Goat’s milk (also called Aja ksheera in Ayurveda), now a known superfood, has an interesting past of being the first-ever milk used in food by humans. Goats are known to be domesticated by human ageing back from 10,000BC. Some 12000 years old European paintings on walls of caves prove the existence of goats.
Principals of Ayurveda maintain that all elements derive some properties (or energies) from the originating source. Same being the case with Goat’s milk, it derives its characteristics from Goat! Goats have a lean built, don’t need much water to stay hydrated, ingest bitter, pungent & hot plants and are a lot more active physically (Remember the word- Capricious- Capri meaning goat). Goats don’t like wetness and immediately run for shelter in rains. They have scanty subcutaneous fat but are so agile that they can leap over 5 feet.
Charak Samhita Sutrasthana-25 refers to its immense usefulness in improving digestive power, blood, milk and semen production, helping bleeding disorders and providing nourishment to dry, weak and emaciated bodies.
Ayurvedic Qualities Of Goat’s Milk:
- Taste- Astringent and sweet.
- Nature- Light
- Potency- Cold
- Effect Ojas– Promotes healthy tissue formation and immunity, stabilizes energy and happiness levels.
- Texture- gooey (gelatinous), heavy (increases sluggishness)
- Nourishment- to Asthi Dhatu (Bony structure), Medha Dhatu (fat and oil production), Rasa Dhatu (plasma, white blood cells and lymph), Shukra/ Artava Dhatu ( reproductive fluids and organs).
- pH- creates an acidic environment in the blood.
- Grahi– absorbent and bowel binding
- Guna Laghu– light to digest
Effect On Tri-doshas (Vipaka):
The word Vipaka refers to the bio-transformation of taste after the action of digestive enzymes on the subjected substance (e.g. here it is goat’s milk) and the effect thus produced on all Doshas.
- Vata– increases Vata due to its light nature, cold potency and astringent taste.
- Pitta– balances Pitta by its coolness and sweet taste.
- Kapha– aggravates Kapha due to its cold potency and sweetness of taste.
What are the benefits of taking Goat’s Milk? :
- Alleviates problems related to the dryness in the body.
- Helps to improve weakness.
- Very helpful to promote the formation of blood in the body and curing Bleeding disorders (known as Raktapitta).
- Helps Digestive system to work efficiently and smoothly.
- Helps provide nourishment for healthy semen production and so it is useful in infertility.
- Treats allergies.
Who Should Use Goat’s Milk?
- Thin emaciated frail individuals.
- Anaemic people and those suffering from bleeding disorders.
- Those with digestive issues like IBS and diarrhoea
- Breastfeeding women
- Dry dehydrated individuals
- It is also Blood pressure friendly and maintains BP.
- Allergy prone or those having allergies.
Properties Of Goat Milk:
- Anti-allergic: alleviates allergic conditions.
- Anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral in nature.
- Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation.
- Anti-carcinogenic: effective against cancer.
- Antioxidant: protects from free radical damage.
Asthanga Hridayam describes Aja ksheera as:
अल्पाम्बुपानव्यायाम कटुतिक्ताशनै: लघु
आजं शोषज्वरश्वासरक्तपित्तातिसरजित् ॥
Goat drinks less water and does a lot of walking. It eats pungent and bitter grass and vegetables that are light to digest. Hence goat milk also carries these qualities.
Goat milk is useful in:
Shosha – emaciation
Jvara – fever
Shwasa – dyspnoea, asthma, chronic bronchial disorders
Raktapitta – bleeding disorders of Pitta origin such as haemorrhoids, nasal bleeding
Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery.
Goat’s Milk Benefits
Amazing For Muscle and Bones:
- We all know that proteins are building blocks of bones, tissues, cells and muscle. Goat milk is given to children suffering from weakness and malnutrition since long. It has been a preferred substitute to mother’s milk due to the presence of high-quality protein content i.e. 6 grams in 200ml of serving thus aiding muscle growth.
- It is a lot more digestible than other kinds of milk and has better absorbent power. Thus its bioavailability (digestive utilization of nutrients) is better too.
- Also the presence of essential micronutrients like calcium, selenium, magnesium and phosphorous is more than what is found in mother’s or cow’s milk.
- Chemical composition of Goat’s milk is much similar to Mother’s milk than cow’s milk. Thus it leads to better nutrient absorption and utilization in the body.
- High amounts of Calcium benefit bones and conditions like osteoporosis.
- It is a higher source of Vit B compared to cow or sheep’s milk.
Haematopoietic System (Blood):
- It helps to increase less platelet count in viral fevers like Dengue.
- It is also beneficial in anaemia and helps the formation of blood.
- Just 200ml of Goat milk contains 100% of the daily recommended dose of calcium which has a greater absorbency (bioavailability) than calcium from most other sources. Calcium helps in maintaining appropriate clotting factors in the blood.
- Cases of Iron deficiency anaemia are benefitted from Goat’s milk as it facilitates iron deposition on the desired target sites.
- It contains 4 times more oligosaccharides than cow’s milk. Oligosaccharides show a probiotic action encouraging the growth of ‘good gut bacteria’ thereby helping the gut microbiome.
- Oligosaccharides in Goat milk are capable of healing gut ulcers and inflammation in conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, colitis and Malabsorption syndromes.
Goat’s Milk Benefits For Liver:
- Goat’s milk is given as a natural cure for jaundice.
- Its consumption has been used to protect liver cell damage in hepatic adipose infiltration in children.
- Recent studies have indicated that the health of gut microbiota is related to changes in liver function. Trials on mice have shown benefits of goat’s milk intake on liver damage while taking anti-tubercular drugs (which are hepato-toxic).
Uses For Skin And Hair:
- Fatty acids and triglycerides of goat’s milk help to moisturize skin when applied regularly. Also drinking it regularly provides Vit A and hydration to improve pimples and improves complexion.
- Antibacterial benefits of milk help treat pimples.
- Lactic acid content brightens skin.
- Alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) content help break or exfoliate dead cells and give a rejuvenating glow.
- Eczema, psoriasis and other allergic conditions are benefitted.
- Fats of Goat’s milk provide lustre and nutrition to dull, dry and damaged hair. It makes hair very soft, smooth and strong! Try Goat milk mask for hair or mix in your hair conditioner before applying.
- It improves scalp dryness and dandruff when applied topically.
- Ayurvedic texts mention its property of aiding reproductive system (Shukra/ Artava Dhatu – reproductive fluids and organs). Consuming goat’s milk is good for healthy sperm production.
- Interestingly in ancient Rome, 15th Feb was celebrated by men wearing goat’s skin and women hit by goats skin as a symbol to promote fertility.
- Being a good source of Potassium and good fatty acids, it helps support good heart health by maintaining optimal Blood pressure.
- Fatty acids profile of Goat’s milk is lucrative. 30-35% of fatty acids present are Medium-chain fatty acids (compared to 15-20% in cow’s milk) which are not stored as fat and primarily benefit by boosting energy levels. The fat molecules in Goat’s milk are much smaller and thinner when compared to Cow’s milk. Also, high proportions of PUFA (Polyunsaturated fatty acids) help in reducing Low-density Lipoproteins (LDL, bad cholesterol).
- It hinders Arteriosclerosis due to the presence of an enzyme named Xanthine Oxidase.
- The potassium content of Goat’s milk is more than banana.
- It maintains the body’s fluid balance and is Blood pressure friendly.
- This milk is rich in selenium and Vitamin A helps boost immunity.
- Immuno-modulation: It also exhibits a unique immunomodulatory action. Healthy quantities of Selenium present in Goat’s milk are able to boost immune responses when necessary and balance them when too overactive. It stimulates antibodies formation when needed and likewise inhibits white blood cell activity in need.
- Allergies are actually a result of our immune response to allergens (allergy-causing agents) and thus allergic conditions like eczema and asthma are benefitted by goat milk ingestion.
Ayurvedic Preparations Made From Goat’s milk:
- Kumkumadi thailam
- Maha Triphaladi Gritham
- Pinda thailam
- Anu Tailam
- Saraswata ghrita
- Somnatha rasa
- An ointment is prepared from ghee, goat’s milk and wheat (aka Godhuma) to treat Gouty arthritis.
- Shukramatrika Bati
- Bala Punarnavadi Kashayam
- Goat milk powder
Side Effects Of Goat’s milk:
- It may not be suitable for lactose-intolerant people. So it is better to consult an Ayurvedic health professional expert prior to taking in a state of lactose-intolerance. Since Goat’s milk has comparatively less amount of lactose than cow’s milk, some of the lactose intolerant individuals are able to tolerate it better! Plus Alpha-1-Casein which is also causative for lactose intolerance is found in lesser quantities in Goat milk when compared to cow’s milk. However, it is not recommended for everyone who is Lactose intolerant because the level of intolerance varies from person to person.
- As mentioned already, it should not be started immediately after stopping breastfeeding as the baby might not tolerate it well too soon. Better wait for 3-4years.
How to Use: Remedies
- In Gouty arthritis, an ointment (lepa) made from pure ghee, goat’s milk and wheat (Godhuma) are applied topically for relief.
How to drink goat milk to increase platelets?: In Dengue Fever, dehydration and deficiency of selenium are prominent features. These are greatly improved by ingesting 250ml of cool and fresh Goat’s milk twice daily. This modulates the immune system, provides adequate hydration and essential micronutrients and boosts energy.
- Ancient home remedy indicates daily drinking of the milk for treating acne and pimples.
- One can take it with granola or alone for breakfast for digestive issues to reap benefits.
- Goat milk powder can be applied as a face pack for lacklustre dry skin.
- A mix of goat milk and honey is recommended daily for the couple who is trying to conceive.
- Goat milk soaps can be used to combat dry skin, acne and allergies.
It is a very safe drink and even helpful in breastfeeding women as it increases milk production. Also in pregnancy, it improves anaemia and imparts strength.
Not recommended for newborns and infants. It is better to wait until the child is 3-4 years. This should not be started immediately after stopping breastfeeding as the baby might not tolerate it well too soon.
Lactose intolerant may take it with caution as everyone has different levels of lactose intolerance.
Problems With Goat Milk:
Commercial production is quite famous in India than in other countries. A native Indian breed named Jamunapari produces most of the milk. However, there are a few related problems:
- Expense: It is more expensive than cow’s milk and readily available Homogenized milk in the market mainly due to its less availability.
- Acceptance: Even when it’s available, its smell may not be pleasing to everyone. People habitual to cow’s milk commonly find it difficult to accept goat milk’s smell.
- Availability: The most beneficial form of this milk is when it’s taken in the raw form. This is even more difficult to acquire raw milk which is largely restricted to small farmer’s markets and health food stores while bigger companies sell it in a pasteurized form. Goats produce not more than 2% of the milk consumed in the world.
Store in a cool and dry place.
Below are some brands that have come up with goat’s milk and goat milk products. We have prepared a list of easy quick access sources for you:
- Courtyard Farm’s Fresh Goat Milk
- Quidditas Goat Milk
- Natura Vita Natural Freeze-dried Goat Milk powder
- Aadvik Goat Milk Powder
- Khadi Organique Goat Milk Soap
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