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Stress has been labeled as the silent cause of most diseases in the modern age.
As humans, we are constantly dealing with a wide variety of stressors wreaking havoc on our immune system. Fear and trauma, as a result of these stressors, constrict our natural flow and cause us to lose our overall sense of balance within our physical, mental, and emotional states.
When emotions are denied or suppressed instead of being processed, this starts to erode our immunity and vitality which protects the body from infection. In Ayurveda, we say that chronic or excessive stress depletes our ojas which in Sanskrit means “vigor.” This is seen as “liquid gold” for the body.
Ojas is responsible for our vitality, reproductive health, immunity, as well as overall mental and emotional well-being. It takes the body 30 days to produce ojas, which is the result of numerous enzymatic actions such as the digestion of food to produce blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerves, and reproductive tissues. Once these tissues are successfully made by the body, the final essence of all these tissues, ojas, is produced.
Stress, lack of sleep, poor digestion, and excessive activity cause the body to break down fast, leading to a depletion of ojas. This manifests as insomnia, dry skin, stiffness of joints, excessive aging, and disease.
Golden milk, also known as turmeric milk, or haldi doodh, is used to rebuild depleted ojas, which is good for the spine, lubricates the joints, and breaks up calcium deposits that disrupts the body’s normal processes.
The first step to making golden milk would be to prepare the turmeric paste.
To make turmeric paste:
1/2 cup turmeric powder (use organic powder)
1 cup water (add extra as needed)
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper. (We need this as turmeric is absorbed poorly in the body. Piperine present in black pepper helps in its absorption)
70 milliliter ghee (clarified butter)
Since turmeric is fat-soluble, delivering it with a fat source makes it more bioavailable to your body. A vegan option is to use cold-pressed almonds, black sesame oil, or coconut oil.
Add turmeric to water in a pan. Heat gently while stirring. Do this until you get a thick paste. This can take anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes.
If you feel your paste is watery, add some more turmeric. If you feel it has become too thick, add some water. Vary the consistency accordingly.
At the end, add the pepper and oil. Keep stirring this until it forms a nice dark, golden paste. Make sure it does not burn. Allow it to cool.
Store it in a glass jar and refrigerate. This will ensure you can make it once and use several times. Avoid storing the paste in a plastic container, as it will cause the plastic to leach.
To make golden milk:
1 cup milk or substitute with nondairy milk, such as almond, coconut, or any other of your choice
1 tablespoon chopped dates
2 teaspoons chopped almonds
1 tablespoon coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric paste
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon raw honey
Add all the ingredients in a blender. Pour it into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil.
You can add 1/8 teaspoon of ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) to the milk. Cook the milk, herbs, and spices. As soon as it is cool enough to drink, add a bit of honey for taste.
Drinking one cup of this milk each night rebuilds ojas and supports sleep patterns through its calming benefits.
Research done on turmeric, by the University of Maryland Medical Center shows that if you take blood thinners, it may make the effects of these drugs stronger and raise the risk of bleeding. Blood thinners would include warfarin (coumadin), clopidogrel (plavix), and aspirin, among others.
Curcumin, which is the most active substance in turmeric, is what helps fight damage and inflammation in the body. Some of its benefits are:
>> Promotes flexibility
>> Supports healthy joints
>> Promotes cardio health
>> Improves digestion
>> Supports liver health
>> Supports brain health
When I first started doing yoga, I marveled at people who could sit cross-legged on the floor for long hours. Even though I grew up in India, I found this posture difficult to hold for long periods of time. I even commented to someone who I assumed was in their 60s that “the comfort and ease with which they sat on the floor was to be emulated.” To which they responded that they have been drinking “golden milk” for many years and attribute their flexibility to not only yoga, but also this drink.
I have been drinking golden milk for the past six years. I recommend this drink to friends and family. Having a family history of arthritis, this has helped me overcome those aches and pains. I have found that after taking this drink, my sleep is deeper, and I wake up the next morning feeling more refreshed, rejuvenated, and energized.
Below are some personal accounts from members in my social network of what they think of this drink:
I love it! We always have a jar of homemade turmeric paste in the fridge to make “golden milk.” Soothing, delicious, feels like a treat. Natures anti-inflammatory.
Love this! I use it regularly and recommend it to patients for joint pain and digestion. It’s great to reduce inflammation.
My nani (grandma) would give it to me when I suffered from a sore throat. Take it with warm milk, a pinch of salt, couple of drops of ghee, pinch of turmeric. Does not taste as bad as it sounds. A cup in the evening, for about a week
It’s fabulous! I give it to my kids every alternate day. Given the air pollution in Delhi, India it’s the best defense for the immune system. I make it using raw haldi (turmeric).
It’s a warm, cozy drink filled with love! Makes you feel good inside. It helps my joints, blood, and overall well-being. It’s a cocktail for emotional support and comfort!
If drinking golden milk as a dietary supplement, please consult your health care practitioner. Avoid contact with eyes. It does stain, so do handle it with care.
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