History and benefits of ghee

Ghee is a form of clarified butter that is being used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine for a long time. It is also used in medicine and other purposes. History of this highly sought after fat is very interesting.

The word "Ghee" comes from the Sanskrit word Ghrta, which means "Clarified butter". Humans have been using dairy products ever since we started domesticating cattle. It was used by some cultures extensively because it takes a long time to spoil and heat up.

History of clarified butter and relatives of ghee

Different cultures around the world used different types of clarified butter in their cuisine and in their routine. Egyptians made their own clarified butter from water buffalo milk. This is called Samna Baladi. This is very important in Egyptian cuisine and finds its way into every dish. In West African countries ghee is often mixed with garlic. In some of these countries, exotic spices are added to clarified butter, thereby flavouring it. This kind of seasoned clarified butter is called Niter Kibbeh. Smen, used in North African Arabic cuisine is fermented seasoned clarified butter. In some Jewish families of Israel, this Smen is smoked by aromatic herbs inside a gourd to preserve the clarified butter. The Brazilian clarified butter is flavoured with fish and other rancid materials.
Indian ghee was invented well before 5000 years. It is similar to clarified butter. But it is produced by heating butter longer. Vedic texts reference ghee and its uses. It is mentioned that ghee was used to light the sacred fire for rituals and to light lamps. It was enjoyed by people of higher caste and nobles. Ayurvedic texts from 2000 years ago tell how ghee was used to repair skin ulcers, scars and to treat constipation. Some archaeological evidence points out that Harappans knew how to prepare and preserve ghee too. Although this ghee gained wide popularity in the Middle East, Greece and Roman worlds did not use them. This was ghee's history in antiquity. In the modern age, however, ghee is getting popular worldwide because of its benefits.

Benefits of ghee

  1. It is safer to cook with as it has a higher smoke point and flash point. This means you don't have to worry about fire accidents or burning the nutritive compounds in your diet.
  2. It is rich in vitamins A, E and K. The vitamin K in it helps you to keep your bones healthy. The vitamin E keeps your skin in good health. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties, giving your cells a long life.
  3. The butyric acid it has, helps reduce inflammation and helps in digestion.
  4. The linoleic acid in it, is a healthy fatty acid. This helps in regulating body fat and lowers blood pressure.
  5. Cow ghee, which is yellower, is healthier than the white buffalo ghee, as it has fewer calories.
  6. Ghee stimulates gastric acid, promoting appetite.
  7. When consumed in moderate amounts it can kill harmful tumors.

Today India is the largest producer and consumer of cow and buffalo ghee. In the 21st century, many western countries have identified the benefits of ghee and are using it in their diet. Popular chefs create wonders with ghee nowadays since cooking with it is easier and for the creamy flavour, it imparts. It is popular now for its nutritive and healing properties.


Author: Venkiteswaran20 May 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Traditional Indian meals always included Ghee in the items. Ghee was used either as a medium of cooking, garnishing or topping or just mixed with the main course and taken.

In South Indian traditional meals, a little portion of rice is mixed with Ghee and a few morsels are eaten first. This helps the throat and food canal to be moist and smooth for further food to pass down. The same soothes the throat and food canal and stomach walls in case there are some ulcers or abrasion. Cow Ghee is considered better and is preferred for children. Ghee also helps in proper bowel motions. Many Ayurvedic medicines are prepared or cured with Ghee.

Ghee is also used to light lamps and the smoke from ghee lamps do not irritate eyes like other lamps.

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