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Desi Ghee | Pure Ghee | Clarified Butter - Nutrition And Health Benefits

Updated on December 28, 2015
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years breeding layer and broiler parents.

Desi Ghee, Pure Ghee or Clarified Butter
Desi Ghee, Pure Ghee or Clarified Butter | Source

Charak Samhita, the foundational Ayurvedic text says

"Of all oils fit for human consumption, Ghee is the best to consume"

For all purposes wherever ghee/pure ghee/desi ghee is mentioned in this article it invariably refers to Cow's Ghee.

Ghee is called Ghrita in Sanskrit.

Pure ghee or desi ghee, as we call it in India, is known as and referred to in the West as Clarified Butter. We can call it Indian clarified butter.

Desi ghee is considered pure and auspicious by Hindus and is offered to agni (fire) during pooja (worship).

However, in a strict sense, desi ghee or pure ghee is a type of clarified butter, as the major difference lies in the method of preparation of these two milk products. But for purposes here , we will refer to desi ghee as clarified butter.

Difference Between Clarified Butter & Ghee

Butter is obtained by removing the separated out butter when milk/cream/yogurt is churned.
This butter is then heated till it separates out into liquid ghee and the floating milk solids. The floating milk solids are strained out when this ghee is filtered. The milk solids are not allowed to caramelize so the clarified butter does not have a nutty flavor.

In ghee, the butter is cooked till the milk solids caramelize. The golden liquid ghee is then filtered to remove any remaining milk solids as well. This process results in a nutty aromatic flavored ghee.

Desi Ghee, Pure Ghee Or Clarified Butter As Per Ayurveda

Desi ghee or Ghee is made from butter prepared from the milk of buffaloes as well as cows. Butter could be obtained from milk cream as well as from whole milk.

Ayurveda considers ghee prepared from cow's milk to be supreme as ghee from this milk has many more health benefits than those obtained from buffalo milk. Ayurvedic preparations too in a major way use cow's ghee rather than buffalo milk.

For information here, I would like to add that there is another ghee called Dalda or Vanaspati that is made from vegetable oils by partial hydrogenation of these oils. Vanaspati is very high in trans fat. It is much cheaper than Pure Ghee.

Pure Ghee is considered by Ayurveda as Sattvic food meaning food that is not only pure and natural by itself but also that which has a positive influence on the body and mind and which helps in restoring balance between body and mind as well.

Because of its high smoke point, around 485 deg F, pure ghee is one of the safest cooking mediums as cancer causing free radicals are not produced at normal cooking temperatures, which are around 400 deg F.

Apart from being an integral part of Indian food and cooking, and incorporating it in Ayuvedic preparations, Desi ghee is also used in Ayurvedic cleansing therapies.

Pure ghee has negligible amount of lactose or casein and for all practical purposes it is considered to have none so that it can be safely consumed by those who have lactose intolerance. Even those who are gluten sensitive can consume it safely.

However, since it is very high in calories & saturated fats (though these fats are of the good kind), it should be consumed in moderation. One teaspoon a day is sufficient for a normal adult to derive its health benefits.

Desi Ghee calms both Vata (Air) & Pitta (Bile) and balances these doshas. And though it increases Kapha (Phlegm), it can safely be consumed in moderation by those who do not suffer from Kapha Dosha.

Pure ghee is a high quality oil considered akin to nectar having health giving and restoring properties. It does not need to be refrigerated and remains good at room temperature for years together.

Desi Ghee has infinite shelf life, just like honey. In fact, its benefits increase as it ages.

Do You Know?

10 year old Ghee is called Jheern

100 to 1000 year old Ghee is called Kaumbh

More than 1100 years old Ghee is called Maha Ghrit

Just Made Pure Ghee In Liquid State
Just Made Pure Ghee In Liquid State | Source

Pure Ghee Nutrition Facts

Pure ghee is almost cent per cent fat having 62% saturated, 29% monounsaturated and 4% polyunsaturated fats.

  • Is amongst foods having the highest concentration of butyric acid.
  • Is rich in short chain and medium chain fatty acids, both saturated & unsaturated. The short chain fatty acids do not need to undergo digestion but are straightaway absorbed by the liver to be used as energy. Medium chain fatty acids also need to be digested minimally.
  • Contains high levels of Omega 3 & Omega-6 & some Omega-9 fatty acids.
  • Has excellent levels of vitamins A, D, E & K.
  • Is a good source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
  • Is rich in phenolic antioxidants and several minerals.
  • 1 tbsp of ghee provides 135 calories, 15 grams total fat & 9 grams saturated fat, which is 45% of the daily fat needed by us, & 45 mg of cholesterol.

A Note

When no more than 10% of total daily requirement of calories are consumed from ghee it reduces risk of heart disease.

This is equivalent to no more than 20 grams of fat from Ghee (2 tbsp of ghee) being consumed by an average person per day.

Rest of the fats ought to be consumed from oil derived from plants.

Health Benefits Of Ghee

Ghee possesses anti bacterial, anti viral, anti inflammatory & anti cancer properties.

Cow's ghee is definitely more superior than buffalo's ghee. Cow's ghee is the one that is used in Ayurvedic preparations.

As compared to butter, ghee contains about 40-50% more short chain & medium chain fatty acids. These fats do not increase risk of heart disease.

Some health benefits of ghee are enumerated below.

  • Since ghee normalizes vata & pitta the 2 doshas it relieves afflictions caused by increase of these 2 doshas, air & heat in the body. This includes, joint pains, digestive issues etc.
  • Among other benefits, ghee increases vision & controls eye pressure, benefits the hair & skin, increases the quantity and quality of semen.
    In fact, ghee increases Ojas, the subtle energetic force that is the basis of one's health, stamina and immunity.
  • Ayurveda recommends ghee for pregnant & lactating women as it nourishes the foetus, aids in lactation and also fortifies the breast milk.
  • It stimulates secretion of stomach acids thereby helping to digest food and also aiding in absorption of nutrients.
  • Ghee coats the intestines and thereby prevents the irritating effects of chillies & spices, neutralizes toxins and also detoxifies the body.
  • It improves memory and intellect, strengthens the brain and improves mental health.
  • It cures sinus headache, migraine and bleeding nose.
  • Ghee aids in getting good sleep, lubricates the body inside out, the joints, muscles & connective tissue and increases flexibility and heals burns and wounds.
  • When consumed in limit ghee helps to break down fat and promotes weight loss.
  • It cures constipation when consumed and when applied externally it relieves pain and burning associated with piles and fissures.
  • Improves voice clarity, relieves dry skin, improves lustre and complexion.
  • Intake of low levels of ghee helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and prevents oxidation of lipids or fats.
  • Ghee uplifts mood and raises energy levels.
  • It helps in colonising the good gut bacteria which themselves produce butyric acid. Butyric acid is food for the colon cells. Thus colon health is improved and risk of colon cancer is reduced.
    More butyric acid in the gut helps to raise gut immunity which incidentally accounts for 80% of the total body immunity. Therefore ensuring gut health is of utmost importance if total immunity is to be improved.
  • Ghee is like a catalyst for herbs as it improves their healing efficacy. This is the reason herbs are added to ghee.
  • The butyric acid in ghee helps to keep the intestine/ gut wall healthy and is especially useful in conditions like IBS, Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis. It also helps to reduce the growth of Candida and other pathogens.
  • Ghee is excellent to build strength and increase energy after disease or illness and improve stamina and resistance.
  • It provides very strong anti inflammatory properties, because it reduces leukotriene secretion and also levels of prostaglandin, both of which are causative factors for increase in inflammation.
    Ghee is therefore beneficial in auto immune conditions and disorders like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, allergies etc and even cardiovascular disease.
  • Ghee can replace sesame oil when dong oil pulling to enhance oral health.

But it needs to be emphasized here that ghee should be consumed in moderation.

A teaspoon to 2 at the maximum per day. Better to consume 1/2 with each meal, about a total of 1.5 tsp per day.

Indian Cows
Indian Cows | Source

Some Ayurvedic Home Remedies With Ghee

  • Facial Spots/Marks

Rub ghee on the face at bedtime and keep it on to remove black spots and injury marks.

  • Cracked Lips

To heal cracked lips mix a little salt in ghee and apply on the lips and navel.

  • To Improve Vision

Mix 1 tsp candy sugar (mishri), in 1 tsp cow's ghee and consume. Consuming ghee regularly is also beneficial.

  • Piles (Bleeding)

Mix 1 tsp ghee, 1 tsp til (sesame seeds) and 1 tsp candy sugar. Eat 3 times daily. It stops bleeding.

  • Headache

Massage the soles of the feet with ghee every night at bedtime for some days.

  • Migraine

Put 1 drop of ghee in each nostril in the morning and evening and take it in. Smelling ghee in morning and evening helps.

Also, if headache is due to heat, massage head with cold ghee and if due to gas massage head with hot ghee.

  • Stomatitis/Mouth Ulcers

Apply ghee on the ulcers at bedtime.

  • Improving Memory

Massage the head with cow's ghee.

  • Burning Sensation On Hands & Feet

Massage with Ghee

  • Hiccups

Drink a little hot ghee for relief.

  • To Increase Weight

Add a little sugar to ghee and eat.

  • Nosebleed

Put 5 drops of ghee in each nostril and take it in. Do once a week.

  • To Neutralize Poison

Whether consumed, bitten by snake or due to plague...

Consume 125 grams of ghee with milk 4 times or just ghee to remove the poison.

  • Burns

Apply ghee on the burnt area for relief.

  • Chilblains

Mix ghee and salt and apply. It keeps skin soft and prevents chapping in winter.

  • Urticaria/Hives

Apply mixture of ghee and rock salt. Massage. Then lie down and cover yourself with a blanket. The perspiration will relieve the urticaria.

  • Cough/Sore Throat

Take 1 tsp ghee. 1 tsp mishri (candy sugar) and 15 black peppercorns. Mix and lick this mixture 2 times a day. But do not drink water for a few hours after this.

  • Chronic Cough

Heat ghee and gur (jaggery) tlll it melts. Then eat this when cool enough.
Massage mixture of ghee & rock salt on the chest. It cures.

  • Alcohol Intoxication To Remove

Add 2 tsp sugar to 2 tsp ghee and drink.

  • Pain Around Bladder

Take 1 tsp ghee before breakfast in the morning to relieve pain.

  • Allergic Rhinitis

If you are allergic to dust etc apply some ghee inside the nostrils before venturing out of the house or during seasonal changes.

Cow's Ghee Versus Buffalo Ghee - Comparision

Cow's Ghee
Buffalo's Ghee
Calms Vayu (Air) & Pitta (Fire) Doshas (elements)
Increase Kapha (Phlegm)
Milk thin therefore is absorbed by the fine brain tissue making the intellect sharp. Good for both body & brain, makes mind intelligent
Thick milk just good for the body, dulls the brain
Cleanses the body of toxins and prevents deposition of cholesterol and fat
Raises cholesterol and fat
Increases energy & vigor
Induces lethargy
Easily digestible
Heavy and difficult to digest
Recomended for sick people, elderly persons and women who have just delivered as it raises immunity, cures diseases like diabetes, asthma, respiratory & fertility issues, vision problems, tiredness, senility etc
Provides no such benefits
Cointains Keratin which has anti cancer properties.
Does not contain keratin
Destroys passion and base instincts
No such benefits
Develops Sattva guna (body purifying/good properties)
Raises Tamasic guna (dulling properties)
The cow is a cleaner, more intelligent and gentle animal and these properties are reflected in her milk/ghee
Buffalo passes no such properties as it is considered a dud/duffer animal
Cow's milk/ghee therfore is more expensive
Buffalo milk is cheaper

How Is Ghee Made?

Pure ghee can be made in 2 ways -

  1. By churning milk to get the cream which is skimmed off or as is done at home by heating milk and then leaving it to cool. Then removing it and collecting it.
    This cream is then churned to get butter that is the source of ghee.
  2. By making dahi/yogurt from raw milk. Then churning this yogurt to get butter and then ghee from the butter.

Essentially, it is butter that is the source of ghee.

Below are 2 of my videos "How To Make Butter From Milk Cream".
The first in in English while the second is in Hindi.

My Video - In English

How To Clarify Butter?

The butter obtained from milk by any method is melted whereby its different components like milk solids, water and butter fat separate out by density.

The water is evaporated, the floating solids are skimmed off while the other solids sink to the bottom.

The liquid butter fat is then filtered out and is called clarified butter.

My Video - In Hindi

How To Test The Purity Of Ghee?

  1. Melt ghee and add some drops of nitric acid to it. If the color of ghee changes it is adulterated.
  2. An Indian method is to rub a little ghee on an earthen pot If after some time a white layer is visible at this spot the ghee is adulterated.

Desi Ghee - Precautions

Desi ghee must be avoided by those who

  • Have high cholesterol
  • Are overweight
  • Suffer from excessive Kapha
  • Have high amount of Ama(toxins) in the body
  • Have fever or in conditions of high Pitta & Ama together
  • Pregnant women who are suffering from cold & indigestion

If there is heaviness after ghee intake, drink a glass of fat free buttermilk.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.



© 2015 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Shaloo, you are correct. Desi ghee is not the demon that it has been made out to be. The culprits for today's health issues are refined foods, that includes oils to a very large extent, as we use oil for every meal.

      Thanks for concurring.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      2 years ago from India

      A very informative hub! People nowadays stay away from desi ghee thinking about the calory content but desi ghee is better than the refined oils we use in our cooking. Ayurveda recommends desi ghee. And even Shilpa Shetty said in a recent interview that she uses a spoon of desi ghee in her meals.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Devika for the read and tweet

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well-informed hub about Ghee. I Tweeted!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Genna for stopping by.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Very helpful Hub. We use Ghee when making steamed lobster; there is nothing better. We don't make this often for lobster is so expensive, but it is such a treat with clarified butter. Thank you for the interesting info on nutrition.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @AudreyHowitt thank you for stopping by. Have a nice day.

      @ Thelma, thanks and I'm glad this hub helped you learn more about Desi Ghee. Good to see you.

      @Phyllis Doyle thanks for appreciating the hub & bookmarking it as well. I'm glad it reminded you of some sweet memories. I appreciate your comments from the bottom of my heart.

      @Flourish, thank you for visiting and I'm glad the information is appreciated.

      @Akriti, thank you my new reader.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 

      3 years ago from Shimla, India

      I really like your post :-)

      Voted up :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      Although I have heard of ghee I never exactly knew what it was until now so thank you for the helpful information.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Rajan Jolly. This is a really interesting and useful article. I bookmarked it and also added the link to my "important articles / home remedies" folder.

      I recall that my Father used clarified butter for many remedies and I had forgotten that - so, your hub is very useful and welcome. Thank you so much for all this great information.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      3 years ago from Germany

      I have heard more often about this Desi Ghee. Thanks for the information Rajan. I really learned a lot from your hubs. Voted up and useful.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      3 years ago from California

      Wow--so useful to know!! Thank you!!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @vocalcoach - Thank you Audrey for stopping by, for your generous comments and for sharing the hub. Much appreciated.

      @Karine Gordineer - You are welcome and thanks for stopping by.

      @ChitrangadaSharan - thanks for being so appreciative of the hub. True, for us Desi ghee is a daily affair.

      I hope those who need info on ghee will benefit from this consolidated information. I appreciate the vote and pinning.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent information about Desi Ghee! You presented the whole thing with so much clarity that those who do not know about it, will be able to get the useful information in detail.

      For us Indians, it is a household item, but still people will benefit from your video, especially the younger generation.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful information, voted up and pinned!

    • Karine Gordineer profile image

      Karine Gordineer 

      3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very interesting Hub! I had no idea Ghee was that healthful. Thanks for sharing.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I love your hubs because I always learn a great deal about nutrition. Ghee is now a staple that I will add to my grocery list. What great health benefits. I voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and will share and pin. Thank you my friend for another out-standing hub on health and nutrition!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @billybuc - thanks Bill for always being here to appreciate the effort. You have a great Sunday as well.

      @Harsha - It could be desi ghee but I'm not certain if it is the desi cow's ghee that is being produced. Ghee anyway is an animal product since it is derived from milk. Thanks for reading.

      @heidithorne - I'm glad this hub could answer the questions that were in your mind. Appreciate your reading and commenting.

      @justthemessenger - I do not know the exact reason for ghee's extremely long shelf life but it has no milk solids in it that could go bad plus the fact that the short chain fatty acids do not get oxidized easily.

      Also, it has no moisture in it. Ghee has been cooked/milk solids have been toasted till they turn brown. All these factors plus the fact it contains natural antioxidants like carotene and vitamin E.

      And yes it needs to be kept in airtight container away from heat and light.

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 

      3 years ago from The Great Midwest

      It's always good to learn something new. However, I'm curious. How is a milk based product able to stay fresh at room temperature for as long as 10 years?

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 years ago from Chicago Area

      I have heard of ghee, but didn't really understand what it was or how it's used. Thanks for the informative hub! Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Harsha Vardhana R profile image

      Harsha Vardhana R 

      3 years ago from Bangalore

      Thank you, Rajan! Up!

      A very informative blog.

      Does any of our dairy ghee sold in by co-operatives like Amul or other companies qualify as Desi ghee? Some hardliners believe that it is a just an animal product produced an animal different from a pure cow!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You always provide interesting and valuable information in your articles...this one was no exception. Thank you, my friend, and have a great weekend.


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