10 Turmeric Milk Benefits And Side Effects To Know

Fight aches and pains and boost your brain health with this golden drink!

Medically Reviewed by Staci GulbinStaci Gulbin, RD, LDN
By Ravi Teja TadimallaRavi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health  • 

The many benefits of turmeric milk will make you crave a glass or two. This traditional Indian beverage is also known as golden milk. It is becoming increasingly popular in the West because of its health-promoting properties.

An easy way to add turmeric to your diet is to drink turmeric milk. This health tonic is made by mixing turmeric into milk.

Turmeric is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It enhances your immunity and helps you stay healthy. Turmeric milk may also help with respiratory problems, liver problems, inflammation, and digestive problems.

This article discusses the benefits of turmeric milk, its easy-to-make recipe, and any potential side effects. Take a look.

How Is Turmeric Milk Good?

Turmeric milk is good for health


The goodness of turmeric milk comes primarily from turmeric. The milk also contains certain other spices that add to the benefits.

Turmeric is the most researched spice on the planet. Its most important compound is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant (1).

The turmeric in the milk is a possible treatment for a host of health conditions. These include respiratory disorders, liver issues, inflammation and joint pains, digestive ailments, and diabetes and cancer (1). Turmeric has also been found to promote heart health (1).

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According to Ayurveda, turmeric milk is highly beneficial during the spring transition, as it balances Kapha dosha like sinus congestion, lethargy, and cold symptoms.

In the following section, we will look at the health benefits of turmeric milk in detail.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Turmeric Milk?

Turmeric milk contains turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. These three spices, in combination, may help fight inflammation and associated ailments like joint pain, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

1. May Fight Inflammation And Joint Pain

The curcumin in turmeric milk helps fight inflammation and joint pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties are comparable with certain mainstream pharmaceutical drugs (2).

In one study, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who took 500 milligrams of curcumin every day showed more improvement than those who took a standard drug (3).

Similar results were found with ginger, another spice usually added to turmeric milk (4).

Curcumin inhibits the molecules that play a role in inflammation. Some of these include phospholipase, thromboxane, and collagenase (5).

Studies also recommend curcumin as a potential alternative to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for treating joint pain (6).

2. May Promote Skin Health

Traditionally, turmeric is used as a remedy for a number of skin conditions. The spice is also believed to make the skin glow and keep harmful bacteria at bay (1).

The topical application of turmeric was found to relieve skin tumors (1). There is not much information on how you can use turmeric milk for this purpose, except for consuming it.

Curcumin is often used as an ingredient in skin gels and other skin care products. The compound is known to enhance skin protection (7).

Also, the cinnamon in turmeric milk promotes collagen synthesis (8). This promotes skin health and fights premature signs of aging.

3. May Reduce Cancer Risk

Hundreds of studies have linked curcumin to potential anticancer activities. Research shows us that curcumin can potentially treat or reduce the risk of cancers of the breast, ovaries, lung, skin, brain, and the digestive system (9).

Laboratory research also suggests that curcumin may slow down the progression of cancer and make chemotherapy more effective. The compound may also protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy (10).

Ginger is another ingredient in turmeric milk. This spice contains 6-gingerol, which was found to exhibit anticancer activity (11).

Cinnamon is another common ingredient used in turmeric milk. This spice contains cinnamaldehyde, a powerful compound that can reduce cancer risk (12).

Though most of these studies are done on animals, turmeric milk does have a promising potential in preventing cancer in humans. More research is warranted in this regard.

4. May Promote Brain Health

Woman with a strong brain after consuming turmeric milk


The curcumin in turmeric milk may cut the risk of depression and Alzheimer’s. This has to do with what scientists call the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF). BDNF is a growth hormone in your brain that helps neurons multiply and increase in number (13). Low levels of BDNF have been associated with depression and Alzheimer’s (14),(15). This is because BDNF is also associated with learning and memory (13).

The cinnamon in turmeric milk increases the levels of neuroprotective proteins in the brain. This has been found to cut the risk of Parkinson’s disease (16). Ginger was also found to boost reaction time and memory (17).

The curcumin in turmeric also cuts the risk of age-related cognitive decline (18). It promotes a better mood as well (19).

5. May Aid Weight Loss

The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in turmeric milk may aid weight loss. This is because weight loss is often characterized by metabolic inflammation (20).

An animal study suggests that curcumin may also suppress fat tissue growth (21). Whether curcumin in the milk would have the same effects in humans is yet to be studied.

6. May Promote Heart Health

Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon have all been linked to reduced heart disease risk.

The curcumin in turmeric inhibits the release of cytokines, which are compounds involved in inflammation. These cytokines are largely associated with cardiovascular disease (6).

In studies, the intake of ginger powder cut down the risk of heart disease in subjects. The powder reduced the levels of bad cholesterol and increased the levels of good cholesterol (22).

Intake of cinnamon had also shown similar effects (23).Curcumin also improves the functioning of the endothelial cells. These cells form the blood vessel linings. Optimum functioning of the endothelial cells boosts heart health (24). Curcumin was also found to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease (25).

7. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

The curcumin in turmeric can lower blood glucose levels, aiding diabetes treatment. The compound also plays a role in preventing diabetes-related liver disorders. Additionally, curcumin has also been used in treating diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy (26).

Curcumin also prevents inflammation and oxidative stress, two common problems associated with diabetes (27).

In a study, spices like ginger and cinnamon were found to have beneficial effects on diabetes. In the rat study, these spices also exhibited anti-obesity and hepatoprotective effects (28).

8. May Enhance Digestive Health

Woman with good digestive health after consuming turmeric milk


The turmeric in the milk may enhance digestion. It promotes fat digestion by increasing bile production by 62% (29).

The ginger in turmeric milk also helps here. In studies, ginger stimulated gastric emptying in individuals with chronic indigestion (30).

In another preliminary study, turmeric ingestion improved the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The curcumin in turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory, carminative, and antimicrobial properties that may promote the health of the gastrointestinal tract (31).

Curcumin also promotes liver health. It can protect the liver in times of acute or chronic liver injury. Curcumin was also found to interact with enzymes involved in liver cirrhosis; thereby reducing the risk of the disease (32). However, we need more studies to substantiate the beneficial effects of curcumin on liver health.

9. May Boost Immunity

The curcumin in turmeric milk is an immunomodulatory agent. It can promote the functioning of T cells, B cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells. All these cells are essential components of the body’s immune system (33).

Curcumin can also enhance the response of antibodies. This means that curcumin’s beneficial effects on arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s can be attributed to its ability to modulate the human immune system (33).

Turmeric milk can also help treat cold and sore throat (1).

10. May Strengthen Bones

The milk in this beverage plays a role here. Milk is usually rich in calcium and vitamin D. Both these nutrients are essential for strong bones (34).

Turmeric was also found to protect the bones. Preliminary research shows that turmeric, with the right amounts of curcumin, can prevent bone loss by as much as 50% (35). Whether these effects can prevent osteoporosis in humans warrants further study.

11. May Help Treat Insomnia

Turmeric milk may also improve sleep quality. Mice studies have shown that turmeric in the milk can prevent sleep deprivation (36).

Curcumin may also reduce your anxiety levels, further promoting sleep quality (37).

Turmeric milk doesn’t necessarily mean turmeric alone. The beverage is a powerful combination of other important spices (like cinnamon and ginger) that contribute to its overall nutritional value.

What we have discussed are the potential benefits turmeric milk can offer. To avail them, you must consume the milk regularly. But how do you do it? How to prepare this decoction?

How To Prepare Turmeric Milk

Ingredients of turmeric milk


Preparing the golden milk at home is easy. The following recipe gives you a single serving (1 cup) of the milk.

What You Need

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of unsweetened milk
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (optional, to improve taste)


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the drink through a fine strainer into mugs.
  4.  Top the beverage with a pinch of cinnamon.
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Alternatively, you can use almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or soy milk to prepare vegan turmeric milk.

You can prepare this milk and refrigerate it for up to five days. Reheat it before drinking.

The black pepper in this recipe has a special advantage. The curcumin in turmeric, by itself, is not very well absorbed in the body. Adding black pepper can help. It contains piperine, a compound that enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000% (38).

Though turmeric milk appears to be a beneficial health drink, it is important to exercise caution. There are certain concerns about turmeric milk one must be aware of.

What Are The Side Effects Of Turmeric Milk?

Woman having stomach pain due to kidney stones


  • May Aggravate Kidney Stones

Turmeric contains 2% oxalate (39). At high doses, this can cause or aggravate kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Hence, please avoid use if you have kidney issues.

  • May Cause Iron Deficiency

Excess turmeric may hamper iron absorption (40). This can lead to iron deficiency in people who do not consume enough iron.

  • May Lower Blood Sugar Levels Way Too Much

Direct research is lacking in this regard. Anecdotal evidence suggests that turmeric milk may lower blood sugar levels way too much if taken along with antidiabetic medication. If you are dealing with diabetes, please check with your doctor before you consume turmeric milk.

Infographic: Important Health Benefits Of Turmeric Milk

Golden milk is one of the oldest Indian beverages. It is replete with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It has many health benefits, as discussed in the article. However, we have listed the most important of those in the infographic below. Take a look.

important health benefits of turmeric milk [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Turmeric milk, also known as golden milk, is touted for its therapeutic uses. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in turmeric milk benefit your health. The milk may help fight inflammation, reduce joint pain, promote skin health, decrease cancer risk, promote brain health, and aid weight loss. However, excess intake may increase kidney stone risk in some people, lead to iron deficiency, or lower blood sugar levels way too much. Hence, consume it in moderation and consult your doctor regarding the ideal dosage.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can you take turmeric milk?

Drinking turmeric milk at night is a better option as it can promote sleep. Some believe the milk causes the release of tryptophan, an amino acid known to promote sleep. Turmeric milk is also thought to increase mucus production, which may clog the microbes in the respiratory tract and keep flu away.

Can you take turmeric milk every day?

Yes, you can drink turmeric milk every day. But if you have any medical condition, please consult with your doctor before you do so.

Is turmeric milk good for hair?

Turmeric milk can be good for hair. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties of this golden milk may help cleanse the scalp. However, there is a lack of research in this regard.

Can we add honey in turmeric milk?

Yes, we can add honey in turmeric milk.

Does drinking milk at night increase weight?

There is no concrete evidence to prove this. Milk contains fat. It may lead to weight gain only if you also are taking other fatty (and unhealthy) foods and do not exercise often. For optimal weight, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and follow proper lifestyle habits.

How long does turmeric milk take to work?

According to anecdotal evidence, it might take up to 2 months to observe the results of turmeric milk on your health.

Can we drink cold turmeric milk?

Yes, you may enjoy turmeric milk chilled as well. However, it is generally recommended that you have it hot or warm.


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