I’ve been eager to share this recipe since my Ayurvedic cleanse after the fall equinox. It’s become one of my favorite morning rituals to warm my body up in this colder weather and sustain my energy until lunch. This elixir is my spin on the classic “Golden Milk”, a tea recommended by Yogi Bhajan for promoting vitality and flexibility. During my Ayurvedic cleanse, I ate several tablespoons of ghee each morning to help oleate my internal body and prepare for the kitchari diet. I’ll admit, it was tough. I hadn’t eaten straight ghee like that since India, and it certainly wasn’t my favorite thing to start my mornings off with. Some mornings, I would side-step this practice by adding it into this warming turmeric ginger elixir and topping it with creamy homemade hemp milk. The result, a rich, buttery medicinal drink that left me feeling warm and nourished each time I drank it.
This tea is a triumvirate of powerful tonic herbs and healing fats. Turmeric, an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, aids in soothing achy joints and lubricating the internal body. To read more on the nutrition and benefits of turmeric, check out this post.
Ghee is also prided in Ayurvedic medicine as a potent lubricant for the connective tissue. Ghee, clarified butter, is slow cooked until it is a golden color and very light in texture. The process of cooking removes the impurities in butter, the saturated fat and milk solids that make ghee hard to digest. Without the casein and lactose, our bodies can process and utilize this fat without having sensitivities to it like a typical dairy product. Ghee is revered in the ancient Ayurvedic texts as a sacred remedy for many ailments. In the Susruta Samhita, it claims ghee is beneficial for the whole body, and recommends it as the ultimate remedy for inflammation, a problem that stems from too much pitta in the body. And for vata types, the unctuous oil provides grounding to our nervous system.
If you aren’t comfortable with ghee, then you might try substituting it with coconut oil. The healthy fats are the key to this warming winter weather elixir. The tea can be made in larger quantities and stored ahead of time, then reheated on the stove when ready to use. If you can’t find fresh turmeric in your local grocery store or asian market, then you can add in a 1 tbsp of ground turmeric powder to the ginger tea once it has steeped. I also recommend heating the tea by itself then adding in the hemp milk at the end, because when you heat the hemp milk it tends to clump together and separate. Stir the oil and honey into your mug of hot tea and allow it to dissolve before topping it with the fresh milk to serve.
WARMING TURMERIC GINGER ELIXIR
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp fresh turmeric, grated
4 cups water
Bring the ginger and turmeric to boil in a saucepan on your stove top. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea to separate the pulp from the liquid. Either discard pulp, or add more water and reboil for a second steeping.
1/2 cup hemp or almond milk
1 tsp raw honey
1 tsp ghee (or coconut oil)
pinch Himalayan pink salt
To make a single serving, pour 2 cups of the hot turmeric ginger tea in a blender. Add 1/2 cup hemp milk, raw honey, ghee and a pinch of pink salt. Blend until creamy. Pour into a mug and enjoy hot.
To make homemade hemp milk, blend 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds with 2 cups purified water in your high-speed blender. No straining required. Pour straight into your mug for a frothy milk-free alternative. Store the remaining hemp milk in an airtight glass container in your fridge.