November 21, 2018
If you’re the type to turn to Instagram when insomnia strikes, you may have encountered Moon Milk, which has been trending this year. Perhaps you were lured in by the claims that this beverage aids sleep, or perhaps just by the lovely pictures of pastel-hued concoctions. If Moon Milk has piqued your curiosity, read on to learn more about this newly popular drink that has ancient roots. (But first, if you are suffering from insomnia, no more Instagram in the evening—the blue light from screens can interfere with your natural sleep cycle!)
Moon Milk, sometimes known a Golden Milk, has its roots in an Indian beverage called Haldi Doodh (Hindi for “turmeric milk”), a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for insomnia. In addition to the turmeric that provides the golden hue, moon milk recipes often call for Ashwagandha, a adaptogenic herb thought to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system.
More recently, Moon Milk has come to refer to a variety of warm, milk-based beverages that contain a variety of spices and herbs. And there is some science behind the idea that warm milk can promote sleep. For starters, the very act of sipping a warm, comforting beverage in the evening can help relax you and usher you to dreamland. But milk also contains tryptophan, which is converted to the sleep regulating hormone melatonin in your brain. And, despite its name, Moon Milk isn’t just for dairy lovers--it’s equally delicious prepared with nut-based milks. If made with almond milk, it can provide melatonin and the muscle-relaxing mineral magnesium.
Our recipe for Moon Milk, below, also contains honey, another ingredient traditionally associated with sleep. According to one theory, honey helps us sleep because it contains just the right ratio of quickly-metabolized glucose (which can help tryptophan enter the brain) and more slowly metabolized fructose (which can fuel the brain through the night without waking). Another theory suggests that honey may also reduce the brain’s production of orexin, a neurotransmitter linked to wakefulness. Our recipe draws its beautiful golden hue from traditional turmeric, which—along with cinnamon—acts to inhibit inflammation. It also calls for steeping the warm milk with lavender, which contains compounds shown to help relax the nervous system and promote restful sleep (read more about the research on lavender and sleep here).
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Lavender Moon Milk, a festive yet comforting beverage perfect for ushering in those long winter’s naps this holiday season!
1 cup milk or unsweetened almond milk
1-2 Tbsp. honey (preferably raw)
2 tsp. lavender blossoms (food grade)
Combine the milk, cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamom and heat through (either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Place the lavender in a tea infuser, and add to the warm milk; steep for 1-2 minutes (none: lavender can introduce a bitter taste the longer it is steeped, so play around with the timing to determine what suits you). Stir in honey to taste. Top with lavender blossoms and additional cinnamon, if desired. Enjoy with a good book and a cozy pillow.
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