By Cat, Sept 2016 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
I’ve been taking turmeric in supplemental form (capsule), but I like the idea of consuming it as a food rather than a supplement after reading about it on Wellness Mamma (1) and Mercola (7). This warm tea is an ancient beverage with eons of history behind it.
“Golden milk” always contains turmeric (as fresh root or powdered spice) and a fat such as whole dairy milk, ghee, or coconut oil – the fat is important as it activates turmeric’s benefits. Ginger may also be added (as fresh root or powdered spice) (3).
This is a delicious beverage that reminds me of Mexican Hot Chocolate – even though it doesn’t contain chocolate – and is nicely warming to drink just before bed. I provide a simple recipe for one serving, so you can test it to see if you like it, before trying one of the other versions that make more than one serving.
If you want to give it a try but don’t want to make your own, check out Turmeric Tea from Lake Missoula Tea Company (9) (Missoula Montana); the link includes a 1-minute video on how to make it using their powder mix.
- See also: 1. Healing Remedies Menu; 2. Beverages Menu; 3. Herbs & Spices Menu; 4. Ginger-Turmeric Latte; Other Sites: Mercola on Benefits of Golden Milk (4)
- Includes: 1. Cat’s Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea), single serving; 2. Dry mix for 2 servings; 3. Dry or Paste Mix for 2 – 4 servings; 4. Golden Paste & Golden Milk (2 versions); 4. Golden Tea using Fresh Turmeric and Ginger Root (2 versions)
Note the following warning for those who are pregnant and nursing (1):
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that it is safe to cook with Turmeric while pregnant and nursing but that turmeric supplements should not be taken without a doctor’s advice. Since this tea contains Turmeric, consult with a doctor or midwife before consuming this if you are pregnant, nursing or have a medical condition.”
This is one of the most commonly used spices in India, a basic ingredient in most curries. Its major biochemical component is curcumin, which has many health benefits. And a recent study (5) holds hope that it may boost production of the essential Omega-3 fatty acid DHA in the brain to boost brain health. “DHA deficiency is quite common and can have a wide range of adverse consequences to the optimal functioning of the brain. Its deficiency is linked to several neurocognitive disorders such as anxiety-like behavior, Alzheimer’s disease, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia with psychosis and impaired attention.“(6)
Golden Milk/Tea: Several Recipes
I drink raw dairy milk, which adds even more nutritional benefit to the warm tea (just don’t heat it above 145°F); fresh coconut milk is another tasty option. This recipe can also be made with other nut milks (almond, pecan, cashew, etc.), but I don’t recommend soy milk unless it is Organic (to avoid GMO), and then only occasionally.
It is best when using freshly minced turmeric root, but powdered spice can also be used. Or you can use the fresh root to make a paste which stores well, then use a small portion of the paste to make the golden beverage. In addition to turmeric, this beverage includes other ingredients that are warming and assist in turmeric’s action; be sure to use Organic options:
- Many recipes include cinnamon, of which there are two types: Ceylon or ‘true’ cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. I use true cinnamon in my morning smoothies (for insulin resistance), so that is what I have on-hand, but cassia has more flavor. I recommend using only Organic spices.
- Bblack pepper and optional cayenne assist in the warming quality and benefits of the tea. “Black pepper contains Piperine, a compound known to increase the benefits of turmeric.” (1)
- Other spices you might consider adding: cardamom and/or ginger.
- Coconut milk
- Sweetener is optional but mellows the turmeric flavor if you are not used to it in such concentrated form; the most healthful option is raw local honey. I use a single drop or two of liquid stevia extract; crushed, dried stevia leaves could also be used, but the sweetness varies.
Try one of the 1 – 4 serving recipes first; then if you like it, make up the dry spice mix or paste for bulk storage of which you add a small amount to the milk before warming.
*NOTE: This may stain blenders and counter tops. The color isn’t harmful and will eventually fade. Recipe can be halved or doubled if needed.
Cat’s Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea) – Single-serving test recipe:
I made this recipe to see if I liked it, before mixing up the dry tea mix or paste. It is based on the dry mix recipe, below, and makes one, 1-cup serving. Of course, I love it, especially in the cold winter months.
I use a few drops of liquid stevia to sweeten (because I’m avoiding sugar), but it is delicious with raw, local honey. Start with ½ tsp honey and add more as needed to the warmed mixture.
Using ground spices, mix together in small heavy-bottom saucepan:
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- ⅛ tsp ginger powder
- a pinch of black pepper
- additional spices of your own choosing (see above for suggestions)
Add 1 cup whole milk and 4 drops liquid stevia extract; I also add 1 tsp coconut oil, but could use ghee. (NOTE: fat and black pepper are essential to help with absorption). Warm over low heat (simmer), stirring, to about 140°F (using a milk thermometer), then remove from heat, stir and enjoy! This really is delicious, so I now make up a full recipe of the dry tea mix for 2 – 4 servings (second recipe, below).
Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea) Dry Mix for 2 servings
This recipe is adapted from Wellness Mamma (1); it stores well in a mason jar with lid, kept in a cool, dark place. During the holiday season, I add cardamom (freshly-ground seeds). Simply mix up the spices and store in a jar, then use 2 tsp of the powdered mix with 2 cups of milk, and warm as above.
- ½ cup turmeric powder
- ¼ cup cinnamon powder
- 1-2 Tbsp ginger powder
- 1 Tbsp cardamom powder (optional; I use during holiday season)
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp of cayenne (optional)
Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea) Dry or Paste Mix for 2-4 servings
This recipe is also from Wellness Mamma (1), who recommends drinking this before bed because it aids relaxation and helps boost the immune system while sleeping.
The honey/maple syrup is optional but “helps to mellow out the strong flavor of the turmeric.” (1). Use raw, local honey for maximum benefit.
She notes that the recipe will stain your blender/counter/cup, but the stain will fade very slowly with time. To avoid staining your blender:
- mix up the powdered spices ahead of time and add to milk in saucepan for heating (see spice mix recipe below the main recipe);
- make up a paste of the spices with coconut oil, and add to milk in saucepan for heating (see spice mix recipe below the main recipe) (see paste recipe below the main recipe).
This main recipe makes 2 – 4 servings. I also provide other options/recipes, farther down the page.
- 2 cups of milk of choice (almond, coconut, pecan, and raw dairy all work in this recipe; I use coconut milk)
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- ¼ – ½ tsp Cinnamon powder
- 1 Tbsp cardamom powder (optional; I use during holiday season)
- Tiny piece of fresh, peeled ginger root or ¼ tsp ginger powder
- Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Sweetener (optional): 1 tsp raw local honey, maple syrup or molasses to taste (stevia can be used but depending on its form, you may need much less; I recommend using a few drops of liquid stevia extract)
- blender or whisk
- small heavy-bottomed sauce pan
- First, if using fresh ginger or turmeric root, blend all ingredients in a high speed blender* until smooth. If using all powders, you can simply add them to the milk in the saucepan (and skip the blender step).
- Then, pour into a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling. I recommend using a milk thermometer and heat to no more than 140°F.
- Drink immediately.
*Note: This may stain blenders and counter tops. The color isn’t harmful and will eventually fade. Recipe can be halved or doubled if needed.
Golden Paste & Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea)
The paste is a good way to store the mixture; makes at least 50 servings, a few at a time. I provide two versions here; both include a version of each of the following:
- Golden Paste is a thick mixture including turmeric that you make as the starter for golden milk (it stores well); one batch will make several servings of golden milk.
- Golden Milk is a mixture using a portion of the paste with dairy or coconut milk and other flavors.
Golden Paste/Milk, Version I
This is also from Wellness Mamma (1), but she notes it is from one of her readers, Rose. She uses almond or coconut milk, but I would use raw dairy milk (just don’t let it boil, and best to keep it under 145°F, as that is the temperature at which the milk begins to denature).
It doesn’t include the cinnamon and ginger in the paste, but cinnamon is added when serving. I will test adding 2 Tbsp ginger powder to the paste.
The paste is a good way to store the mixture; makes at least 50 servings, a few at a time. The option of using ghee instead of coconut oil in the paste is from The Nourished Kitchen (3).
- Golden Paste:
- ½ cup organic turmeric powder
- ½ cup clean water (no fluoride)
- 1-2 Tbsp ginger powder (my addition)
- 1 Tbsp cardamom powder (my addition, optional; I use during holiday season)
- 1 ½ tsp black pepper
- 5 Tbsp virgin coconut oil or ghee
- Golden Milk (for 2 – 4 servings):
- 1 tsp Golden Paste
- 2 cups milk (almond, coconut Milk, or raw dairy milk)
- ⅛ tsp Vanilla (Optional)
- Molasses to taste (or a few drops of liquid stevia extract, to taste)
- Pinch cinnamon (Optional)
- Golden Paste: In a stainless steel pot cook together: Water, turmeric and black pepper until it forms a thick paste, stir and cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add virgin coconut oil, using a whisk to fully mix in the coconut oil. Finally, transfer to a glass jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
- Golden Milk: In a stainless steel pot with a heavy bottom, gently heat, but do not boil, milk with 1 teaspoon paste. Use whisk to combine.
Add sweetener, vanilla and cinnamon to taste.
Golden Paste/Milk, Version 2
The version, originally from Health Impact News (8) and Mercola (7). It only uses turmeric and pepper for the spices.
- Golden Paste: (makes several servings of golden milk)
- ½ cup ground organic turmeric powder
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 ½ tsp black pepper
- 5 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
- Golden Milk: (makes one serving)
- 1 tsp Golden Paste (see above)
- 2 cups coconut milk (not light Coconut Milk) or almond milk
- ⅛ tsp real vanilla extract (optional)
- raw local honey or a few drops of liquid stevia extract, optional, to taste
- Pinch cinnamon
- Stainless steel saucepan
- Golden Paste: Combine all but the coconut oil in the saucepan and cook, stirring until it forms a thick paste, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the coconut oil until fully mixed.
- Transfer mixture to a glass mason jar with a lid, and store in the refrigerator, up to 2 weeks.
- Golden Milk: Combine coconut milk with 1 tsp of golden paste in saucepan; heat gently, but do not boil;
- A whisk is helpful to fully mix the paste into the milk.
- Add optional vanilla, honey [or stevia], and/or cinnamon, stirring/whisking to mix.
- Serve in a glass or cup.
Golden Milk using fresh turmeric and ginger root
I include two versions for using fresh roots.
Version 1 (makes 1 – 2 servings):
This version is adapted from Epicurious (2). “Cooks’ Note: Using fresh turmeric adds a clean, bright flavor to this drink, but dried turmeric can be substituted when fresh is not available. Keep in mind that dried turmeric will settle to the bottom of the mug, so stir well before drinking.” You could also add other spices (see above for options); I add crushed cardamom seeds during holiday season.
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, preferably coconut milk beverage or other nut milk
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 (1-inch) piece turmeric, unpeeled, thinly sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
- 1 (½-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp raw local honey
- 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
- ¼ tsp whole black peppercorns
- Ground cinnamon (for serving)
- small heavy-bottomed saucepan
- mesh strainer
Whisk coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and top with a dash of cinnamon.
Do Ahead: Golden milk can be made 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container and chill. Warm before serving.
Version 2 (makes 2 – 4 servings)
This version is from The Nourished Kitchen (3). the author notes, “Golden Milk is traditionally made with cow’s milk. If you wish to omit the coconut milk and coconut water, simply substitute 2 cups whole milk.” The original also calls for Manuka honey from New Zealand, but I believe in the health benefits of using raw local honey.
- 1 1-inch knob fresh turmeric (or 2 tsp powdered turmeric)
- 1½-inch knob fresh ginger
- 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil
- 2 cups raw dairy milk (OR 1 cup full-fat coconut milk PLUS 1 cup coconut water)
- 1 Tbsp manuka or raw local honey
- mortar and pestle
- small heavy-bottomed saucepan
- mesh strainer
- Peel both the turmeric and ginger, then grate them finely into the mortar. Spoon the ghee into the mortar, and grind the ghee or coconut oil into the turmeric and ginger with your pestle until they form a fine paste.
- Pour the coconut milk and coconut water into a saucepan, and spoon in the paste made with turmeric, ginger and ghee. Turn the heat up to medium-high and warm the ingredients together until little bubbles just begin to creep up the sides of the pot. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan, allowing the turmeric and ginger to steep about 3 minutes. Strain the golden milk through a fine-mesh strainer or tea strainer into a tea pot. Stir in the honey and continue stirring until it dissolves. Serve warm.
- Wellness Mamma, wellnessmama.com/223/turmeric-tea-recipe/
- Epicurious, epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/golden-milk-turmeric-tea
- Nourished Kitchen, nourishedkitchen.com/golden-tea-turmeric-ginger-tea-coconut-milk
- Mercola on benefits of Golden Milk: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/21/golden-milk.aspx
- NIH study: “Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders,” (sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443914003779)
- Food Revolution (foodrevolution.org/blog/turmeric-may-boost-vegetarian-brains-omega-3-dha-levels-nih-research-reveals)
- Mercola on Golden Milk (articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/21/golden-milk.aspx)
- Health Impact News September 14, 2015, golden milk recipe (healthimpactnews.com/2015/golden-milk-recipe-with-turmeric-and-virgin-coconut-oil)
- Lake Missoula Tea Company: lakemissoulateacompany.com/product/golden-milk