Now that we find ourselves in the emergence of vata season, you may have noticed that there has been a transition away from the heat of the summer into the light, dry, cool and mobile energy of fall. The science of Ayurveda explains that from an elemental perspective, this seasonal shift is caused by the elements of pitta dosha, fire and water, dissipating in the environment as the elements of vata dosha, air and ether, rise. In autumn and early winter, Ayurveda encourages individuals to remain mindful of the interplay between the air and ether elements and their potentially negative effects on the body and mind. Some indicators that vata is aggravated and needs to be addressed include the following symptoms:
- dry skin
- non-smelly gas
- a variable appetite
- stiff joints
- feeling cold
- having a hard time falling and staying asleep
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, your body is signaling that vata dosha is out of balance. In order to bring balance back to vata dosha, it is important to counteract the light, dry, cool and mobile qualities of the air and ether elements with the opposing heavy, moist, warm and grounding energies. Thankfully, there are countless ways to increase these vata pacifying qualities. Here are a few examples:
- establish a daily routine that includes sleeping and waking at the same time.
- oil the body through self-abhyanga.
- commit to a vata balancing skincare routine that heals, nourishes and moisturizes.
- enjoy calming and grounding aromatherapy.
- utilize vata supportive herbs and spices.
- consume vata balancing foods, including ghee!
In today’s blog, we will share how one particular vata balancing food, ghee, profoundly nourishes and stabilizes vata dosha.
If you are unfamiliar with ghee, it is the pure oil that remains when the milk fat solids, casein and lactose are removed from butter. This is why ghee is also called clarified butter. The traditional method of making ghee is outlined in the classical Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita. The Charaka Samhita notes that ghee must be made from cultured butter, also known as Makhan. Makhan is made by transforming cream from cows (revered and considered sacred in India) into yogurt and then by churning the yogurt into butter. From there, the cultured butter is cooked over an open flame to clarify the butter into ghee. Ghee can be applied externally and internally to help restore balance and equanimity to vata dosha during the fall or any time vata is aggravated.
We love Ahara Rasa Ghee because it is made in the traditional Ayurvedic method from the milk of happy cows living on sustainable, eco-conscious farms.
Below are our top 5 favorite benefits of ghee for vata dosha.
1. Builds Ojas
Ojas is the subtle form of kapha dosha; therefore, it is most connected with the earth and water elements. Like the structural aspects of earth, ojas is the container that holds the life force energy of prana and the luminous energy of tejas. Like the healing aspects of water, ojas represents nourishment and vitality and the physical and emotional bodies’ abilities to withstand stress.
When the doshas are in a healthy state, ojas is strong and individuals experience fortitude, endurance and empathy within their beings. In the physical body, the voice is clear, the immune system is robust and there is an overall bliss and satisfaction. Unfortunately, when vata, in particular, becomes aggravated and out of balance, the abundance of ojas within the body and mind becomes weakened and depleted.
Thankfully, one of the best ways to build ojas and restore harmony to vata dosha is through incorporating ghee into one’s diet. Ghee builds and fortifies the body’s tissues and imparts vigor, strength and vitality to both the body and mind. This is why it is recommended in Ayurveda to cook with ghee and add it into Rejuvenating Herbal Tonics and your Golden Milk to build and nourish ojas.
2. Rich in Healthy Fats & Vitamins
When a person is experiencing excess vata dosha, there is a tendency to feel weak and debilitated. Additionally, unwanted weight loss can occur, and a person can have difficulty gaining weight. If this happens, Ayurveda explains that it is imperative to incorporate healthy fats and nourishing foods into one’s diet. Furthermore, consuming omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is essential to restoring balance to vata dosha, and ghee is an excellent source of both these fatty acids.
It is important to note that the body does not produce omega-3; instead, this fatty acid has to be ingested by the foods a person eats. Ghee has a high concentration of omega-3, making it an excellent source of this healthy fat. What makes omega-3 so beneficial for the body is that it supports the heart and cardiovascular system, and it may support mental health by reducing depression. Like omega-3, the body cannot create omega-6. This means that this essential fatty acid must also be obtained from one’s diet. Omega-6 helps to keep the body energized, assists in the absorption of nutrients and can even help promote healthy cholesterol levels.
Vitamins found in ghee include Vitamins A, E, D and K. Vitamin A is essential in keeping eyesight strong, while Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant and hydrating effects, Vitamin D keeps our bones healthy and Vitamin K supports heart health. These vitamins also assist in the proper functioning of the immune system.
3. Supports Healthy Elimination
Did you know that to have healthy elimination (we are talking bowel movements), one must have moisturized mucous membranes throughout the body, especially in the colon? It’s true! Ayurveda shares that when vata goes out of balance within the body, the ensuing dryness can dehydrate the mucous membranes, making it more difficult to pass stools regularly. Thus, the cause for vata type constipation is that there is not enough lubrication within the tissues of the body. To remedy this, Ayurveda recommends hydrating and moisturizing internally by ingesting demulcent herbs (check out our Hydrate Blend Tea) and incorporating healthy fats and oils into one’s diet. Yep, you might have guessed that ghee is one of those excellent healthy fats that support hydrated mucous membranes, healthy elimination and daily bowel movements.
4. Moisturizes the Skin
For thousands of years, Ayurveda has touted the use of ghee for radiant, healthy skin. Precious ghee helps to promote collagen production, improve skin elasticity, smooth roughness and provide moisture to dry, vata provoked skin. The topical application of ghee also to reduces dark circles under the eyes and lightens dark spots. If you have not yet applied ghee to your skin, ‘tis the season to try out this traditional Ayurvedic beauty secret!
5. Nourishes the Hair & Scalp
Similar to its effects on the skin, ghee also has nourishing properties for your locks. Ayurveda suggests gently massaging ghee into the scalp and hair to nourish the scalp, stimulate hair growth and rejuvenate dry, frizzy hair. Additionally, thanks to its abundant vitamins, ghee can help cleanse the scalp, removing unwanted toxins and build-up. Lastly, when one applies ghee to the hair and scalp, this self-massage supports the nervous system and can calm excess vata dosha in the mind. Try adding ghee to your PAAVANI Herbal Hair Oil routine.
These are just a few ways you can use ghee to support vata dosha. As you can see, the unctuous, soft, nourishing, nutritious and healing qualities of ghee make it an ideal support amid the dry, cool and mobile vata season. If you have yet to enjoy ghee in your cooking or with your favorite rejuvenating herbs, we invite you to incorporate it into your daily routine. Additionally, if you have never applied ghee onto your skin, body, hair and/or scalp, we hope you consider experiencing the moisturizing and soothing qualities that ghee offers as a topical remedy. Wishing you a happy ghee season!