Having discussed the benefits of drinking only fresh whole milk last month, we now focus on other milk products. Butter and ghee, with their many great health properties, lend themselves to a variety of Ayurvedic treatments. One such special therapy is known as oleation, unction or fat cures. This is the administering of fat into the body for periods of time to purify and relieve vataand pittawithout aggravating kapha. If vataand pittaare aggravated, the unction is taken during autumn months, and at night. However, if kaphais aggravated, it is best taken during the day in the summer months.
A typical treatment is to add two to four tablespoons of ghee to warm, sweetened milk. Drink this before going to bed. If digestion is weak, add a little ginger and/or black pepper to the milk. It is said that the use of old ghee in this therapy is good for insanity. Butter and ghee have a high content of cholesterol, but that does not seem to hamper one's health in a vegetarian diet, which in itself is low in cholesterol. Butyric acid, a fatty acid present in butter and ghee, is very beneficial for antiviral activity and controlling free radicals and cancer-cell reproduction. An age-old habit in India is for people to take a spoonful of ghee the first thing every morning to bring about alertness, mental acuity and slowing of the aging process.
Buttermilk, the by-product of the extraction of butter from curds, is variable in nourishment, according to how much butter fat is removed. Buttermilk should be consumed fresh, as it gets sour when it ages. The vataperson may drink this straight. Pittaand kaphapersons should dilute it with water, though the latter might substitute buttermilk made from goat's milk. Buttermilk acts as a tonic; it pacifies the doshasand aids in digestion if taken after a meal. Vatapeople fair best with sour products to which a little salt has been added. The pittaperson adds sugar or honey, and kaphatypes add ginger, black pepper or black chilies. Commercial buttermilk is too sour for consumption and should be avoided.
Curd or yogurt is a fermented milk product that is high in the lactobacillus group of microorganisms. It is highly recommended for lactose-intolerant people, as the lactose is reduced in the fermentation process. The bacterial flora of the gut is improved by the presence of the active bacteria of this product. It is also a very good source of Vitamin B12, an essential ingredient to the diet. Curd is unctuous, sour, sweet, astringent, heavy and hot. It alleviates vata, aggravates pittaand increases kapha. It is suggested that curd not be taken along with dinner or at bedtime. But taking small amounts after the meal helps in digestion. Commercial yogurt varieties are to be shunned at all costs. Only homemade and fresh yogurt is healthy. Yogurt is incompatible with milk, sour fruits and melons. Kaphapersons should use yogurt very sparingly, because it creates mucus. For them it should be treated it with spices as mentioned and always diluted. Commercial cheese made from cow's milk should also be shunned, except for the freshly made paneer, which is a good way to introduce the magical qualities of good milk to the diet.
Children may have a glass of milk per day, adults may get their milk through the consumption of ghee, buttermilk and curds. Milk should be considered as a whole food not a beverage.
Dr. Devananda Tandavan, MD, is a member of the American Medical Association, the International College of Surgeons, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Federation of Astrologers, the International Reiki Association, the International Center of Homeopathy-- and more. Send your questions to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746 USA.
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what was and of what will be--then he goes beyond fear. This, in truth, is That.Krishna Yajur Veda, Katha Upanishad 4.5