The Complete Guide For Making Homemade Ghee

Making Homemade Ghee

As a wife and mother, I am always on the lookout for wholesome and healthy food for my family. Having studied Ayurveda – a holistic science dating back thousands of years – I have been able to help bring some of that knowledge to the dinner table. However it is hard work! Finding the right types of foods and organic local products is a constant work in progress!

So I decided to start simple. And I stuck with the basics. Oil! The basics of cooking usually start with some sort of oil or butter that the main dish is created in. This particular type of fat can affect the whole chemistry of the dish. It can bring health, a conglomeration of the foods together and not to mention taste to a whole other level. Since I have been personally raised on ghee and have been aware of its wonderful healing properties, I knew that my family would benefit from consuming this wonderful tasting yet healthy fat.

In the past, due to time constraints, I have purchased my ghee from organic sources. However, the more I studied, the more I realized that each of the many stores and businesses I would purchase ghee from, were lacking in some of the important steps in its creation. Some would consider being organic enough. Others cooking on the full moon or having some mantras and prayers imbibed into them enough. Some have made their ghee’s from salted, unsalted, sweet cream or sweet butter. Is this really the truest form of ghee? I knew that as my schedule lightened, I would have to create my own authentic traditional ghee to help my family and myself reap its truest benefits.

Ghee

But what actually is ghee? Simply put, ghee is a clarified butter, however is that all it is? Ghee is one of the most revered of fats and is sometimes referred to as a ‘clean butter’ meaning that it is butter with all the water and impurities boiled off. Nevertheless it is still much more than that. True authentic and traditional ghee was made with a few points to consider:

  1. Real ghee should be made from 100% raw grass-fed milk. The process is quite lengthy but if done correctly, yields a delicious golden nectar from the Gods themselves! Considering the time constraints in this modern age, the next best thing is to make ghee from organic cultured butter preferably from grass-fed cows.
  2. Ghee cooked during the waxing and full moon is most beneficial as it imbibes some of the soma (essence of bliss) qualities of the moon itself. This phase of the moon is a most auspicious time and imparts the vitality and expanding properties of itself into the consciousness of the food thereby nourishing our bodies.
  3. Using prayers or mantras, in particular the mritunjaya mantra is especially valuable as the healing energies and positive vibes are ingrained into the ghee and renders it far more advantageous to health.
  4. The consciousness of the cook is vital in creating any dish, however more so with ghee. Since ghee is used so widely and as a wonderful base for cooking, it is particularly important to have the person making it, remain in a calm meditative and happy state.

 

Health Benefits Of Ghee

The health benefits of ghee are numerous! Amongst improving digestion, memory and a healthy immune system it is also chockful of nutrients and can improve mood and support a healthy weight loss regime.

  • Ghee is full of vitamins A and E – thereby promoting good vision, a healthy immune system and proper organ function as well as antioxidant properties
  • Ghee also contains Conjugated linoleic acid – if it is made from grassfed cows – another important note to consider using grassfed milk! Consequently it can help to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Ghee is full of short chain butyric acid – which is useful in intestinal support and production of T cells thereby supporting a healthy immune system
  • The energy from the short chain fatty acids helps to burn fats promoting a healthy weight
  • Ghee is rich in vitamin K2 – an important nutrient for facial and dental health. Therefore ghee can literally make you beautiful! Pregnant mothers would particularly benefit from a regular ghee intake
  • The list can go on for eternity!

 

The Process - From Scratch!

Milk
In order to create ghee, I searched for a reputable source for raw milk. I wanted the process to be as authentic as possible and searched many stores. Luckily I came across a local dairy farm that prided themselves on their well cared for and happy cows. They were also 100% grassfed! Happily I purchased several gallons – having researched that the yield of butter from this much milk was not a large amount!

It is important to note here that some companies which sell organic cultured butter are labelled as pasture fed. On further enquiry I realized that these organizations have cows that are grass-fed 90% of the time, but during winter months are fed grain understandably so. The grains are hormone and antibiotic free and keep in line with the organic diet and regulations. Therefore these butters cannot be labelled grass-fed even though the cows have a predominantly grass-fed diet, and are supplemented with only organic grains. I have had great success using cultured butter made from these cows and I continue to use them even today. I would also recommend making ghee from these types of butters as they are as close to the traditional authentic ghees without having to make your own butter!

The Churn
Churning is essential to the butter making process. I looked at various churns and came across some lovely traditional wooden ones. However I rather preferred the heavy duty glass jar and stainless steel Dazey churns and stuck with that, although the novelty wore off after a few hours of churning! Another important detail to look into is the material of the items that are worked with. Some churns are made from plastics, aluminum and rubber. Not wanting these materials leeching into my butter, I chose to stick to glass and stainless steel. It is also rather simple to create your own butter churn using wood and a large stainless steel pot. Attaching the wooden stick to a stable post and using rope to churn the curd in the pot is a simple yet delightfully traditional method to creating the butter.

Curd

Curd is the wonderful thick mixture used to create butter. But what is curd? Curd is sometimes (wrongly) classified as yogurt. However there is a simple yet important difference between yogurt and curd. Curd is simply the milk solids that have separated when a natural sour source has been added to the milk. Some of these natural sources include lemon, vinegar, tamarind pods and even chili peppers. Yogurt on the other hand is created by bacterial fermentation using a bacterial inoculation of cultures such as Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus acidophilus amongst others. Whilst both curd and yogurt are great for gut health, I wanted to stick to the traditional use of curd or ‘dahi’ (as it is known in India) in the creation of ghee.

Making curd is simply adding a sour product to warm milk – which then turns to (yes you guessed it!) curd. Sounds simple right? Not so! I had a great learning experience by creating an ineffective curd starter! A curd starter is simply the initial curd used to create a larger batch of curd. My first batch of curd did not set correctly as I didn’t add an adequate amount of starter curd to it. When I tried my second batch, it came out wonderfully and I realized that the curd starter was an interesting aspect to the curd making process. The temperature of the milk is an essential point to note here; when it is too cool it will not set properly and will not turn into an efficient curd.

I wanted to experiment using tamarind pods and chili peppers to see which was the most effective curd starter.

Results
I used three different curd starters – one with just tamarind pods, another with just chilies and the third with both. They all turned out wonderfully! The chili pepper curd yielded a spicier buttermilk and butter that was simply delicious! Although probably not the greatest butter to use for making ghee! I found that even the curd created using the tamarind and chili was still too spicy. However the curd created using tamarind only was perfect! The butter was thick, delicious. Despite it coming from a smaller batch of curd, it yielded twice as much butter in comparison to the chili curds. The buttermilk produced was milder yet creamier and had a tangy delicious taste.

The steps to making curd starter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw grassfed milk
  • Whole tamarind pods
  • 3 chili pepper stems and 1 chili pepper

 

  1. Bring the milk to a boil and let it gently simmer for 5 minutes. This effectively kills any unwanted pathogens that may have gotten into the milk.
  2. Let the milk cool to body temperature or 110 degrees
  3. Pour into a glass jar and add the tamarind pods snapped in half and/or chilli peppers
  4. Half cover with the lid, allowing it to be exposed to some air to provide live cultures
  5. Leave for 12 hours or overnight
  6. Curd starter is created! There should be a curdled milk solid which can now be used to create a larger batch of curd
  • Note: ideally use a stainless steel pot when cooking and/or boiling milk. This is not an easy thing to find since there are many on the market with tri ply – meaning a core of aluminum. So it is wise to be watchful of the material that your food is placed or cooked in.

 

The steps to making curd

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons of raw grassfed milk
  • 6 -10 tablespoons of curd starter

 

  1. Bring the raw milk to a boil and continue slow boiling for 10 minutes. Experimentation taught me that raw milk needs a slightly longer boil time to yield good curd.
  2. Once the milk has cooled to body temperature or 110 degrees, place into a large glass container or stainless steel or clay pot.
  3. Add the curd starter and gently stir, then cover and wrap in cloth and keep in a warm place overnight.
  4. Once the curd has set, it should be quite firm and have a slightly sour smell but not putrid. It should taste quite like a mild yogurt.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours
  6. Now we are ready to churn!

 

Burning butter by making butter!

Once the curd is cool, we can place it in the butter churn and start churning! This can be a lengthy process and it is important to be patient and churn in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction to really churn and not mix. I used the lever of the dazey churn to go back and forth, thereby creating this clockwise and anticlockwise process. It took an hour for the tamarind curd to separate into butter and buttermilk and it took almost two hours for the chilli pepper curd to separate.

Once you see the yellow clumps of butter floating on the buttermilk you are done! Sometimes adding a little ice water to the mixture can help to clump the butter further and you can take it out quite easily. Washing the butter is important since any buttermilk left in the butter can make it go rancid quite quickly. Simply use ice water to scrape the butter in a bowl and rinse until the water runs clear. Now we have collected enough butter to make ghee! But what about the leftover buttermilk?

Buttermilk
Buttermilk has tremendous health benefits. The buttermilk that is left once the butter is taken out is considered true lassi or takra. The health benefits are vast! It is a delicious and refreshing drink for the entire family! Takra is considered beneficial for many G.I. conditions such as IBD and Crohn’s disease as well as poor digestion, hemorrhoids, tumors, edema, diarrhea, anemia, urinary diseases and many other health-related conditions. Adding a pinch of roasted cumin powder and/or black pepper can greatly help with its digestive effects – not to mention making it even more delicious!

“He who uses takra daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita [divine nectar] is for the gods, takra is to humans.” Bhavaprakasha Chpt 6.7

Steps for making ghee – finally!

The Butter

And so we reach the ghee process at last! As I mentioned earlier, this long procedure to arrive at butter is time consuming and can be a little exhausting (think churning!). So in order to cut some time and create your own batch of divine ghee I would recommend looking into the butters available on the market. Ideally organic grassfed cultured butter is your best bet for making ghee as authentic and pure as possible. However the more I looked into the butters I realized that even cultured organic butter raises questions. For example, what is the difference between European and American cultured butter?

European butter is simply butter obtained using cultures from Europe! However it is also defined as a cultured butter that is churned longer in order to achieve at minimum 82% butterfat. Compared to American cultured butter which is churned to obtain at least 80% butterfat, the European butters usually have a richer flavor and a softer texture.

~Ghee Recipe~

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of cultured organic butter (preferably homemade!)

Utensils

  • Stainless steel pot
  • Cheesecloth and/or fine sieve
  • Airtight glass jars

 

  1. Place the butter in a stainless steel pan and melt gently on a medium flame. Gas burners are a more preferable method of cooking ghee.
  2. Once the butter has melted, lower the heat until the butter is gently boiling
  3. Foam will start to gather and rise to the top – if you want to remove it, do so gently using a wooden spoon – being careful not to stir the ghee. Some sources advise against removing this foam – arguing that it contains medicinal properties. The milk solids will start to gather at the bottom of the pan and it is important to not dislodge this into the ghee.
  4. Ghee can easily burn so care must be taken to watch over it and prevent too much vigorous boiling- if it has become too brown and gives a nutty aroma it has burned.
  5. Once the ghee starts to become clear – and you can see the milk solids at the bottom of the pan – it is almost done! The golden liquid will give off a most delightful buttery popcorn aroma – making your kitchen an aromatic heaven!
  6. Adding a drop of water to the ghee is a good test to see if it is done. If it produces a crackling sound, your ghee is ready! Once the ghee stops sputtering and popping you can switch the gas off. Let it cool down a little – once it is warm it can be filtered into glass jars. It is important to not let it cool too much or else it will conglomerate with the milk solids and all your hard work will be ruined!
  7. Filter using cheesecloths or fine sieves into dry glass jars or stainless steel containers. It should be kept airtight and in a dark place away from light. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated. Using dry jars are important as even a drop of water can ruin the ghee!

 

  • Ideally ghee should be made during the waxing or full moon – it is useful to consider that the true full moon will only last a minute! So any time after the exact full moon is considered a waning moon. Therefore cooking a few hours before the exact time of the full moon is most beneficial. Be wary of companies who market their ghees using the full moon – it may be helpful to enquire further of the exact time and date that these ghees are created.
  • Using mantras or prayers can imbibe the ghee with additional protective healing energies. It is also helpful to keep the cook mindful while he/she is chanting these prayers.
  • Placing the ghee on a sri yantra once it is cooked is another consideration. The sri yantra is a sacred geometrical shape which is particularly effective in energizing foods and drinks when used correctly. 

 


The Story Of Disease: An Ayurvedic Understanding

The Story Of Disease
There's a fascinating story I've heard that describes the "Summary of The Process of Disease Formation," according to Ayurvedic Medicine. First, disease begins when we forget our true nature. This is known as the "Primordial Cause" of disease. We forget how we as spirit are spiritualizing through the human experience. According to Marisa Laursen, a professor at the California College of Ayurveda, "the mind is a place of purity and clarity. The thought comes along and disturbs the mind."

the "Primordial Cause" of disease.

"Thought is part of ego and the chatter becomes the smoke screen that disturbs us from the true self." The ego creates stories and draws upon attachments to the past and projections of the future, constantly shape-shifting and vacillating between the two; preventing us from being absolutely absorbed in the present moment because it fears its cessation. There is a sacred text called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the first line of the yoga sutras states "yoga chitta vritti nirodha", which means that "Yoga (union/merging) involves the cessation of the disturbances of the mind." There are 195 sutras or verses and of the 195 versus the 194 verses show us how to accomplish verse number one.

"Ayurvedic Living" By Dr. Marc Halpern

The process and movement of time, which is known as "Parinama" or that which relates to things that change, is the next cause and contributing factor. There are two aspects to time. One relates to Linear time, which is out of our control because this involves the cycles of the earth revolving around the sun and the changes of season. The second form of time consists of Biological time, which, though is in our control, it is dynamic. This is because the pacing of biological time changes with response to our motion and as motion increases, the rate of biological time increases. With this, the body either ages faster when we are moving faster and more slowly when we slow down. A busy mind causes us to perceive time as moving quickly and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment, time slows down. When the mind moves quickly, the body will reflect this and as the mind moves slower, the body will reflect this too.

“and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment" ... 

Once we experience a busy and chaotic/distracted mind, we come to the next step where disease develops. This experience is called "Prajnaparadha" or "crimes against wisdom/failure of intelligence". What happens here is that on some deep level we know what is right for us but we allow our minds to convince us otherwise and we make opposite choices. Our intellect is constantly being used to make decisions and it prefers to choose between pleasure and harmony. This is where the ego feeds off the senses and uses the senses to support its own happiness somehow as it pursues outer pleasures to satisfy itself and perpetuate its own existence through separation/division. Dr. Marc Halpern, President and Founder of the California College of Ayurveda, says "While the ego and the senses speak loudly within the great hall of the mind, the soul speaks in whispers." When we allow our inner wisdom to be ignored, it's because we have given our power away to our senses and this leads to the next place where the five senses, the eyes, ears, mouth, the skin, and smell dictate our interaction with the world.

Amrit Nectar  
Enhances coordination of mental and physical functions; supports balance between the heart and the brain; powerful antioxidant.

This is called "Asatmendryartha Samyoga" or "unwholesome conjunction of the senses with their objects of their affection." Dr. Marc Halpern further explains: "When people take into their body that which does not match their constitution, they are considered misusing their senses. In addition to taking in what is not harmonious, a person may also take in too much or too little of what is energetically harmonious for that person. This too will cause disease."

... only Ayurveda has a full definition of what is health.

What is amazing is that of all the healthcare systems in the world, only Ayurveda has come up with an adequate and full definition of what is health. Other systems, like Allopathy, define health as the "absence of disease" but Ayurveda says this "Sama Dosha Sama Agnis ca Sama Dhatu Mala kriya Prasannatmendriya Manah Svasta itiabhidyate" which means "balanced constitution(Vata/Pitta/Kapha), balanced digestion, balanced tissues, balanced waste products (urine, feces, sweat), balanced senses (eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin), balanced mind (sattva, rajas,tamas), and alignment with spirit is what healthy is." Any disturbance or abnormality in any of these is an indication of disease.

Stages Of Disease ... 
Additionally, Ayurveda has broken down disease pathology into six stages, known as "Samprapti." Each of the stages can be understood as such: Accumulation, Aggravation, Overflow, Relocation, Manifestation and Diversification. There is an image that helps to grasp these concepts more easily. Let's say we have a tree and the roots are the doshas (tendencies towards imbalances based on constitutional determinants, of Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and these roots are below the surface. What is above the surface is the trunk of the tree and this represents Overflow, where the blood and plasma exist as part of the circulatory system. As the tree progresses upward, the branches form and this is known as the Relocation Phase. From the branch, we have a bud and this budding is the Manifestation of the disease. After it starts to bloom and this blooming is the full-fledged experience of the disease, known as Diversification. According to Ayurvedic prevention and management of disease there is a natural cycle that happens throughout the year and with each season. As one season is present, that is the Aggravated Phase and the season that just left has now been Alleviated but while we are in the Aggravated Phase the next season is already Accumulating.

Herbal Di-Gest 
Supports improved digestion and balanced appetite; helps with gas, bloating, and discomfort.

A Closer Look
As each Dosha (biological constitution, that is prone to decay) undergoes this experience of time/season change, the natural Alleviation of particular symptoms occurs. IF or WHEN, for some reason or another, this cycle is interrupted and Alleviation is prevented, we enter into Overflow and this is when a disease is really progressing. In other words, it is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that this is the beginning of a disturbance that begins in the digestive system. Commonly ignored, may appear subtle or overt, disturbances would be: sluggish digestion (weak/low digestive fire = Manda Agni), gas/dry stools (variable digestion = Vishama Agni), and/or burning indigestion (sharp digestion = Tikshna Agni). Low digestion relates to Kapha. Variable digestion relates to Vata and sharp digestion relates to Pitta. Balanced digestion is called Sama Agni where there are no digestive disturbances. It is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that we can catch a disease from further progressing but we are usually too busy and less sensitive to notice and we keep pushing ahead until other symptoms develop and scream for out attention. It is at these stages that, according to Ayurveda, that we can simply balance our diet and lifestyle, making better choices that we can prevent diseases from increasing. When the symptoms have progressed and they enter into the circulatory system then we have to intervene with herbs/medications and other therapies. Regardless of what stage a disease is at, diet and lifestyle must be adjusted in order to secure the optimization of health. Herbs/medications alone are not meant to do the job completely as we are whole beings and not just treating parts of a body/mind. This is the holistic approach and effort. Even when herbs are administered, diet and lifestyle provisions are made to ensure success or at least make some improvements.

Disease starts out as "dis-ease".

Prognosis is about the likelihood of improvement and/or correction of a condition. Disease, depending on what stage of development it is at can always be managed. There are diseases that are Easy to cure, Difficult to cure, Incurable but not terminal and Terminal.  Disease starts out as "dis-ease" and picks up momentum until it has completely manifested itself as disease and by returning ease through our diet and lifestyles we can encourage disease to return back to ease. Importantly, this ease also involves supporting the well-being of a person through their state of mind. I've said for many years now, that it's about the little things that build up to the big things.

There are of course extenuating circumstances that are to be factored into all this, circumstances such as external factors like accidents and other outside variations of trauma that can influence health and disease pathology. Karma falls into this and it is important to remember that karma is not about blame or judgment but about balance. Karma is not about punishment or reward, it is about balance. In Ayurveda and Yoga, we know that karma is a result of selfish acts and by being selfless we can release ourselves from the cumulative effects and experiences of karma. This is a discussion that requires further exploration at another time and escapes the main purpose of this present article which is meant to give a general understanding and summary of the cause of disease. This current article is meant to share a perspective and expand our lens on the possibilities that surround dis-ease leading to disease. Simply, we can always either prevent or manage.

In summary, take note of what your senses are doing. Take control of them. They are like the five horses without a charioteer and once the charioteer takes hold, the horses can be guided. Similarly, our innermost and highest version of ourselves is the charioteer and when we take hold of the five senses we can get a better handle on our lives. Ayurveda has in place a five sense therapy protocol designed to support this process and journey. With regard to other stressors, by reducing the stress we experience as the mind stresses because of past and future projections and attachments, we can feel more in touch with what is happening to day and embrace the grace of the moment that invites us to be intimate with it. Practices such as, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Tai Chi, and other holistic modalities are meant to support us in remembering who we are and what we have come here for. When we remember who we are by escaping the illusions and story-telling of the mind rooted in the attachment to past and future events, we will find our interactions with the world coming from a more wholesome place and the choices we make will be more in alignment with what is true in our hearts and not what we think is true in our minds.

About The Author
Vishnu Om

Vishnu M.Ayu, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. Vishnu is currently enrolled in California College of Ayurveda with the intention of obtaining his doctoral degree in Ayurveda. He is the owner of ‘Still Point Ayurveda’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can contact him at Still Point Ayurveda.


Sustainability In Ayurveda: Essential Principles & Guidelines

 

Sustainability In Ayurveda
Essential Principles and Guidelines By Sarah Devi Otto­-Combs

While words like “sustainability” and “Ayurveda” have become increasingly popular in recent years, there has been little conversation about what it really means to practice Ayurveda sustainably. As Ayurveda has taken hold in the West, there has been a corresponding surge in use of herbs from the Ayurvedic Apothecary. Aushadhis, or medicines, such as ashwagandha and triphala that were once foreign commodities are now commonplace and readily available in most cities in local co­ops and natural food stores. This in addition to the plethora of products available from India directly online has vastly changed the face of this market. While this has a been a boon for many reasons, there is a side of this industry that hasn’t been talked about as much, namely the environmental impact of ordering herbs from halfway around the world. How can we practice Ayurveda sustainably for both ourselves and our clients in a globalized marketplace, and what does that really mean?

To understand this question requires that we step back and take a look at the history of Ayurveda. Though Kerala is often referred to as the birthplace of Ayurveda, this science has been practiced across the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years, with varying expressions based on the climate, culture, and substances available for medicinal use. These regional differences were integral in shaping the differences seen in treatment, especially in terms of herbs. The underlying principles of treatment were and are the same, but the substances used for treatment were not. People were not importing herbs from across the globe, they were using what was available in their own backyards.

Environmental Sustainability - We Have Choices

 

Essential Principles & Guidelines ...
It is precisely this notion that must be imported with the rest of the glory of Ayurveda. Many herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousand of years are now endangered due to over harvesting, and should not be purchased. Such stories are a result of demand as much as they are of supply; let us be impeccable in our choices as consumers, purchasing only that which has been verifiably sourced as organic and sustainable. We must also consider that even when organic and sustainably harvested, these medicines are travelling thousands of miles to get to us, contributing to fossil fuel emissions in addition to often being shipped in plastic packaging and containers. By seeking out what is available locally or growing our own herbs, we are supporting sustainable practices and getting fresher product to boot!

How else does practicing Ayurveda sustainably translate practically? Remember that Ayurveda is vast in scope, and that herbs are in fact only a small portion of what we use to treat ourselves and clients. By following these simple guidelines, we can help ensure that Ayurveda is practiced effectively without putting unnecessary strain on precious resources like herbs and fossil fuels.

 

1) Diet & Lifestyle First.
Always use diet and lifestyle first and foremost to treat yourself and your clients! Ayurveda teaches us that all diseases begin in the g.i. tract, caused primarily by wrong foods, poor food combining, food at the wrong time, and eating food in the wrong way. If we give and take herbs without addressing this, then we are using herbs irresponsibly and unsustainably. This is a very different paradigm from what we are accustomed to in the West, and requires that we are personally accountable for our actions and how they impact our state of health. Don’t just blindly take herbs without addressing the foundation of what sustains you, namely your daily routines and what you digest!

 

2) Act Locally.
Get to know herbs available locally! This could mean using yarrow or elderberry instead of sitopaladi to support yourself in cold and flu season, or becoming familiar with the medicinal properties of your spice cabinet. Many locally available herbs have actions parallel to what we import from India, and when administered with with the precision of Ayurvedic preparation and administration can yield greater potency and efficacy due to the freshness of the plant.

Common spices such as cumin and turmeric also have profound healing properties, and are powerful allies in our arsenal of medicinal substances. Tulsi is an herb easily grown in a pot indoors, and is said to bring blessings simply by having it in your home! These are just a few examples of the many ways we can augment our health without importing herbs unnecessarily.

3) Be impeccable with sourcing!
Be impeccable with sourcing! If you or your practitioner determine that traditional Ayurvedic compounds are the best option for treatment, make sure that your herbs are organic and sustainably harvested. Be aware of what herbs are endangered, and of what herbs are appropriate substitutes for such medicines. Companies like Banyan Botanicals and Organic India are great resources for herbs from India, and many Ayurvedic practitioners grow their own herbs for client use. Herbs like jatamansi and sandalwood are highly endangered, and should not be used lightly. Though wonderful medicines, we have a vast array of other medicines to choose from that are not endangered, and in fact should do so.

The Takeaway ...
The takeaway is that to practice Ayurveda does not require use of only the Indian pharmacopoeia. Ayurveda is a science based on a universally applicable set of principles, adaptable based on what you have access to, and does not require knowledge of traditional Ayurvedic formulations. To practice Ayurveda is to practice a philosophy of awareness of the impacts of the choices we make on a daily basis. The resources of our planet are precious and to be cherished as dearly as we cherish our own lives, for without them there is no us. It is through our cooperation and oneness with Nature that we are able to flourish, and to live this way is to embody our fullest capacity as human beings. This is the ultimate expression of Ayurveda.

About The Author 
Sarah Devi Otto-Combs

Sarah Devi Otto-Combs
 uses the Ayurvedic paradigm of constitutional analysis to help her clients achieve the foundation of good health that we all deserve and desire. Using Ayurvedic principles, she helps her clients to rectify both recent and long lingering imbalances, that they may live life to its fullest and with joy.

“There is so much to be gained through understanding ourselves through the lens of Ayurveda, and I am here to guide my clients through that process. My hope is that the aforementioned may serve as a guide to deeper understanding of this paradigm, as this is also the foundation of how we treat clients as Ayurvedic practitioners.” In addition to practicing and studying Ayurveda, Sarah Devi is a student of Odissi classical Indian dance.  She is also the co-proprietor of Keeper of the Ink, an all natural tattoo aftecare product made in the Pacific Northwest.  Feel free to contact her with any questions or comments.