Some time in the past we discussed the reasons for not drinking or consuming cow's milk from commercial dairies. Any health-conscious person will shun all processed dairy products. This, however, is not true for milk from contented unmedicated cows. There are those who call this milk a perfect food, being second only to mother's milk (which is the most complete and perfect source of nourishment for infants, especially in the first year of life). Whole cow's milk is a complete food, not just a beverage. It is becoming increasingly possible in the USA to obtain pure raw whole milk from certain dairies that advertise organic milk, which assures us that it is unmedicated. We must all make an effort to obtain such raw milk. The laws in the US require that all milk be pasteurized, but this does not detract from its health giving properties, even though the pasteurization process is incomplete. If whole raw milk is not available, try to obtain non-homogenized milk without any other adulterations or processing.
All raw whole milk, even pasteurized milk, should be boiled before consumption. This not only kills any bacteria that may be present, but it also assures that the curds are broken down to make them more easily digestible. Since whole milk is very high in fat content, it is best for adults not to drink it too often. (Remember to hold the total calories from fat in the diet to less than 25% of the total calorie count.) This milk isgood for adults to consume occasionally. If taken at night after it is warmed and flavored with a small amount of ginger root, it is very nourishing to the body and also calms the mind, leading to a good night's sleep. It is always best to take milk warmed slightly, except for the strong pitta types who are able to take it cooled. Never drink milk cold.
Cow's milk is light, astringent, sweet and cold. It is a tonic for all. It tends to calm all the doshas. It is able to detoxify the body and is well known for reducing the "heat" of peppers, onions, garlic and other strong spices. It is said that milk from the morning milking tends to produce sleepiness and lethargy and is Kaphic in nature due to the fact that the animal has had no exercise; but that from the evening milking tends to appease kapha and vata and is especially good for the pitta types. On the other hand, goat's milk is best in the morning and appeases vata and pitta doshas.
Cow milk's high fat content makes it a great source of butter and subsequently its essence, ghee. Ghee is used in medicine because of its action of emulsifying and augmenting the properties of herbs and spices. Often ghee is used to aid in the digestion of a multitude of foods. It, along with warm milk, may act as a purgative especially for the pitta types. Butter itself is cold, astringent, unctuous, increases appetite and gastric fire. Ghee from cow's milk is sweet and tonic. It calms or removes aggravation of all three doshas and is good for the eyes and memory. Ghee also contains Vitamin B12 and other nutrients that we need. Ghee is commonly used in cooking and is often added to food for its appeasing effect on the doshas, especially its ability to remove excess kapha.
Dr. Devananda Tandavan, MD, is a member of the American Medical Association, the International College of Surgeons, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Federation of Astrologers, the International Reiki Association, the International Center of Homeopathy– and more. Send your questions to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746 USA.
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