The Ayurvedic text lists four types of fats with medicinal healing qualities. They are ghritam (ghee), oil (sesame), vasa (muscle), and majja (marrow). Each one has its own unique properties, however ghritam has several special qualities that are unmatched. Ghritam will maintain its own healing qualities even when combined with herbs with different qualities.
According to the Ayurvedic text Caraka Samhita, ghritam alleviates pitta and vata and is beneficial for rasa, shukra and Ojas. It provides relief from burning sensation, softens the tissues, improves the voice and skin complexion.
With all types of chronic fever, the internal use of Ghritams is recommended. Ghritam pacifies vata by its unctuousness, pitta by its coldness, and kapha when combined with kapha pacifying herbs. Therefore, Ghritam is useful in all forms of chronic fever and acts the same as fire subsiding with water. As water is sprinkled on burning houses to douse the fire, ghee is administered to manage chronic fever.
No other fat brings the unique properties of Ghritam. It has a unique ability to adapt to the properties of the herbs it's processed and at the same time does not lose its own cooling nourishing properties. If Ghritam is processed with herbs with nourishment properties, then it is indicated in degenerative disorders. If it is processed with herbs having detoxification properties, then it is indicated in obstructive disorders.
Snehapana is the internal drinking of Ghritam in preparation for pañcakarma. Some of the most common panchakarma Ghritams are Indukanta Ghritam, Guggulutiktaka Ghritam, Mahatiktaka Ghritam, Mahatraiphala Ghritam, and Sukumara Ghritam. They prepare the body for detoxification, as well as nourishment.
Indukanta Ghritam The main herb Dasamula balances both pitta and vata dosha, supports healthy digestion, lowers acidity, boosts digestive fire and immunity. Kalyanaka Ghritam Kalyanaka balances mainly vata and pitta dosha, supports the nervous system, energy, nourishes muscles, bones, and nerves and improves mood and feeling of well being. Guggulutiktaka Ghritam The main herb guggulu balances all three doshas, removes ama from blood, liver and skin, and supports healthy skin. Jatyadi Ghritam The main herb is jasmine leaf which balances pitta dosha and supports the healing of wounds and cuts. Triphala Ghritam The main herb is triphala which balances both kapha and pitta dosha, supports healthy eyes by removing excess heat and nourishing the muscles and eyesight. Tiktaka Ghritam Balances both pitta and kapha dosha. The combination of bitter herbs helps remove ama (toxin), pitta and kapha from the blood, liver, gut, and skin, and supports healthy skin and complexion. It can be used as a preparatory procedure called snehapana therapy and is helpful for balancing a healthy mind. Phalasarpis Ghritam The herbs in this formula are in equal quantity and help balance vata dosha, supports both male and female reproductive organs and fertility. Brahmi Ghritam The main herb Brahmi balances vata dosha, supports brain and nerve health, improves focus and concentration, and sound sleep. Mahakalyanaka Ghritam This is more potent than Kalyanaka ghritam and balances both vata and pitta dosha, supports the nervous system, energy, and nourishes muscles, bones, and nerves. Mahatiktaka Ghritam This formula is a combination of bitter herbs that help balance pitta dosha, remove ama and acid from the blood, liver, gut and skin, and supports healthy skin and complexion. Varanadi Ghritam The main herb varuna balances both kapha and vata dosha, supports healthy kidneys and urinary system, removes excess kapha, and supports digestion. Vidaryadi Ghritam The main herb is Vidari kanda which balances vata dosha, supports respiratory health, nourishes all body tissues, and supports healthy weight gain. Saraswata Ghritam The main herb Brahmi balances vata dosha, supports healthy brain and nerve function, concentration and energy. Sukumara Ghritam The main herbs are Dasamula and Purnarnava which balances vata dosha, supports and nourishes the female reproductive system and hormones. Sukhaprasavada Ghritam The main herb upodika balances vata dosha, helps muscle relaxation during birth and supports the pelvic girdle and organs. Suranadi Ghritam The main herb Surana balances vata dosha, removes ama from the stomach and gut and supports digestive fire and agni. Mahatriphala Ghritam This formula is more potent than Triphala ghritam, The main herb is triphala which balances both kapha and pitta dosha, supports healthy eyes by removing excess heat and nourishing the muscles and eyesight. Shatavaryadi Ghritam The main herb Shatavari balances both vata and pitta dosha, supports the urinary system and nourishes kidney health. Dadimadi Ghritam The main herb is dadima (pomegranate) which balances vata dosha, helps improve appetite, indigestion, and promotes colon health.
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Arishtams and Asavams are medicinal herbs processed by fermentation. The process of making an Arishtam or Asavam is lengthy and begins by boiling dried herbs in water to extract the medicinal qualities of the herbs. This is called an herbal decoction.