Use of milk (dairy) in Ayurvedic Medicine


In the last decade, especially with studies on casein, and, many people developing sensitivity to Lactose, a sugar found within milk, or, problems digesting milk proteins; milk has developed a bad reputation in United States.

I get asked constantly in my Herb class, if Almond milk, or, soymilk is okay to substitute for dairy when using as an anupana for delivery of herb. The answer is NO. It is not the Ayurvedic way.

When I am talking about using milk as an anupana (a vehicle that increases the efficacy of the herb, and, delivers it deeper into the dhatus, increases kapha, decreases vata and pitta) then only actual dairy will do. This usually means cows milk.

First the amount of milk we are using for delivery of herb is 24 ml, or less than an oz. Perhaps 2 oz. If someone cannot digest dairy, then we suggest ghee instead. (All milk solids which include casein and lactose have been removed!)

By the way, how can a nut milk be milk? By definition, a milk is produced from a mammary gland? And, if god didn't attend humans to drink milk then he/she wouldn't have provided those to the feminine gender, I think!

Ayurvedic texts like Bhavaprakasha mention benefits of milk not just from cows, but, also from sheep, camel, buffalo and goat to name a few.

Another question I get constantly asked is do we like milk raw or boiled?

Answer is boiled. Pasteurized. But--how??? Ayurveda is all natural? How can it not advocate raw milk. Because, my dear, raw milk can give rise to diseases. It can carry DANGEROUS bacteria.

Ayurveda does not like bacteria and krimi. Our ancient seers talked about boiling milk when everyone had a cow in their backyard, everyday and once a day.

In ancient times, we got rid of bacteria, and, all kinds of krimi by constantly boiling our water, milk, and, all fluids.

I grew up in our household boiling our milk every single day, sometimes twice a day (If it was too hot, as we didnt have refrigeration).

First lets understand what is the difference between different types of pasteurizing and boiling?

Batch pasteurization-Milk is heated to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. (Stirring constantly is a must. We grew up getting up early in the morning to get to the cowshed and getting milk directly from the cow dairy in Delhi. Then, we would come home and we would boil the milk,and, as soon as it reached boiling point, we would turn the flame down and boil it further for another 10-15 minutes. I had to stir it, and, stir it, and, stir it. Okay in Ayurveda, in my opinion.)

Flash pasteurization- High temperature 162 Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. Okay in Ayurveda, in my humble opinion.

UHT (Ultra Heat) -Milk is heated to 280 degrees-and every good thing about it is pretty much destroyed along with the bacteria
Not okay!


Boiling the milk for some seconds is advised in Ayurveda. Just not ultra pasteurized.

We boil herbs like Ashwagandha in milk. We add turmeric or poppy seeds, or nutmeg to this boiled milk. We add saffron.

We drink it with herbs.

We even boil water that is already sterile in Ayurveda. Boiling water causes the agni, or, fire element to be present and changes the energetics of the water to a lighter and easily digestible.

Local, Grass fed organic milk pasteurized milk is the best I found in California, and, now in Austin.


What Ayurveda doesn't like is when the chemical structure of the milk is changed by homogenizing it. Homogenezing involves playing with the chemical molecular structure of fat particles in milk that rise up. (We called it cream growing up!)

And, these fat particles are broken up so they mix with the rest of the milk - so no cream would be formed.

Ultra pasteurized means it is first pasteruized, then pasteurized again to make it ultra sterile and that kills off the nutrients. Then, Vitamin D (Read Fish oil) are added.

This is why we use this milk from California that is lightly pasteurized, you see the cream floating on the top and it has not been altered by changing chemical structure.

Next, I shall write about goat milk

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