Since it has been asked of me many times i am putting together the western nutritional facts of ghee

First off, know that what you buy in the store is not ghee. It is actually just clarified butter, really expensive clarified butter. Doesn’t matter if they chant mantras over it while only making it on the full moon or not, it still is not ghee. On top of this, it is refrigerated. This changes the qualities of the ghee making it harder to digest and thick. If you take it out of the refrigerator and leave it on the counter it stays solid at higher room temperatures due to the that refrigeration. This brings me to the question, what is being scientifically tested as ghee? Obviously, it is not the ghee that is written about and touted in the Ayurvedic texts, they didn’t have refrigeration back then. Also, the way ghee is really made isn’t known to the public. We don’t know better. For more info on what ghee is, go to

J Nutr Biochem. 2000 Feb;11(2):69-75.

Hypocholesterolemic effect of anhydrous milk fat ghee is mediated by increasing the secretion of biliary lipids.

Kumar MV, Sambaiah K, Lokesh BR.

Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, Karnataka, India

The anhydrous milk fat ghee is one of the important sources of fat in the Indian diet. Our earlier studies showed that rats fed diets containing greater than 2.5 wt% of ghee had lower levels of serum cholesterol compared with rats fed diets containing groundnut oil. To evaluate the mechanism of the hypocholesterolemic effect of ghee, male Wistar rats were fed a diet containing 2.5 or 5.0 wt% ghee for a period of 8 weeks. The diets were made isocaloric with groundnut oil. Both native and ghee heated at 120 degrees C containing oxidized lipids were included in the diet. The ghee in the diet did not affect the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase activity in the liver microsomes, but it significantly increased biliary excretion of cholesterol, bile acids, uronic acid, and phospholipids. The rats fed ghee had lower levels of cholesterol esters in the serum as well as in the intestinal mucosa. Both native and oxidized ghee influenced cholesterol metabolism. These results indicate that supplementation of diets with ghee lipids would increase the excretion of bile constituents and lower serum cholesterol levels.

Ghee contains both saturated and unsaturated fats. The total fat content of ghee consists of approximately 65 percent saturated fats, 25 percent monounsaturated and 5 percent polyunsaturated. Its saturated fat content consists of easily digested short-chain fatty acids for approximately 89 percent with an additional 3 percent from linoleic acid. This acid is a source of antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals and helps prevents serious health diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Contrary of common belief, fats are essential to the diet. They help in normal body functions, hormonal balance, reproductive health, skin health and the absorption of essential vitamins. In particular, vitamins A, D, E and K are only able to be used by the body when they are take with fats. Fats also supply essential fatty acids to the body, including omega-3s and omega-6s, which have a role in anti-inflammatory processes such as regulating the DNA’s production of inflammatory cytokines in the body.

Ghee is comprised of saturated fat primarily that has often been referred to as an unhealthy fat. Indeed, excess saturated fats in the diet cause the buildup of plaque in the arteries, contributing to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. However, not all saturated fats are unhealthy such as ghee and coconut oil. These oils are a source of short-chain fatty acids which are easier to digest than long-chain acids. Short-chain fatty acids actually help to strengthen and develop cell membranes while long-chain acids increase risks of blood clots and cancer.

Ghee may be beneficial in decreasing cholesterol in the blood. It does this by improving the ratio of high-density lipoprotein, HDL or good cholesterol, to low-density lipoprotein, LDL or the bad cholesterol. Increased HDL in the blood may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attacks among other conditions. Free Radical reports findings from a 2000 Kumar et al. study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemisty that supports this belief. The researchers concluded that ghee lipids in the diet could lower serum cholesterol levels

But what is ghee, it is not clarified butter. Furthermore, what is all the research on ghee being tested on?……………. clarified butter of course. 

Butteroil Versus Ghee
The main differences between ghee and butteroil have been recently summarized by Ganguli (8). Butteroil has a bland flavor whereas ghee has a pleasing flavor. Ghee has less moisture, contains more protein solids and differs in fatty acid and phospholipid as compared to butteroil. Butteroil is prepared by melting butter at not exceeding 80 C, whereas ghee is manufactured at 100 to 140 C. Butteroff can be reconstituted with skim milk powder.

A link to follow for good research done on ghee and lipids.

Ghee: Its Chemistry, Processing and Technology

N. C. GANGULi and M. K. JAIN
National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India

In India, preservation of milk and milk products is primarily achieved by heat induced desiccation. Ghee is obtained by clarification of milk fat at high temperature. Ghee is almost anhydrous milk fat and there is no similar product in other countries. It is by far the most ubiquitous indigenous milk product and is prominent in the hierarchy of Indian dietary. Being a rich source of energy, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids, and due to long shelf life at room temperature (20 to 40C), 8070 of ghee produced is used for culinary purposes. The remaining 2070 is used for confectionery, including sma/l amounts consumed on auspicious occasions like religious ceremonies (22). Since buffalo milk constitutes more than 5570 of the total milk production in India and because of its higher fat content (6-770), ghee is manufactured mostly from buffalo milk. Due to lack of carotenoids in buffalo milk, ghee prepared from milk is white unlike cow ghee which has a golden yellow color. Be- cause of its pleasing flavor and aroma, ghee has always had a supreme status as an indigenous product in India.

Physicochemical Characteristics

Chemically, ghee is a complex lipid of glycerides (usually mixed), free fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols, sterol esters, fat soluble vitamins, carbonyls, hydrocarbons, carotenoids (only in ghee derived from cow milk), small amounts of charred casein and traces of calcium, phosphorus, iron, etc. It contains not more than .370 moisture. Glycerides constitute about 9870 of the total material. Of the remaining constitutents of about 270, sterols (moStly cholesterol) occur to the extent of about .5~. Ghee has a melting range of 28 to 44 C. Its
butyrofractometer reading is from 40 to 45 at 40 C. The saponification number is not less than 220. Ghee is not highly unsaturated, as is evident from its iodine number of from 26 to 38. The Reichert-Meissl number (RM) of c o w ghee varies from 26 to 29 whereas goat Received for publication July 1, 1972. N. C. GANGULi and M. K. JAIN National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India ghee is slightly less. Sheep and buffalo ghee on the other hand, have higher RM numbers
of about 32. In general, ghee is required to have a RM number of not less than 28. It is, however, of interest that ghee from milk of animals fed cotton seeds has much lower RM numbers of about 20. Polenske number for cow ghee is higher (2 to 3) than buffalo ghee (1 to 1.5). No significant seasonal variations have, however, been recorded for their fat conscants. The fatty acid profile of glycerides of ghee is very complex and still not completely elucidated. Recently, Ramarnurthy and Narayanon (13) published the fatty acid composition of buffalo and cow ghee. Layer formation is typical in ghee if stored above 20 C. The chemical properties of these layers are significantly different as shown by Singhal et al (20) (Table 1). Significant differences are evident in the RM numbers of these layers. The liquid layer always has a higher RM number than the semisolid layers.


Ghee making in India is mostly a home industry. Substantial amounts come from villages where it is usually prepared by the desi method. Recently, industry has manufactured improved ghee of more uniform quality. However, it still constitutes only a small fraction (a few thousand tons only) of the total annual production (450,000 metric tons) in India. In general, ghee is prepared by four methods, namely, desi, creamery butter, direct cream and pre-stratification methods. The essential steps involved in the preparation of ghee by these methods are outlined in Figures 1 to 4 (6, 15). Basically, the high heat applied to butter or cream removes moisture. Both are usually clarified at 110 to 120 C. However, in southern India clarification is at 120 to 140 C. The desi method consists of churning curdled whole milk (dahi) with an indigenous corrugated wooden beater, separating the butter, and clarifying it into ghee by direct open pan heating. Earthenware vessels are used to boil milk and ferment it with a typical culture to convert it to dahi which in turn is churned to separate the butter. The cream to butter and direct cream methods are more suitable for commercial operations because less fat is lost. Direct cream method is reportedly most economical for preparing ghee and the product has better keeping quality (9). In the pre-stratification method, advantages such as economy in fuel consumption and production of ghee with low acidity and comparatively for commercial operations because less fat is lost. Direct cream method is reportedly most economical for preparing ghee and the product has better keeping quality (9). In the pre-stratification method, advantages such as economy in fuel consumption and production of ghee with low acidity and comparatively longer shelf life, have been claimed (17). However, this method has not been adopted by industry. Desi method accounts for more than 97% of ghee manufactured. However, with industrial interest, the creamery butter and direct cream methods are increasing.

Quality of Ghee
The quality of ghee depends on milk, cream, dahi or butter, methods of preparation, temperature of clarification, storage conditions, and type of animal feed. These factors in turn will determine the physicochemical characteristics of ghee. The principal measurements of ghee quality are: peroxide value, acidity, and flavor. Peroxide value and acidity. The quality of ghee on storage has been measured by acid and peroxide values (10). However, peroxide value varies considerably at the organoleptic threshold of rancidity. More recently, Gaba and Jain (7) showed that the thiobarbituric acid value (TBA value) is a more reliable index of oxidative rancidity of ghee. They found that the TBA value of buffalo ghee was always higher than that of cow ghee. Flavor. The most important factor controlling the intensity of flavor in ghee is the temperature of clarification (6). Ghee prepared at 120C or above has an intense flavor which is usually referred to as cooked or burnt.

In contrast, ghee prepared at around 110 G has a somewhat mild flavor, often referred to as curdy. The desi method generally produces ghee with the most desirable flavor. The acidity of the cream or butter affects the flavor of ghee. Sweet cream-butter yields ghee with a fiat flavor whereas cream or butter having an acidity of .15 to .25% (lactic acid) as in ripened cream-butter, produces ghee with a more acceptable flavor. However, the rate of deterioration in the market quality
of ghee is least in ghee from unripened cream-butter and most in that prepared from ripened cream-butter. The flavor of stored ghee is influenced by the method of preparation and by temperature of clarification. In ghee made at 110 C, the
original flavor is maintained for several months, but once deterioration begins, market quality is lost quicker than in ghee prepared at the higher temperatures of clarification. Flavor in ghee is retained longer when butter contains 1% NaCI.
Elucidation of complex chemical entities responsible for ghee flavor is being pursued at this Institute (2) and sponsored by U.S. Public Law 480 funds. Some of the important findngs to date are reported. There is a general similarity in the gross patterns of volatile carbonyls isolated from differently produced ghee. Of the 11 earbonyls in most of the ghee produced, six have been tentatively identified as propanone, butanone – 2, pentanone-2, heptanone-2, octanone-2 and
nonanone-2. Small but significant differences in the quality and quantity of volatile earbonyls in different types of ghee have been reported.
The use of ripened cream butter in the preparation of ghee improves the flavor, but the impact on the pattern of carbonylic compounds in ghee appears to be less marked. About 95% of the carbonyls in ghee are nonvolatile. Cow ghee contains more volatile carbonyls. The total carbonyls of buffalo ghee is higher than that of cow ghee irrespective of the method of preparation and temperature of clarification. The ketoglycerides constitute 50 to 60% of the total carbonyls in ghee, buffalo ghee (4.4 /~motes/g) having a higher proportion than cow ghee (2.4 /~moles/g). Oct-2-enal and dec-2-enal are the main alk2-enals in the volatile as well as monocarbonyls in ghee. The patterns of alkanals frem cow and
buffalo ghee are similar and consist of ethanal, pentanal, hexanal, heptanal, octanal, nonanal, decanal, undecana] and dodecanal.

References for this article are at the bottom of the page.

Ayurvedic Texts on the benefits of real ghee made from yogurt and that is not refrigerated:

Charak (Sutrasthanam 27; 232) says that “ghee is the best fat to eat”.
sarvasnehottamaà çétaà madhuraà rasapäkayoù|
sahasravéryaà vidhibhirghåtaà karmasahasrakåt||232||
caraka saàhitä sütrasthänam-27

Shushruta Samhita (Kalpasthanam) says that ghee is “good for
coronary arteries”.

hådayävaraëaà nityaà kuryäcca mitramadhyagaù||79||
pibed ghåtamajeyäkhyamamåtäkhyaà ca buddhimän|
sarpirdadhi payaù kñaudraà pibedvä çétalaà jalam||
mayürännakulän godhäù påñatän hariëänapi|
satataà bhakñayeccäpi rasäàsteñäà pibedapi||81||

Bhava Mishra (Bhavaprakash) says that ghee is:
• a great rasayana (rejuvenator) for the eyes
enhances the digestive fire* while cooling and alkalizing *(only the yogurt to butter method can give this result)
• binds toxins and pacifies pitta and vata
• with proper combining and processing, it is not clogging
or kapha aggravating
• enhances complexion and glow of the face and body
• increases physical and mental stamina
• supports learning, retention, and recall
• increases longevity
• cools and lubricates the stomach wall
• nurtures and cleanses blood tissue

ghåtamäjya haviù sarpiù kathyate tadguëä atha|
ghåtaà rasäyanaà svädu cakñuñyaà vahnidépanam|| 1||
çétavéryaà viñälakñmépäpapittaniläpahä|
alpäbhiñyandi käntyojastejolävaëyavåddhikåt||2||
svarasmåtikaraà medhyamäyuñyaà balakådguru|
udävarttajvaronmädaçülänähavraëän haret|
snigdhaà kaphakaraà rakñaùkñayavésarparaktanut||3||
bhävaprakäça ghåtavarga



And now we have scientific research showing the difference with traditionally made ghee….




(1) Anonymous. 1961. Food and Agriculture Department of Agr. Marketing and Inspection. A note for the guidance of parties wishing to grade ghee under AGMARK.
(2) Annual Report on Public Law 480 Project UR-A7-(60)-150, 1971. Isolation and characterization of the desirable flavour components of milk fat (ghee) to obtain basic information needed for the preparation of improved milk fat products. National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India.
(3) Annual Report on Indian Council of Agricultural Research Project 1971. To evolve methods for detecting adulteration of ghee with animal body fats. National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India.
(4) Basu, K. P., T. M. Paul, N. B. Shroff, and M. A. Rahman. 1962. Composition of milk and ghee. ICAR Report Series 8, New Delhi, India.
(5) Dastur, N. N. 1955. Standards for ghee, Indian Dairyman, 1:267.
(6) De, S., and M. R. Srinivasan, 1958. Production and marketing of ghee. 10:1.
(7) Gaba, K. L., and M. K. Jain. 1972. A note on the flavor changes in ghee on storage: their sensory and chemical assessment. Indian J. Ani. Sci. In press.
(8) Ganguli, N. C. 1972. Butteroil and ghee; not synonymous. Indian Dairyman (in press).
(9) Guriye, K. V., M. R. Srinivasan, K. K. Desai, and S. C. Ray. 1949. Studies on the direct cream heating method of ghee making. Indian ~. Dairy Sci., 2:77.
(10) Market quality of ghee, IGAR Report Series 9, New Delhi, India.
(11) Punjrath, J. S. 1972. Private communication.
(12) Ramamurthy, M. K., K. M. Narayanan, V. R. Bhalerao, and N. N. Dastur. 1967. A thin layer chromatographie method for detection of adulteration of ghee with vegetable fats. Indian J. Dairy Sci., 20:11.
(13) Ramamurthy, M. K. and K. M. Narayanan. 1971. Fatty acid composition of buffalo and cow milk fats by gas-liquid chromatography (GLC). Milchwissenschaft, 26:693.
(14) Ramamurthy, M. K., K. M. Narayanan, and V. R. Bhalerao. 1968. Effect of phospholipids on the keeping quality of ghee. Indian J. Dairy Sci., 21:62.
(15) Ray, S. C. 1960. Prestratification method of ghee making. ICAR Research Series 8, New Delhi, India.
(16) Ray, S. C., and B. M. Patel. 1949. Studies on cotton seed feeding to milch animals. Part II. The quality of ghee from buffalo fed on cotton seed in combination with dry or green fodder. Indian J. Dairy Sci., 2:30.
(17) Ray, S. C., B. Bahadur, and M. R. Srinivasan. 1950. Utilization of induced stratification of butter milk in ghee making. Indian J. Dairy Sci., 3:94.
(18) Singhal, O. P., N. N. Dastur, and N. C. Ganguli. 1972. Crystallization behavior of ghee. Milchwissenschaft, (In press).
(19) Singhal, O. P., N. C. Ganguli, and N. N. Dastur. 1972. A methylene blue reduction test for distinguishing ghee from cotton tract area. Unpublished data.
(20) Singhal, O. P., N. C. Ganguli, and N. N. Dastur. 1972. Unpublished data.
(21) Souvenir to the Third Dairy Industries Conference, 1966, Bombay, India.
(22) Srinivasan, M. R., and C. P. Anantakrishnan. 1964. Milk products of India. ICAR, New Delhi, India.


3 thoughts on “Ghee

  1. Pingback: Once again your being duped. Real ghee, It is NOT what you are buying in the store. | trueayurveda

    • On one side fat is fat.
      but on the other, I would not call it ghee nor say it has the same results as ghee.

      Ayurveda is very very very detailed. What i have experienced is people make stuff up and in it they make messes of things including their health.

      What is the difference between yogurt and kefir? In that you will find your answer.

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