Ghrita (medicated ghee) is the Ayurvedic medicinal preparation in which ghee is processed with some Kashaya (herbal decoctions) and kalka (fresh paste) of herbs. The choice of decoctions and paste of herbs are based on the formula mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts or Ayurvedic formulary of India.
Ghrita or ghee is a type of fat (sneha dravya); hence the fat-soluble active principles of the ingredients are properly dissolved in Ghee and ensures their absorption in the body. Also, only ghee is the medium, which crosses the blood-brain barrier, the drugs indicated for brain and nervous system disorders, when processed in ghee and used; acts best which no other dosage form can.
Highlights of this article
- Method of Preparation
- Preservation & expiry date (shelf-life)
- Method of use
Method of Preparation of Ghrita (medicated ghee)
Before going to start the method of preparation of Ghrita, you should know some basics about Ghrita or Sneha kalpana.
In the preparation of medicated ghee, there are three essential components. These are Drava, Kalka and Sneha dravya.
- Drava is a liquid, which may be one or more in number as mentioned in the formula. This may be Kashaya (decoction), Swarasa (fresh juice extracted from crushed leaves or whole herb), Dugdha (milk), Mastu (curd water), Mamsa Rasa (meat soup) etc.
- Kalka is a fine paste of one or more drugs (either fresh or dried).
- Sneha dravya is the base material. Ghrita (ghee) and Taila (oil) are used for this purpose, either one or in combination (yamaka).
The quantity of above-mentioned component may or may not be described in the formula which we are going to prepare.
Now the question arises is, how much quantity of Drava, Kalka and Sneha dravya are taken for Ghrita preparation if not mentioned in the formula? The answer is – In that case, we follow some general rules described in Ayurvedic classics. These rules are –
- If the Kalka is one part by weight, Sneha Dravya should be four parts and the Drava dravya should be sixteen parts.
- If no Drava (liquid) is prescribed, the Kalka is 1 part by weight, Sneha Dravya should be 4 parts and 16 parts of water are added in the place of Drava Dravya.
- If Drava dravya (liquid) is Kwatha or Kashaya (decoction), 1 part Kalka and 6 parts Sneha dravya is taken.
- If the Drava dravya (liquid) is Swarasa (juice), Ksheera (milk), Takra (butter milk), Dadhi (curd) etc., 1 part Kalka, 8 parts Sneha Dravya is taken. 16 times water is also added to ensure proper processing and dissolution of active ingredients of drugs.
- If there are four or less than four number of Drava dravya (liquid) is mentioned in the formula, each Drava dravya (liquid) should be taken four times the weight of Sneha.
- If the Drava dravya (liquids) are 5 or more in number, each Drava (liquid) should be taken equal in weight to the Sneha.
- If there is no Kalka prescribed in the formula, then the drugs of the Kashaya (decoction) may be used as Kalka.
How to prepare Ghrita (medicated ghee)
Now coming to the main subject, generally following steps are followed in Ghrita preparation.
- The Kalka and the Drava mentioned in the formula are first mixed together in a vessel.
- Sneha dravya (ghee) is then added and boiled on mild fire. It is stirred well continuously so that the Kalka (solid part of the mixture) should not adhere to the vessel.
There is another method described in Ayurvedic text about adding liquids. The Drava dravyas (liquids) are directed to be added one after another when the previously added Drava dravya (liquid) has evaporated as the process of the boiling is continued.
- After a time span, the moisture content in the Kalka will begin to evaporate after when all the Drava dravyas (liquids) have evaporated. At this stage, we should take extra care to stir more often and carefully to ensure the Kalka should not be adhering to the vessel’s bottom.
- The small amount of Kalka is taken out time to time during the process with the help of a ladle and tested to know the condition and stage of the Paka.
There are three stages of Paka –
- Mridu Paka – In this stage, the Kalka is waxy in consistency and when rolled between the fingers, rolls like lac with slight sticking. When the rolled Kalka is put in fire, it burns with a cracking sound. It is used for Nasya Karma.
- Madhyama Paka – In this stage, the Kalka is soft, non-sticky and rolls between fingers. When it is put on fire, it burns without any cracking sound. It is used for Pana (Abhyantara sneha pan/ internal oleation therapy or oral intake) and Vasti Karma (therapeutic enema).
- Khara Paka – The next degree of heating is Khara paka, which is slightly hard. It is used only for Abhyanga (external oleation therapy/ massage).
Furthermore, heating will lead to Dagdha Paka and the Sneha becomes unfit for use.
5. After gaining the required stage of paka, the heating is stopped and the final product is kept for cooling naturally.
Points to be remembered:
- In the formula, if Sharkara (sugar) is mentioned, it is added to the final product when cool in fine powder form.
- When there are different types of Drava dravya like Kwatha (decoction), Swarasa (juice), Dugdha (milk), Mamsa rasa (meat soup), etc. is mentioned for Paka (heating), the heating should be done with these dravas separately in the above order only.
- The period of Paka (heating) with various dravyas should be as below:
- Kwatha (decoction), Aranala, Takra (buttermilk) etc. – 5 days
- Swarasa (juice) – 3 days
- Dugdha (milk) – 2 days
- Mamsa rasa (meat soup) – 1 day
- About heat- In the beginning and at the end of boiling, the material should be on mild fire (Mridvagni).
- Lavana (salt) and Kshara (alkali), if mentioned in the formula, are added to the Sneha dravya and then strained.
Patrapaka: Patrapaka is the process of flavouring of medicated ghee or oil. In this process, the Sneha is flavoured or augmented by certain soluble or mixable substances (flavouring agents or drugs). The powders of the flavouring agents or drugs are placed in the vessel, and then the fairly warm Sneha is filtered into it. These flavouring drugs get dissolved by the heat of Sneha and leave a soothing essence.
The Ghrita or medicated ghee has a tendency to solidify when cooled. It has the colour, odour and taste of the drugs used while processing it.
Preservation & Expiry Date
Ghrita should be preserved in glass vessels, polythene/ pet bottles or aluminium containers.
The shelf-life or expiry date of Ghrita for oral intake is 16 months.
However, there is a description of Purana Ghrita, which refers to pure cow ghee of more than 10 years or 100 years. It is experienced that the Purana Ghrita is more effective than new ghee to treat specific diseases.
Method of use
The Ghrita has to be taken after warming mildly or in liquefied state. Generally, the anupana (the adjuvants and after drinks) for internal use is warm water or warm milk if not mentioned. Ghrita is also taken with the medium of other liquids also.
So, that’s all about Ghrita (medicated ghee) in brief, hope you liked it. Your comments or queries are highly appreciated.
- Brahmi Ghritam
- Panchatiktaka Ghritam
- Mahatiktakam Ghritam
- Kalyanaka Ghritam
- Sukumara Ghritam