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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 224-227

“Milk as a food” – A boon or curse, think before use


1 Department of Basic Principles, I.P.G.T. and R.A., GAU, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Kayachikitsa, I.P.G.T. and R.A., GAU, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Date of Submission01-Oct-2020
Date of Decision03-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance05-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Ritu Kaushik
3rd Floor, Department of Basic Principles, I.P.G.T. and R.A., GAU, Jamnagar, Gujarat
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_177_20

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  Abstract 


Objective: To evaluate whether the milk is compatible as daily routine beverage or not. Data Source: Ayurvedic classics with available commentaries, material available online have been thoroughly screened, analyzed and presented in a systematic manner. Review Methods: literary review deals with eight types of milk which are commonly used in the community described by different Samhita. It is mentioned under Ksheera Varga that comes under Drava Varga of Ahara. Being part of Ahara its intake amount depends upon Agni, Desha, Kala, Vaya and Prakriti. Results: Persons living in Sadharandesha with Samagni should take Go-dughda (cow's milk) and Aja-dughda (goat milk). In Varsha Ritu, individual's having Mandagni and living in Aanupadesha buffalo's milk is contraindicated although it is beneficial in Tikshnagni individuals and in Hemanta Ritu. Its use is prohibited with the Haritkayadi varga, Amla Varga, and Lavana Varga. Milk is more beneficial in Vata and Pitta dominant constitution. Conclusion: Milk can be considered as boon if taken according to Desha (geographical region), Kala (season), Prakriti or Agni (digestive capacity) and also can be a curse if not taken appropriately.

Keywords: Milk, Agni, Ahara


How to cite this article:
Kaushik R, Baghel A S, Vyas H A, Kamble S B, Kaushik P. “Milk as a food” – A boon or curse, think before use. J Ayurveda 2021;15:224-7

How to cite this URL:
Kaushik R, Baghel A S, Vyas H A, Kamble S B, Kaushik P. “Milk as a food” – A boon or curse, think before use. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 1];15:224-7. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2021/15/3/224/326707




  Introduction Top


It is a well-recognized fact that individual having a healthy body can only afford to perform all the activities leading to happiness, heaven, and salvation. For the preservation of health, an alertness toward Ahara is essential as it is a basic factor for the attainment of all of them. In routine food pattern of a family, milk is becoming an essential entity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the demand of milk and its products is increasing day by day. Present-day lifestyle is habitually sedentary, and it leads to vitiation of Kapha and other Santarpanjanya Vyadhi, so milk as a regular beverage should increase Kapha that is already in disturbed form resulting in further ailments. In this work, an effort has been made to explore the use of milk in a sustainable manner with respect to human beings in the present era.

General qualities of milk

Milk is natural elixir (a particular type of medicinal solution) and is best among all the Jivaniya-dravya.[1] Milk is the white fluid essence of drugs and cereals, which enter into the food of the aforesaid milk giving animals, and is, therefore, the best of all nutritive substances. It is heavy, sweet, slimy, cold, glossy, soothing, laxative, and mild. Hence, it proves to be affable to all and due to its nature, considered as the essential principles of life. Hence, its use may be unreservedly recommended to all.[2] Acharaya Charaka defines milk generally as Madhura (sweet), Snigdha (unctuous), Sheeta (cool), Stanya (lactogenic), Preenam (nourishing), Vrishya (libidinal stimulant), Medhya (useful for intelligence), Balya (strength giving), Manaskaram (useful for mental faculties), Jeevaniyama (invigorating), Shramhara (fatigue dispelling), Trishanagrahnam (reliever of dyspepsia). It cures Raktapitta (hemoptysis) and helps in Vrana Ropana (healing of wound).[3] Milk is having identical properties with Ojas.[4] Milk is refrigerant and acts as a bracing beverage after Shrama (physical exercise).[5] It is Rasayana (rejuvenates) and Vrishya (aphrodisiac), expands the intellectual capacities of a man, brings about the adhesion of broken or fractured bone, forms excellent enemata, increases the duration of life, and acts as a vitalizer. It is the most complete and wholesome diet for Bala (infants), Vriddha (old age persons), and Kshata-ksheena (persons suffering from cachexia witnessed in cases of ulcers in the chest) as well as for Kshudha-Vyavaya Vyayama Karshita (persons debilitated from insufficient food, sexual excesses, or excessive physical work).

Aim

The aim of this study was to evaluate whether milk is compatible with a daily routine beverage or not.


  Materials and Methods Top


For the present study, ayurvedic classics with available commentaries and material available online have been thoroughly screened, analyzed, and presented in a systematic manner [Table 1].
Table 1: Nutritional composition of various types of milk are as follows (value 100/g)[7]

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  Results Top


Ayurveda deals with milk of cow, goat, buffalo, camel, mare, ass, elephant, sheep, and human types which are commonly used in the community,[6] while the modern deals about cow, buffalo, goat, and human milk only as per availability. In their view, milk is a food material of special importance. It is a complete and ideal food which contains all the proximate principles of balanced diet. Commonly, it contains proteins (casein), carbohydrate (lactose), fats (linoleic acid and oleic acid), vitamins (except Vitamin C), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, iodine, etc.), and enzymes mainly amylolytic, proteolytic, and lipolytic.

Cow's milk

It is regarded as most wholesome among all milk. It is demulcent and does not increase the normal quantity of slimy secretions in the internal channels of the body. It is heavy and is a good elixir and proves to be curative in hemoptysis.[8] It is cold and sweet in taste and chemical reaction. It subdues both Vayu and Pitta and is accordingly one of the most efficient of vitalizing agents.[9] Milk of buffalo – It has been described as Mahabhisyandi (means it vitiates the channels of circulations by producing some slimy secretions), but sweet in taste, tends to impair digestion, and increases the slimy secretions of the organs. It is Guru (heavy), soporific, cooling, and contains more fatty matter than cow's milk. It has more Snighata (unctuousness) and is useful for persons suffering from Anidra (insomnia) and Atiagni (too rapid digestion).[10] Milk of goat -– It is astringent as well as sweet in taste, cold, bowel binding, and light and it is useful for persons suffering from Raktapitta (hemoptysis), diarrhea, coughing, and fever. Goat milk contain the same properties as of cow's milk and especially beneficial to persons suffering from phthisis. It is light astringent, appetizing and is efficacious in dyspnea, cough, hemoptysis, and Amalpitta (gastritis). The milk of goat proves to be curative in all diseases owning to the smallness of her limbs and her agile habits as well as for the fact of her drinking comparatively a less quantity of water and living upon bitter and pungent herbs.[11] Milk of sheep – It is regarded as most unwholesome among all milk. Because the milk of sheep is hot in potency, it aggravates hiccough and dyspnea. The sheep's milk is sweet, demulcent, heavy, and aggravates disorders of Pitta and Kapha. It forms a good diet in Kevalavata (exclusively Vata) and in Kapha.[12] Milk of camel – It is unctuous, hot, slightly saline, light, and useful for persons suffering from Anaha (fullness of abdomen), parasitic infection, endemic condition, ascites, piles, and other diseases due to vitiation of Vata and Kapha.[13] Milk of unbifurcated animals (mare, ass, etc.) – All are strength promoting, stabilizing, hot, light, sour, saline, unctuous, and alleviator of Vatika diseases of extremities.[14] Human milk – It is invigorating, nourishing, wholesome, and useful for Raktapitta (hemoptysis). It is soothing for the persons having pain in eyes.[15]

Effect of mulch timing on milk qualities

Milk of the animals mulched in the morning is heavy, cold, and takes a long time to be digested. Due to her rest phase during night, heaviness in milk increases. Similarly, animal mulched in the evening is found to be possessed of refrigerant and eye invigorating properties. It restores the bodily Vayu to its normal condition owing to the physical work done by the animal in the day time exposed to the rays of the sun and the current of free air.[16] Milk is the main food in childhood that's why Bhavaprakasha describes it as Balajivanam.[17] Acharaya Vagbhata placed milk under Apathya in Krimi Roga.[18] Henceforth, in worm infestation, milk should be avoided. According to Acharaya Dalhana commentary on Sushruta Samhita, its beneficial effect may be witnessed in all chronic cases of fever, cough, dyspnea, phthisis and other wasting diseases, Gulma, insanity, ascites, epileptic fits, vertigo, and delirium. Its beneficial effect may be seen in burning sensation of the body, thirst, in disease effecting the heart and bladder, in chlorosis and dysentery, piles, colic and obstinate constipation, miscarriage, and other diseases peculiar to the female reproductive organs, and in hemoptysis also. Its contraindications are applicable in case in Amaja Jwara, Tamaka Swasa, Kaphaja Hridaya Roga, Kaphaja Basti Roga, Kaphaja kasa, and other Amaja Vikaras such as Raktapitta (hemoptysis), Ama Garbhastrava, Ama Atisara, and Agnimandhya.[19]


  Discussion Top


Classical ayurvedic texts have described milk as Jivaniya-dravya (life-giving substance), but it is also described as etiological factors of various diseases such as Kustha, Prameha, Swasa-hicca, Krimi-Roga, Urustambha, and Arsha if used continuously. Milk is described in Ksheera Varga that comes under Drava Varga of Ahara. Being part of Ahara, its intake amount should depend on Agni, Desha, Kala, Vaya (age), and Prakriti. Milk may be important in diversifying the diet, but it is not the only choice. Likewise, the quantity of food to be taken is dependent on Agni (digestive and assimilative power), and in the same way, amount of milk to be taken depends on Agni (digestive and assimilative power). Persons with Samagni should take cow's milk and goat milk. In individual's having Mandagni, buffalo's milk is contraindicated although it is beneficial in Tikshnagni individuals. Desha (place) – As Aanupdesha is Kapha dominant, milk is not so much beneficial to take regularly as it further increases Kapha Dosha in the body. In Sadharana-desha it can be recommended. In Jangala-desha, it may be used as a part of regular diet (cow and goat milk only).

Season In Hemanta Ritu (winter season), buffalo's milk and cow's milk should be taken as a lukewarm beverage. During Vasanta Ritu (spring season), cow's milk should be taken. In Grishma Ritu (summer season), cold cow milk is more beneficial. In Varsha Ritu (rainy season), curd is more beneficial than any type of milk. Intake of lukewarm cow's milk and goat's milk is good for health during the autumn season. Most of the milk products along with milk are beneficial in Hemanta Ritu (winter season). Sevan-kala (intake time) of milk is described by various classical ayurvedic texts. In the morning time, intake of milk is beneficial in Deepna (appetizer), Vrishya (aphrodisiac), and also in nourishing therapy. At noon, milk act as Kaphahara and Pittahara along with strength giving. Intake of milk at night is ambiguous. Some Acharaya says that if one is taking Vidahi Annapanna, then to pacify Daha (burning sensation) of body milk should be taken at night.[20] Combination of milk with other food should be kept in mind because its use is prohibited with the Haritkayadi varga (green leafy vegetables), Amla Varga (acidic food), and Lavana Varga (salty food). Prakriti (constitution) of individual also plays a major role in consumption of milk. In Kapha-dominant constitution, intake of buffalo milk increases the ailments. Milk is more beneficial in Vata- and Pitta-dominant constitution.


  Conclusion Top


Although it rejuvenates the body and primary edible drink since childhood still its intake should depend on Agni (digestive and metabolic status of the body), Prakriti (constitution of the body), Desha (place of living), Kala (season), etc. The present era milk has been modified into various categories according to need such as pasteurized milk, flavored milk, fortified milk, and homogenous milk and now becoming a part of daily beverage in every household without any consideration of its pros and cons. Intake of milk as a part of Ahara can be considered as boon if used properly and also became a curse if not used appropriately.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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Charaka Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Dirghajivitiyaadhyaya 1/108. Available from: http://niimh.nic.in/ebooks/ecaraka. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 01].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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