Moon Milk is one of the many pretty trends that have taken over the wellness corners of the internet, but what is it, where does it come from and does it really work?
If you’re interested in wellness, holistic medicine and food in general, then my guess is that the algorithm has already presented you with an overwhelming amount of romantic Moon Milk photos. How could you miss them? They’re majestically frothy pastel drinks that are garnished by rose petals, served in artisan-crafted mugs and usually surrounded by dried flowers, crystals and various herbs. In other words, they’re creatively gorgeous and every wellness-enthusiasts dream… pun intended.
Well, I’ve decided to create a White Chai Moon Milk that is a little simpler and super easy to implement into your nightly sleep ritual. Plus it still includes the beneficial spices that will help send you to sleep.
What is Moon Milk?
Moon Milk is based on the ancient holistic Ayurvedic tradition of sipping on a warm milk beverage before bed to remedy sleep deprivation. It usually includes ingredients like turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, and an adaptogenic herb called Ashwagandha (a.k.a. Indian Ginseng). Nearly all of the ingredients have some kind of anti-inflammatory or stress-relieving property that is meant to ground your body, balance hormones and quiet your mind in preparation for sleep.
You’ve likely already heard of this herb by now, it’s become very popular in the “wellness” realm and is used for a massive variety of ailments from stress and anxiety to infertility, arthritis and diabetes.
However, there are so many unknowns regarding Ashwagandha, it’s such a strong herb that one of its uses is to induce vomiting. It’s rated as likely unsafe for pregnancy and breastfeeding and is even thought to cause miscarriages, stomach upset, diarrhea, as well as a whole host of other health-related concerns when taken long-term or at high doses.
Another potential concern for Ayurvedic herbs is that the manufacturers apparently aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means they aren’t held to the same standards as pharmaceutical companies and food producers.
Having said all that, a lot of people still use it and it’s becoming more widely available. So just be sure that if you do choose to consume Ashwagandha, you speak with a conventional health professional about it to make sure that it’s safe to take with any health condition you might have and with your medications.
How does Moon Milk work?
The Moon Milk recipe that I’ve created for myself and shared with you below includes ingredients that can have a calming, stress-relieving effect on the mind and body due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping you to sink into a sleepier state.
Turmeric’s main active ingredient is Curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant. Unfortunately, the curcumin content in turmeric isn’t very high and is poorly absorbed by our bodies into the bloodstream, which is why we include black pepper in Moon Milk. Black pepper contains a natural substance that enhances our absorption of curcumin by 2,000%.
Cinnamon is loaded with crazy amounts of powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols (beneficial micronutrients) which protect the body from free radicals. However, not all cinnamon is equal, there are two main types; Ceylon (a.k.a. “true” cinnamon) and Cassia (common supermarket variety). Cassia contains more of a compound called Coumarin which can be harmful in large doses, so opt for Ceylon cinnamon if you can.
Some non-vegans may worship cows milk for its Tryptophan, an essential amino acid needed for general growth and development and creating serotonin (a sleep hormone) in the body. But foods like almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, soybeans and oats actually contain just as much, if not more Tryptophan than cows milk. So don’t fall for the tricks, those plant-based milks are just as effective in sending you to sleep!
Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects thanks to its main bioactive compound; Gingerol. It has a long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicines and is used to help digestion, reduce nausea and fight the flu and common cold.
Nutmeg has one of the highest portions of nutrients among nuts and seeds, these vitamins and minerals have many health benefits including the ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, reduce insomnia and improve blood circulation among others.
The English word ritual derives from the Latin word ritualis, meaning “that which pertains to ritus” and the word ritus (in Roman and religious usage) refers to the following concept. “The lawful and regular order of the normal, and therefore proper, natural and true structure of cosmic, worldly, human and ritual events”.
As humans, we are creatures of habit and whether we intend to or not, we often fall into behavioural patterns which eventually become autonomous and difficult to break. However, as conscious beings, we can take advantage of this aspect of our psychology by implementing rituals. By performing a ritual (an intentional sequence of activities) on a daily basis, we can create habits that are emotionally or physically beneficial for us.
Whether it’s the habit of not using your phone for an hour before bed to allow yourself to be present and reflective instead of distracted, or the habit of consuming a soothing warm drink to induce a sleepy state. You can trick your brain into associating certain actions with specific feelings through the use of rituals.
How I use Moon Milk
The practice of drinking a warm Moon Milk before lights-out is romantic and while I might not choose to use Ashwagandha on a daily basis, I like the ritual of Moon Milk itself. Whether you make it part of a sleep routine or not, it’s a relaxing and calming addition to your night and if you continue the practice, your mind will begin to associate it heavily with feeling content and sleepy.
So, my version of Moon Milk is a little different. Yes, it still includes anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric and ginger and antioxidant-rich cinnamon, but it’s a little simpler than the common Moon Milk you’ll find on Instagram and I think that compliments the whole idea of a sleep ritual; simple, wholesome and mindful.
Calming White Chai Moon Milk
- 2 cups plant-based milk
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger ground
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ground
- 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- Heat your plant-based milk of choice either in a microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it’s a comfortable temperature, or on the stovetop over low heat.
- Boil the kettle and into a small jug, add all of the remaining ingredients. Slowly pour the boiling water into the jug and whisk to combine.
- Separate the warm plant-based milk into two mugs and gently pour half of the spiced hot water into each one, continue to stir as you enjoy this relaxing, tasty drink.