)
To relieve dryness of palate and oral cavity, Amla powder and raisins are mixed with ghee and kept inside mouth for a few minutes. (Bhava Prakasha Madhyama Khanda)
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) powder is consumed with ghee to relieve burning sensation. 1/670
Triphala decoction added with ghee and sugar is useful in the treatment of anemia. (improves liver function) BR 12/5-
Ghee home remedy for dry cough
Ghee and saffron home remedy for migraine
How to use ghee for skincare
Ghee remedy for Pitta related cough
Ghee for allergic rhinitis:
Before you go out of your house for work, try applying a thin layer of ghee to the inner wall of nostril. It really helps to avoid dust allergy.
During the preparatory procedure for Panchakarma: Panchakarma is a procedure wherein the imbalanced Doshas are expelled out of the body. Prior to Panchakarma, high doses of ghee is given to the person to drink within a short span of 1 – 7 days. Ghee having good penetrating capacity, penetrates deep into body tissues and acts as a vehicle to diffuse Dosha accumulation in the body. It also helps to Bring the imbalanced Dosha into the gastro intestinal tract from where it expelled out by Panchakarma procedure.
Ghee for diseases:
Ghee for health conditions: Ghee has a very unique capability to absorb the active constituents of an herb into it, without leaving out ghee’s inherent quality. This quality of ghee is hailed as “Yogavahi”. Hence Ghee is processed with different herbs to imbibe those useful qualities into Ghee. This processed ghee is extensively used in Ayurveda for a wide range of health conditions.
Ghee is used as adjuvant along with herbal decoctions. (Ghee is given for oral administration with herbal decoctions). Bhavaprakasha Uttarakhanda 2/6
Ghee is also used as adjuvant along with herbs in paste (Kalka) and powder (Churna) form. Bhava Prakasha 2/13
Usage of Ghee during pregnancy:
In a pregnant lady, soon after beginning of labor pain, the lady is given oil massage and hot water bath. After this, lady is given a gruel along with ghee. – Bhavaprakasha 3/344
Ghee is suggested as an essential dietary ingredient in pregnancy in Ayurveda. This is because, ghee is hailed as a sweet substance which is congenial and habitual to anyone since birth.
Ghee is ideal for improving intelligence; memory, ingenuity, digestion strength, longevity, quality of semen and ovum, and eye sight. It is useful for children, the aged, those who desire more children, tenderness of the body, and pleasant voice.
Of all the oils and fats, ghee is the best for retaining of youth; It has the capacity of of giving a thousand good effects by a thousand kinds of processing.
During pregnancy, enlivening substances like ghee and milk should be used. Ghee can be used both externally and internally.
As per Yoga Ratnakara text book, ghee is one among the diet substances that the pregnant can take on daily basis. (Reference: Yoga Ratnakara Ksheeradosha Chikitsa)
Especially, during the first 12 days of pregnancy, ghee obtained from milk should be consumed by the pregnant mother.
In the third month, milk, ghee and honey are to be administered to the pregnant. (caraka saṃhitā śārīra sthāna 8/32)
In the fifth month of pregnancy, milk and ghee should be administered. (caraka saṃhitā śārīrasthāna 8/32)
In the sixth month, milk and ghee processed with sweet herbs should be administered.
In seventh month, ghee can be processed with wild yam etc herbs and administered. (suśruta saṃhitā śārīra sthāna 10/4)
In eighth month, milk and ghee should be given to drink.
Rice gruel processed with ghee should also be given.
External application of ghee during pregnancy:
In case of bleeding during pregnancy, one should apply shata dhauta or sahasra dhauta ghrita (washed a thousand times) to all the area below the level of umbilicus.
Shata dhauta ghrita – for umbilical region., water washed ghee – Ghee is mixed with equal quantities of water, mashed well and water is drained out. This process is repeated for 10 – 15 times. This ghee is applied over below umbilical region to stabilize pregnancy.
Ghee with turmeric is an excellent remedy for cracked heals, during pregnancy.
Ghee is traditionally anointed over palm and feet to relieve burning sensation.
A cup of ghee is mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric powder. It is applied over the abdomen, flanks, lower part of breasts and buttocks to prevent stretch marks.
How to consume ghee?
Half a teaspoon of ghee during morning or as part of breakfast is a great way to start your day
While taking food, first ghee with hard food stuff should be consumed, followed by soft foods and in the end curds.
Usually after ghee consumption, it is good to have a warm beverage.
For example, half – one teaspoon of ghee can be consumed just before having morning cup of tea / coffee.
Ghee as nasal drops:
2 drops of Ghee is put into both nostrils in the morning, at leat 30 minutes before food. This practice is called as Nasya Karma.
Ghee as nasal drops is useful for treating
white hairs, hair fall
migraine, tension headache
tinnitis, hearing problems
Lack of memory and concentration
The nasal drops therapy with ghee can be continued for about 2 – 6 weeks time.
Which ghee to use for nasal drops?
Cow ghee is commonly used. In case of specific diseases like schizophrenia, epilepsy etc, herbal ghees indicated for those diseases, such as Maha Kalyanaka Ghrita, Panchagavya Ghrita etc are used.
But there are a few rules for Nasal drops instillation –
For example, use of ghee for nasal drops is not recommended when the sky is full of clouds, during extreme winter and rainy seasons, when the person has cold, sinusitis, cough and fever.
Ghee balances Vata and Pitta Dosha. Hence, in all conditions of head and neck involving Vata and Pitta, ghee is useful.
But in cases of sinusitis, cold and cough (which are due to Vata and Kapha), ghee may worsen the condition.
Read related: How to do Nasya treatment
Clarified butter side effects and Contra indication:
Ghee is best avoided during jaundice, hepatitis, fatty liver changes.
Excess of ghee can cause indigestion and diarrhea.
Consuming ghee while having cold, cough may worsen the condition in a few
Unmixed ghee should not be taken in the event of the domination of Pitta specially when Pitta is associated with Ama.
Ghee taken in this condition brings about paleness (Jaundice) in the body and may prove to be fatal by impairing the consciousness.
Avoid ghee when the pregnant mother is suffering with cold or indigestion.
In case of feeling of indigestion or heaviness of stomach after ghee consumption, a warm drink or a cup of fat-less buttermilk can be consumed.
Management of over usage:
If you think you have over-consumed ghee, do not take food till the ghee is completely digested. Anyways, you will not be feeling hunger.
Sip in warm water once in every half an hour. Use it for drinking and washing.
If you start feeling hungry, try to have hot liquid foods such as hot clear veg soup.
After you start feeling lightness in the stomach and body, you can resume your routine dietary habits.
Triphala, Trikatu – are used to cleanse the channels and improve digestion strength, if the ghee causes indigestion due to wrong use.
Fat less buttermilk is told as a specific remedy to counter the ill effects of wrong usage of ghee. It helps to improve digestion.
Special thanks to Mr Sandeep Agarwal, Owner, Pure Indian Foods. He is based in NJ, USA, manufactures grass fed organic ghee and many different spice combinations. Most part of this article was a paid compilation work that I had done for him, a year ago. When I asked for his permission to write this article, he was generous enough to permit. This is NOT a paid endorsement of Pure Indian Foods.
Question: I read Online Desi ghee helps in pacify Vata. Now Desi ghee is cool in nature, So as Vata body type are also cool in nature. So how it would help in pacify Vata?
Answer: Ghee is not a coolant. It has coolant effect only on stomach. It is mildly hot in nature. Because of its hotness, it helps to improve digestion strength. And because of its mild hotness, it balances Vata.
Ghee for vomiting:
Ghee is used for the treatment of Vata type of vomiting, associated with gurgling sound and abdominal pain.
Ghee with rock- salt (cooked with rock salt). This recipe is given to the patient of Vatika Chardi, associated with the palpitation of the heart.
Ghee cooked with coriander, ginger, Yoghurt and pomegranate juice Pomegranate and
Ghee added with the powder of Ginger, pepper, long pepper, Rock salt, black salt and Vida type of salt;
The patient of Vatika Chardi is given food which is unctuous and pleasing to the heart along with meat- soup, vegetable- soup, yoghurt and sour pomegranate. (Charaka Chikitsa Sthana, 20th chapter).