Cow Ghee (Ghritham)
Cow Ghee (Ghritham in Sanskrit): Ghee is a clarified form of butter obtained by heating the butter and removing the sediments. Ghee is commonly used in many recipes and also in various Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurveda says that just like we offer ghee into the sacrificial fire of Yagna ritual to keep the fire burning, we have to similarly offer/pour ghee into the digestive fire in the stomach of human body to keep that digestive fire burning so that it will in turn help easily digest the remaining food we eat. So, judicious intake of ghee in appropriate quantities according to one’s digestive capacity, age, time of the year, time of the day etc is very beneficial and protects the body. As per the Ayurvedic text, “Ashtanga Samgraha” by Maharshi Vagbhata, judicious consumption of ghee improves digestion, bestows good intellect, memory, strength, reproductive strength, good complexion, good vision and healthy eyes, protects the entire body, and prolongs life span.
“Ghee is best suited for those desirous of dhi: (intelligence), smruthi (memory), me:dha (ingenuity/talent/mental vigour), agni(digestive fire), bala(strength), a:yu(life), zukra (reproductive principle) and caksusa (good for eyesight); for children and old people, for those desiring offspring, good complexion, softness of body (sukumara) and good voice; for those suffering from ksata (trauma), ksina (debility), parisarpa (a kind of leprosy causing worm), disorders of vatha and pittha, visha(poison), unmada (insanity), zosa (tuberculosis), alaksmi (distress, physical or mental) and jvara (fever); it is best among all snehas (oils and ghees), is zita (cold), vayasasthapana (preserving youth); possesses a thousand good qualities, and does a thousand actions, when processed properly.”
Some of the health benefits and therapeutic qualities of cow ghee are:
- Cow Ghee stimulates the digestive fire in the stomach and improves digestion.
- Seetha veerya – has cooling effect on the body and mind.
- Brimhanam/Pushtikaram – that which gives sakthi or strength; cures wasting and fatigue.
- Rasa:yanam – anti-ageing in effect prolonging life span and preserving youth.
- Varnyam – improves softness and glow/brightness of skin giving it good complexion.
- Cow Ghee gives good voice.
- Medho sakthi – fresh ghee is good for mind and increases intellectual power and memory.
- Medo:hara – cures obesity to some extent as it cuts down low density cholesterol (LDL) in the blood.
- Cow Ghee promotes sathva guna.
- Cow Ghee nourishes all the body tissues (dha:thus) and also increases o:jas, the vital fluid in the body; protects the entire body.
- Cow Ghee is the best source of fat among all agents like oils and ghees from various animal fats.
- Vrushyam – giving sexual power and improves semen in men.
- Useful in treatment of diseases caused by va:tha and pittha do:sha:s and also in the treatment of certain types of chronic fevers.
- Useful in treating ear and eye disorders; extremely healthy for the eyes giving good vision.
- Useful to treat wounds.
- Useful in alleviating mental diseases such as debility, trauma, distress, insanity, etc.
- Useful in treating leprosy.
- Useful in treating skin disorders.
- Useful in treating tuberculosis.
- Useful in treating poisons spread in the body.
- The qualities of ghee get better as it gets older, so ghee kept for 10 years or even 100 years has far superior therapeutic quality than fresh ghee. As per the Ayurvedic text “Ashtanga Samgraha” by Maharshi Vagbhata, old ghee that is 1 – 10 years old cures diseases such as madha (intoxication), apasmara (epilepsy), mu:rchha (fainting/epilepsy), diseases of the ziras (head), karna (ears), aksi (eyes) and yoni(vaginal tract); cleanses and heals ulcers; possesses all the qualities ascribed to fresh ghee but does these functions in greater measure or more effectively than fresh ghee and hence it is also similar to nectar.
- Apart from these direct health benefits, ghee is mixed with Braahmi, Shankhapushpi, Kooshmaandam(gummadi kaaya in Telugu), cow milk, cow curd, cow urine, and cow dung to make Panchagavya Ghritham, which is used in Ayurveda to treat Unmaadam (madness), Apasmaaram (epilepsy), mentally retarded kids, etc.