Ghee is the Hindi word for clarified butter--the Sanskrit words are ghitam and ajyam and sarpi. Normally, Ayurveda is expressed only in Sanskrit but because the Hindi word is so popular we shall use ghee, instead. The revered ancient authorities regarded ghee as one of the premier foods to be taken regularly. It is said to be a sattvic food--this means that it promotes qualities of love, compassion, forgiveness, contentment, evenness of temperament, excellence of judgment, and so on. These qualities are, of course, nothing other than the behavioral expression of perfect health--happiness and physical well-being. Thus ghee promotes good health.
Ghee can be made from any milk source but cow's milk is the best. Making ghee is a simple and natural process. Ayurveda recognizes heat as the universal agent of transformation and purification.
Thus simply cook butter over low heat for a short time and skim off or filter out the surface foam and brown sediment, which accumulate during the cooking process. The first stage is characterized by a tiny, foamy- bubbling , which shows that water is being cooked off. Then the bubbling becomes larger but the substance appears cloudy. Finally, the bubbles and the ghee will take on a transparent look about it and an accumulation of fatty material will be seen on the bottom of the pan. This signifies the completion of the cooking and transformation of butter into ghee. Discard the sediment (lactose and milk solids) on the bottom and use the golden liquid oil.
1. Collect fresh milk cream for 10 days in a bowl and keep it in cold place or refrigerator.
2. Mix 1 tsp curd / yogurt into the milk cream.
3. After 24 hours, add 3 times more cold water than cream, and then churn it.
4. Fresh butter will come up.
5. Collect the butter and then place it on burner / stove to heat in separate bowl.
6. Heat and after 15 min. or so, the ghee will be there. Filter or strain the white residue on the bottom of the pot.
(Note: Ghee can either be prepared directly from milk (taking out the cream and boiling it to extract the fat content). This type of ghee is more sheeta (cool) in property.The other, more common method is to whipping the curd until it yields butter. This butter is then heated slowly to get ghee. This type of ghee has slightly different properties. This ghee acts better on agni (enhancing the agni better).For old ghee, we usually use ghee prepared with the second method, i.e., from curd.)Chandraskhekhar Thite, MD
When butter is cooked slowly in the manner described it becomes a very pure oil. It is a simple molecule and as such it is easy to digest. Amazingly, because it is a simple molecule easily digested (when taken in small quantities) it even stimulates the digestive fire--that all-important principle of health, according to Ayurveda. And Caraka, an ancient textual authority Su.XIII.13-15, remarks that ghee is the best among the fats/oils from its refining. If it beneficial for plasma and lymph, semen, ojas, is cooling, softening, and improves voice and complexion. It alleviates vata and pitta and by increasing digestive fire, will not increase kapha--the principle of structure and fluid balance. By improving the digestive fire it will also help lower cholesterol. The ancient texts repeatedly describe formulations utilizing 100-year old ghee. (We’re told this ghee tastes terribly bitter but it still possesses medicinal value.) Examination of ghee shows that it is bacteria-static and free-radical scavenging. And although ghee is produced from milk the transformation process makes it act unlike a dairy product. It should not be mixed with vegetable seed oils while cooking, however. And to inhibit its deterioration remember to never place an unclean or wet or brand new utensil into your ghee. It’s best to store ghee in an opaque, sealed container. Refrigeration is not necessary but avoid storing it in direct sunlight. The Ayurvedic uses are many:
One ancient authority--Caraka--states that ghee is the best of substances for pacifying pitta, and is also useful for reducing vata qualities. For example, because ghee is cooling it is very useful for reducing the effects of burns. It reduces the discomfort of conjunctivitis and when it is sniffed it lubricates the sinuses and subdues the inflammation there.
Ghee, as oil, lubricates, softens, and moistens all tissue it contacts. Further, it acts to gather-up ama or toxins in the tissues. Venom of snake bite can be prevented from spreading throughout the body if ingested timely and in sufficient quantity. Ghee is useful as eyewash, as the principle preliminary therapy in panchakarma, as a vehicle for other therapeutic substances—it helps medicines enter the cell’s lipid membrane, and as a natural lubricant for promoting good elimination in the gastro-intestinal tract. Caraka recommends ghee should be taken regularly.
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