Milk is considered an important part of the diet according to Ayurveda. In Sanskrit milk is described as Ksheer. The Astang Sangraha which is an ancient text of Ayurveda has a complete section, Ksheer Varga, which describes milk and milk products. Milk is valued because it is an important source of many of the nutrients essential for the proper development and maintenance of the human body. The main qualities of milk according to Ayurveda are sweet and unctuous.
People in world over often ask questions about milk and milk products, especially in the light of recent research that suggests milk is beneficial only for children. Although it is difficult to decide anything, as there is a lot of debate still going on, it might be appropriate to share the Ayurvedic view on milk and milk products. Also the modern researches are done on the cold milk, but In Ayurveda the properties of milk are described when it is warm. Ayurveda too prohibits one to have cold milk.
Among the different eight types of milk as described by Astanga sangraha, Cow’s milk called Goksheera is the best milk. It has rejuvenating properties called Rasayana in Ayurveda. It is instilled as nasal drops and can be used as body pack or face pack. Milk bath helps to rejuvenate skin. It is used in panchakarma treatment process to induce vamana (emisis) and virechana (purgation). It is also used in basthi (enema).
Qualities of milk
• Milk decreases vata and pitta, but increases kapha.
• Milk has a sweet taste (Rasa).
• It increases the ojas, which is considered to be the essence of all the dhatus (tissues). So it also nourishes the seven dhatus.
• Milk is a good vrishya (aphrodisiac), which means it strengthens the shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue).
• Milk increases the kapha, and is heavy to digest; so, one should not take cold milk, as it tends to be heavier. Milk should always be taken hot or warm and after boiling.
• Milk is cooling in nature (shita virya), which means it has a cooling effect on the body.
When milk is used during ayurveda a treatment session it alleviates vitiated doshas eliminates them from body. It acts as an appetizer. Milk helps to reduce the period of recuperation. People suffering from anemia, acid peptic disorders, diarrhea, fever etc are greatly benefited by consumption of milk. Milk is of great aid to persons who experience constipation. A quick recovery can be experienced in condition like genital organ infections (male and female), on consumption of milk. It is used in diet regimen for diseases which are caused due to vitiation of vata and pitta. Milk nourishes body and is believed to be a complete food. Daily consumption of milk increases libido, quality and quantity of semen and helps in erectile dysfunction. It helps to boost memory power and strengthens mind. Milk acts as an instant energizer and relieves thirst. The symptoms of bronchitis and cough get reduced by continuous use of milk. Persons suffering from gout are benefited by regular consumption of milk. Milk accelerates wound healing.
When to drink Milk?
Intake of milk is usually not advised in the morning hours, as it is heavy to digest.Intake of milk in the afternoon promotes strength in old people, improves agni in children, removes urinary calculi (krichra Asmari chedanam) and also alleviates kapha and pitta. Drinking of milk in the evening hours is good for eyes and alleviates vata and pitta. Drinking of milk at night is ideal. In daytime people happen to exert much and vidahi annam hence drinking of milk after food is essential at night to reduce tiredness and also good for eyes.