Indian Cow Ghee Benefits & Medicinal Uses In Ayurveda
Go-Ghrita has been used for centuries to improve physical and mental health and also in the treatment of various ailments. Its regular use helps to improves health. It is used to heal wounds, burns, chapped lips and mouth ulcers. There are many Ayurvedic medicated ghee containing extract of medicinal herbs and Go Ghrita. Presence of Cow’s ghee make these medicines more potent and helps better absorbability. Such medicines go to the minutest pores of the body and lubricate them. Medicated ghee are tonic for nerves and brain. As per Ayurveda, Purna Ghrita/Old ghee (ghee which is stored for 5-10 years before use) is useful in treatment of epilepsy, intoxication, fainting, malaria, diseases of head, eyes, ear, and diseases of female reproductive system. It is antibacterial, and antimicrobial in nature. It shows beneficial effects in pneumonia, cough, and excessive phlegm. Purana ghee is a tonic and expectorant. Topically it is used on boils, carbuncles and sores.
Ghee word is originated from Sanskrit word ‘Ghrita’. It is known as Neyi, Nai (South India), Roghan (Persian) and butterfat, clarified butter, dehydrated butter (English). Ghee can be defined as almost anhydrous milk fat. Chemically, it is a complex lipid of glycerides (usually mixed), free fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols, sterol esters, fat soluble vitamins, carbonyls, hydrocarbons, carotenoids (only in ghee derived from cow milk), small amounts of charred casein and traces of calcium, phosphorus, iron, etc. It contains less than 3% moisture. Ghee is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and essential fatty acids.
For obtaining ghee from milk first butter is prepared. There are two traditional methods to extract butter from the milk in India. First is boiling the milk for few minutes to separate the cream or fat portion from the milk. The cream floats on the layer of milk and this is collected. Collected cream is then churned to get butter (butter of milk). Another method is to get butter from curd. The milk is converted into curd by fermentation process (Lactobacilli) and then this yoghurt is churned to get the butter (butter of yoghurt). The butter is cooked till all the moisture part is removed and only fat content remains which is ghee. In all oily and unctuous substances, Ghee is considered superior.
Ayurveda describes eight kinds of Ghrita/Ghee which are obtained from milk of eight different animals. Among all, ghee which is obtained from milk of cow (Cow’s ghee or Go Ghrita) is considered best.
Cow’s Ghee and Buffalo’s Ghee
The composition of ghee, melting behavior, fatty acid content, saturated and unsaturated glycerides etc. all depends on the species of animal from which the milk is derived. In market, most commonly available ghee is of cow and buffalo milk. The grain size of buffalo ghee is bigger compared to cow ghee, due to higher proportion of high melting triglycerides. The color of cow ghee is golden due to presence of carotenoids. Cow ghee has more shelf-life compared to buffalo ghee as it has more natural antioxidant compared to buffalo ghee.
|Constituent||Buffalo ghee||Cow ghee|
|Fat (g 100 g-l)||99.0-99.5||99.0-99.5|
|Moisture (g 100 g-l)||<0.5||<0.5|
|Charred casein, salts of copper, iron and other minor components||Trace||Trace|
|Saturated fat (g 100 g-l)||46||NA|
|cis-Monoene (g 100 g-l)||29||NA|
|trans-Monoene (g 100 g-l)||7||NA|
|Diene (g 100 g-l)||13||NA|
|Polyene (g 100 g-l)||5||NA|
|Short chain (g 100 g-l)||43-49||36-40|
|Long chain” (g 100 g-l)||54.7||62.4|
|Trisaturatedb (g 100 g-l)||32-47||32-42|
|High melting” (g 100 g-l)||6-12||3-7|
|Unsaturated” (g 100 g-l)||56||54.5|
|Diglycerides (g 100 g-l)||4.5||4.3|
|Monoglycerides (g 100 g-l)||0.6||0.7|
|Phospholipids (mg 100 g-l)||42.5||38.0|
|Total cholesterol (mg 100 g-l)||275.0||330.0|
|Lanosterol (mg 100 g-l)||8.27||9.32|
|Lutein (µg g-I )||3.1||4.2|
|Squalene (µg g-I )||62.4||59.2|
|Carotene (µg g-I )||0.0||7.2|
|Vitamin A (µg g-I )||9.5||9.2|
|Vitamin E (µg g-I )||26.4||30.5|
|Ubiquinone (µg g-I )||6.5||5.0|
|Total free fatty acids (mg g-I )||5.83-7.58||5.99 -12.29|
|Headspace carbonyls (µM g-I)||0.027||0.035|
|Volatile carbonyls (µM g-I)||0.26||0.33|
|Total carbonyls (µM g-I)||8.64||7.20|
|Total lactones (µg g-I)||35.4||30.3|
|Data compiled from Achaya (1997), Bector & Narayanan (1975a), Bindal & Jain (1973c), Ramamurthy & Narayanan (1966, 1975) and Gaba & Jain (1974, 1975, 1976).|
Benefits of Go-Ghrit/Cow’s ghee
Go Ghrita increases vision and production of semen. It pacifies the tridosha. It improves retention power/memory and gives glowing skin. It is cooling, tasty, heavy, unctuous, tonic, appetizer, good for digestion, eyes, and intelligence.
- It is good for brain, eyes and skin.
- It is full of essential nutrients and fatty acids.
- It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral anti-ageing and anti-oxidant.
- It has cooling effect on body.
- It detoxifies body and is good for skin.
- It increases energy, weight and strength.
- It is easily digested by body compared to other ghee.
- It can stimulate secretion of stomach acids, and thus helping in the digestive process.
- Since it enhance the secretion of biliary lipids, it can help in reducing cholesterol level in intestine and serum.
- It increases the absorbability of vitamins and minerals thus helps to improve overall health.
- It balances all agnis (digestive fires).
Go Ghrita is effective in crossing Blood Brain Barrier due to which is helpful in treating mental disorders. It promotes longevity and reproductive fluid and is good for children and the elderly. Intake of ghee in therapeutic doses increases appetite, and gives relief from abdominal discomfort and constipation. It also reduces burning sensation and redness of eyes significantly.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action on body
In Ayurveda for purpose of drug making Go Ghrita is used. It has following properties.
- Rasa (Taste):Madhura/Sweet
- Guna (Characteristics):Guru/Heavy, Snigdha/Unctuous
- Virya (Potency):Sheet/ Cool
- Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect):Madhura/Sweet
Action on body:Vata-Pittahara and Raktaprasadana (blood purifier), Sapta dhatu vardhak, Ooj vardhak, Kaantivardhak, Buddhivardhaka (augmenting intelligence), Smritivardhaka (enhancing memory), Deepana (improves appetite).
Medicinal Uses of Go Ghrita/ Cow’s ghee
Go Ghrita is considered superior to ghrita obtained from milk of other animals. It is useful in vata and pitta disorders. According to Ayurveda, consumption of ghee in medicinal proportion is beneficial for general mental and physical health. It is Sapta dhatu vardhak, Ooj vardhak and Kaantivardhak. It is Buddhivardhaka (augmenting intelligence), Smritivardhaka (enhancing memory), Deepana (improves appetite) and is useful in the treatment of Unmada, Apasmara, Murccha and Mada. It is especially useful in treatment of diseases related to nervous system. It cures the diseases that occur due to aggravation of Vata and Pitta. It gives relief from burning sensation due to its cooling and pitta pacifying action. Go ghrita older than one year is especially good for healing the mind.
In migraine, Cow’s ghee can be used for nasya. Put few drops of this ghee in each nostril, twice a day for one week.
Or eat ten grams Cow’s ghee mixed with misri once a day every morning for three day.
Bleeding through nose
Put few drops of ghee in each nostril.
Reducing toxic effects of dhatura, Raskapoor
Intake of go ghrit reduces toxic effect of dhatura and Ras kapur.
In alcohol intoxication, 24grams of ghee is given with same amount of misri.
Apply ghee as ointment.
Excessive cough in children
Massaging on chest with ghee is helpful.
Intake of go ghrit is helpful.
One can take regularly go ghrita in small doses to improve digestion and nourish body and mind. It makes body strong, gives strength, and cures internal dryness. Ghee is important for brain. So people who do lots of mental/brain work should regularly eat ghee. After intake of ghee one should not drink water immediately.
In a healthy person with good digestion, moderated amount of ghee is not harmful. Too much of anything is harmful. Excess intake of ghee can make one obese and pose many other health risks. Also eat ghee only according to your body need and digestive ability.
Who Should not Eat Ghee
- The use of ghee should be avoided in patients suffering from cardiac and renal problems.
- Avoid or use very less ghee while suffering from typhoid, digestive impairment, tuberculosis, aamvyadhi, kapharog.
- Ghee increases mucous in body. So it should not be used while suffering from excessive mucous.
- People who are fat/obese should no eat ghee.
- It should not be used by people who don’t exercise.
- According to Ayurveda one should not take honey and ghee mixed in equal proportions.