I was an American dreaming Indian fellow just out to get a fun morning cup-a-joe while on vacation. A Yelp search and a short drive later I walked in to the intriguing looking White Heron Tea Shop that promised an interesting variety of wholesome organic coffees and teas. Immediately one item listed on the board caught my eye -- "Golden Milk."
What started as somewhat hipster ego based curiosity ended up in a hot cup of turmeric and almond milk atavism that evoked everything from half-forgotten filial bonds to near self-pity and loathing for having sold my soul to consumerism.
Indeed it was a concoction of turmeric and almond milk that made up this, "Golden Milk!" Don't run away screaming. This strange yellow turmeric has been used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for centuries! Current scientific research clearly acknowledges its therapeutic POTENTIAL.
In fact, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the nation of India went to patent war over turmeric and the exclusive right to sell and distribute it! Turmeric is native to India and a patent like this initially awarded to the university was biopiracy according to two professors from Harvard Business School!. Here is a discussion on the patent system and the case with turmeric and India and why the USPTO cancelled the patent!
Atrocious as a turmeric latte might sound, I did not drink it out of curiosity alone. It brought back memories of childhood nights where I was coughing too much to sleep and my father or grandfather only compounded my misery by forcing me to drink this same concoction. To my young taste buds it was sheer torture going down and I hated every tiny sip.
And yet on that vacation day, I could not stop grinning in satisfaction as I downed the entire cup while the turmeric first gently burned and then soothed my throat. After a couple of sips I actually started to enjoy the rich full mouth and throat experience! And while I drank it I missed my father, my grandfather, their gentle coaxing as they made me drink it, my heritage, the non-individualistic culture I had grown up in and the incredibly vibrant colors, tastes and smells of India!
Even back then I knew the witch's brew was not the shamanic machinations of my grandfather and that turmeric had well known Ayurvedic and health significance. However, rediscovering Golden Milk made me investigate and learn.
Turns out turmeric is a much used Ayurvedic herb. Please see previous and ongoing medical research about turmeric or read Lisa Gallant's article "Turmeric -- The Golden Goddess" from the Ayurveda College for a list of benefits and health claims made by Ayurveda practitioners. Here is a short excerpt and some parts of it can be linked to research:
"Within the cornucopia of medicinal plants, few possess such a wide spectrum of qualities and medicinal uses as turmeric. For countless centuries, many different cultures have used this wonderful, versatile herb to treat a myriad of diseases and ailments. The most well known medicinal action of turmeric is its use as a powerful anti-inflammatory, the effectiveness of which is comparable to pharmaceutical medicines. However, it also acts as an alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary. Modern science is beginning to recognize and understand the amazing healing qualities of turmeric and much research is currently being conducted.
Turmeric has been proven effective in treating some of the most intense ailments afflicting the world today including: Arthritis, Cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Atherosclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Hepatitis-C, Genital Herpes) , Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Indigestion, Inflammation, Acne, Urinary Tract Infections, Kidney Infections, Gallstones, Anemia, Hemorrhoids, Liver Disease, Leprosy, Amenorrhea, Edema, Bronchitis, Common Cold, Headaches, Conjunctivitis, Bursitis, food poisoning, parasites, fever, diarrhea, poor circulation, lower back and abdominal pain. It can also be used as a mosquito repellent, wound healer, and immediate cure for scorpion stings. Turmeric helps balance the female reproductive and lactation systems, and in men it purifies and improves the health of semen. It is used to treat external ulcers that would not respond to other treatment. Due to its vast array of medicinal purposes and versatility, turmeric is one of the most important herbs in any natural medicine cabinet."
I nursed my Golden Milk and the sappy memories it addled while valiantly wrestling with my lachrymal glands for the better part of an hour. Then I took a picture and sent it to all of my family who had suffered it in their childhoods! While unsure if I was spreading misery or joy I definitely did not want to go it alone! Every single one of them had a similar reaction starting from remembering dreading the remedy as a kid to missing it and having it tug at heart strings.
Golden Milk may never be quite so loaded an experience for you. Nevertheless I am glad to be able to share it with you. In view of big pharma's grip on us, a need for holistic living and an eco friendly all natural future for mankind, I thought it worthy of being raised up and perhaps celebrated!
Here is how you can make it yourself:
I wish you some Golden Milk and perhaps an Ayurvedic Atavism in your future! Maybe you will merely enjoy the soothing afterburn of its taste or maybe you will feel the spirit of centuries of Ayurveda slowly make its golden way into your veins!
My thanks to Jonathan Blakesly and Pia of the White Heron Tea Shop in Portsmouth NH for bringing Golden Milk back into my life!