One of the coveted substances in India, similar to an old bottle of wine or whisky in the West, is an old bottle of pure cow ghee. Puraana ghrita is ghee that has been aged for ten years
Puraana ghrita has an unpleasant odor. It has the appearance of a lacquer solution, is cold, and destroys all grahas (planets in reference to jyotisha which causes demonic seizures). It stimulates the intellect and works well as a purgative. Because it is pure and sacred, old ghrita relieves tridosha. It also has a pungent bitter taste.
Pra-puraana is ghee that has been stored for more than ten years (extremely old).
There is no incurable disease for the ghee that is a hundred years old, known as kaumbha sarpi. It destroys all the grahas through sight, touch, and inhalation and is especially recommended for those suffering from epilepsy (apasmara), the effects of grahas, and insanity or mania (unmada).
According to the Ayurvedic treatise Bhavaprakasha, the nomenclature of aged ghrita is as follows:
1 year old - Puraana ghrita
10 year old - Prapuraana ghrita
100 year old - Kaumbha sarpi/kaumba sarpi
As per Aacharya Sushruta:
111 years old - Kaumbha sarpi
111 years old - Mahaghrita
These grhitas not only pacify the three doshas, they restore and preserve health, allowing the consumer to live happily and nourished by the yet-unknown factors or powers of century-old ghee. It is elaborated that older the ghrita, the better its qualities.
Qualities of an age-old ghrita
The prominent gunas (qualities or properties) of old ghrita are sara (fluidity), teekshna (sharp, quick penetration), ushna (heat), katu (pungence), and laghu (lightness). These characteristics promote deepana (digestive fire/metabolism), cheda (incision or breakage), lekhana (scraping), srotovishodhana (clearing of body channels), varnya (imparting color/glow), varnashodhana (wound healing) and ropana (cleaning).
Mechanism of Action
The combined effect of these properties uproots many complex disorders of neurological and psychological origin. In Ayurveda the concept of srotas (channels) range from visible such as arteries and veins as well as the alimentary canal of the gut from mouth to anus; to the least visible, most minute channels beyond the blood vessels, nerve fibre, and capillaries. The ancient sciences clearly describe these fine channels invisible to the naked eye, as a web-like network that links the continuum of functions of each unit and assists in the physiology and function of life. When any pathologic process occurs, it hinders this web-like network by blocking or slowing it down. To understand this web, explore embryology and the gradual development of 1 cell to 100 trillion, with all the channels and networks of information that form. Modern concepts of desmosomes, tight junctions, and gap junctions are described by function using Ayurvedic ancient language.
Puraana ghrita, unexplored by modern chemistry, physics, and biology, has qualities that open any blockages in these micro-channels. By clearing away old debris, the machinery of the body at micro and macro levels is reset. The neurological and psychological pathways with their super-fine channels designed to be impenetrable in order for electric signals to conduct, are impervious to normal drugs. These same drugs when combined with new ghrita are opened. Use of very old medicated ghrita opens these channels and renders them easily approachable for further treatment. Puraana ghrita is also considered the best for rejuvenation therapy.
The Effect of Time
What effect does aging have on certain substances? Time by its nature transforms and cooks. Ghrita is one commodity that can be used even after decades of storage, indicating that it transforms instead of decaying. The extended period of preservation improves fhrita's traits and properties to the level where it becomes an elixir of life, healing a wide range of ailments and preserving good health.
Every substance in the universe has a latent agni (metabolic fire that consumes) that keeps it in a constant state of paaka (ripeness), making it lighter and lighter in composition. When consumed, the laghutva (lightness, easy-digestibility) generated in old ghrita transcends the blood-brain barrier to mend the brain by cleaning out residues. It works as a remarkable medicine to treat both complex mental illnesses as well as physical disease.
The Acharyas used all ages of ghrita and elaborated on the effects of old ghrita in many Ayurvedic treatises. Ghrita, with its sweeping characteristics, offers profound ramifications for every human condition, ranging from pesky skin problems to exceedingly complicated mental disorders, cancers and metabolic conditions.
Due to its immense power and timeless value, aged ghrita is not easily found. Wrapped in the intangible cover of time and karma, aged ghees are only revealed by a few who had the foresight to accurately make, authentically preserve and properly store these priceless reserves of the invaluable medicine that aged ghrita promises it is.