Golden Milk is a traditional Ayurvedic Nutrition elixir that’s been used for thousands of years in both yoga and Ayurveda to promote health. For centuries, Ayurveda has relied on golden milk to help with improved digestion, circulation, clearer skin, joint health, and respiration. The ingredients in golden milk conjure Agni, or digestive fire, which can be effective for balancing excess kapha during cold winter months. In moderation, the ingredients in golden milk can be used to balance Vata, Pitta, and Kapha all year-round. Golden milk boasts a plethora of potential health benefits that, thanks to its superfood ingredients, can be a delicious way to enjoy an integrated approach to health and wellbeing.
Golden milk is traditionally made using fresh turmeric root, which is the superstar ingredient of this anti-inflammatory beverage. Turmeric root has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries in Traditional Medicine and Ayurveda to help treat inflammation, pain, wounds, and digestive disorders. Turmeric root contains three active curcuminoids, the most concentrated being curcumin, which is known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering properties. While there is no significant evidence to support the treatment of chronic conditions with turmeric alone, studies have shown that when made bioavailable, adding curcuminoids to an existing treatment plan can help reduce inflammation in the treatment of arthritis, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. This means that by itself, curcumin has a hard time being absorbed by the body; however, we can improve the bioavailability (absorption and assimilation) of the curcumin in turmeric by combining it with the piperine in black pepper.
Research suggests that combining the piperine in black pepper with the curcumin in turmeric enhances its absorption by up to 2,000%. This isn’t enough evidence to support relying on turmeric and black pepper alone to manage inflammation, however, it does prove there are ways we can increase the bioavailability of certain nutrients and minerals through scientifically backed food combining.
Curcumin and piperine are both fat-soluble, which means the milk in golden milk (can be whole milk or a high-fat plant-based option like coconut milk) also plays an important role in this magical beverage that facilitates balancing the doshas. When made with coconut milk, golden milk has the added benefit of providing healthy fats and magnesium. When taken before bed, magnesium can help improve sleep by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. The healthy fats in coconut milk can help with reducing a drop in blood sugar, which can help you stay asleep for longer.
The cinnamon and ginger root in golden milk are warming spices, which are excellent at balancing excess Kapha. Ginger has been shown to aid in digestion and help promote warmth throughout the body, while cinnamon has been used in traditional medicine and Ayurvedic Nutrition for centuries. Cinnamon has many scientifically researched health benefits including reducing the risk of cancer, fighting fungal infections, and providing antibacterial and antiviral benefits.
According to Ayurveda and certified ayurvedic nutritionists, excess Kapha can present as congestion, lethargy, slow digestion, a white coating on the tongue, and/or excess fluid in the body. By increasing circulation and warmth, we can help balance the cold, wet, heavy nature of Kapha. Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper, are excellent for balancing Kapha and can also aid in digestion.
When Vata or pitta become out of balance, excess grounding can be helpful. Vata and pitta can both benefit from the addition of spices like ginger and turmeric, which are both roots. When made with whole milk or full-fat coconut milk, the fat that’s present in golden milk can help balance and hydrate overactive Vata. If a pitta imbalance is overactive, or too warm, you can try reducing the ginger and black pepper so as not to add additional heat to your being.
You can sweeten golden milk with honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown unrefined sugar, or another sweetener depending on your dosha. Traditional golden milk is made with turmeric root, ginger root, and cinnamon stick. The version we make gives the option for using powders, which make it more accessible and less messy.
The heavenly aroma, traditional preparation, and potential health benefits of golden milk provide the opportunity for inviting ritual and self-care into your daily or weekly routine. You can enjoy golden milk any time of day, but an hour or two before bed is ideal.
There are lots of options for sourcing the ingredients for Golden Milk. Buying in bulk from a health food store or shopping online with a retailer like iherb vitamins is a great way to save money. In addition, you get the added benefit of having more of the delicious ingredients you need on hand for making ayurvedic magic in the kitchen.
Adding ayurvedic herbs and spices to your diet is a delicious way to reap the potential health benefits of centuries-old ayurvedic superfood ingredients. This easy golden milk recipe is perfect for replacing an afternoon cup of coffee or late-night glass of wine and will make you feel warm and snuggly all over.
- Small saucepan
- Fine mesh sieve or strainer* (*see notes)
- Your favorite mug
- ½ cup water
- 1 (1-inch) piece fresh turmeric root*, thinly sliced (*see notes)
- 1 (½ inch) piece fresh ginger root*, thinly sliced (*see notes)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon or one whole cinnamon stick
- 2-3 cracked black peppercorns or a healthy pinch of ground black pepper
- Optional; maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, or preferred sweetener
- Add spices and ½ cup water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. *Pro Tip: warm spices in the saucepan on low for 1-2 minutes before adding water. This releases their aroma and makes the house smell lovely, creating a true sensory experience.
- Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 10-minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add ½ -1cup full fat coconut milk or milk of your choice* (*see notes)
- Return to a boil for ~1-minute stirring constantly. If you’re going to use sweetener, add it here.
- Pour through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer* into your favorite mug to enjoy. (*see notes)
- Can use 1 tsp ground turmeric powder in place of fresh
- Can use ½ tsp ground ginger powder in place of fresh
- If using powders, there is no need to run through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer
- This recipe is traditionally made using whole milk. We used coconut milk to add magnesium and healthy fats and you can use any dairy or plant-based option you prefer.
- Using ½ cup milk will result in a more concentrated flavor. You can use up to 2-cups of milk to serve two or keep the extra in the fridge. Golden milk can keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat from the fridge, heat on low in a covered pan for 2-3 minutes or until steaming. You may adjust seasoning to taste using this recipe as a guide.
Did you enjoy making golden milk? Tag us on social media @myvinyasapractice and show us your recipe!