Turmeric (Curcuma longa L), which is also known as Indian saffron,  is an important commercial spice crop grown in India. Apart from being a principal ingredient in Indian culinary as curry powder, it was widely used in traditional system of Indian medicine as single herb as well as compound formulation. Identified as haridrā in Ayurveda, it is said to have bitter and pungent taste (tikta kaṭu rasa), dry and light in property (rūkṣa laghu guṇa), hot in potency (uṣṇa vīrya), balances all the three bio-energies (tridoṣa hara).

 Golden milk is a popular name of HALDI DOODH, a common combination used as a traditional practice in India which is prepared by adding turmeric in boiled milk. This drink gained its popularity after Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric caught the attention of the world for its versatile medicinal property.

How to prepare Golden Milk?

Many variants of turmeric milk preparation that has evolved out of practical experiences are available. 

An ideal Ayurvedic style of preparation is as follows:

  1. Take 1/2 glass of milk and add equal quantity of water.
  2. Add sugar candy to taste
  3. To this add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder just before the milk starts to boil, cook for 3 to 5 mins and switch off the heat source.

It is recommended to mildly roast turmeric powder in cows ghee, before adding into milk.

Is it important to use boiled milk? Can't we just use fresh raw milk?

According to Ayurveda, milk is heavy to digest (guru). It tends to increase kapha- the bio-energy of cohesion. Boiling milk increases its permeability and thereby absorption because the long chain fatty acids present in it gets broken down to short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). SFCA and MFCA are responsible for improving immune health and energy generation in the body. In effect, adding equal quantity of water and boiling makes milk much lighter (laghu- easy to digest). Thus boiled milk itself contributes to the immune boosting capacity of  Golden Milk.

But why milk? Isn't it easier to just add a pinch of turmeric powder in water and take it? 

Efficacy of any medicine largely depends on how much active ingredient from the medicine is available for acting in the body, before getting metabolized and eliminated. This in medical terminology is called bio availability. Curcumin, which is the most abundant Curcuminoid present in turmeric, is not soluble in water, i.e. it is hydrophobic. But the same compound blend well with fat. The concept of mixing turmeric with milk is to ensure proper blending of curcumin with fatty acid present in milk and thereby better absorption.

What is the relevance of frying turmeric in ghee?

Frying of turmeric in ghee, before adding to milk, also enhances its absorption and thereby its action in the body. Having around more than 3000 citations available about curcumin and its health benefits, lots of research activities have been undertaken to find better drug delivery mechanism for enhancing the absorption of curcumin in the body. The ancient practice of processing turmeric in milk and ghee is an example of  “NATURAL, SAFE AND EFFICIENT DRUG DELIVERY SYSTEM”  

When is the best time to add turmeric into the milk? Why is this time important?

Curcumin in turmeric becomes more bio available when cooked. But it is also to be noted that, too much of heating of turmeric, can result in loss of its active ingredient, curcumin, from it. So turmeric mildly roasted in ghee should be added to boiling milk and cooked for few mins, not exceeding 5 minutes of cooking, in order to obtain maximum active ingredient in the preparation.

How does Golden Milk help in boosting immunity ?

Curcumin present in turmeric is an excellent immune modulator (helps in attaining optimum immune response i.e. healthy response). With this property, it modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells. It thus plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of various pro-inflammatory chronic diseases including neuro-degenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and malignant diseases

Is this Golden Milk beneficial only in Boosting Immunity? What else can it do?

In the present context, the immune boosting effect of Golden milk is most discussed one.  But apart from that, regular consumption of this combination has further more advantages. Some of them are as follows:

  • Best preventive against cough, cold, allergy, asthma
  • Aids digestion 
  • Relieves joint pain
  • Promotes good sleep
  • Purifies blood
  • Prevents cancer
  • Promotes skin health

How much of Golden MIlk should I take everyday?

On a general note, one glass of golden milk may be consumed twice a day after food. 

 Daily requirement of curcumin is approximately 3 mg/ body weight , and in 1 tsp or 5 gm of curcumin approximately 200 mg of curcumin is present. The half- life of curcumin in the body is 12 hours, so I recommend intake as twice in a day as ideal. But this does may not go with the Ayurvedic concept of optimal nourishment, especially in children as milk increases kapha and may aggravate it to cause related health conditions. So, for children, one glass per day would suffice. Adults with good digestive capacity and without a pre-morbidity related to kapha, may take it twice per day)

About author

Dr. Nair Ashwati Unnikrishnan

BAMS, MD (Ay) in Rasa Shastra and Bhaishajya Kalpana, Assistant General Manager- Bodina Naturals Private Limited, Kribs- Bionest, drashwatinair@gmail.com

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