The alchemy of nature’s intelligence turns you into liquid gold.
You are the generosity of the cow, the chariot of plant medicine,
the golden temple of healing light. You are the essence of the sun.
I have listened to the sounds of rain in my ghee pot for over 18 years. My teacher Maya Tiwari, founder of the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda, taught us to listen for the undulating rhythms and sounds of bubbling rain. From a gentle shower gurgling up into a thunderstorm and then back again to a softly glistening drizzle, and then the alchemy is complete. When I can see clear through the golden liquid to the bottom of the pot I know it is done. Usually that takes about twenty minutes.
I have been experimenting with adding spices into my ghee and letting them meld aromatically with the golden liquid during the clarifying process. As ghee is a known vehicle for herbs, spices and medicines directly into the tissues, adding these to the ghee while cooking increases these substances potency. Turmeric, cardamom, coriander, fennel, black pepper, and ginger all went in to make a powerful digestive ghee. (RECIPES at the end)
WHAT EXACTLY IS GHEE?
Ghee, is clarified butter where the lactose and other milk solids are removed through a long cooking process over low heat leaving only the pure oil. This process also evaporates the water content, making ghee light, pure and resistant to spoilage and can be kept without refrigeration. Ghee is one of the few unrefined fats or oils that withstands higher temperatures which makes it healthy for cooking, frying, and baking.
We certainly do need good fats in our diets and ghee imparts the benefits of the best essential fatty acids without the problems of oxidized cholesterol, transfatty acids or hydrogenated fats. It is therefore also resistant to free radical damage unlike some other fats which can lead to clogged arteries and heart problems. A totally fat-free diet can actually accelerate aging of the skin, nerves and brain cells and ghee is one of the good fats to incorporate into your daily diet.
But we cannot make or eat ghee without first visiting the cow, controversial in the milk it gives for environmental, spiritual, as well as for health reasons. Our milk source has been largely contaminated due to the excesses and abuses of commercial production. Many still do not know about the growth hormones that have been given to the dairy cow, and about the factory farming which puts these gentle beings in jeopardy. There is also the question of taking milk meant for the calf and the idea that humans were not meant to have any milk other than their own mother’s milk. All these issues and questions remain conflicting due to the many different opinions and belief systems.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, cows are revered and their milk is deemed as a very sacred, health giving, and sattvic (pure) food. It is considered to boost ojas or the vitality of the immune system. I love cows, ever since I was very young I always insisted on stopping by a cowherd when going on a family drive in the country so that I could ‘pet a cow’. Their large liquid eyes peaceful, their demeanor maternal, they are indeed sacred animals. In the Hindu scriptures, the beloved Avatar Krishna was known to adore and serenade the cows with his flute. I believe that we have an opportunity to recreate the trust between the animal kingdom and the human race. If we can learn to take only what we need with respect, and to give back proper care and love, we can begin to rebuild relationships and heal the damage that has been done.
We can start right away. Look for organic cow milk and butter from local organic farms and co-ops. Avoid dairy from corporate factory farms where the animals are mistreated and given hormones and antibiotics. For your ghee, use only organic unsalted butter. And when going on a country drive get out of the car and go and ‘pet a cow’.
One of my teachers David Crow, founder of Floracopeia Aromatherapy, describes the symbiotic and very sacred relationship of ghee as the final essence of sunlight. The grass is full of elemental nutrients photosynthesized by the sun, the cow eats the grass and gives us milk, the ghee is made from the milk and brings us the energy of the sun in a subtle yet potent form. We are imbibing the power of the sun, the light of consciousness.
FOOD AS MEDICINE.
Ayurveda considers ghee an essential part of the diet with diverse benefits for daily use and seasonal cleansing and rebalancing. Ghee is known in Ayurveda as a rasayana or restorative. These are special rejuvenating herbs and foods that boost immunity, longevity and overall wellbeing. These foods affect the final essence of the processes of the body once all seven tissue layers have been nourished and built. This is our Ojas, this is what determines our mojo, our inner glow, our outer shine. Ghee is one of the primary foods to nurture our Ojas.
Absorption: Ghee acts as an essential carrier of many ayurvedic herbal formulations, foods, plant essences, and spices in the body. As a pure oil, it can bond with lipid-soluble nutrients and herbs to penetrate cell walls of the body. It increases the potency of herbs by carrying the plant medicines deep into the cells and tissues.
Digestive protection: Ghee helps balance excess stomach acid, and helps maintain/repair the mucus lining of the stomach. Ghee aids digestion and nutrient assimilation.
Skin Healer: Ghee has been used to prevent burns, blisters and scarring if applied quickly to affected skin.The residue or cream from the ghee can be used as a face mask along with essential oils and other carrier oils such as jojoba or almond oil.
Mental Benefits: Ghee is said to promote all three aspects of mental functioning — learning, memory and recall. (A sattvic mind shows self-awareness and intelligence).
Balances the Doshas: Ghee balances both Vata to lubricate and transport and Pitta to control heat and aid the metabolic fire. Kapha use ghee in moderation as a restorative and in the seasonal cleansing practices.
GHEE is listed as one of the primary foods for nourishing the SPIRIT. As it is the ultimate sattvic food, purifying the mind, awakening cognitive thought and developing intuition, this opens us to connection with higher realizations.
Begin to build your intentional daily health-care routine by adding one herb, spice, essential oil, and food at a time, mindfully incorporating them into your personal daily practice as works best for you. GHEE is a NOURISHING food that can soften the hard edges of the mind and bring a lustrous glow to the way you see the world.
Please feel free to share this blog with those you think will benefit and we would love to hear your thoughts, questions or experiences with Ghee in the comments below.
With Fragrant Blessings,
Glynn and Mel
RECIPE FOR MAKING THE GHEE
Take one pound of certified organic unsalted butter.
Place it in a thick-bottomed pot on low heat without a lid.
Let it heat, melt and bubble slowly for about fifteen to twenty minutes making sure to keep the heat on low and avoid burning.
When all the bubbles disappear from the simmering oil and it has turned to a clear, light amber colored liquid so you can see the bottom of the pot, remove pot from the heat.
Strain off the remaining milk solids and discard or keep for baking or making a nourishing face mask.
Strain the cooled golden liquid by pouring it through a fine strainer or a piece of cheesecloth into a clean, dry glass container like a mason jar with a lid that seals tightly.
Allow to cool and solidify before covering with the lid.
Be careful not to let any water or other foods get into the ghee as this may contaminate and spoil it. Ghee does NOT have to be refrigerated.
SPICED DIGESTIVE GHEE RECIPE
Add the desired spices at the same time as you add the butter to your pot.
My spiced ghee as per above image has 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp fennel seeds. Roughly grind seeds together first before adding to the pot. Add blend along with the ground ginger and turmeric
Follow method as above.