The eyes are a mirror of general health. We look outward and see an entire world through our eyes. Eighty percent of our connection to the world is through our vision. We have leisure time on our hands. We read, watch television, text, or use the computer. We are constantly using our eyes. Little do we know that we burn out the circuits that we use the most; therefore, we need to plan ahead and act on a daily basis to prevent deterioration in our vision.
The science and mythology of Ayurveda hold the eyes in high esteem. Neethi Shathaka, an ancient classical text book on Ayurveda says ‘Sarvendriyanam nayanam pradhanam‘. In other words, Ayurveda considers the eye as the most important sense organ. Ayurveda recognizes the medicinal value of ghee, so much that is used to wash the eyes.
Ayurveda recognizes the medicinal value of ghee, so much that is used to wash the eyes.
Netra basti is an ancient Ayurvedic therapy which involves pouring medicated ghee into the eyes. Traditional netra basti is done by an Ayurvedic practitioner in a clinical setting. The practitioner places a ring of dough around the eye and fills it with medicated ghee. The ghee is allowed to bathe the eye for 15-20 minutes before being removed.
Netra basti is a wonderful therapy for certain eye conditions:
- dry eyes
- blurry or poor vision
- double vision
- eye pain
- difficulty opening or closing the eyes
- falling eyelashes
It’s also good for those who use their eyes excessively—like working all day on a computer. Netra basti can also be viewed as beauty therapy, as it can make the whites of your eyes whiter.
What is Ghee?
Ghee’s beginnings are ancient and rooted in Ayurveda. Ghee is a type of clarified butter. Butter has several components to it—water, milkfat, and milk solids. To clarify it, unsalted butter is heated so that these three components separate—the water is evaporated and the milk solids are removed, leaving only the milk fat.
Ghee gently softens and nourishes the organs, kindling internal fire without adding extra heat to the body. It is also seen as a stable and dependable food source that increases overall vitality.
Externally, it makes a wonderful massage oil. Internally it is used to oil pull, to aid digestion, and as an infusion to increase absorption of herbal medicine.
Benefits of a Ghee Eye Bath
Pure ghee is rich in Vitamin A and it is known for amazing lubricating power. One of the uses of ghee for eyes is maintaining the hydration level of eyes that ultimately prevents the problem of dry eye syndrome.
People who work long on a computer or watch illuminated screen frequently, often suffer from dryness of tear glands. The moisturizing effect of pure ghee helps in retrieving the natural health and lubrication power of these lacrimal ducts enduring better eye health. Benefits of a ghee eye bath include:
- Cleanses the eyes – Netra Basti means “eye cleanse.” During the day, dust, mucous, minerals, and other elements can all get caught in our eyes. The ghee releases that and helps remove it. For some, salt is trapped in the tear duct, and releasing that might sting a little.
- Helps tear ducts – Our eyes are in use from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep. The hydrating quality of ghee keeps lacrimal glands in the eye active and it reduces dry eye syndrome.
- Relaxes eyes – Many of us spend hours a day in synthetic light, looking at a screen. Like all muscles, our eyes get tired after continuous use. The cooling effect of ghee keeps the eye fresh and reduced the effect of fatigue due to long working hours. The ghee deeply nourishes and relaxes the eye to let it fully relax.
How To Perform a Ghee Eye Bath At Home
It is always the best to practice Ayurvedic eye treatment under a skilled Ayurvedic eye therapy expert. Besides skill and expertise, the purity of the ghee used for eyes is important. However, it’s easy to replicate netra basti at home with just a few simple ingredients.
- A clean/sterile eye cup (available at most drug stores).
- Organic herbal ghee that has not come into contact with other foodstuffs or non-sterile utensils.
*Make sure that your ghee is well strained, smooth, and free from any particles that might irritate your eyes.
- Place a small scoop of ghee into your eyecup, then set the eyecup in a small bowl of hot water. Allow the ghee to liquify.
- Allow the ghee to cool to room temperature.
- Tip your head forward slightly, and place the eyecup firmly against your eye, creating a seal.
- Tip your head back, open your eye, and look around, right to left, left to right, up and down. Allow the ghee to wash over your eye for 30-60 seconds. Repeat with the other eye.
- Gently, wipe your eyes with a clean towel, and head to bed. Avoid exposure to light and electronic devices.
Ghee Eye Bath Experience
Netra basti is surprisingly relaxing. Most people are a little scared the first time they try this therapy. But the slightly warm, velvety ghee is actually quite soothing. It feels nourishing, lubricating, and almost cozy.
Ideally, you would open your eyes every so often, allowing the fresh ghee in, but ghee seeps in there whether your eyes are open or closed. The ghee will make your eyes feel a little filmy.
Most people don’t experience stinging, but it is possible. Stinging is not harmful and goes away after the therapy.
Netra basti can be performed at a weekly cadence for several weeks.
The effects of netra basti can be amplified by certain Ayurvedic herbs and formulas that nourish the eyes from the inside out. Food and lifestyle are very important, too. The whole body is connected, so the best way to approach the eyes (and any other body part) is by making the whole body healthier.