Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turmeric Milk
It’s cold tonight in Santa Monica. Damp, biking home with my nose running, feeling rundown after a long day socializing and connecting and trying to pick out gifts and talking and listening to music and biking to and from the annual Eco-Gift festival in Santa Monica. I have to get up tomorrow for BKS Iyengar’s birthday bash of 108 sun salutations and then I have to do the socializing all over again. What to do? Ayurveda.
One of my favorite Ayurvedic remedies is turmeric milk. Hot milk cooked with turmeric powder and then a pinch of sugar and a little bit of ghee. Warm, two cups, it’s my favorite remedy for colds, flus, for those run-down days for calming the windy airy dry energy of the vata dosha while simultaneously soothing and reducing the hot fiery agitating energy of the pitta dosha. From the first sip I can feel it. And it’s easy to make: one cup of milk with 1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric, heat until warm and blended, pour into a cup, add ghee and sweetener, drink while lying in bed, hot water bottle at my feet, body wrapped up in a recovery bag from Get Earthed. The next morning, I woke up congestion clear, muscle aches gone, no headache. I let myself sleep in as well, to facilitate recovery.
When I went to the Iyengar Center of LA, Rupa reminded me of another ingredient to add to the mix: a pinch of black pepper. I’ve also made turmeric milk with a pinch of saffron (delicious, sattvic/promotes clarity, and warming for cold nights), or some crushed cardamom (helps to increase prana, the subtle life-force). The next night, I made turmeric milk again: one cup milk, 1/2 tsp turmeric, pinch of freshly-ground black pepper. No sweetener tonight because I felt that I ate too much sugar already. Then I added a little ghee to smooth it out. It’s actually delicious. Be careful, though, turmeric stains everything. A little care is well worth it, as turmeric is shown to be anti-inflammatory, a natural anti-histamine, anti-microbial, and even is believed to have protective effects against cancer. Turmeric milk is easy to make and a soothing home remedy for colds and flus, and it works for me without fail.

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