Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and milk have been used together for centuries in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the combination of ashwagandha and milk can provide numerous health benefits, including improving sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, boosting immunity, and promoting overall wellness.
It is an adaptogenic herb that is believed to help the body cope with stress and improve overall physical and mental health. Milk, on the other hand, is a nutrient-rich beverage that is known for its ability to provide strength and nourishment to the body.
Together, ashwagandha and milk create a powerful combination that can help support various aspects of health and wellness. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of ashwagandha and milk, as well as how to prepare and consume this potent elixir to promote optimal health.
According to Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, it’s best to take ashwagandha with milk. Why?
Before diving into the question, a little context!
In Ayurveda, an anupana (vehicle) is a way that herbal medicine is administered. It is a vehicle that assists the action of the herb. It forms an integral part of Ayurvedic treatment or chikitsa.
The herb (oushadha) becomes more potent when given with a suitable vehicle by considering the stage and strength of the patient and the disease.1
In this article, we’ll cover all the reasons to take ashwagandha with milk. Here’s a breakdown of the article.
According to the ancient Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, milk is beneficial to the mind and body. Milk is sweet in taste (madhu), cool (sita), soft (mridu), and pleasant (prasanna).
It has a cool potency (sita-virya) and a sweet post-digestive effect (vipaka).2 Its overall characteristic effect (prabhava) is pleasing to the mind (manaskar).3
Ayurveda considers milk to be the best vehicle (anupana) for the body’s seven tissue systems. In Ayurveda, these are called dhatus.
Milk is especially good for the blood (rakta), bone (asthi), plasma (rasa), reproductive system (shukra), and rasa dhatu which includes the plasma, or the noncellular portion of the blood, the lymph, and interstitial fluids.4 Milk brings Vata and Pitta into equilibrium.
Ayurveda says that milk enhances the essence of all the tissues (ojas) as both of them possess similar properties.5 It’s also beneficial for the bodily tissues (dhatus). Milk is an ideal drink for the aged and for children.7,8
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda’s take on Nutrition?
The Ayurveda Experience teamed up with Todd Caldecott (Ayurvedic Practitioner, Nutritionist, Herbal Medicine Specialist, Teacher and Author) to create an educational course that uncovers common food myths, teaches you how to eat right for your constitution, unearths the eight, all-important guidelines for Ayurvedic eating, how/when/why you should use Ashwagandha, and much, much more. Find out more about this all-inclusive course on Holistic Nutrition here.
According to Ayurveda, milk taken in the morning increases power (bala), body mass, and appetite (brimhana).
Milk taken in the afternoon increases appetite and may even help in reducing the size of renal stones (Kricha Ashmari Chedana). Milk taken at night alleviates various doshas.
In Ayurveda, it is said that when taken during childhood, it increases appetite, prevents deprivation, and increases strength (bala). In old age, milk is taken to increase semen (reta).9
Milk if taken before noon (purvahna) ignites agni – the digestive fire. It increases aphrodisiac power (vrishya) and body mass (brimhana).
The effect of milk taken between noon and evening (madhyana) is energetic (balya) and useful in renal disorders (mutrakrichhahar).10
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is also known as Indian Ginseng and Indian Winter Cherry.
The roots and leaves of ashwagandha are used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is considered to be both a tonic and a sedative herb due to its adaptogenic properties.
Ashwagandha is bitter and astringent in taste, has a light and unctuous properties, is hot in potency, and has a sweet post-digestive effect. It reduces Kapha and Vata dosha (vatakaphahara).11
Don’t know your Ayurvedic Body Type? Take the FREE Dosha Quiz!
According to the ancient classical medical texts of Ayurveda, ashwagandha has the following medicinal benefits.
An important Ayurvedic principle implies that ashwagandha should be taken with milk. In the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic medical text, it’s stated that there is a cause and effect relationship, ‘Karya Karana siddhanta’.
This means an increase in the quality and quantity of a substance or activity in the body is dependent upon the use of similar substances or activities.18 By similar we mean, having the same properties.
Ashwagandha and milk have similar properties. Both are considered rejuvenators (rasayanas). Both ashwagandha and milk nourish the ojas (life essence).
Both bestow one with the energy to live. This is referred to as jivaniya. Their combined synergistic effect increases their potency. The combination pacifies all three doshas.
Following this logic, ashwagandha is best taken with milk, and this is documented in the following references.
This herb has been studied as an adaptogenic, antioxidant, anxiolytic, antidepressant, and cardioprotective.
It is shown to have thyroid modulating, immunomodulating, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, cognitive enhancing, and hematopoietic effects.23
In a recent research study on milk, it was found that it contains phospholipids and glycosphingolipids.24 These have functional roles in a number of reactions.
They help in binding cations, stabilizing emulsions, and affecting enzymes on the globule surface.
They promote cell-to-cell interactions, differentiation, proliferation, immune recognition, and transmembrane signaling and act as receptors for certain hormones and growth factors.
Gangliosides, one of the components found in milk, are also present in nerve tissues.25,26 Due to the presence of these components in milk, it promotes the absorption of herbs more significantly than others do.
So, milk is the best vehicle for Ayurvedic herbs like ashwagandha. Milk synergistically enhances its action on the nervous tissue and brain, boosts immunity, and encourages growth.
READ MORE: Will Ashwagandha Help You Sleep?
Please note that milk, when taken warmly, is easily digestible and helps to destroy Kapha and Vata dosha.
If you wish to take ashwagandha with milk, consult your healthcare provider to ensure it’s right for you. For best results, enjoy it warm, in milk that has been boiled.
For Male And Female Infertility
Two grams of ashwagandha powder twice daily with a little rock candy (misri) and warm milk.
For Physical Weakness/Fatigue
Two grams of ashwagandha powder with 125 mg of trikatu powder.
Trikatu contains three pungent herbs: dried ginger (shunthi), black pepper (marich), and long pepper (pippali). This combination is traditionally taken twice a day with milk.
Ashwagandha can help with fatigue, its benefits are compounded when taken with milk.
Two grams of ashwagandha powder along with one gram arjun (Terminalia arjuna) and one gram of veldt grape (hadjod, or Cissus quadrangularis) twice daily with milk.
Two grams ashwagandha powder, one gram licorice (mulethi, Glycyrrhiza glabra), and one gram Puncture Vine (gokshur, Tribulus terrestris) twice daily with milk.
For Nutritional Deficiency In Children
Ashwagandha Milk Tea: To make a tea of ashwagandha powder and milk, take half a glass of water and half a glass of milk in a pan.
Add one gram of ashwagandha powder and bring to a boil. When it’s reduced to half, allow it to cool, add sugar and enjoy.
To Reduce High Blood Pressure
For bringing high blood pressure to a normal level, 2 grams ashwagandha powder with 125 mg of moti pisti (a traditional ground pearls preparation) is taken twice daily.27
Ashwagandha powder with milk can also be taken as a general tonic to restore vitality. Two grams with one cup of warm milk, twice daily.
NOTE: These are classical Ayurvedic remedies for health conditions. It’s best to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying any of these remedies.
Method Of Preparation
This ashwagandha milk recipe can be beneficial if taken on an empty stomach. An empty stomach condition provides better absorption of the active substances of the ashwagandha.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using ashwagandha with milk or even by itself.
1 Shetty Madhan Suresh Babu, Yogaratnakara, Vol I, Edn1, Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Bharati 2005, 116
2 Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 27, verse 217
3 Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 1, verse 10
4 KAA 106: Ayurvedic Herbology Dravya Guna Karma Shastra 2015 Kerala Ayurveda Academy
5 Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana chapter.27, verse 217
7 Astanga Hridaya Sutrasthana chapter 5, verse 22
8 Same as reference 5 27, verse 322
9 Yogratnakar, with Vidyotini Commentary, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, by Bhisagratna Brahma Shankar Sastri Chapter- Kwathit-dudgha-guna, verse no 5; 1983 p 99
10 Rajnighantu, Chaukhamba Prakash by Indradev Tripathi 3rd edition, Kshiragi-Varga, verse no 23;200
11 The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India Part- I Volume 1, Page 15
12 Dr. J.L.N.Sastry, Dravyaguna Vijnana, Study of essential Medicinal Plants in Ayurveda Vol 2, Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi
13 Bhavprakash Nighantu, Sharma PV, Priya Nighantu, Haritakyadi Varga, ChaukHambha Surabharati Prakashana, Varanasi, 2004; 27-28
14 API 2001: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Volume I, 1st edition.
15 Khare CP. Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic and Other Traditional Usage, Botany. New York (NY): Springer; (2004)
16 (India): Komal Prakashan; (1999)
17 Medicinal Plants used in Ayurveda and Siddha by Prof. GS Lavekar, Central Council of Research in Ayurveda, New Delhi, Reprint 2008, Vol. 3 p 88.
18 Charaka Samhita.Sutrasthana chapter 1 verse 44
19 Sushruta Samhita Uttartantra.chapter 41 verse 42. Bhaskar Govind Ghanekar
20 Sushruta Samhita Uttartantra chapter 41 verse 42. Bhaskar Govind Ghanekar
21 Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa sthana chapter 37 verse 20
22 Sushruta Samhita Uttartantra.chapter 45 verse 40
23 K. Chandrasekhar A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults, Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/
24 Jensen RG, Newburg DS. Bovine milk lipids. In: Jensen RG, editor. Handbook of milk composition.Academic Press, USA; 1995. pp. 543–575.)
25 Keenan TW, Patton S. The structure of milk. In: Jensen RG, editor. Handbook of milk composition. Academic Press, USA; 1995. pp. 5–50.).
26 Pan XL, Izumi T. Variation of the ganglioside compositions of human milk. Cow’s milk and infant formulas. Early Hum Dev. 2000;57:25–31. doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(99)00051- 1,PubMed
27 Ojha SK, Arya DS 2009. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A promising remedy for cardiovascular diseases. World J Med Sci, 4(2):Page 156-158
Comments will be approved before showing up.