If you have ever eaten a customary Brahmin meal, ghee is usually served in the beginning. It gives a good indication about the timing of ghee consumption. But there are few other factors to consider to decide on the timing of ghee consumption.
The below points hold good both for medicated ghee (Ayurvedic ghritams) and common cow ghee (clarified butter).
Heavy foods are usually consumed early in the meals:
- Sweets are to be consumed first and then sour foods, etc. Of all the foods, sweets are usually heavy. Heavy-to-digest foods are consumed first, because, when the person is totally hungry, his Agni (digestion strength) is at maximum level. So, digestion of heavy foods will be easy.
- Ghee is also heavy. (Guru Guna). Hence, it makes sense to consume ghee in the early part of the meals, so that it gets digested properly with the help of Agni.
When To Consume Ghee And Why
1. As Per Dosha
During the process of digestion, the last part is dominated by vata dosha. So, just before you have your meals, the vata dosha increases. Ghee balances vata and pitta dosha. Hence, it makes sense to take ghee before or during the early part of a meal.
2. Ghee Increases Agni
Apart from being heavy, ghee also increases agni – digestion strength. Hence, ghee is used in homa, yajna, etc spiritual practices where ghee is put into the fire to increase the fire.
Keep in mind that, this agni-improving quality of ghee is not as powerful as, ginger, for example.
So, if ghee is consumed in the beginning of meals, it also boosts agni and aids in the digestion of rest of the consumed food items.
3. Ghee Protects Stomach
Ghee protects gastric mucosa (inner lining of the stomach). Hence, if you are consuming ghee at the beginning of the meal, then it would nullify the spicy food that you may eat later in the meals.
4. With Spicy Meal
So, if your meal is spicy altogether, then you can consume ghee at the fag end of the meal or soon after the meal. Spicy food will keep the digestion strength high enough to digest ghee even after food.
5. With A Hot Meal
If the meal completely comprises of freshly prepared hot food for example hot chapati with cooked sabji, etc, then it is fine to have ghee at the end of meals.
When Not To Consume Ghee
1. With A Coolant Meal
If the meal ends in curd rice or any coolant foods such as ice cream, then it is not a good idea to have ghee at the end. Ghee needs something hot, to undergo proper digestion.
Signs Of Ghee Digestion
- Good physical strength,
- Lightness of the body,
- Good strength of sense organs,
- Lack of sleepiness or lethargy.
Signs Of Ghee Indigestion
- Dryness of mouth,
- Excessive thirst, and
- Uneasiness in the stomach.
How To Cure Ghee Indigestion
If you are feeling ghee indigestion, then drink a cup of fat-less buttermilk. Add a pinch of ginger powder or pepper powder to it. Mix well and drink it. Fat-less buttermilk is known to help relieve ghee indigestion.
This is the reason why, in a typical Brahmin meal, ghee is served first and then at last fat-less buttermilk as it would negate any side effects of excess ghee.
What if your doctor has prescribed medicated ghee to be taken after a meal?
Usually medicated ghee (Ghritam) is processed with spices which make it more digestible.
If your doctor has prescribed after food, then he must have taken your digestion strength to consideration and should have made the right decision. Hence please follow his advice.
Usually, Ayurvedic medicines are administered after food,
- In disorders of Vyana Vata (which is situated in chest/heart, circulates all over the body and is cause for flexion and extension of hands, legs, etc.)
- In disorders of Udana Vata (which controls speech, enthusiasm, memory, etc).
In these two circumstances, medicinal ghee is administered after food.
Have half a cup of hot water after consuming ghee as hot water aids in better digestion of ghee.