COW MILK AND ITS IMPORTANCE AS EXPLAINED IN AYURVEDA
Ayurveda has described eight types of milk obtained from different animal sources and the pride of place has been given to Cow milk of desk breeds of India (Ksheera varge agryam). Cow milk has been described as nutritive and good for the vital organs such as the Eyes, Brain and the Heart. It possesses sweet taste (Madhura rasa) and is cooling (Sheetha veerya) in nature. Cow Milk promotes immunity and acts as rasayana and ojovardhaka.
All of us know Milk is a good source of protein and fat and minerals such as calcium. But there are facts about Cow milk which we are not aware or we have not given a thought about. Let me explain some of them in the following paragraphs:
Easy to digest: In the absence of mother’s milk, Cow milk has been suggested as a natural alternative. Children who have a weak digestion very commonly suffer from frequent vomiting and loose motions. Recurrent diarrheal episodes in these children lead to malnourishment and stunted growth. For such Children, Milk form Indigenous breeds of Cow will be a better alternative since it is easy to digest and more nutritive. Milk from genetically modified cows will aggravate the problem by hampering the immunity of the Child as well as affecting the digestive system. That is why in the absence of Mother’s milk, the next best alternative is always Cow’s milk.
Milk from Indigenous breeds and better quality:
Milk and immunity: If your child is regularly suffering from recurrent infections such as tonsillitis,bronchitis,sinusitis it is time you shifted from your present source of milk to one which is obtained from Indigenous breeds of Indian Cow. Milk from Indian breeds of Cow has immune booster effect.
Cow milk and improved intelligence and memory:Poor performance of their kids in Studies is the most common complaint of parents. Cow milk has the effect of improving medha or intellect and also is a good memory booster. Properly nourished kids perform better in their academics than poorly nourished children. To have a good intelligence and memory, it is essential that the brain gets adequate and proper nutrition. Cow milk is ideally suited as a brain tonic because according to Ayurveda it has the ability to pacify Vata dosha. Vata dosha is the one which is responsible for the proper functioning of Nervous system.
Parents are always in search of good brain tonics to be purchased from the Pharmacy but we forget that our ancients have advised Cow milk and Cow ghee as the best brain tonic. This is a medicine which is available at our doorstep and the most important thing about it is that it does not have any side effects.
Cow milk and its effect on the mind:Our ancestors went beyond the calorie value of milk and found that milk has a calming influence on the mind. They have said that Cow milk improves the Sattva Guna in us and leads to enhancement of positive characteristics of a person. Milk from indigenous breeds of our Country has good medicinal value and it is advised to be used in preparation of Ayurveda medicines.
Cow milk and bone strength:
For pure vegetarians, Cow milk is a good source of Vitamin D and Vitamin D plays a huge role in the absorption of Calcium from the gut. Good absorption of calcium will lead to good bone strength. So Cow milk is very important for women who are nearing menopause because menopause increases the susceptibility to Osteoporosis.
Milk and its effect on the Tridoshas of Ayurveda:Among the doshas, Milk has the capacity to alleviate aggravated Vata and Pitta dosha. We have to understand that these properties have been explained in the context of Desi or indigenous breed of Cow. There is a need to institute comparative studies on the quality and health giving properties of the milk obtained from indigenous and hybrid (genetically modified) cows. Cow milk is one of the most important ingredients in several Ayurvedic preparations such as Mahanarayana Taila, Ksheerabala Taila, Panchagavya Ghritha, Amrtaprasha ghrtha etc.
Cow Milk and its effect on Ojus as per Ayurveda:
Ayurveda explains Ojus as Saptha dhathu saara and in layman’s language it can be said that milk is tonic of all tonics. If used according to classical guidelines, milk nourishes all the tissues in our body.
If you are suffering from milk allergy- is there an alternative:If you are allergic to Milk in any way, the best way out is to consume it in the form of buttermilk. The milk is converted into curd and later churned to obtain nectar like buttermilk. Buttermilk can be taken by people who are suffering from lactose intolerance and it actually improves the absorptive strength of the intestines. Ayurveda has extolled the virtues of buttermilk in several instances and modern research also confirms that buttermilk is a rich source of probiotics. Probiotics are nonpathogenic microbes. They are present as normal flora in the alimentary canal and they contribute to the digestive and metabolic process by their enzymatic activities. An imbalance in the probiotics flora will lead to susceptibility of the individual to frequent loose motions and digestive upset. In my clinical practice, I advise patients suffering from gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and piles to consume lot of buttermilk prepared out of Cow milk.How to drink and how much quantity?
Milk should be ideally boiled before consumption. Since Cow milk from Indigenous breeds of Cow has a natural sweet taste, there is no need for additional sugar. Since Cow milk itself is a complete formula, ideally it should be consumed without any additives.
Quantity of milk to be consumed:Quantity of milk to be consumed depends on the age and the digestive capacity of the individual. It is always good to have a complete diet with adequate sources of protein, carbohydrate, fats and minerals. Milk can be a good source of proteins, fats and minerals. One to two cups of milk per day should be ideal.Cow milk and the elderly: Fifty and above is the age when our bones start showing signs of degeneration and Milk is an ideal supplement at this age. Elderly are more prone to fractures and arthritis due to weakness of bone tissue and Cow milk is an ideal bone tonic.
Cow milk and Women:Women during their pregnancy and lactation should consume adequate quantities of milk. They are prone to Osteoporosis during and after the menopause and should ideally have a cup or two of Cow milk during this period since Cow milk is a rich source of calcium and other minerals.
How not to consume milk-Combinations to be avoided: Do not consume milk along with sour tasting fruits such as Pineapple, berries etc.Avoid consuming fish and sea food alongwith milk. For people who are having elevated cholesterol levels and suffering from heart problems, buttermilk is better than milk. Buttermilk has the property of making obese people lean and so overweight people should ideally consume less of milk and more of buttermilk.