A hymn from the ancient Hindu scripture, Rig Veda says:
“This is the secret name of Butter:
Tongue of the God's sacrifice by bowing low…
These waves of Butter flow like gazelles before the hunter…
Streams of Butter caress the burning wood.
Agni, the fire, loves them and is satisfied.”
The butter referred to here is Ghee which has been considered as a divine food substance for centuries in India. Ghee has been a central idea in almost every aspect of Indian culture - religion, traditions, rituals, health, food and wisdom. The Vedas have given foremost significance to Ghee among all foods. It is an offering given to the God of Fire, Agni during Yajnas (sacrifices). The God is also known as ‘Hutabhu’ - the one who devours Ghee.
Ghee has occupied a revered place in understanding health, wellness, spirituality and prosperity in the Indian Knowledge Systems. Hence, it has also been a subject of study and an essential ingredient in Ayurvedic school of thought. Modern health practitioners have often criticized ‘Ghee’ as a fatty substance and recently has been misunderstood to a great extent. What is the right way to consume Ghee? What are its health benefits? Let’s dive deep into the goodness of “Ghrita”(Sanskrit word of Ghee) and bust prevalent myths.
The clarified form of butter is known to balance the Pitta Dosha, the fire element, according to ancient knowledge. The best time to consume Ghee, especially during autumn and summer seasons, is during the afternoons. Ghee enhances digestion capacities for everyone except those with AMA (altered digestion and metabolism condition).
As compared to other sources of milk, Cow Ghee is considered to be richer in essential nutrients. It is said to promote memory, intellect and Ojas (roughly translates into the Ayurvedic concept of immunity, radiance and vigour which revitalizes mental, physical and spiritual health). Cow’s Ghee has proven benefits in managing obesity and maintaining metabolism rate as it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). All in all, Cow Ghee does not generate extra fat in the body. Purana Ghrita (Ghee which has aged over a year) is considered helpful in managing intoxication, epilepsy, fever, pain in the ear. Additionally, Ghee is known for its properties for Shukra Dhatu; enhancing sex drive in both males and females.
Ghee can be rightfully considered a ‘wholesome’ and ‘awesome’ because of its properties to cure dryness of voice and body and healing certain external wounds. Moreover, a combination of Ghee, Triphala and Honey as a paste helps in improving eye strength. Ghee also forms an important ingredient in oil pulling instead of sesame oil. The method of oil pulling has increasingly become favoured for oral hygiene and as a cure for ulcers.
The goodness of Cow Ghee cuts across age bars. It is strongly recommended for babies and toddlers for immunity, strengthening eyesight and as an excellent source of energy for bone and muscle power. Studies have suggested that ghee also helps in reducing bad cholesterol and is a source of vitamin K2, which benefits in lessening the arteries’ calcium concentration among adults.
Ayurveda has always emphasized on the scientific and mindful consumption of any food. The proven advantages of Cow Ghee indicate that Ghee in itself, when consumed in the right combination, apt quantities and right time can be extremely advantageous.
Now that we’ve busted all myths around Ghee, it is equally important to understand the process by which Ghee is prepared. The traditional ‘Bilona’ method as prescribed by Ayurveda is the one which has been passed on from many generations and is considered to be the most scientific method. The method consists of 5 Sanskars or steps. These 5 steps are as following:
- Boiling - Boiling acts as a disinfectant as well as makes the cow milk more concentrated
- Curdling - The boiled milk is then curdled using existing curd and a little cream. The curdling takes place effectively in a cool and dry place.
- Churning - This is considered the most important step of using a wooden churner to obtain the fermented butter or Makkhan
- Separating - The butter is then separated from the buttermilk in a separate vessel
- Heating - The butter is then heated ideally on a medium-low flame with a clear layer of solids formed at the bottom of the vessel. The golden ghee is then filtered using a strainer in a clean container or jar.
It is crucial to note here that the quality of the Ghee depends significantly on the quality of the milk and the quality of the milk is invariably dependent on how cows are taken care of. In ancient Vedic scriptures, cows are revered as ‘Gaumatas’ (roughly translating into ‘Mother Cow’).
At this juncture, we will throw some light specifically on two varieties of Ghee namely the Organic Gir Ghee and Kapila Cow Ghee. Traditional Indian treatises or the Shastras have put a strong emphasis on protecting the calf’s needs for its mother’s milk, letting the calf drink milk to its satisfaction and using the rest for other living beings. This practice is referred to as Dohan which essentially means to only milk from two Aanchals while the calf’s needs remain uncompromised. At its core, the Vedic methods of raising cows disallow the caretakers to get rid of older cows or even use artificial interventions for breeding.
The Gir Cow Ghee comes from the A2 milk of the Gir or Desi cow breed which is known for its hump. The Kapila cows too are known as one of the best and authentic breeds of cows in India. According to traditional beliefs, Kapila cows have wise eating habits of avoiding unhealthy foods. Both Gir Cow and Kapila Cow Ghee are prepared with the Bilona method. However, Kapila Cow Ghee and Sattva is considered as ‘Sarvashrestha’ (Ideal and above all).
Ghee Sattva is ideal for body massage, Abhyanga as well as for Ayurvedic detox practices known as Panchakarma. One or two teaspoons of Sattva in the morning induces bowel movement whereas it soothes the nerves when consumed with milk before bedtime.
Let us now take the first step in assimilating this knowledge and putting it into practice with EGA’s Gir Cow Bilona Desi Ghee A2, the Ghee Sattva and the Kapila Cow Bilona Ghee. Our philosophy at EGA is focussed at treating food as medicine for holistic wellness. Hope you join us in this gleeful journey of Ghee!