Milk is beneficial for lean and/or weak individuals suffering from dryness.
Straight from the udder, milk is good for all three Doshas, once cooled down it must be boiled or cooked before consumption. Boiled milk drunk hot calms down Vata dryness, after milk has cooled down it is good for cooling pitta. Milk’s cool qualities soothe burning sensations. The sweet taste, which is abundant in milk, is cooling and anti-inflammatory. That’s why a glass of milk is a traditional remedy for a stomach ulcer. Good quality milk also contains high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Milk can also increase inflammation in some people, especially in those who have a yeast infection, or are allergic or intolerant to dairy products. Unless needed for strength, do not drink sweet or mucus forming foods when there are yeast or other parasites in the GI tract.
The best way to consume milk is to bring it to a boil and then stop the cooking. Cow milk could be very difficult to digest and must be prepared properly with spices. Drink it warm, on an empty stomach, preferably spiced with turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and raw honey. For those accustomed to milk, it may be prepared cooked with grains into porridge. Ghee (clarified butter) could also be added to a cup of boiled milk or to milk porridge. Another easier and safer way to digest milk is to mix half a cup of milk with half a cup of water. Cook until the water is evaporated.
When consumed properly, milk promotes Ojas/Jing, the essence or building block of tissues, good for debility and is used in many tonic formulas. Milk is good for growth in children, slows down aging process and gives strength to the old. It is the only food suitable for eating at night, and although heavy, if taken correctly, will digest well. Certain Vata-Pitta people must drink milk before sleep. Milk provides a sense of stability and hearty nourishment. It helps keep you feeling calm and content, and allows you to relax into a night of deep sleep.
Many people routinely drink cold milk with meals, such as with morning cereals. Consuming cold milk with other food items is one of the main causes for indigestion and for the bad reputation milk has gained. Ayurveda recommends avoiding cold milk, drinking too much of it at once, or mixing milk with other foods. Milk curdles almost instantly after reaching the stomach. If it mixes with other food the curdled milk coats and insulates the food from gastric juices. The coating delays digestion and leads to fermentation and gas. Undigested milk could lead to diarrhea, phlegm in the respiratory system, catarrh, vaginal discharges, heaviness in the abdomen, head and joints, cysts, yeast infections (such as candida).
Milk cooked for a long time is stickier and heavy, very good for a fast digestion (Tikshna Agni/Stomach Fire). If digested successfully it is very good for strength and longevity.
Boiled hot milk, if stirred well, will be easier to digest and will not increase Kapha. The foam of stirred milk is good for all three Doshas, ignites digestion, gives strength, good for slow digestion, diarrhea, chronic fever, appetizer.
Milk is soothing for the Lungs, But Can Increase Congestion. Milk is a soothing tonic for the lungs, particularly if the respiratory tract is dry or inflamed. The sweet, cold, heavy and gooey qualities of milk are mucus promoting. This can either soothe dry lungs, or aggravate congestion, depending on whether your blood is deficient (Vata) or excessively rich (Kapha).
Morning milk – better for weight gain and longevity
Noon milk – better for strength
Night milk – better for the eyes, fertility, sleep and for many conditions of deficiency
Milk & Calcium
Although milk and other dairy products are reliable sources of calcium, many factors affect the availability and retention of the calcium from these products. For example, the calcium in dairy products is not as well absorbed as the calcium in many dark green leafy vegetables.
Milk can be digested with grains, almonds, nuts, and spices. Not with fruit, unless those are sweet and dried, such as dates or raisins.
Preparation and Consumption:
Use organic, grass fed, unhomogenized, full-fat raw milk. Avoid low-fat dairy.
Organic milk means the cows may eat a mixture of both grass and grain. Their food must be entirely organic. This means no antibiotics, hormones, synthetic pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified ingredients. To avoid hormones, antibiotics, and other contaminants, drink organic milk only. Dairy products like cheese & butter are concentrated, so it is even more important to choose organic.
Grass fed milk means that the cows eat a diet of grass only, not processed grains such as corn and soy. Milk from grass fed cows is nutritionally superior and has a more desirable fat profile. It tends to be lower in overall fat but higher in healthy fats.
Grass fed milk has a higher content of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in meat and dairy products. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. Grass fed milk also has the optimal balance of omega fatty acids. Both omega 3 and omega 6 are essential fatty acids.
Raw versus Pasteurized
Pasteurization increases milk safety by destroying harmful microorganisms and reducing spoilage. It’s claimed this process also destroys many of the essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins and “good bacteria” in the milk. This belief has led to a modern movement to consume raw, live culture milk, which is for most places illegal to sell.
Low Fat versus Full Fat
For years, fat was considered as a “bad food” and many people began to favor skim milk. Recent research is proving there is no need to fear saturated fat from healthy sources like avocado, ghee and milk when part of a balanced diet. This does not include saturated and trans fats from processed sources such as baked goods or fried foods. full fat milk improves the absorption of fat soluble vitamins in the milk such as D, A and E.
Homogenization prevents separation of the cream from the milk because it breaks up all the heavy cream fat molecules. Homogenized milk fats are so tiny they bypass the digestive process and directly inject hormones in the milk to the bloodstream. Homogenized milk also causes deterioration of arterial walls. Proteins in homogenized milk pass into the bloodstream directly causing a histamine response and mucous, inflaming your GI tract and other tissues. When available, Choose unhomogenized milk.
The Ethical Issue:
The way in which the milk-giving animal is treated is central to the discussion of commercial milk consumption. When treated with respect and gentleness, the animals will produce milk of high quality, as the animals are calm, content and well-fed on unsprayed grasses and plants. In commercial production, the animals are given hormones, drugs and sometimes chemically laden feed. In many cases the animals are treated with brutality and are grown in poor hygienic conditions. When they stop producing milk, they are routinely slaughtered. Thus, the quality of the milk drops, as many lab tests can testify, and it is not unlikely to find, amongst the antibiotics and pesticides, also puss and cortisol, the stress hormone.
Natural Attributes: Oily, Heavy, Mobile, Sticky, Liquid, Cold, Soft, Smooth
Dosha impact: decreases Vata and Pitta
Tissue impact (Vipak): nourishing plasma, fat, bone, reproductive
Thermal impact (Virya): cooling
Digestive impact (Agni): easy to digest (after boiled) for those accustomed to milk
Moves energy: downward, inward
Channels (Srotas): opens the channels when obstruction is due to excess contraction and/or dryness. Otherwise, milk blocks the channels.
Strength (Bala): improves strength and immunity
Mind (Manas): calms down Rajas, Sattvic
Feces: raw milk is slightly laxative, long cooked milk is slightly constipating
Occasion: morning porridge, busy day, bed time
Nutrient: lactose, calcium, fat, phosphors
Chinese medicine syndromes: nourishes the Yin, moisturizes intestines and lungs
Effect: digestive antacid, blood acidifying, demulcent, general tonic, bone tonic, nutritive, sedative
- Nourishment (rasa): emaciation, weakness, anemia, pregnancy, children, the aged, dizziness, fainting, lactation, heart diseases, chronic fever, thirst
- Blood-circulation-liver: bleeding disorders, hemorrhoids
- Bones-joints-tendon-ligaments: healing fractures
- Reproductive and hormonal systems: fertility
- Mental: restlessness, grounding, insomnia
- Kidney-Bladder: diseases of the bladder
- Respiratory system: dry cough
- Digestive system: intestinal inflammation and pain due to dryness, dry constipation, diseases of the duodenum, burning sensation
Harmful for: conditions of phlegm (unless prepared correctly to treat phlegm). Do not drink milk when there are yeast or other parasites in the GI tract, yeast/fungus growth.
Buffalo milk: the best for insomnia
Breast milk: the best for eye disease (by local administration)
Camel milk: heating and reducing, camel’s milk is used in the treatment of tumors for its scraping property.