Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how to use ghee for detoxification.
Cleansing with Ghee
You’ve probably heard about ghee and its amazing health benefits. In this article, learn what this Ayurvedic nectar is, how it’s made, and why the body loves it. Plus, get my top 10 reasons to cleanse with ghee.
An Ayurvedic cleanse would not be an Ayurvedic cleanse if it didn’t call for ingesting melted ghee. And now new research may prove this ancient Vedic cleansing technique to be even more credible than we originally thought!
As it turns out, microbes in the gut actually produce their own ghee constituents, making ghee a familiar and welcome substance in the body.
What is Ghee?
Ghee is ubiquitous in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking. An aromatic substance that is solid at room temperature and melts into a liquid as it warms, ghee is made by boiling off milk solids from unsalted butter, leaving only golden oil behind. By slow boiling off the milk solids, casein proteins, whey and milk sugar, you are left with the world’s highest food source of butyric acid—the fatty acid responsible for building healthy immunity, 70% of which originates in your gut.7
Uniquely different than butter, which damages under high heat, Ghee has a very high flash point of 485°F, making it one of the best oils to use for cooking.8
In Ayurveda, ghee is used as a carrier for the nutrients in herbs and to lubricate the intestinal tract and all the tissues inside the body. During an Ayurvedic cleanse, it’s used as the preferred vehicle for oleation, the detox process of ingesting increasing amounts of oil over a series of four to seven mornings.
Oleation with ghee helps pull stubborn fat-soluble toxic molecules out of the cells through a process called lipophilic-mediated detoxification. In this process the fatty acids in ghee penetrate the deep tissues and attach and pull fat-soluble toxic substances out of the body.3 During an Ayurvedic cleanse, ghee is ingested in the morning followed by a strict no-fat diet for the remainder of the day. This process initiates fat metabolism and keeps the body fat-metabolism mode throughout the day. While water-soluble toxic molecules usually flush out in the urine fat-soluble chemicals and environmental pollutants abundant in the atmosphere and water supplies find their way even on our organic food and must be detoxified.
Ghee’s Active Ingredient (Also Made in Your Gut!)
Let’s start with butter, the raw material from which ghee is made. The primary fatty acid in butter is called butyric acid, so named because it was first discovered in butter. Butyric acid, also known as butyrate, is a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) that helps to protect the integrity of the intestinal tract, feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut and boosts your immune system. Colon cells, for example, use butyric acid as their preferred source of energy.1,7
Ghee yields an even more concentrated source of butyric acid than butter. But there is another source of butyric acid: the busy beneficial microbes in your gut.
Much of the healthy fiber that we eat directly feeds microbes in the gut. In turn, gut bugs including Clostridium butyricum convert fiber into butyric acid.4 Yep, many of the bugs in your gut are making their own ghee, or at least the active ingredient of ghee.
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Studies show that having enough butyric acid in the gut is no laughing matter. Research has shown that patients with unhealthy digestive tracts do not produce butyric acid, and have low levels of fatty acids or related oils in the gut. Such a deficiency can compromise immunity. A lack of butyric acid in your gut weakens the lining of the colon and disturbs the healthy balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria there. Butyric acid supports the essential functions of digestion—the assimilation of nutrients and elimination of waste.1,7 Interestingly, butyrate enemas (basically ghee enemas) and other related treatments were studied in 2012 to be effective for many gut-related health issues.2
In Ayurveda, taking ghee internally through ingestion and ghee enemas (Ayurvedic oil enemas are referred to as basti) has been done successfully for thousands of years to support intestinal health and function.
This is just another way the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda has been proven by modern science.
Ghee Under the Hood
Ghee is full of butyric acid, but it is also packed with:5,9,10,11
- The full spectrum of short, medium, and long-chain fatty acids (SCFAs, MCFAs, LCFAs)—both unsaturated and saturated. These fatty acids support a healthy intestinal lining while feeding beneficial bacteria.
- Omega-3 and omega-9 essential fatty acids, found to support heart health and cognitive function
- Vitamins A, D, E, and K, which make up the foundation of our skin, hormones, and metabolic function.
- One of the highest natural sources of conjugated linoleic acid (ghee made from the organic butter of pastured cows), which has been linked to healthy blood sugar, bone density, immunity, and more.
- Nine phenolic antioxidants that protect the body from the proliferation of undesirable bacteria
- Numerous other minerals that support enzymatic processes
SCFAs, like butyric acid in ghee, are used immediately by the body for energy and do not have to be broken down by bile to be digested and utilized, while MCFAs require minimal digestion and LCFAs require much digesting by the liver and gallbladder.
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This may also be why our gut bugs love butyrate so much that they make their own—the cells of the colon use it instantly for energy! The ancient wisdom of using ghee for cooking and cleansing may provide needed butyric acid that helps support the health, integrity, and function of the gut wall with extended benefits throughout the entire body.
Ghee Swaps Old Bile for New
An Ayurvedic cleanse with ghee involves ingesting it daily at increasing dosages to force the gallbladder to flush out its bile—which is often thick and viscous—and stimulate the liver to make new bile.
Bile acts as an intestinal scrub, and in concert with the butyric acid from ghee, supports the health of the gut wall and the microbes that manufacture butyrate along it.6
Ghee Softens Hardened Tissues
Ghee has a saturating effect on the body. During a cleansing period of taking ghee daily, the oil penetrates the soft tissues, lubricating and softening the hardened tissues of the entire body.3
Ghee Pulls Toxic Substances Out of Hiding Spots
Ghee has a lipophilic effect on other fatty acids and fatty toxic molecules, acting as a chelating agent to pull stored fat-soluble toxics elements out and put them back into the intestines for removal.3
Molecules of emotion, or mental ama in Ayurveda, which are also lipophilic and stored in fat cells, can be pulled out of their hiding places using this method.
Ghee Burns as a Calm, Stable Fuel
During a cleanse with ghee, you exclude other fats in your diet. Ingesting ghee first thing in the morning forces the body directly into a fat-metabolic state.
By not having any fat in your diet during the cleanse outside of ghee, the body quite naturally stays in a fat-metabolic state. This allows for burning of fat, a detoxification effect as mentioned above, and an experience of stable energy and mood.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Cleansing with Ghee
When many think of cleansing, they think of a juice cleanse, or eliminating sugar, dairy, and wheat from the diet, or fasting.
Ayurveda uses a different approach, instructing you to take increasing amounts of melted ghee each morning for a series of days coinciding with a non-fat diet.
This cleanse protocol may make you rethink your idea of detoxing, as the benefits extend far beyond flushing toxic molecules.
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Here are the top 10 benefits of cleansing with ghee: 1,3,6
- Flushes old bile from the body
- Stimulates liver to make new bile, so old toxic bile is not reabsorbed
- Scrubs intestines of toxic substances and bad bugs
- Supports primary source of energy and immunity for gut cells
- Supports health of beneficial gut bacteria that make butyrate
- Lubricates and softens hardened tissues
- Pulls stored fat-soluble toxic material and molecules of emotion out of the body
- Encourages fat metabolism and healthy weight
- Supports stable mood and energy levels
- Supports the body’s natural defense mechanisms against bad bacteria and overgrowth
Listen to the Podcast
In this month’s podcast, LifeSpa Founder John Douillard interviews the founders of Farmtrue about their high-quality organic ghee and how it gets from farm to table.
Ready for Your Ghee Cleanse?
The Colorado Cleanse is our ultimate ghee cleanse experience. It’s a two-week detox and digestive reset for the body, mind, and emotions.
If you’re looking for something shorter, start with our four-day Short Home Cleanse.
If you’re an experienced cleanser, check out our Kaya Kalpa Stem Cell Cleanse.