The Benefits Of Cow’s Milk ~ An Ayurvedic Perspective
Saturday morning I poured two cups of fresh cream off a half gallon jar of fresh raw milk. Of interest, milk has come under scrutiny for its indigestibility, for causing inflammation, has been listed as a top 10 food allergen, and is considered the source of digestive stress, cramping, painful bloating, gas, and diarrhea for many worldwide. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health “approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.” (1)
Homogenization ~ The Root Problem?
The more research I do, the more i’m convinced milk itself is not the root problem. Our handling and processing of milk may be the real culprit. Of special concern is homogenization – which renders long chain lipids in milk shorter. Smaller fat globules are more easily distributed throughout homogenized milk for texture uniformity, handling purposes, and to increase shelf life. However, food scientists had not considered lipid structure as a component of what makes milk healthful – or harmful. “Because food is not consumed as individual nutrients, the structure of food influences how nutrient components are digested and absorbed in particular in the temporal dimension,” explains researchers at the University of California, Davis. (2)
What Is The Science Saying?
Scientists have long known that the overall structure of milk lipids are drastically changed by high pressure homogenization, but what they haven’t understood is the effect of fat structure on our ability to digest or use the beneficial components of the milk. Recent studies have shown that the total amount of fat extracted from milk samples decreased as the homogenization pressure increased. (2) However, researchers also claim that there are “no significant differences found in the fatty acid composition” of homogenized v. non-homogenized milk samples. (3) While the composition may be similar, the total quantity of fats are much higher in non-homogenized milk. As it turns out, conjugate fatty acids, specifically conjugate linoleic fatty acids or CLAs, have been found in concentrations nearly 5x higher in the milk of pasture raised cows then in traditional feed-lot cattle fed a ratio of forage and grain. CLAs have been shown to REDUCE body fat, increase lean muscle mass, benefit heart and brain health, improve the bodies ability to scavenge free radicals, inhibit tumor growth, and prevent certain cancers, and were called in one recent study “the modern food chain’s weak link.” (4)
Here it goes without saying that the conditions big ag “factory dairy” cows are forced to endure, while fed a diet of corn, soy, and linseed oil in proportions unnatural to a free range cow in an attempt to obtain a CLA profile comparable to grass-fed cattle (4), are deplorable at best.
The Benefits ~ Cow’s Milk
Ayurveda considers the whole system and its balance or equilibrium. The treatment and care of the cow, along with the use of its milk and malas (wastes) have been described at length in the sacred Vedic texts and the medical texts of Ayurveda. (5) Ayurvedic acharyas have recommended the milk from mother cow for very specific purposes:
- It is sweet, heavy, unctuous and cold (which alleviates vata and pitta during the summer months)
- It is a rejuvenator, life-giving, promotes strength and the intellect, and builds the seven layers of tissues in the body
- It is beneficial for children, the emaciated, and the elderly due to its building and nourishing properties
- It is one of a few substances on earth claimed by the Ayurvedic sages to directly nourish and restore Ojas (a subtle energy which resides in the heart and circulates throughout the body responsible for our capacity for self-love, self-care, and self-protection or immunity, without which our health, and therefore our capacity to love and care for others is greatly diminished. I frequently refer to Ojas as the Mother molecule in the body. And, in fact, if the supreme Ojas in the heart is diminished, we die)
- It is helpful to promote and build reproductive fluids, particularly helpfully to those who enjoy abundant sex (6)
Fresh Raw Milk ~ From Lovingly Cared For Mother Cows
If you can get your hands on fresh raw milk, direct from mother cow, lovingly cared for, who willingly gives of her abundance, you will give your health a major boost this summer. Enjoy milk steamed or heated and well spiced, as the medical texts of Ayurveda have advised for millennia (which will eliminate food borne pathogens such as E. Coli and Salmonella).
Chanting ~ For The Wellness Of Humanity
With blessings and thanks I offer this information for the wellness of humanity, chanting:
Namo devyai Maha devyai
Surabyai cha namo nama
Gavam Bheeja swaroopaya
Namasthe Jagad Ambike
Salutations to the mother of the world,
Who lives as a seed in all cows,
Salutations to that goddess,
Who is a great goddess,
And who is the wish yielding cow.
Kalpa vruksha swaroopayai
Sarvesham sathatham pare
Ksheeradayai , dhanadayai,
Budhidayai namo nama.
Salutations to her who gives milk,
Riches and intelligence,
Who is the form of wish giving tree,
And Who is greater than everything. (7)
1. Lactose Intolerance. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance. Published August 3, 2015. Reviewed May2010. Accessed on August 3, 2015.
2. Argov N, Lemay D, German J. Milk Fat Globule structure & function; Nanosciece comes to milk production. Trends Food Sci Technol. 2008 Dec; 19(12). DOI 10.1016/j.tifs.2008.07.006. Full text available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3868455/. Accessed on August 4, 2015.
3. Rodriguez-Alcala L, Harte F, Fontecha J. Fatty acid profile and CLA isomers content of cow, ewe and goat milks processed by high pressure homogenization. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies. 2009 January; 10(1):32-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.ifset.2008.10.003. Full text available online at Research Gate. Accessed on August 4, 2015.
4. CLA: The Modern Food Chain’s Weak Link. https://extension.usu.edu/dairy/files/uploads/htms/cla.htm. Accessed on August 1, 2015
5. The Srimad Bhagavad-Gita and the Sacredness of All Cows. https://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Articles/holy-cow.html. Accessed on August 4, 2015.
6. Dash, Vaidya Bhagwan. Materia Medica of Ayurveda Based on Madanapalas Nighantu. New Delhi, India. B. Jain Publishers Pvt Ltd. 2001.
7. Gomatha Sthuthi (Prayer to Mother Cow). Translated by P.R. Ramachander. Available online at https://stotraratna.sathyasaibababrotherhood.org/o12.htm. Accesed on August 1, 2015.