According to Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, it’s best to take ashwagandha with milk. Why?
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.
- The Healing Properties Of Milk
- Therapeutic Use Of Milk
- What Is Ashwagandha?
- Why Ashwagandha With Milk
- Research On Ashwagandha
- The Medicinal Benefits Of Ashwagandha
- Traditional Ayurvedic Remedies
- Ashwagandha Milk Recipe
The Healing Properties Of Milk
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).
It brings Vata and Pitta to equilibrium. It can be useful for uterovaginal disorders (yoni roga), diseases of the semen (shukra dosha) and is an aphrodisiac (vrishya).6
Milk can be ideal for people who are debilitated due to chronic diseases and excessive activity. This includes those who walk for long distances, speak for long hours and indulge in sexual activities regularly.
It also includes those who have fasted for a long time, exposed themselves to the sun for a long period of time and indulge in tiresome activities. Milk is an ideal drink for the aged and for children.7,8
If you’d like to learn more about Ayurveda and nutrition, check out Todd Caldecott’s course on Holistic Nutrition below.
Ayurvedic Use Of Milk According To Time And Age
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
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is also known as Indian Ginseng and Indian Winter Cherry. It is an important ancient plant.
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 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!
Ayurvedic Properties Of Ashwagandha
According to the ancient classical medical texts of Ayurveda, ashwagandha has the following medicinal benefits.
- It can increase sexual desire (vajikara)13, rejuvenates the body (rasayani) and increases strength (balya). It can be useful in treating emaciation and under nutritive conditions (kshayapaha).
- It is useful in the management of white discoloration of the skin (shwitrapaha), edema (shothahara) and helps to clear improperly digested food (ama) from the various channels of the body.
- It pacifies Vata and Kapha dosha and acts as a rasayana (rejuvenative), balya (provider of strength) and vajikarana (promotes sexual wellness).14,15,16
- Ashwagandha can also have an anabolic-like effect on men and may improve the quality and quantity of semen (atishukrala).17
- Ashwagandha is useful in male sexual dysfunctions and loss of libido (klaibya), female infertility (vandhyatva), nodular swelling (granthi), and induces sleep (nidrajanan).12
Here are many more ashwagandha benefits and uses.
Why Ashwagandha With Milk
According to Ayurveda, milk is considered the best vehicle (anupana) for taking an herb. The combination of herbs and milk increases the absorption of the herbs in the body, thereby promoting the effectiveness and potency of that herb.
Ashwagandha With Milk In Ayurveda
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.
- Taking ashwagandha with milk can give better results in cases of emaciation and tuberculosis.19
- Ashwagandha treated milk can be beneficial in gaining muscular strength in emaciation.20 Ashwagandha helps with weight management, especially when taken with milk.
- The Ayurvedic scholar Sushruta indicated ashwagandha prepared with milk as a medicated enema (basti) in Vata disorders21 and anorectal bleeding.22
Research On Ashwagandha
This herb has been studied as adaptogenic, antioxidant, anticancer, 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, 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?
Time-Tested Ashwagandha With Milk Remedies + Traditional Ayurvedic Remedies
Please note that milk, when taken warm, 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</b>
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.
See the difference yourself. Pick up a cup of milk and try it with ashwagandha.
NOTE: These are classical Ayurvedic remedies for health conditions. It’s best to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying any of these remedies.
Delicious And Healthy Ashwagandha With Milk Recipe
- 4 cups milk
- 10 grams ashwagandha powder
- 1 tsp sugar
Method Of Preparation
- Add 4 cups milk and 10 grams of ashwagandha powder to a pan.
- Simmer the mixture until its appearance turns to a thick paste similar to condensed milk. Then remove it from the heat.
- Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp of sugar. Serve, and enjoy!
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
6 Same as reference 5, 1, verse 109
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