Properties & usage of milk & milk products according to Ayurveda

by Dr. Prasanna Venkatesh

Generally mother’s (breast milk) is the superior one, which nourishes the body from the time of birth.

(Native Indian breed) Cow’s milk has got almost similar qualities to that of mother’s milk. If used accordingly, it can act like nectar.

Properties of Cow’s milk

  • It reduces Vata & Pitta. Helps for the easy movement of bowels.
  • It is the best rejuvenator, improves physical strength.
  • Promotes long life.
  • Good in dizziness, breathlessness due to exertion
  • Increases intelligence.
  • Good in dry cough.

Properties of cooked & uncooked milk

Milk, if not boiled / uncooked is abhishyandi (produces excess secretion in the tissue pores & causing their blockage).

Also it is not easily digestible.

If the milk is properly cooked / boiled, becomes light for digestion, nourishes all the body tissues.

If boiled too much, milk becomes very hard for digestion.

If the milk contains very bad smell or taste, if it is sour / salty, if any color changes, should not be used.

Proper usage of milk

Milk is having many good properties but has to be used judiciously.

Indications for milk intake

  • Children, aged persons, persons suffering from increased vata – pitta, persons who are in need of nutrition, who have diminished tissues like bone degeneration etc, in summer season – in all these usage of milk is good.
  • Intake of milk after food provides nutrition to the body.

Contra – indications for milk intake

  • When Kapha is increased in the body, who are suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, fever, cough, breathlessness, cold etc should avoid intake of milk.

Without the knowledge of these factors people use milk improperly. Often we observe adults who consume excessive milk & mothers forcing their children in the name of calcium supplement. We should be aware of the above facts before indiscriminate usage of milk & milk products.

Properties of Buffalo’s milk

Ayurveda explains the properties of different kinds of milk. Buffalo’s milk is having following properties,

  • Basically the milk of buffalos is heavy for digestion
  • Cold in potency
  • Increases Kapha, reduces Vata & Pitta
  • Good in excessive appetite
  • Useful in loss of sleep

When a person has excessive hunger & digests the food very quickly, in such a condition buffalo curd can be given with rice. (Especially curd rice prepared with previous night cooked rice is said to be good, but has to be taken after proper advise.

In Insomnia (loss of sleep) taking buffalo’s milk with sugar is beneficial.

But in-general, this milk is not to be used all the time.

Even though it is tasty, only on usage as per medical advice only it can be healthy.

Note :What are properties of milk that we are using now a days?

Most of the packed milk that we are getting today is a mixture of different kinds of milk (ex: cow’s + buffalo’s milk etc). It is mostly collected from hybrid cows which are injected with hormones, in order to get high yield. It is very difficult to analyze the properties of such milk. Apart from that, this kind of milk is collected 3-4 days before & is processed with various technologies & then packed in the name of fresh milk. Because of these reasons it is not possible to access whether it is healthy? What is the effect of such milk on the Doshas, Dhatus & Agni?  Thorough analysis of all these factors is very much needed presently.

Clinically we observe drastic increase in the disorders occurring due to imbalance in the harmones like thyroid, gonadal harmones (like estrogen & progesterone) etc. These may be a result of usage of such processed milk, as Ayurveda suggests processing techniques change the properties of the food articles. Even storing it for 3 – 4 days has an influence on its qualities. Hence packed milk available today may have negative effect on our health. Further researches in these aspects have to be done to arrive at proper conclusion.


Proper usage of Curds

Takra is easily digestable, improves digestion,
Controles Kapha & Vata.
Useful in digestion upsets, improves taste,
ascitis (condition where water is accumulated in the abdomen),piles,difficulty in urination,swelling in the body, diabetes etc.


Now a– days we observe the improper usage of curds. But Ayurveda clearly mentions the conditions where it has to be used & not used.

Properties of curd

  • Basically it is heavy for digestion.
  • Generally people say curd is cold, but it is cold only for touch; and is hot (ಉಷ್ಣ) in potency after digestion.
  • It reduces Vaata; disturbs / increases Pitta & Kapha.
  • If used in an inappropriate way, disturbs body tissues.
  • If used properly, increases physical strength.

Precautions to use curds

  • Should be used only during cold seasons like winter & rainy season.
  • In other seasons it should not be used e., in Vasanat rutu  – March & April

Greeshma Rutu – April & May, Sharad Rutu – Sept & Oct.

  • Even in the indicated season also, during night food, curds should not be used.
  • While using curds, one should use along with either of these articles

Soup prepared with moog dal / green gram (better during rainy season) – or –

Honey (better during winter) – or –

Ghee (better during rainy season) – or –

Sugar (better during last part of rainy season) – or –

Amalaki  (better during winter)


Properties of butter milk (takra)

Takra is easily digestible, improves digestion,

Controles Kapha & Vata.
Useful in digestion upsets, improves taste,ascitis (condition where water is accumulated in the abdomen),piles,difficulty in urination,swelling in the body, diabetes etc.

Author is Chief Physician, Sriranga Ayurveda Chikitsa Mandira, Prakruthi Ayurveda Pratistana ®, Mysore

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