Chances are you have heard of Ayurvedic Golden Milk already. It seems to be everywhere these days. Health food stores, self-care online stores, natural food blogs, and so on. What is all the hubbub about then?
Let me tell you, not only is this easy-to-prepare drink packed with countless health benefits but it also tastes divine. It is a perfect beverage to drink before settling down to your bedtime routine.
Especially now, when the days are getting colder, and the flu season is upon us, Golden Milk might be just the beverage you need. Once you start making it, you won’t stop. It is that good!
- What Is Ayurvedic Golden Milk
- The Key Benefits of Golden Milk
- Start Ingredients of the Golden Milk
- Ayurvedic Golden Milk Recipe
- Other Health-Bringing Additions
What Is Ayurvedic Golden Milk
Golden Milk or Turmeric Milk has been known and used for millennia within the ancient branch of traditional Indian medicine known as Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Golden Milk (Haldi ka Doodh in Hindi) is considered a tonic which means it nourishes the whole body.
It has been used for so many body systems ranging from digestion to the nervous system. It is also known to reduce inflammation, boost general immunity, aid in sleep, and help the mind stay sharp.
Turmeric has been used as a nontoxic drug in Ayurveda for centuries to treat a wide variety of disorders including rheumatism, body ache, skin diseases, intestinal worms, diarrhea, intermittent, fevers, hepatic disorders, biliousness, urinary discharges, dyspepsia, inflammations, constipation, leukoderma, amenorrhea, and colic.“Spicing Up” of the Immune System by Curcumin
The Key Benefits of Golden Milk
Notice I am talking about the key benefits because to list them all would take a long research paper. In fact, the star ingredient of Golden Milk – Curcumin – has been widely researched for its health benefits.
The National Institutes of Health PubMed database, one of the most trusted medical research directories, lists well over five thousand articles on turmeric or curcumin.
One of the studies included in the PubMed directory lists multiple illnesses and conditions for which curcumin might offer help or even alternatives to synthetic medications.
Curcumin and its analogs have been employed in different studies involving several pathologies such as cardiovascular and ophthalmic diseases, diabetes, depression, HIV, vitiligo, Alzheimer’s disease, endometriosis, osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.Reflections about Osteoarthritis and Curcuma longa
Let’s focus on five key health benefits of curcumin.
Research suggests that curcumin can regulate immune function by modulating the immune response of white blood cells.
(Curcumin is) a potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells.Journal of Clinical Immunology
Turmeric acts as an antioxidant which means it can ward off free radicals that bombard us constantly from the air and pollution we breathe, the sun that shines on us, the food that’s been treated with chemicals, etc, etc.
These free radicals can lead to oxidative stress in our cells and tissues. For example, this is how “age spots” show up from too much sun exposure.
Curcumin – with its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects – can support wound healing through its antibacterial effects.
Along with countering inflammation and helping to prevent future inflammatory responses, curcumin is also known for reducing pain. In particular, those dealing with arthritis can benefit from supplementing with curcumin.
Keeps Your Gut Healthy
A healthy gut means a healthy person. And, and I know it very well -read my posts on gut health – your gut is only as healthy as the microbiota that resides in there.
Now, curcumin is our ally when it comes to gut health in two ways.
First, there appears to be a strong connection between curcumin and gut microbiota.
An increasing number of studies have suggested that gut dysbiosis is linked with many metabolic diseases, and curcumin seems to have beneficial effects on gut microbiota, favoring the growth of beneficial bacteria strains.Interaction between Gut Microbiota and Curcumin
Anything that can aid in improving the ratio between beneficial and harmful bacteria in gut microbiota is very helpful for those concerned with their gut health.
Secondly, curcumin might also enhance the function of the intestinal barrier. This is particularly important to those dealing with “leaky gut” or unresolved IBS symptoms.
Current research suggests that can improve mild depression and even major depressive disorder (MDD). Even though more studies are needed, I think it is worth the shot, especially since the risk of side effects is almost nonexistent.
It is turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties that might cause it to have an antidepressant effect.
Curcumin is the main active component in the spice turmeric that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and depressive disorders.Front Psychiatry
Promotes Restful Sleep
This benefit comes from the already mentioned strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of curcumin.
Because sleep and depression and/or anxiety are closely connected, supplementing with this anti-inflammatory compound can make depression more manageable which means better sleep. Additionally, turmeric can boost the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.
As a cancer survivor, I would be remiss if I did not mention the purported anti-cancer properties of turmeric and curcumin.
Curcumin is also lauded for its many anti-cancer effects, and studies are currently underway to determine its efficacy in the treatment and prevention of breast, pancreatic, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers.Origins Functional Medicine
Since my diagnosis in 2014 and my first visit with a naturopathic doctor to guide me with nutrition and supplementation through my cancer journey, I’ve been supplementing with curcumin in addition to cooking with turmeric and drinking Golden Milk.
Start Ingredients of the Golden Milk
Now that we know the benefits of drinking this turmeric milk, let’s see what exactly is in the drink that makes it so healthy and nutritious.
Golden milk is traditionally made from cow’s milk, but if you prefer to use plant-based milk, it’s perfectly fine to use almond, oat, coconut or any other milk or “malk”.
According to Ayurveda, cow’s milk – when prepared properly – can nourish all the tissues and promotes the balancing of all the doshas. It is important to use only organic, not-homogenized, preferably grass-fed milk. It would be best to get your milk from a single source (I know, it is not easy to find a dairy farmer these days from whom you can get your fresh milk).
Most importantly, never drink your milk cold. Instead, it should be brought to a brief boil which makes it much more easily digested. Thus prepared milk will nourish the Ojas – which promotes our immunity.
According to ayurveda, ojas is a refined substance the body produces from the most subtle level of proper digestion.
Ojas brings strength, strong immunity, happiness, and contentment, according to ayurveda.
Therefore, milk is a very important food to include regularly in one’s diet, especially if you follow a vegetarian lifestyle.MAPI
Known as the ‘Golden Spice’, turmeric comes from the flowering curcuma longa plant. You can find it in health food stores or Asian food stores. It looks like ginger – in fact, it belongs to the same plant family – only it is bright yellow or orange.
Turmeric is widely regarded as a whole-health tonic, which is able to support the body in a multitude of ways.
The main problem with turmeric is its bioavailability. When ingested, it is not very well absorbed inside our bodies.
Unless… unless it is taken with black pepper with its constituent called piperine. Piperine can enhance the absorption of curcumin by a whopping 2,000%!
When buying curcumin as a supplement, make sure that you get one that contains black pepper extract or piperine. Similarly, when cooking with turmeric, make sure to add a good sprinkling of black pepper.
This is why we add it to the Golden Milk as well.
Turmeric is better absorbed in the presence of fat. Adding a bit of ghee enhances also the medicinal qualities of the milk and spices.
Raw honey in itself is a well-known health food. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Adding it to the Golden Milk for a bit of extra sweetness makes perfect sense.
Only, please do not cook the honey as it will lose all its medicinal properties and can even become toxic. It is best to add it to any beverage only a few minutes after cooking when the drink got a chance to cool off a tiny bit.
Ayurvedic Golden Milk Recipe
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- 1 cup Milk or Coconut milk (for vegans)
- 1 TBS Turmeric powder
- a pinch of Black pepper
- Raw honey (to taste)
- 1 tsp Ghee (or coconut oil for vegans)
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring all of the ingredients except coconut oil/ghee and honey to a simmer.
- Stir well and lower the heat to a low so that it simmers slowly for at least 5 minutes (the longer you let it simmer, the stronger the flavors, so it is good to experiment with the time and see what level of spiciness you like best).
- When done simmering, strain into a cup. Add ghee (or coconut oil) and honey.
Other Health-Bringing Additions
You can add other adaptogens and flavoring spices to your liking. Here are some examples:
- Ginger (a slice of fresh ginger or a pinch of dried powder)
- Vanilla (scrape the bean or use the extract)
- Star Anise
Enjoy the amazing taste and the therapeutic abilities of this Ayurvedic Golden Milk. I’m sure, once you try it, it will become a new habit. It did for me!