Golden Milk: A Simple, Balancing Wellness Salve for All Doshas
An increasingly popular beverage in mainstream wellness circles (and for good reason!), golden milk is a traditional Ayurvedic beverage that is as beneficial for your health as it is tasty. Also known as Haldi doodh, or turmeric milk, golden milk is touted for its ability to combat disease, boost mental function, improve digestion and more. Best of all, it only requires a few simple ingredients to make on your own and comes together in a matter of minutes. Enjoying a glass of golden milk before settling into bed will give you powerful feelings of tranquility and calm, enabling you to settle seamlessly into sleep.
Curious to learn more about this indulgent, health-boosting salve? Here’s a breakdown of golden milk’s composition, its benefits and how to make your own golden milk at home.
What is golden milk?
In its fundamental state, golden milk is a combination of turmeric (either root or powder) and milk (while it’s traditionally made with cow’s milk, you can also substitute vegan alternatives). Many people also add ingredients like honey, black pepper, cardamom and cinnamon for an extra boost of flavor and additional health benefits. Research has shown that black pepper, for example, helps to boost the body’s absorption of curcumin, a compound found in turmeric that has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
As we’ll explore below, the health and beauty benefits of turmeric are numerous. What’s more, as a heat-inducing substance that also contains dry and light qualities, turmeric serves as a balancing ingredient for all doshas: it balances Vata and Kapha with its heat, and Kapha and Pitta with its dry and bitter qualities.
Benefits of golden milk
It reduces inflammation and joint pain
Turmeric is lauded in Ayurveda for its anti-inflammatory properties, which allow it to help combat diseases caused by inflammation, like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer. Other ingredients commonly added to golden milk, like ginger and cinnamon, also contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
It boosts overall immunity
Curcumin is not only an anti-inflammatory powerhouse—it also contains antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Together, these enable curcumin to boost immunity and cell function and lower one’s risk for infection and disease.
It improves digestion
Ginger and turmeric, which both can be incorporated into golden milk, are revered for their ability to combat indigestion. Research has shown that curcumin can effectively treat inflammatory bowel conditions and improve the digestion of fat. Furthermore, both ginger and turmeric can improve healthy digestion and combat constipation.
It combats insomnia
There’s definitely wisdom to the practice of drinking a glass of warm milk before bed. Not only do warm beverages alleviate anxiety, but the carbohydrates in milk also help to induce sleep. As Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D., tells mindbodygreen, “Once you've tried golden milk, you'll be hooked on the way it settles your mind and body at the end of the day and invites your entire being to relax and let go of any worries as you drift off to sleep."
It promotes anti-aging
In addition to its numerous health benefits, turmeric is also an anti-aging superstar. As Dr. Michelle Wong tells Byrdie, “Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin, which is also anti-inflammatory and can lighten pigmentation.” Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of turmeric enable it to combat inflammation, heal dry and damaged skin and promote overall radiance.
It boosts memory and mental focus
Research has demonstrated that several ingredients in golden milk contain powerful benefits for improving memory, brain function and mental sharpness. Curcumin can help the brain grow new connections and stimulate the growth of brain cells, while ginger can improve memory and cognitive function and cinnamon improves brain function while appearing to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
It improves mood
Several studies have shown that curcumin may be able to combat depression and improve one’s overall mood thanks to its abilities to reverse detrimental brain changes characteristic of depression and to stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine. These potent spirit-lifting effects become magnified in golden milk, whose warmth also brings on feelings of calm and tranquility.
How to make golden milk
Ready to try out this delicious health and wellness superstar for yourself? Here’s a simple golden milk recipe; you can make adjustments to the ingredients according to your taste.
Simple Golden Milk Recipe
- 1 cup milk (either cow’s milk or other vegan options!)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Fresh ginger
- Optional: pinch of black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, coconut oil
- Combine all ingredients and bring milk to a simmer.
- Heat for 5-10 minutes, whisking frequently.
- After taking off the heat, adjust ingredients for flavor and add a bit of honey if you’d like a natural sweetener.