Last Updated: Oct 14, 2016
This ashwagandha milk recipe is one of our favorite herbal combinations that provides both a satisfying warm evening drink as well as a grounding nervine tonic.
In Ayurvedic Indian tradition, ashwagandha powder is therapeutically added to heated milk and honey and sipped as a sleep inducing beverage. Consumed a few hours before bedtime, it can replenish the nervous system, settle the mind and promote deep rest.
Achieving good quality sleep on a regular basis is important for overall health over the course of our lifetime. It is therefore beneficial to practice good nightly bedtime routines that encourage better sleep and a mug full of warm herbal infused milk might become a part of a ritual winding-down process.
In this recipe we also incorporate a few other herbs, along with ashwagandha, that are very effective for relaxing the body, pacifying the thoughts and soothing muscle tension.
Ashwagandha root powders and extracts have been examined for their ability to heighten resilience to stress and improve the body's defense against disease via active antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds known as withanolides.
Ashwagandha root is not considered a sedative, but is rather a restoring rasayana herb that addresses a number of health issues such as adrenal exhaustion, hormonal imbalance and debilitating weakness.
It can be a rejuvenating
yet calming nerve tonic and is a frequent ingredient utilized in many energy building preparations to promote vigor, vitality and, according
to Ayurvedic scriptures, increase one's lifespan.
Rasayana herbs, like ashwagandha, nourish the whole body by strengthening the primordial tissue. This ashwagandha milk recipe is therefore one of our personal favorites in the colder seasons and "building" time of year.
Ashwagandha also has the reputation for being a potent sexual tonic helpful for increasing libido or improving sex drive. According to herbalist Dr. Michael Tierra, author of Planetary Herbology, "It is easily the most potent tonic aphrodisiacs in the entire botanical kingdom." (Source)
The root is typically ground and used as a fine powder added to drinks, teas or foods. It blends very well into milk, whether from dairy cows (preferably pasture-raised) or from vegan plant-based sources, providing a thick rich quality.
While most Indian recipes use cow's milk, in this ashwagandha milk recipe variation we use one of our favorite nut milks, almond milk. When you make it from scratch, as we instruct in the directions below, this gives you the opportunity to infuse other herbs into the milk.
We like to use almonds in particular because they not only provide a creamy delicious unctuous milk when blended and squeezed through a nut milk bag, but they also have a relatively high amount of sleep-inducing mineral content.
According to Nutrition Data 1 cup of almonds contain 54% the Daily Value for magnesium, 25% for calcium, both of which work in tandem to deliver calming effects on nerve functions and improve sleep cycles.
Almonds are also a good source of the very potent fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), with 1 cup referenced at 125% the Daily Value based on a 2000 calorie diet. (*)
There are a few basic steps to preparing this recipe. One is creating your herbal tea infusion and the next is straining this mix and making your almond milk using this as the base liquid.
Once your nut milk is made, you can blend in your ashwagandha powder and other spices: cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. These herbs will help to activate ashwagandha's calming effects on the nerves as well as stimulate the sedating-like effects of chamomile, skullcap and lemon balm.
It is possible to also use the powder from ashwagandha capsules or freshly grind your own from the dried root.
You may also wish to add ghee or coconut oil (as a vegan substitute).
This ashwagandha milk recipe makes approximately 3-4 servings. This quart of milk is great to have on hand for a tasty evening beverage to consume over the next several nights.
It can be stored in the fridge and will last between 3-5 days when kept cold.