You must have heard ‘Old is Gold.’ Did you know ‘Gold is Old’ too? I am not referring to actual gold. Turmeric, the golden spice, dates to more than 4000 years, and the tradition of using turmeric for its healing properties has continued to date.
In 1993, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, filed a patent for use of turmeric powder as a wound healing agent. India challenged the patent mainly on the basis that it was not a ‘novel’ invention. Turmeric indeed has been a revered medicine according to Ayurveda, a holistic science from India, and has been a big part of India’s household healing wisdom for thousands of years. And now that Turmeric lattes are making it to the menu of busy cafes in the US, it makes me happy that this tradition will never be lost.
As a kid, growing up in India, my mother would feed me a glass of warm turmeric milk if I took a fall or felt sick. Turmeric, apart from being used as a cooking spice, was the go-to home remedy in our household for various ailments from addressing a common cold to supporting bone health, from healing a wound to maintaining beauty.
Turmeric's active compound, curcumin, is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, making it an invaluable ingredient in traditional healing practices. In Ayurveda, turmeric is considered one of the most powerful and versatile herbs. Its healing properties are said to promote overall well-being by balancing Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas i.e. all five elements our bodies are made of – earth, water, fire, air and ether.
Turmeric milk, or Golden Latte as the west knows it, has been my personal favorite way of consuming turmeric powder. Golden milk isn’t just delicious, the warmth and sweetness of it are soothing to the body, mind and soul. I started having them as a kid on my mom’s insistence. Now I am in my forties and seven seas away from mom; and if I need her hug, turmeric milk is what I look to for comfort.
How to make turmeric milk
Turmeric milk has many names – Golden milk, Turmeric latte, Golden latte. It has many recipes too. There’s no need to hold back your creativity when making traditional turmeric milk. Here are a couple of recipes for turmeric latte.
Simple & Straight-forward
Combine half a teaspoon of turmeric into 8oz of milk in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Pour into a cup and enjoy.
Spiced Turmeric Milk
Combine half a teaspoon of turmeric, 8oz of milk of your choice, 8 oz of water, a couple of pinches of black pepper, a pinch of cardamom in a saucepan.
Let the mixture boil down to half (i.e. the water will evaporate and only the milk with spices will remain). This helps making the most of healing properties of spices.
Pour into a cup and enjoy
You can add these optional spices depending on the weather and what you need for the day. For instance, you may add-
- A pinch of ground dry ginger, a tiny piece of cinnamon or a bud of clove during cold weather
- A pinch of nutmeg for a good night’s sleep
- A few petals of dry rose or some cardamom if the mind feels scattered or frustrated
Pro Tips to Make Turmeric Milk
- You can use milk of your choice. Cow’s milk or almond milk are preferred for turmeric milk, but feel free to use coconut milk or walnut milk too.
- While most of the turmeric will dissolve in the milk, some particles might not. In case you don’t like the texture of undissolved particles, feel free to strain it.
- In case you like to add a sweetener, consider a dash of rock sugar or maple syrup. Honey tastes good too, but honey needs to be raw and should not be added while the milk is hot – wait until the milk is at lukewarm temperature or cooler.
- If you are not used to turmeric, then it is better to start with a small quantity, say a fourth to half teaspoon. Once you get used to it, feel free to scale it up a bit.
The Best Time to Have Turmeric Milk
Don’t overthink on when to have turmeric milk. It makes a great light breakfast, an in-between meal or even a bedtime tonic. Fall, Winter and Spring are a great time to indulge in this warm goodness and take advantage of turmeric’s immunity-boosting properties.
In the present day, turmeric milk is not just limited to my mom or grandmom’s kitchen. It is a matter of pride to see as to how our modern-day city cafes in the west have embraced the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and are serving up some delicious ‘golden latte’.
Whether you are buying your turmeric milk from a café, or making your own with ingredients of your choice, we hope that you enjoy the warmth and comfort that this golden spice brings. And the next time you sip on it, remember you are not only bringing well-being for yourself, you are keeping an ages-old tradition alive.
Disclaimer: Please note the above is not medical advice. The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. While Turmeric is generally considered safe for most people when used in moderation, it is essential to be aware of potential allergies or interactions with other medications.