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 Gulbin, RD, LDN
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Edited by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip
Fact-checked by Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

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.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Turmeric Milk

What Is It?
Milk made by mixing ground turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and crushed long pepper into milk.

What Are Its Benefits?
It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that improve immunity and fight inflammation.

Who Can Consume It?
Anyone can consume it except those who are on antidiabetic medication.

How Often?
It can be consumed daily in moderation.

Caution
Excessive turmeric consumption may cause kidney stones and iron deficiency.

How Is Turmeric Milk Good?

Turmeric milk is good for health
Image: Shutterstock

The goodness and nutrition 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).

protip_icon Trivia
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

Dr. William W. Li, MD, says, “There is abundant evidence showing turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation of the skin causes redness, and when the inflammation is quelled, the skin may look lighter and healthier.”

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 arthritisi  XA chronic autoimmune disorder that mainly affects the joints of hands and legs and causes inflammation and joint pain. 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). However, it is essential to consult a doctor before using any natural remedies as alternative medicine.

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 to use turmeric milk’s benefits for your skin other than 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).

A 2021 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences showed that curcumin and its analogs can suppress the production of melanin in human melanocytes obtained from a darkly pigmented donor. Tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin, can be inhibited to generate little or no melanin in cells.

The ability of CMC2.23 (chemically modified curcumin compound 2.23) to impede tyrosinase’s enzymatic activity in living cells is depicted in the accompanying graph. As the concentration of CMC2.23 in the cells rises, enzymatic activity is inhibited inversely. Hence, curcumin can have an anti-pigmentary effect on the skin.

Cellular tyrosinase activity cells treated with CMC2.23

Source: Novel Chemically Modified Curcumin (CMC) Analogs Exhibit Anti-Melanogenic Activity in Primary Human Melanocytes

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
Image: IStock

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 diseasei  XA central nervous system disorder that causes uncontrollable movements, such as shaking or tremors due to low levels of dopamine. (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

Dr. Li says, “Curcumin can rein in the development of new fat cells called adipocytes. It can also ignite a process called thermogenesis in the body that turns on metabolism and burns away excess body fat. It can also transform the harmful fat in the body, called white fat, into a useful form of fat, called brown fat. Curcumin improves gut health and also protects against weight gain.”

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.

Dr. Li adds, “All this is to say that turmeric has fat-fighting abilities. With turmeric milk, however, there is also the saturated fat from dairy milk, which may counter the benefits of the curcumin in turmeric. In traditional recipes for turmeric milk, add pepper. Not adding sugar (extra calories) or artificial sweeteners (that damage the gut microbiome and dampen metabolism) would also be important to increase the benefits of turmeric milk.”

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 nephropathyi  XProgressive kidney damage that occurs in people with diabetes and can lead to kidney failure in serious cases. and retinopathyi  XDamage to blood vessels in tissues at the back of the retina that causes blurry and dark vision. (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 hepatoprotectivei  XThe ability of a substance to prevent damage to the liver and keep it healthy. It is the opposite of hepatotoxicity. effects (28).

8. May Enhance Digestive Health

Woman with good digestive health after consuming turmeric milk
Image: Shutterstock

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 cirrhosisi  XA condition in which the liver is damaged due to chronic alcohol abuse, causing scars and failure of the organ’s functions. ; 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 immunomodulatoryi  XA substance that modulates the immune system by stimulating or suppressing it and helps the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. 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 osteoporosisi  XA condition in which bones turn brittle and weak due to low bone mineral density and bone mass, making them prone to fracture. 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.

Khyati Jain, a blogger, discusses her struggle with insomnia and how it affected her daily life and well-being. She also shares a potential solution in the form of ‘golden milk’, an ayurvedic treatment for insomnia made with turmeric. She writes, “I don’t know if it was the curcumin properties or the warm milk, but this drink helped me sleep better from Day 1. Within a week my sleep quality improved. I was able to sleep throughout the night without waking up. (i).”

What we have discussed are the potential ways turmeric milk benefits your health. 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
Image: IStock

Mary Sabat, RD, LD, says, “Turmeric milk can be enjoyed either hot or cold, depending on your preference, and it can be enjoyed without boiling. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric milk is considered to be a hot beverage. It is believed to help balance the body’s temperature and restore energy.”

According to Dr. Li, you can drink turmeric milk without boiling if you are using regular pasteurized milk bought in a store. He says, “Traditional Indian recipes called for boiling when raw, unpasteurized milk is used.” However, Sabat adds, “Heating the milk may help to release more of the beneficial compounds from the turmeric than having it cold.”

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)

Directions

  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.

protip_icon Quick Tip
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).

Turmeric milk is often confused with turmeric latte. The latter is just an improvised version of the traditional turmeric milk. Let’s understand how they are different.

Turmeric Milk Vs. Turmeric Latte

AttributeTurmeric MilkTurmeric Latte
Base IngredientMilk and turmeric powderSteamed milk and turmeric syrup or raw turmeric juice
Flavor ProfileMilky, earthy, and slightly spicyCreamy, sweet, and slightly spicy
Additional SpicesMay include black pepper or ginger for added benefitsOften includes cinnamon, cardamom, and sweeteners
VariationsCan be made with plant-based milk alternativesAvailable in various flavored versions at cafés or can be even made at home.

Both turmeric milk and turmeric latte offer various health benefits. You may choose either based on your taste preference. However, it is important to exercise caution before consuming these beverages. 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
Image: IStock
  • 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. This tea with turmeric benefits your health in many ways, 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

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Turmeric milk, also known as golden milk, is touted for its therapeutic uses. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in golden 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.

turmeric milk benefits_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

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 healthy 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.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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