Ghrita (clarified butter), treated as the culprit of a number of diseases, has been depicted incorrectly for a long time. This review presents the complete picture in view of Ayurvedic perspective and recent researches on Ghrita to let the readers contemplate again on Ghrita.
Ghrita, also called as clarified butter in Sanskrita, has been used for more than 5, 000 years throughout the Indian subcontinent and has been an inevitable part of diet in the Indian cuisine. It has also been traditionally associated with a number of health benefits recorded in Charaka (the most ancient written text of Ayurveda dating to second century B.C.), such as promoting strength and longevity, promoting appetite and digestion, increasing cognition, etc.
Background: For long dietary guidelines, it is recommended to avoid foods rich in saturated fatlike Ghrita, also named clarified butter or ghee, which is considered as the culprit of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, etc. Contradictory to the modern medical science, Ayurveda advocated for numerous benefits of the usage of Ghrita in the judicious manner. This paper systematically reviews and analyses the scientific researches that carried out on the benefits and harms associated with the usage of Ghrita. Methods and Findings: A search over the various search engines like Pubmed, Google was made. The relevant articles and chapters from books retrieved in English language were saved to a folder and analysed for their utility relevant to the topic and the matter was presented in a systematic manner. Results: Ghrita consisted various fats (saturated, monosaturated and polyunsaturated), fatty acids, minerals, vitamins etc. And the composition of Ghrita varies along with the method of preparation. Scientific researches carried out on Ghrita plain as well as medicated have reported about the depressant effects of medicated Ghrita in gross behavioural tests, potentiated phentobarbitone sleeping time, analgesic effect and stimulatory effect on cognition. Further, studies conducted to evaluate the effect of Ghrita on the serum lipid levels showed a dose dependant decrease in the total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins, and very low density lipoproteins. Ghrita was also reported to have wound healing activity. Conclusion: The results of the study suggest the beneficial effects of plain as well as medicated Ghrita on the various components of health and break the myth associated to the exclusion of Ghrita in diet. These researches also substantiate the claims made by the classical texts of Ayurveda.