Cow Milk Benefits According To Ayurveda

Various products of cow are used in innumerable ways in Ayurveda. Cow milk stands first in them. Cow milk benefits are innumerable. Let us find out the effect of cow milk on Tridosha, when we can have cow milk, when we should not, in what diseases it is helpful and more. 

cow milk

Cow milk benefits: 

  • Sweet in taste (Swadu paka), heavy to digest, has coolant effect on the body (and mind).
  • improves Ojas – Ojas is considered as the factor responsible for the immunity of the body.  (Ojovardhaka)
  • Nourishes the body tissues (Dhatu vardhaka)
  • Acts as natural aphrodisiac.
  • Does rejuvenation, increases life expectancy.
  • Improves intelligence, strength
  • Increases breast milk in the feeding mother.
  • Assists in easy movement (peristalsis) of intestines.
  • Relieves tiredness, dizziness, excessive thirst and hunger.
  • Useful in diseases like severe debility, relieving stage of fever, diseases related to urinary system, bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding etc,
  • Cow milk for newborn  – Cow milk is the next best thing to breast milk for the newborn.

स्वादु शीतं मृदु स्निग्धं बहलं श्लक्ष्णपिच्छिलम्|
गुरु मन्दं प्रसन्नं च गव्यं दशगुणं पयः||२१७||
तदेवङ्गुणमेवौजः सामान्यादभिवर्धयेत्|
प्रवरं जीवनीयानां क्षीरमुक्तं रसायनम्||२१८||
svādu śītaṃ mṛdu snigdhaṃ bahalaṃ ślakṣṇapicchilam|
guru mandaṃ prasannaṃ ca gavyaṃ daśaguṇaṃ payaḥ||217||
tadevaṅguṇamevaujaḥ sāmānyādabhivardhayet|
pravaraṃ jīvanīyānāṃ kṣīramuktaṃ rasāyanam||218|| – Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 27

Cow milk has ten poprties viz,
Swadu – Sweetness,
Sheeta – cold
Mrudu – soft
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Bahala – density, thick
Shlakshna – smoothness,
Picchila – slimeness, stickiness
Guru – heavy
Manda – slowness
Prasanna – calming, clarity.
These are also the properties of Ojas. So milk having identical properties is conducive to thee promotion of Ojas, thus milk is an elixir per excellence (Rasyana)

Cow milk uses as per Ashtanga Sangraha text book:
अथ गव्यं तु जीवनीयं रसायनम् । क्षतक्षीणहितं मेध्यं बल्यं स्तन्यकरं सरम् ।
श्रमभ्रम मदालक्ष्मी श्वासकासातितृट् क्षुध: । जीर्णज्वर मूत्रकृच्छ्र रक्तपित्तं च नाशयेत् ॥ अ. स. ६/५२
atha gavyaṃ tu jīvanīyaṃ rasāyanam | kṣatakṣīṇahitaṃ medhyaṃ balyaṃ stanyakaraṃ saram |
śramabhrama madālakṣmī śvāsakāsātitṛṭ kṣudha: | jīrṇajvara mūtrakṛcchra raktapittaṃ ca nāśayet || a. sa. 6/52

Jeevaneeya – enlivening
Rasayana – rejuvenating, anti aging
Medhya – Brain  tonic, improves intelligence
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Stanya – improves lactation
Sara – laxative, promotes movement of liquids in channels

Indicated in –
Kshataksheena – chest injury
Shrama – tiredness
Bhrama – dizziness, psychosis
Mada – intoxication
Alakshmi – inauspiciousness
Shwasa – asthma, respiratory disorders involving difficulty in breathing
Kasa – cold, cough
Trut – excess thirst
Kshudha – excess hunger
Jeernajwara – end stage of fever
Mutrakrichra – dysuria, difficulty to pass urine
Raktapitta  – bleeding disorders like nasal bleeding, Ulcerative colitis and menorrhagia

Effect of cow milk on Tridosha
Cow milk calms Vata and Pitta. Increases Kapha.

Who should not drink cow milk? 

  • Those who are allergic to cow milk.
  • Who have Kapha imbalance symptoms
  • Who are obese.
  • Who have severe low digestion power

Various uses of cow milk in Ayurveda –
1. Milk with herbs: When we wish to use certain herbs with pungent and hot properties in children, or in person with less strength, those herbs are processed with cow milk. This serves three purposes

a. The herbal remedy gets the extra nutritional quality of milk

b. The pungency and the strength of the herb is lowered. Thus the herbal formula is made suitable for patient with less strength.

c. Milk acts as a fat and water soluble media for the active principles in the herb.

Example: Garlic processed with milk, used in digestion problems.

2. Cow milk in Ayurvedic oils – In processing many oils, where the oil is desired to have nourishing and rejuvenating effects, milk is added and processed along with oil and other herbs.

This is especially beneficial in Ayurveda oils that are

  • used for massage against degenerative diseases like Osteo arthritis,
  • used to calm burning sensation,
  • used to heal nerve irritation and nerve pain.
  • used to nourish and strengthen muscles and ligaments.

Example: Ksheerabala Taila.

Most of the herbal oils, which are used for nasal instillation or for internal administration are processed along with milk.

3. Shirodhara with Cow milk – Shirodhara is a procedure, where continuous stream of liquid is directed uniformly over the forehead region. Milk is used in cases where Vata and Pitta are involved. Like – headache and dizziness, which mainly have Vata and Pitta imbalance.

4. Cow Milk in Basti – Basti is a Panchakarma procedure, it is a type of enema. Milk processed with herbs is used for Basti in many acid peptic disorders, in Ayurveda.

5. Cow milk for gargling: To relieve burning sensation and to relieve oral ulcers.

Controversy with the modern science: Many argue that as we grow old, the enzymes useful for digestion and metabolism of milk no more exists in the body. Note that Ayurveda not only takes chemical effect of any substance into account, it also considers the physical effect of the substance as well.

Milk – a source of calcium
Milk is a rich source of calcium. A study conducted by researchers at Institute of Aging Research, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, has found that regular intake of milk and yogurt is associated with higher bone mineral desnity in the hip. The study also suggested that choosing low-fat milk / yogurt over cream can increase intake of protein, calcium and vitamin D while limiting intake of saturated fats.

Research on Milk
College going kids who don’t consume at least three servings of milk / dairy daily are three times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than those who do,as per the research conducted by University of Illinois. In the study, 339 Mexican college applicants filled out a food frequency questionnaire and were then evaluated for metabolic syndrome risk factors.

Incompatibility with other substances:
Milk along with sour substances and sour fruits is not recommended.
Milk along with horse gram is not recommended, because milk is coolant and Horse gram is hot in nature.
After consuming green leafy vegetables and radish drinking milk should be avoided.

A1 or A2 – which type of milk is best for which people?
I think this classification of A1 and A 2 comes from the presence of A1 or A2 types of beta casein – milk protein.
There is lot of marketing strategy around this to promote certain type of milk is good for certain country people – Reference

Hence, I will have to restrict my statement to – “Milk from locally grown cows, in their most natural habitat is best”.
Locally grown cows will eat and live in the same environment as the  local population. Hence, the milk from such cows will surely be congenial to the local country people. Hence, that is best for them.

Cow milk in anti ageing – rejuvenation procedures:
Cow milk is administered as the only diet throughout the day, while administering some of the anti ageing recipes such as Shilajeet Rasayan (reference: Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 1.3/52-55.
Cow milk along with cooked rice is the diet of choice while administering many other rejuvenation medicines such as Bramha Rasayan and Chyawanprash.

Its nutritious qualities support the anti ageing qualities of the Rasayana medicines.
It also nullifies the hot physical effects that may be generated due to long term administration of above medicines.

Cow milk recipe for sexual strength:
Charaka Samhita Chikitsa sthana 2.3
Milk should be collected from a cow who is fed with the
Leaves of Masha – Black gram
Stalks of sugarcane or Leaves of Arjuna (terminalia arjuna)
The cow should be delivered only once,
Is well-nourished
Has 4 nipples in her udder
Has a calf having identical color
Whose calf is alive
Who is red or black in color
Whose horns are projected upwards
Who is not ferocious and
Whose milk is thick.
Dosage: Such a cow’s milk can be taken after boiling or even without it by adding sugar, honey and ghee.
This is an excellent diet to promote virility – Vrushyam – Uttamam. 

Cow milk for purification of poisonous materials:
Milk is used in detoxifying many herbal and mineral Ayurvedic ingredients such as Gunja – Abrus seeds

Cow milk side effects:
Excess intake of raw milk (not boiled, Ama Ksheera) may cause Hikka (hiccups) and Shwasa – respiratory disorders with difficulty of breathing. (Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 17)

Contra indications: When to avoid cow milk
नवज्वरे च मन्दाग्नौ आमदोषेषु कुष्ठिनाम् । शूलिनां कफदोषेषु कासिनामतिसारिणाम् ॥ यो. र. २
navajvare ca mandāgnau āmadoṣeṣu kuṣṭhinām | śūlināṃ kaphadoṣeṣu kāsināmatisāriṇām || yo. ra. 2
In below conditions, it is best to avoid cow milk intake:
Navajwara – fever of recent onset
Mandagni – indigestion, low digestion strength. Cow milk being heavy to digest, may worsen low digestion strength.

Manure for plants:
Meat, along with sesame seeds, black gram and cow milk are used to prepare – Kunapa Jala – manure to improve plant growth. Reference: Vriksha Ayurveda

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Write your opinion/ doubts about the article in the comment section below. Please do not post your personal health complaints here. If you wish to seek advice from or experts, click here


  1. My son is ADHD, I have been advised to give him gluten free diet. Is cow milk gluten free?

  2. What’s the best way to give milk to kids during the cold/cough ?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      By adding a small pinch of turmeric to a cup of warm milk.
      No cold milk, no too much sugar. Not after meals.

  3. Is garlic milk acceptable for people with low digestion power? Also, is it OK to mix other spices into the garlic milk and if so which are OK and which not and why? What about mixing herbal oils(pumpkin seed oil for example) with the garlic milk?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      1. Yes, it is acceptable.
      2. If you ever want to mix, you can mix ginger or pepper.
      3. It is not a good diea to mix herbal oils to this. The funda is – do not mix and match. Keep it simple.

  4. Is cow milk acidic….as said these days ?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      It is not acidic in its nature. But it is categorized as slightly acid forming food. But that should not avoid anyone from enjoying other advantages of milk that are enlisted above. Of course, in case of indigestion, and high Kapha conditions, like cold, cough, vomiting, obesity etc, it is best to avoid milk.

      • how much cow milk (quantity) should take per day,is’t correct to take both cow milk and cow ghee every day for adults.

        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

          For a healthy person, without allergy to milk, two cups per day is good.
          It is good to have milk and ghee on daily basis. Ayurveda recommends it for rejuvenation and anti-aging purposes.

  5. I heard that according to ayurveda you should not consume milk with meals, milk with fruits and also fruits with meals. Is this true and if so what is the reason behind this?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, there is no rule that milk should not be consumed along with milk. In fact, in many dishes, milk is used as ingredient. But if one is having low digestion strength, then it makes sense to avoid taking milk along with meals, because, it may lower digestion strength.
      Milk with fruits, especially having citric acid, causes curdling of milk, leading to indigestion. Hence the suggestion of avoiding them together.

  6. Rakhi Singh says:

    Is it ok to give cow milk to infants if i do not have breast milk…doctors say to give formula milk till the age of 1.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Well boiled and cooled cow milk in very small doses can be given in infants. However, there are many effective Ayurvedic medicines to improve breast milk production, with herbs like Shatavari, Vidari etc. Please consult a doctor in person.

  7. Sailaja Vachhrajani says:

    Can cow milk be taken in the night before going to bed?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      warm cow milk can be taken at night. It is best to avoid in those with high Kapha symptoms like sinusitis, cold, cough, fever, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and so on.

      • Dr. P T Subha says:

        I am diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and my doctor suggested to take cow milk twice a day. I was planning for that. This reply has created confusion in me. Could you please elaborate why it is not advisable to take cow milk.

        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

          Hi, do not worry and please go ahead with your doctor’s advice. If there is no “Ama” or indigestion factor, then milk can be consumed.

  8. A nice article. Is it ok to give milk to children 2 times a day? Once in the morning on waking and before going to bed ( about 1 hour after dinner). Lot of new research is saying to avoid milk altogether. I give non homogenized organic milk.

  9. mahesh soni says:

    Dear Dr Hebbar,

    I want to ask a question different than this topic. I have palpitations, sometimes high pulse rate, weakness etc. Allopathic doctor advised me to take Ciplar LA20 (propranolol) once daily.

    But that is not the solution. So I started taking arjunarisht+prabhakarvati. Is that OK? How much time would it take to heal me?

    I want to talk to you personally. Can you please provide your contact details?


    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Please note that I do not offer consultation by phone.
      It appears as if you have high BP. I suggest you to consult an Ayurvedic doctor in person rather than trying your own combinations.


    sir now a days dairy milk is nitrogenoused pasteurised, skimmed , toned and some says they add chemicals for preservation. Is it good for health to consume this treated milk

  11. Thanks for great articles. Which is better to use with ghee. Whole milk or 2% milk? Organic milk is too costly to drink everyday, so is using regular pastuerized mllk ok?. Thanks for answers.

  12. Hi sir ! I had a lithotripsy for kidney stones 4 months back. If I drink cow’s milk regularly, will there be any chance of reforming the kidney stones again.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, Calcium from food does not increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones. Hence, you can consume milk.

  13. Sir,
    How long after eating green leafy vegetables can milk be consumed

  14. aniruddh says:

    Mere papa ko liver cirrhosis hai kya cow milk k use se accha ho shakta hai.

  15. Quite informative. I have also been hearing that the human body looses its ability to digest milk after age 4. As whatever did the job of digesting it is redundant after 4 yrs of age. What do you say.

  16. Hi Doctor, very informative article. Can I mix warm goat milk and regular ghee?

  17. Rohitash says:

    What time cow milk should drink

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      For children, anytime is fine.
      For adults, afternoon or evening is more appropriate time.

  18. Hi Dr The texts say that milk should not be taken with salt. Does that mean that milk should not be added to salty dishes or that you should not have milk with anything salty, such as toast with glass of milk? Also that would mean no milk with meals.
    Is milk only restricted with sour fruits so are all sweet fruits apart from banana ok?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, good set of questions 🙂
      1. Milk should not be had with a salty item (such as milk + salt alone) or any dish, whose overall taste is salty. In a normal meal, if the overall taste of the dish is not salty, then milk can be part of that dish. If overall taste of that dish is salty, then better to avoid milk as an ingredient in that dish.
      Only sour fruits with milk is contra-indicated. Sweet fruits are allowed. Hence, sweet banana with milk is quite fine.

  19. my comments don’t seem to post

  20. Can i give cow milk to my 3mnth old baby by adding some water to it to make it easy for digestion??

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Mother’s milk is the best choice.
      Boiled and cooled cow milk is added with three times of boiled and cooled water and given to baby sip by sip.

  21. Surbhi Sharma says:

    Sir, can I drink buffalo milk with ghee instead of jersy cow milk..

  22. Doctor, the western medicine advises you to stop consuming dairy products- especially cheese and cowmilk, if you have acne. What are your thoughts on it, especially if one has a desire for drinking milk?
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      If acne has Kapha dosha involvement, with oily surface, exudation, itching etc symptoms,then it is better to avoid cheese and cow milk. In such case, if someone wants to have milk, he or she can have half a cup of hot milk mixed with a pinch of turmeric.

      • Thanks for responding so fast!
        I put about 10 dates, little milk and honey in ablender and mix it and drink it.
        Is it bad for skin? good for weight gain? for shukra?

  23. vijayalakshmi says:

    I milk is acidic(pitta), it should help in digestion. Then why milk is not suggested for people with weak digestion?
    What are the symptoms to know if a person has weak digestion?

    • Dr Malini Bhat says:

      Madam, Those who are having Mandagni or weak digestion eat very little and are unable to digest the smallest amount of food. Heaviness after a meal. sluggish bowels, feeling cold, sweet craving etc.,

  24. According to Ayurveda, we should not combine milk with pungent and bitter taste food.But it is recommended to add turmeric and ginger to milk.Turmeric is bitter and ginger is pungent by nature.So how will this work? please help..

  25. I have tried my best to find out but I am struggling to find any herbal recommendation for high pitta and low agni. Should one with high pitta and low agni consume milk or ghee ?
    If yes or no, what is the remedy for such condition

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      In high Pitta low Agni conditions, then bitter carminatives such as Ashwagandha, Guduchi, Neem along with spices in lower doses such as long pepper or ginger along with ghee is recommended.

  26. Hi Doctor
    We are a family of average health (2 adults and 2 teenagers), except I have frozen shoulder issue.
    After reading your article, I would like to incorporate milk in our diet for intake of calcium.
    -Is it best to drink half to one cup of warm milk before sleep?
    -For preparation of milk, do we boil the milk first? and then drink it when warm?
    -Can we add turmeric sometimes, even when drinking before sleep?
    -Can we add honey to warm milk?
    Thank you!

    • Dr Malini Bhat says:

      Namaste Sir, Yes it is good to drink warm milk before sleep.
      Yes we should boil the milk and drink warm.
      You can add turmeric.
      Yes you can add honey to warm milk. It is known to cure Constipation, flatulence and intestine disorders. It is also good for treating respiratory disorders such as colds and coughs.

  27. shalini Mehta says:

    Thank you Dr. Hebbar for such an informative article and also for the answers in the comments section. We as a family recently started consuming desi cow’s milk. I wanted to know as a layman how can one know that the milk is from a desi cow and not from Jersey cow. The milk I am taking is yellow, the milk and cream is yellow and thick. I take it with Ashwagandha at night and it does not give me any gas while other milks in the evening have always given me gas. Please share your views.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, Sorry that I do not know of any technique to differentiate Desi and Jersey cow milk.

  28. Hello Doctor, I have acidity problem. Can I take half cup of desi cow milk empty stomach after my walk/pranayama? Normal temperature or warm? cause I finish my excercise at 5.30AM and do breakfast around 7.30AM. Many thanks!

  29. Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

    Early morning sun exposure, Salmon, Tuna, Cod liver oil, Fish, fortified cereals, oysters, fortified soy products, ham, dairy products, egg, mushroom,
    yogurt, cheese, orange juice, zuccini, tomato, are good source for vitamin D.

  30. Dear Sir,

    Every few years, I have Vata-Pitta imbalance. My mother has Pitta imbalance. What should be added on regular basis with milk for each of us to keep our dosha balanced?
    My grandmother is 87 years old. At her age how much milk should she take and with what?
    An unrelated question, does drinking warm water on daily basis help/harm in any way?

  31. Doctor can we have a glass of warm cow milk before going to sleep?

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