In the Indian classic language of Sanskrit, “panch” means five and “amrit” means nectar. Panchamrit (also called panchamrut) is a drink or paste made with 5 everyday ingredients: milk, yogurt, raw sugar, honey and ghee.
Now – these are fridge and store-cupboard ingredients that are easily available in Indian households, and likely consumed in some form or the other throughout the day. So why is it considered a special concoction? Because, when mixed and made into this nectar, its combined Ayurvedic properties have some potent health benefits – and also finds its place in poojas, Hindu festivals and religious ceremonies throughout the calendar year.
Here, we’re listing the 5 health benefits of this 5-ingredient health nectar.
Energy: Any kind of sugar does tend to give you a quick energy boost – but when that sugar is in raw form and is combined with yogurt and honey, it leaves you with sustained energy. Raw sugar is less processed, contains more minerals and doesn’t rush through your system with the same speed as refined white sugar.
Strength: We all say strength starts from your bones – and the 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.
Brain function: Consider ghee grease for your grey cells! The ghee in panchamrit is said to vitalise the brain, enhance memory and grasping power, and even one’s creative and artistic abilities.
Immunity: Panchamrit 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. Ghee is full of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K which ramp up immune function. Honey is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and is a well-known immunity booster.
Prenatal/pregnancy benefits: All five ingredients in panchamrit work to support the health and well-being of pregnant women, as well as the development of the foetus.
How to have Panchamrit
There are several recipes on the Internet – some call for each of the five ingredients to be combined in equal measure – but this would lead to a rather greasy panchamrit! It’s to use higher amounts of milk and yogurt, with raw sugar, honey and ghee in lesser quantities.
Since you are making this at home for personal consumption and not to be distributed as prasad, you only need about 1 katori or bowl. You can combine:
4 tsp milk
2 tsp curd
1 tsp ghee
1 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp pure honey
Make sure that:
The milk is cow’s milk
The curd and ghee are set at home
The sugar is raw sugar (some recipes use jaggery)
The honey is raw/pure and unadulterated
If possible, mix the ingredients in a silver or bronze bowl. Panchamrit is best consumed in the morning on an empty stomach.
(Note that in winter you can keep it outside for up to 12 hours, but in summer it goes bad in a couple of hours due to higher temperatures which can affect the non-homogenised dairy used in its preparation.)
While it is largely ingested, panchamrit can also be used topically, as a skin cleanser or mask. Honey contains natural antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which protect the skin from the harsh rays of the sun. Raw sugar works as a natural humectant (hydrating agent). And the ghee helps nourish the skin and helps keep it firm and supple.
The last word
Panchamrit is an easy-to-prepare concoction that has immense nutritional benefits – you don’t need to wait for festival season, a pooja or a visit to the temple to have it. You can have a small amount each day and enjoy long-lasting good health!