Touring has always being a part of my job. On this note, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I -being a lecturer and also a researcher in tourism- have been privileged to travel almost all across our beautiful country. During my travels over the last ten years I have always noticed the diversity in our cuisine in India. In fact, in India, places are many a times demarked by their local food habits- the rice eating zones, the roti eating zones, the fish-eaters, the sambar-lovers and so on. But whether it is the North, South, East or West I found one ingredient that is commonly used almost in all Indian cuisines. This ingredient is none other than GHEE, the thick golden nectar, or as I would rather prefer calling it “THE MAGIC INGREDIENT”.
Ghee has always compelled me to ponder about how a popularly-known unhealthy ingredient is such widely used all over the country? Now, being a researcher by profession has increased my inner inquisitiveness to a large extent. I therefore scrambled off all possible search engines and gathered quite a huge amount of data on the subject, but I could not find a definitive conclusion. However, the more I read these articles the more I became fascinated about the subject. Finally I approached Phul Kaku for the authentication of these “Internet Stories”. Phul Kaku is our beloved uncle, a doctor by profession and friendly by nature. In our family it is a customary thing to confirm anything that is related to health with him. So I did the same and what he told me changed my entire notion of Ghee from the “Oily Devil” to a “Golden Nectar”. He introduced me to several articles written by eminent nutritionists, doctors, dietitians and even verses Vedas and Upanishads, in praise of Ghee as a super-healthy food. However, he cautioned me by saying, “It’s true that Ghee is healthy and has several medicinal values but only if consumed intelligently, in the right quantity, with proper combination and at the right time.”
On this note, let me now talk about a few insights that I gathered on the immense goodness of Ghee-
a) In olden times, there was a practice in India to store wells full of Ghee. This Ghee was used especially to treat the wounded. From time immemorial Ghee is known for its inherent quality of healing (Ropana in Sanskrit) and its usefulness in recovery from wounds.
b) It is highly effective and recommended as a cure and soothing agent for all sorts of skin rashes.
c) Ghee is useful in increasing the overall strength, beauty and lustre of the body.
d) Ghee is an excellent cooking medium especially for sautéing or stir-frying. This reason is well-explained by the quality of Ghee of having one of the highest flash points of all oils usually used for cooking and hence, is very difficult to burn.
e) Ghee is excellent for our general oral health. Its performance is well appreciated as a ‘gargle-gandush’ that helps to improve health of teeth and gums.
f) Since ancient times Ghee is exquisitely used as a facial moisturizer.
g) Ghee is one of the main ingredients for Purvakarma (In Sanskrit: Purva + Karma that means prior to action or deed). Purvakarma is an Ayurvedic medicine, an oil-massage or a certain pretreatment given before ‘Panchakarma’ that is done to let go of the body toxins.
h) Ghee improves the digestive system. For any person who may have a weak digestive system, ghee can be a useful remedy when used as prescribed in the Ayurveda.
i) Ghee is used to avoid dust allergy. A thin layer of ghee is prescribed to be applied to the inner wall of the nostril before going out for work for those susceptible to dust allergies.
So at the end of this study I can now claim that Ghee is a healthy fat that should be an essential part of our daily food, especially in the Indian climate. For children in particular, it should be a part of the diet, although in measured quantities. As rightly said in an article published by Ayurvedic Yogi, a set up by Joanna Johnston, who is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and a Yoga teacher:
“In Yogic philosophy, food is recognised as the great entity of life as it is responsible for the growth of the body. It is hence called Brahman (God), and rice mixed with ghee and ‘soma’ juice is described as the diet of the Gods.”