According to Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, it’s best to take Ashwagandha with milk. Why?
In Ayurveda, a ‘vehicle’ (anupana) is a medium of administration of any herbal medicine to assist the action of that herb. It forms an integral part of Ayurvedic treatment (chikitsa). The herb (oushadha) becomes more potent when given with a suitable vehicle (anupana) by considering the stage and strength of the patient and disease.1
In this article, you will learn…
The Healing Properties Of Milk
Therapeutic Use Of Milk
What Is Ashwagandha?
Why Ashwagandha With Milk
Ashwagandha In Modern Research
The Medicinal Benefits Of Ashwagandha
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedies
Ashwagandha Milk Recipe
NOTE: To learn about all the potential uses and benefits of Ashwagandha, read Ashwagandha Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects + More.
The Healing Properties Of Milk
According to the ancient Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, the properties of milk are 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 metabolic effect (vipaka).2 Its overall characteristic effect (prabhava) is pleasing to the mind (manaskar).3
Milk is also considered the best vehicle (anupana) for the body’s seven tissue systems that are recognized by Ayurveda, called dhatus. It’s especially good for blood (rakta), bone (asthi), plasma (rasa), reproductive system (shukra) and rasa dhatu which includes plasma, or the non cellular portion of the blood, the lymph and interstitial fluids.4
Milk enhances the essence of all the tissues (ojas) as both of them possess similar properties5, therefore it is also beneficial for body tissues (dhatus). It balances Vata and Pitta. It is useful for utero-vaginal disorders (yoni roga), diseases of semen (shukra dosha) and is an aphrodisiac (vrishya).6
READ MORE: Ayurvedic Aphrodisiacs For Sexual Health
Milk is ideal for people who are debilitated due to chronic diseases and excessive activity. This includes people who walk for long distances, who speak for long hours, who indulge in sexual activities regularly, who have fasted for a long time, who have exposed themselves to the sun for a long period of time and who indulge in tiresome activities. Milk is an ideal drink for the aged and for children.7,8
Therapeutic Use Of Milk According To Time And Age
Milk used in the morning increases power (bala), body mass and appetite (brimhana). Milk taken in the afternoon increases taste and helps to break up renal stones (Kricha Ashmari Chedana). Milk taken at night alleviates various doshas. In 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 or the metabolic 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), also known as Indian Ginseng and Indian Winter Cherry, is an important ancient plant. The roots and leaves of Ashwagandha are used in Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine. It is 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!
The Ayurvedic Classical Texts On Ashwagandha
According to the ancient classical texts of Ayurveda, Ashwagandha has the following medicinal benefits.
Ashwagandha is useful in male sexual dysfunctions and loss of libido (klaibya), female infertility (vandhyatva), nodular swelling (granthi), and it induces sleep (nidrajanan).12
It increases sexual desire (vajikara)13, rejuvenates the body (rasayani) and increases strength (balya). It is useful in the management of white discoloration of the skin (shwitrapaha), and in edematous conditions (shothahara) and helps to clear the toxins (ama) from the various channels of the body. It is useful in treating emaciation and under nutritive conditions (kshayapaha). It pacifies Vata and Kapha dosha and acts as a rasayana, balya, vajikarana.14,15,16
Ashwagandha also has a testosterone like effect and improves the quality and quantity of semen (atishukrala).17
(NOTE: In Ayurveda, the third pillar of health, alongside food and sleep, is Sexual Wellness. Ashwagandha is just one way to help you harness your sexual energy and bring balance into your life, as well as handle very common endocrine and reproductive issues like Infertility, Polycystic Ovarian Disease and Erectile Dysfunction. Listen to Todd Caldecott’s introduction to Ayurveda & Sexual Wellness.)
Why Ashwagandha With Milk
According to Ayurveda, milk is considered the best vehicle (anupana) for taking an herb or oushadha. 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’s Classical Texts
An important Ayurvedic principle that implies Ashwagandha should be taken with milk is stated in Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text. There is a cause and effect relationship, ‘Karya Karana siddhanta’.
The revered ancient Ayurvedic physician Charaka, while explaining this principle, says ‘Sarvada sarva bhavanam samanyam vriddhi karanam‘.18
This means, an increase in the quality and quantity of a substance or an activity in the body is dependent upon the use of similar substances or activities. And by similar we mean, having the same properties.
Ashwagandha and milk have similar properties. Both are considered a rejuvenator (rasayana).
Both Ashwagandha and milk nourish the ojas. Both bestow one with the energy to live. This is referred to as jivaniya. Their combined synergistic effect increases their potency and gives relief to the person suffering from disorders that are amenable to Ashwagandha and milk intake. The combination pacifies all three dosha.
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 is very beneficial in gaining muscular strength in emaciation.20
- The Ayurvedic sage Sushruta indicated Ashwagandha prepared with milk as a medicated enema in vata disorders21 and ano-rectal bleeding.22
Ashwagandha In Modern Research
This herb has been studied as adaptogenic, antioxidant, anticancer, anxiolytic, antidepressant, cardioprotective, thyroid modulating, immunomodulating, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, cognitive enhancing and hematopoietic agent.23
In recent research on milk it is found that the phospholipids and glycosphingolipids present in it 24 have functional roles in a number of reactions, such as binding cations, help to stabilize emulsions, affect enzymes on the globule surface, cell-cell interactions, differentiation, proliferation, immune recognition, transmembrane signaling and 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 option of anupana (vehicle) for Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha. Milk synergistically enhances its action on the nervous tissue and brain and other functions like boosting the immunity and growth.
Time-Tested Uses Of Ashwagandha With Milk + 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. Enjoy it in warm, boiled milk for best results.
1. Male And Female Infertility
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedy: Two grams of Ashwagandha powder twice daily with a little rock candy (misri) and warm milk.
2. Physical Weakness
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedy: 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.
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedy: Two grams of Ashwagandha churna or powder along with one gram Arjun (Terminalia arjuna) and one gram of veldt grape (hadjod, or Cissus quadrangularis) twice daily with milk as a vehicle.
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedy: Two grams Ashwagandha churna or powder, one gram licorice (mulethi, Glycyrrhiza glabra), and one gram Puncture Vine (Gokshur, Tribulus terrestris) twice daily with milk.
5. Nutritional Deficiency In Children
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedy: 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.
6. To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedy: For bringing high blood pressure to a normal level, 2 grams Ashwagandha churna with 125 mg of moti pisti (a traditional ground pearls preparation) is taken twice daily.27
7. General Restorative
Ashwagandha powder with milk can also be taken as general tonic to restore vitality and for prevention.
Traditional Ayurvedic Remedy: Two grams with one cup of warm milk, twice daily.
See the difference yourself. Pick up a cup of milk and use it as a vehicle for Ashwagandha.
Delicious And Healthy Ashwagandha With Milk Recipe
You will need….
4 cups milk
10 grams Ashwagandha powder
1 tsp sugar
1. 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 from heat.
Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp of sugar. Serve, and enjoy!
This Aswagandha milk recipe is beneficial if taken on an empty stomach. An empty stomach condition provides better absorption of the active substances of the Ashwagandha.
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 Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana chapter 1,verse 109
7 Astanga Hridaya Sutrasthana chapter 5, verse 22
8 Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana chapter 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. ChandrasekharA 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
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