Turmeric milk, or golden milk as it’s commonly called, is an Indian drink that has been gaining popularity over the last few years around the world. It’s made by warming up cow’s milk with different flavorful roots like turmeric, ginger, and others, and it’s been used as a remedy for sickness for hundreds of years.
For many Indian children, turmeric milk is a core memory of their youth, especially when they came down with colds or sinus infections. And because Ayurvedic medicine is rooted in remedies specifically-tailored to individual constitutions, turmeric milk often gets many different facelifts to accommodate the specific drinker’s needs.
The most basic Ayurvedic preparation is a spoonful of a warm turmeric and jaggery mixture for throat ailments and general immunity. Sometimes pepper is added, too. Sweeteners like jaggery and honey are preferred because they’re considered more beneficial than sugar, but you can sweeten however you like.
If you want your turmeric milk to bring a more unique flavor, you can add ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, or saffron to the mixture.
No matter what you add to the mix, the benefits of turmeric milk are profound and numerous
Firstly, it is a drink heavy in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that fight cell damage, protecting your body from oxidative stress. The drink can also reduce inflammation and joint pain, as well as memory and brain function, too.
Another cool benefit of turmeric milk is a boost in mood. Because depression may also be linked to low levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) appears to boost levels of BDNF, it may have the potential to reduce symptoms of depression.
If you want to protect against heart disease, don’t forget to add the cinnamon and ginger to your golden milk. A review of 10 studies concluded that 120 mg of cinnamon per day may lower total cholesterol, triglyceride and “bad” LDL levels while raising “good” HDL levels. And in another study, 41 participants with type 2 diabetes were given 2 grams of ginger powder per day. At the end of the 12-week study, measured risk factors for heart disease were 23–28% lower.
Of course, the main reason Indian children were given the concoction during illness was because of its antiviral properties. Modern science is still debating exactly how these roots fight infections, but it’s clear they improve the immune system. Researchers believe it’s because some of these roots have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria in clinical settings. Plus, it wouldn’t have been passed down from generation to generation if it didn’t work, right?
Here’s how to make golden milk
- 1/2 cup (120ml) of an unsweetened milk of your choice
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- 1 small piece of grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp of ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
- 1 pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup (optional)
To make the golden milk, simply mix all ingredients in a small saucepan or pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until fragrant and flavorful. Strain the drink through a fine strainer into mugs and top with a pinch of cinnamon.
Golden milk can also be made in advance and stored in your refrigerator for up to five days. Simply reheat it before drinking.