Known in the West as “clarified butter”, ghee has a long history as a staple of Indian cooking and medicine. According to the Bhavaprakasha 6.18.1, an ancient 16th Century Ayurvedic text, “Ghee is sweet in taste and cooling in energy, rejuvenating, good for the eyes and vision, kindles digestion, bestows luster and beauty, enhances memory and stamina, increases intellect, promotes longevity, is an aphrodisiac and protects the body from various diseases.”
With its delicious buttery flavor ghee can be used in place of butter or other oils in cooking. Traditionally, ghee is made by slowly melting butter over a low heat. This creates three separate layers, a watery layer that is the first to be skimmed off, than the milk solids are removed leaving a deep golden colored saturated butterfat. This golden liquid contains conjugated linolenic acid, which is known to aid the body in weight loss and helps to lubricate the body’s connective tissues. Because it is so rich in antioxidants and lacking in milk solids, ghee does not have to be refrigerated, which makes it great for travel and for use in herbal medicines.
Ayurveda uses ghee both internally and externally as a massage oil in treatment for dryness, arthritis, and to loosen toxins from the fatty tissues. The Ayurvedic detoxification program, Panchakarma, recommends eating ghee with meals, along with daily massage treatments to help bring the toxins out of the tissues and out to the surface. Since the body excretes mostly water soluble chemicals the ghee works to dissolve the lipid soluble toxins for elimination through the digestive tract.