Ghee is precious Ayurvedic food also used as a healthy fat in modern wellness regime. I have written about the Benefits of Ghee and How to make Homemade Ghee in my previous blogs. Today I want to write about my experience with medicated ghee. Many Ayurvedic practitioners make ghee in the traditional ways where they chant ancient “mantras” to accompany each stage of the ghee making process.
Ghee is clarified butter that is used in cooking or adding on top of our meals. We can cook Khichari and use ghee as the cooking oil. Or we can add the ghee on top of the khichari before eating. Ghee is a precious food used in the Indian subcontinent and used for cooking, skin application, therapeutic treatments as well as in massage therapy.
Ghee in itself is precious Ayurvedic medicine. It is rich in fatty acids (conjugated linoleic acid, butyric acid) and fat-soluble vitamins. It also has the ability to support the digestive system, weight loss (in addition to a low-carb diet), reduces inflammation, provides support to vision and brain health, assists in building strong bones and lubricates the connective tissue (makes the body more flexible).
According to the traditional Ayurvedic Medicinal practice ghee is “yogavahi”, “anupan” or a catalytic substance that carries the therapeutic ingredients of medicines directly into the seven “dhatus” (tissues) of the body.
Medicated Ghee is ghee that has been infused with herbs or essential oils. Herbs themselves contain essential oil and fat-soluble nutrients that can have medicinal properties. There are many oil-based herbal preparations in Ayurveda and Western Herbal Medicine and Ghee in Ayurveda is the superior “Anupan” or “carrier of the medicine.” If you read my book “Medicinal Spice Cabinet” you will learn about over 100 spices and herbs that can be found in our kitchens (globally), how to use them as remedies and which carriers (Anupan) to use for different Dosha’s.
The ayurvedic practice believes that ghee is one of the best “oily” carriers due to its power to assimilate effectively the properties of the herbs without losing its own beneficial properties. Ghee also accelerates the bioavailability of the nutrients in the herbs. Therefore you get both benefits from the ghee and fat-soluble nutrients from the herbs. When buying a medicated ghee note that the ghee is the preservative for the medicinal herbs which keeps the nutrients available for a long period of time without reducing the potency of the herb. This is a great way to extend the shelf life of an herb. If prepared correctly the concentrated dosage of the herb can be derived from the medicated ghee. The process of making medicated ghee is lengthy and all the steps need to be watched closely. Medicated Ghee or Herbal Ghee not only optimizes nutrient absorption it also completes nutrient delivery in all the Dhatu’s or bodily tissues.
To summarize the benefits of Medicated Ghee or Herbal Ghee I am laying out the above in point format
1. Ghee as an “Anupan” increases the bioavailability of the herbs and spices.
2. One gets a double benefit from a medicated ghee – nourishing fatty acids benefits from the ghee itself and the medicinal potency from the herbs.
3. The “delivery” of the nutrients from the herb to the “dhatu” or “tissue” is also maximized when using ghee. Ghee is an ideal delivery system for a targeted organ.
4. Ghee works as a preservation substance for the herbs. Ghee as a preservative has the capacity to store the medicinal properties of the herbs for an extended period of time without affecting the potency.
5. Ghee can derive the phytochemicals and volatile oils from the herb.
6. Proper preparation of medicated ghee can ensure all the plant constituents are extracted from the herb into the ghee. Therefore, one can get a concentrated dosage of the medicinal properties of the herbs through the ghee.
Medicated ghee or herbal ghee is most beneficial for Vata dosha (as oil/fats are most beneficial for Vata) however it is also good for Pitta for its cooling effect. Medicated Ghee made with bitter herbs can be useful for Kapha Dosha. It depends on the person, their condition and herbs available. See a practitioner before you select a Herbal Ghee or Medicated Ghee for yourself. Learn carefully about the dosage and when to take the medicated ghee.
Some of the single herb ghee’s are Shatavari ghee, Ashwagandha ghee, Brahmi ghee, Arjuna ghee, and Turmeric ghee.
There are various Ayurvedic Ghritam formulations such as Triphala ghee, Tikta ghee, Sukumara ghee, Kalyanaka ghee, Mahatiktaka ghee, Amrithaprasa ghee, Indukanta ghee, and Panchagavya ghee, etc.
I have personally tried Shatavari and Turmeric ghee. I have not taken formulation ghee as I believe a medicated herbal formulation should depend on the person’s health condition.