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About the Author: John Immel, Asheville, NC

Gold Milk

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(4.92 out of 5 stars) 25 reviews
Gold Milk Ayurveda Recipe
Vata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifyingDigestive Effects Help
Experiences are Personal
Experiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary.
Stimulates-energy, Cardiac-stimulant
Effect: Sattvic, Prana, Alkalizing, Tejas
Meal: Drink
Type: Dairy
Style: Ayurvedic
Contains: Lactose, Non-Vegan
Preparation: Boiled
Subtaste: Aromatic
Nutrient: Antioxidant
Color: Yellow

Servings: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Pharmacological Effects
About Pharmacological Effects
The list of actions below have not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Is Gold Milk Good for Me?
Find out by taking this free, easy quiz. You'll learn your body type, and whether Gold Milk is a good fit for you. Time to complete: approximately 1 minute.

ayurvedic perspective

Gold milk is the fabled "milk and honey" of the promised land and provides tremendous nourishment. Its fragrant spices will awaken your appetite for its nurturing satisfaction. In South Asia, people believe milk is sacred because it (along with fruits) are one of the few foods freely given without violence to the plant or animal. A mother freely gives milk to a calf with love. Gold milk is thus a loving way to relax and enjoy the holiday season.

Healthy Holiday Cheer

There are many special dishes and foods that evoke the holidays: holiday cookies and fruitcakes, hams and rich side dishes, even eggnog. But how many of these foods and drinks ultimately help you to feel good? December is full of joy and family. It is also full of rich feasts, gatherings, and meals-on-the-run due to last minute shopping. These activities can exhaust your system, creating fatigue and making you vulnerable to viruses. Sometimes you need something that is delicious in a traditional, holiday way, but also is supportive to your health. This sweet, warm milk recipe, reminiscent of eggnog, is spiced to infuse you with that essential holiday cheer and strengthen your body.

A Recipe for Those Who Need Milk Most

Gold milk strengthens and rehabilitates those with weak constitutions. Cow's milk is the star of this drink and it is a supreme rasayana, or rejuvenative, aiding you through the chilly, demanding weeks of the holiday season. Just as milk nurtures a baby, it can satisfy your every nutritional need. However, there are many misconceptions about milk and the best ways to consume it. Cow's milk is difficult to digest and many find it downright indigestible. Thin, emaciated, weakened individuals (Vata types) need milk's nourishment most, but often these are the very individuals who cannot digest milk. Gold milk makes the nourishment of milk accessible to all. The key to this improvement on milk is in the spices. Vata individuals often suffer from poor digestion due to dryness, cold, weakness and digestion. The turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom in this drink add heat and stimulate extra blood flow to the digestive tract, counteracting coldness and making the milk easy to digest.

Enjoyable for Those who Love Milk Most

Vata types aren't the only ones who have trouble with milk. Milk can create instant congestion for those with a Kapha-type body (i.e. those who tend to have low metabolism and gain weight). Kapha people who drink too much milk soon end up with excessive mucus in their digestive tract and sinuses. Since it is nutrient-dense, milk has a tendency to cool, congeal, and clog the blood. As circulation becomes more stagnant, thick mucus and fluids tend to collect in the lungs and sinuses. This kind of mucous lodges deep in the lungs and can be very difficult for Kapha individuals to expectorate. The spices in gold milk, on the other hand, actually destroy mucous in both in the respiratory and digestive tract, making this nutritive tonic supportive even for Kapha types.

The Golden Spice

Colds and flus are as much a part of the holidays as caroling and jingle bells. The herb that gives this recipe its namesake, the golden turmeric, heats, thins and invigorates the blood. Thin blood circulates freely, mobilizes the immune system and making Kapha body more warm-blooded in colder winter months. Additionaly, turmeric is a natural antibiotic and antimicrobial that is appropriate for even weak individuals. The heat in cinnamon, beloved in many fall and winter desserts, also helps you rebound from a cold or flu.

A Good Night's Sleep

Suffering from insomnia? Spiced milk is an age old formula for relaxation in Ayurveda. From a western standpoint, the calcium and magnesium levels in milk indicate its ability to relax a racing mind and tight muscles. From an Ayurvedic perspective, Gold Milk contains all the qualities that bring on sound sleep- it is heavy, warm, and nourishing. Milk is what lulls babies to sleep; it innately offers a sense of peace.

What About Raw Milk?

Many health-conscious people are enthusiastic about raw milk. These individuals are often surprised to find that Ayurveda recommends heating milk, even the prized raw milk. Bringing milk just momentarily to the boiling point breaks up difficult-to-digest molecules. While raw food experts say raw milk contains helpful digestive enzymes, Ayurveda recommends cooking all milk for easy digestion. There is no right answer. Try both and find out what your body prefers. For maxmimum benefit, be sure to source cow's milk from an organic dairy.
Milk is deeply nourishing to all tissues and aids in calming raw nerves. Warmed and properly spiced, milk enhances the effect of herbs in many medicinal preparations, not just gold milk. Gold milk will smooth the bumps of a turbulent and joyous month, supporting good digestion and just plain tasting delicious. This recipe is bound to be a favorite for all, creating whole new culinary holiday memories. A holiday drink that tastes great, keeps illness away, and makes you feel good? It's a gift for the whole family. Spice it right, and reconsider milk!
Weights & measures


2 pinchCardamomVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha pacifying
2 pinchCinnamonVata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifying
1 tspHoneyVata aggravatingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifying
1 cMilkVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravating
2 pinchTurmericVata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifying


1. Heat milk with spices until it just boils.

2. Remove from heat. Let cool a few minutes and pour into a cup with honey. Be sure not to heat the honey with the milk and herbs. The honey can liquefy in the warmed milk, but heating honey is not recommended.

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.

John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.

Comments & Impressions of 'Gold Milk'

Do you like 'gold milk'? Why or why not? What makes it unique? Is there something you'd like to know about 'gold milk'?

(4.92 out of 5 stars) 25 reviews

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can we have this before going to bed?

- julie, Bangalore, 02-18-10 (Reply)
This is now my all-time favorite cuddle-up-on-the-couch-in-front-of-a-fire drink! Very tasty and makes me feel warm and cozy inside and out!
- Shelly Frampton, Paulsboro, NJ, 03-05-10 (Reply)
Yes Julie, we can have this before going to bed. It will promote sleep.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 03-17-10 (Reply)
I've recently found out that I am allergic to milk protein, so any milk products containing whey make me break out in a rash. Could I substitute Soy or Almond milk instead of Cow's milk??
- steve, Hamilton, ON, 04-15-10 (Reply)
All my life I have had trouble with milk and it wasn't until I began to understand Ayurvedic principles that I could take and enjoy milk! What about Buffalo milk? Is the same treatment required? ( I am getting buffalo milk where I am now)
- Di, Almora, 04-24-10 (Reply)
I made this with plain soy milk and it turned out fantastic! Thanks for such a great recipe. :)
- Michelle, Winston-salem, NC, 11-01-10 (Reply)
Steve, you could certainly substitute other forms of "milk" for regular dairy, but the underlying principles are simply to modify an existing food product in a way that makes it more digestible for the general population. I suspect that your allergic reaction is a symptom of deeper systemic toxicity, but if soy or almond milk do not cause digestive distress, you probably do not need to make a "gold" version of them to enjoy them. This recipe certainly is tasty and will do no harm to you, but it is meant specifically to "denature" some of the more difficulty aspect of milk for those who have non-allergic reactions to consuming it. Bright blessings!
- Stephen, El paso, TX, 12-23-11 (Reply)
Can a mix this combo with my Quionoa in the AM to have a more digestable milk? Or do you not suggest mixing the combo. What about this in the AM with an apple?
- Antoinette, Noumea, 03-20-12 (Reply)
Does the pasteurization process make the milk more easily digested? Scott, 09-16-12
- Scott Murn, 09-16-12 (Reply)
how many times can you drink the golden milk?
- cynthia, 11-11-12 (Reply)
how many times shuld take and which time also?
- bichitra, 11-20-12 (Reply)
Since these ingredients are all natural and with minimal processing, you can follow your natural cravings - as long as they aren't emotionally based. Otherwise, once a day is probably enough - before bed is a good time.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 11-23-12 (Reply)
- Candace Faith, 11-26-12 (Reply)
Isn't that considered heating the honey? Shouldn't you use sugar?
- Lisa, Nicasio, CA, 12-13-12 (Reply)
Is this drink not recommended for Pittas?
- Murrill, 12-13-12 (Reply)
I usually add some saffron threads and a bit of cloves to this for flavor.
- Bhairavi Gabrielle Jones, CA, 12-13-12 (Reply)
@ Lisa - Warming honey is okay - but not cooking it. It depends on the temperature of the milk. @Bhairavi - Great suggestions!
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 12-14-12 (Reply)
Where do I get a similar cup? It's so nice !
- Anne, Dub, 12-15-12 (Reply)
Thanks for the recipe-it's delicious and comforting.
- Phyllis Dobbs, IL, 12-17-12 (Reply)
if raw cow's milk is unavailable where I live, can just organic pasteurized cow's milk be used?
- sammy, Honolulu, HI, 12-17-12 (Reply)
Pasteurized cow's milk is simple cooked cow's milk - it will not affect the results of this recipe. However, most pasteurized cow's milk tends to homogenized as well. Homogenized milk causes digestive problems and should be avoided.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 12-18-12 (Reply)
Always loved warm milk before bed and this lovely concoction takes it to he next level!
- Michele, York, PA, 01-06-13 (Reply)
Ive been drinking this before bedtime, for more than 5 years. I use Almond milk or Coconut milk because I don't drink cow milk. I add a touch of ginger, too, and grind my own Ceylon cinnamon and cardamom.
- Sandy, WA, 01-17-13 (Reply)
Loved it!
- josie, Razac d'eymet, 01-24-13 (Reply)
Is the drink with all it's ingredients OK for vata-constitution or should vatas omit honey from the recipe?
- Valves Gunnarsson, Reykjavík, 04-19-13 (Reply)
This was recommended to me by my Ayurvedic therapist or the 'grounding' qualities as my vata is completely unbalanced.. I can't believe how delicious it is! So nourishing and comforting. Thank you! I love this website and the recipes.
- Clare, 10-16-13 (Reply)
can we use this recipe with commercially available pasteurised, homogenised, standardised cow milk?
- lavanya, 10-21-13 (Reply)
Thank you for this lovely holiday gift. Delicious!
- Anne, Beaverton, OR, 11-05-13 (Reply)
Dear Lavanya, Homogenized milk may create digestive problems, as the altered milk fat molecules are absorbed directly by the intestines without proper digestion. Pasteurized milk is okay though.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 12-11-13 (Reply)
Dear Valves, Yes - since milk pacifies Vata, Vata people can safely enjoy honey in this recipe.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 12-11-13 (Reply)
Yet another fantastic recipe! What a great and helpful website! Thanks for being there!! - Den M.
- Denny, Gardner, MA, 12-12-13 (Reply)
Can I use goats milk?
- mari1804, 12-12-13 (Reply)
We have not tried goat's milk....give us an update if you try it.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 12-13-13 (Reply)
We have not tried goat's milk....give us an update if you try it.
- John Immel, Asheville, NC, 12-13-13 (Reply)
as yummy as i expected. added 1/8 tsp. ground ginger and used raw milk from my goat.
- jennifer, NC, 12-14-13 (Reply)
Hi Y'all - pasteurization heats just to below boiling temp, and makes the milk proteins glom together, harder to digest. At home, we can take it up to boil three times, to break up the proteins into smaller molecules again. That is, let it climb the pot, slide pot off burner to drop the froth, then slide back on and repeat 2X more. Per Dr. RamaKant Mishra. I find it helps me personally. Am sensitive to the whey, though the spices and making sure it is not low fat milk also helps. Mari, Goat milk is lighter, drier, more astringent, with diff properties. It is more suited to Kaphas and to those with more ama. It is still yummy this way, needing less spices. If using, I prefer it plain, in summer, or with something to make it thicker and more soothing to Vata in winter. A tsp of ghee in either type of milk is especially nice at night, or to build ojas even better, add ghee, a few almonds, and a couple soaked medjool dates (or as desired) and few threads saffron. Blend a little of the milk with the nuts and dates, then add the rest so it doesn't spit, you know? Yum!
- Ysha Oakes, Albuquerque, NM, 12-15-13 (Reply)
Thank you for all this info John! Also a thank you to Ysha Oakes for your comment / info too.
- Emily ann, Downers grove, IL, 01-07-14 (Reply)
Lovely and filling -- a nice pre-bedtime drink.
- Anna-Karin Smith, Portland, OR, 05-15-14 (Reply)
My favourite evening drink, thank you :)
- Tammi, AL, 07-04-14 (Reply)
Was a little hesitant about the cardamom due to it's pungent odor & spicy taste but it was a nice compliment to the mix. Tasted great - THANK YOU! *(use this for pain-works well and NO crazy side effects like with pain RX's).
- halina, 08-03-14 (Reply)
This is super delicious. Soothing, calming and wonderful at the end of a long day. Definitely try it again.
- , 11-24-14 (Reply)
Oh hush up and drink your Gold MILK,,,,,
- kendra, 12-18-14 (Reply)
So delicious! I've tried various versions of golden milk and this is by far the best tasting, most relaxing and enjoyable recipe. Pain and sleep are both improved! Thanks!
- Sherry, 12-27-14 (Reply)
I used rice milk it's gorgeous Even on a hot Sydney night it is refreshing Thank you for such great recipies
- Michel, North narrabeen, 01-04-15 (Reply)
Thanks for this recipe. Where do I find a cup like the one in the recipe or can I use a copper cup?
- Roberta, 01-11-15 (Reply)
Sooooo beautiful! I'm in heaven
- Jaimie, 02-02-15 (Reply)
I add a little nutmeg.
- , 11-19-15 (Reply)
Generally Ghee and honey does not go together unless it is used in appropriate proportions. Please check and make sure honey is more than the weight of ghee so that it can do its job later. You may want to see expert advise for the right combinations of proportions between honey and ghee in the same drink. Good Luck. Enjoy!
- WEBSITE, 01-11-16 (Reply)

- Linzi, 03-28-16 (Reply)
I would like to try this recipe, but as I am Kapha, what milk should I use?
- Helene Pandy, Brisbane, 06-25-16 (Reply)
Try rice milk.
- Kimberly Kubicke, Wall, NJ, 06-27-16 (Reply)
Delicious!!! Made my mouth and my soul smile in delight:)
- Cora Wilfinger, Manitowoc, WI, 11-03-16 (Reply)

What is Joyful Belly?

Browse recipes and hundreds of other ingredients on this extensive educational website. Joyful Belly helps people confidently choose food that restores their healthy glow, using the ancient technique of Ayurveda. Our extensive collection of online recipes, ingredients, and articles makes health easy. To get started, take the free dosha quiz to find your Ayurvedic body type.

What is Ayurveda?

Learn about Ayurveda from the author of this article and founder of Joyful Belly,
John Immel.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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