In Ayurveda, milk is believed to be sweet both in taste as well as after-taste, unctuous, cooling, heavy, natural enhancer of Ojas (Immunity / Vital energy reserve of the body and mind), nourishing for the seven Dhatus ( The seven body tissues i.e. Juice, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone-marrow and semen) and natural aphrodisiac.
Ayurveda guidance for Consuming Milk
Ayurveda essentially counsels the intake of milk for gaining as well as maintaining wellbeing, yet there is substantial guidance which needs to be followed:
– Milk should not be mixed or eaten with sour, bitter, salty, astringent, or pungent tastes. This is because when mixed into or consumed with these tastes, it becomes toxic and rather indigestible. On the other hand, taking it with sweet taste makes it nourishing and easy to be digested. Taking sweetened milk before bedtime, mainly buffalo’s milk, tends to help you to have good night’s sleep.
– You must avoid taking cold and refrigerated milk, and it is better if the it is consumed after boiled or warming the same. Heating changes its molecular structure so it is much easier for human consumption and it reduces kapha, making it lighter to digest.
– Quantity of milk to be consumed depends on the age and the digestive capacity of the individual. One to two cups of warm milk per day should be ideal. Also, in case you are feasting on cow’s milk, you would generally not need to add extra sweetener, as it is naturally sweet.
– Also, Ayurveda cautions to evade consuming fish and sea food along with milk.
Enhancing Digestion Of Milk
– In case, you find it difficult to digest milk, and also for the individuals who are overweight, or with high cholesterol levels and suffering from heart disease, buttermilk is better option than taking the milk.
– So as to make the milk more easily digestible, you may also try adding a pinch either of ground turmeric, ginger or cinnamon. These herbs help to recuse the unctuous effect of the same and make it lighter for digestion.
– In case, you still find it a little too heavy for your system to be able to digest and yet you want to imbibe the natural goodness of the milk, you may try out this option.
You may gradually start with one-fourth, or even one-eighth cup of milk mixed in water and boiled together. The herbs that are mentioned may be included to enhancing digestion and easy assimilation of the milk. Then you may steadily increase the amount to about a cup of milk a period of time.
Age Wise Recommendation for taking Milk
– Ayurveda has mentioned that milk is the only amiable diet to child, when mother or wet nurse are unable to feed the baby, goat or cow milk should be given in appropriate amount.(the quantity by which the baby feels contented.)
– As the age progresses, milk becomes a necessity especially around the age of 50 years and above as this is the age when our bones start showing signs of degeneration and more prone to fractures and arthritis due to weakness of bone tissue.
– Milk is also considered essential for restoring the health of females. Specifically during the period of pregnancy and lactation, Ayurveda advises that women should consume adequate quantities of the same.
– Milk consumption is also recommended for the elderly and for the women during their menopausal age. These are the stages of age when the bones are weak, stamina is low and there is more susceptibility towards osteoporosis and arthritis.
Effect of Milk on Body Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha
As per Ayurveda text, milk tends to increase the Kapha dosha or the Phlegm body humor. And also, it is believed that it brings about a decrease in the aggravated Vata and Pitta doshas (Air and Fire body humors).
Benefit of Cow’s Milk in various Ailments
Cow’s milk has also been recommended in Ayurveda therapy in a number of ailments or health depriving conditions like general weakness, vertigo, fatigue, debility, cough, bronchitis, asthma, increased thirst and hunger, chronic fever, decreased urination etc.
Reference in Ayurveda Text
दद्यादास्तन्यपर्याप्तेर्बालेभ्योवीक्ष्यमात्रया।(भा. प्र. पू. ख. ४/ ३५)
This Ayurveda shloka conveys that in case of non- availability of breast milk of dhaatri(wet nurse) or mother, goat’s or cow’s milk can be given to the child as an alternative, because it is considered to be saatmya(compatible or congenial) food for children.