Golden Milk: An Ayurvedic sleep tonic

golden milk

One of the final things we did at the end of last semester at my yoga course was to spend some time in the kitchen as part of a practical Ayurveda class whipping up some recipes and remedies. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing system and its been around for thousands of years, so I figure some of the stuff must work, right? The most interesting one was Golden Milk – a medicinal drink to help improve sleep, often given to young children just before bed time.

The turmeric gives the milk the beautiful golden colour that it’s named after; modern studies have shown the curcumin which causes the yellow pigment in turmeric to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it is frequently used in Ayurveda so they obviously were clued in on its effects long before Western medicine!

Golden Milk has similar spice flavours to Chai and is deliciously warm and soothing. And now I’m sharing it with you, here’s the recipe. As I don’t have any trouble sleeping I can’t tell you how effective it is, so if you decide to give it a go I’d love to hear how you get on!

golden milk

  • 250mls (1 cup) of milk*
  • 2 pinches turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch cardamom powder
  • 1 pinch ginger powder or finely grated ginger root
  • 1 pinch cinnamon powder
  • 2 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 tspn raw honey

*Full fat cow’s milk is preferable, however alternative milks such as coconut milk or almond milk may be used instead.

This ingredients list is for a single serving for one person.


Cut the dates finely into small pieces and place in a pot with the milk, turmeric, cardamom and cinnamon. Simmer on a medium heat until warmed through and steaming but not quite boiling, constantly stirring until powders are mixed through. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Pour all contents into a mug without straining and then stir in the raw honey. Drink the entire contents.

Note: You may drink water prior to having your Golden Milk, but nothing afterwards. This should be taken just before bed time and is thought to help improve the ability to get to sleep, sleep duration and quality.

Image / NZ Real Health

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