Considered as sacred, Panchamrit is a sweet holy concoction used in worship and Abhiṣeka of deities. Panchamrita is a Sanskrit word, also known as Panchamrutham or Panchamrut. The word ‘Panchamrit’ is made from two words, ‘pancha’ meaning ‘five’ and’ amrit’ meaning ‘nectar of immortality’. According to the Hindu religion, Panchamrit is a blend of five foods used as divine offering to the deities during pooja which it is then after distributed as prasad. Panchamrit is said to have medicinal values which heal and nurture human bodies and increase immunity.
There are regional variations in the ingredients used. In Nepal and North India, usually cow milk, honey, sugar, curd and ghee (clarified butter) are used as the main ingredients. In Tamil Nadu, Panchamritam is a mixture of banana, ghee, honey, jaggery and cardamom. Palani Dhandayuthapani temple located in Tamil Nadu is popular for its unique panchamirtham which uses Virupatchi hill bananas grown in the surrounding Palani hills.
All these ingredients have specific symbolic meanings:
|Cow’s Milk||According to Ayurveda, cow’s milk has a cooling effect upon our body and mind. It enhances ‘Ojas’, the essential energy responsible for a long healthy life, radiance, strength, vitality, immunity and mental and emotional wellness.|
|Curd or Yogurt||According to Ayurveda, curd is a taste enhancer, appetizer, enhancer of strength, nourishment source, aphrodisiac, and vitalizer. It is also a probiotic and improves the digestion and balances ‘vata dosha’.|
|Honey||According to Ayurveda, honey has all the required enzymes and often the carrier or medium for Ayurvedic medicines. It improves digestion, clears complexion and makes skin smooth. It is easily digestible and gets assimilated in the blood-stream instantly when consumed.|
|Candy Sugar (Shakkar)||Sugar symbolises sweetness and bliss, thus used in many Ayurvedic formulas and churnas (medicinal powders). Candy sugar has a cooling effect on the body.|
|Ghee (Clarified Butter)||The most treasured food of Ayurveda, Ghee has remarkable healing properties for the body and mind. A good source of Vitamins A and E with antioxidants that offer medicinal benefit.|
According to Ayurveda all these five ingredients have immense health benefits when combined in correct proportions. It balances all three doshas and boost overall health. Panchamrit is known to nourish the ‘Sapt Dhatu’ – the seven bodily tissues:
- Shukra Dhatu – Reproductive tissues
- Majja Dhatu – Bone marrow and nervous tissues
- Asthi Dhatu – Bone, teeth
- Medas Dhatu – Fatty tissues
- Mamsa Dhatu – Muscle tissues
- Rakta Dhatu – Blood
- Rasa Dhatu – Plasma for strength, immunity and vitality
It boosts the health of a mother and foetus if consumed during pregnancy. It rectifies Pitta imbalance, which causes acidity, nausea, indigestion, and low blood pressure that women commonly suffer from. Thus having Panchamrita every day can boost her bone density and make her stronger. Additionally widely known as the brain tonic, panchamrit promotes brain development of the child during pregnancy.
The ghee in panchamrit is said to vitalise the brain, enhance memory and grasping power, and even one’s creative and artistic abilities. Altogether ghee and milk in panchamrit help you build strong bones from within, boosting your physical health. It is particularly useful for women’s bone health as they enter menopause. The ghee contains the fat-soluble Vitamin K2, which helps in the absorption of calcium and fortifies bones. It is also a natural skin cleanser. It provides appropriate nutrition to the skin cells and promotes their overall growth.
Panchamrit improves digestion and immunity. It has yogurt, ghee and honey, all of which are known to boost immunity. Yogurt is a probiotic that helps keep your gut healthy and research shows that people who consume probiotics on a daily basis have a lower chance of contracting colds and flu compared to those who don’t. Moreover ghee is full of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K which ramp up immune function. Also the honey is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and is a well-known immunity booster.