This blog post also is available in German.
You`ve often stumbled across the drink moon milk on the Internet and wondered what it`s all about? In this article I`d like to explain to you, not only what moon milk is, but what positive qualities it can have on your body and mind. I`ll also tell you how you can easily prepare your own moon milk at home within 5 minutes and how sustainable the drink really is.
what is moon milk?
We all know it, the good night milk we used to get when we couldn’t sleep as a child. Moon milk is mainly the Ayurvedic counterpart to our warm milk with honey. The only subtle difference is that with moon milk, the warm milk is refined with warming spices and adaptogens.
When I speak of milk, I mean plant-based milk, of course, as I don`t use animal products. Moon milk tastes just as good with the plant-based alternatives and its effects remains the same.
Moon milk therefore is a drink to be drunk before going to bed. Because of the relaxing spices and stress-reducing adaptogens it has a calming and sleep-promoting effect. But more about this under the health benefits. In the following I`d like to explain the term adaptogen and the most important adaptogen in moon milk in more detail.
What are adaptogens & how do they work?
By definition, adaptogens are drugs – mainly of herbal origin – that are intended to increase the body’s resistance to stress factors. They have a supporting effect on our organism and activate the body’s own self-healing powers. Furthermore, they help our body with increased stress situations, be it through increased mental or physical stress.
The underlying mechanism of action is somewhat complex, which is why I don`t want to go into detail. It`s assumed that the stress-reducing effect is caused by maintaining the balance of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal lens axis. Due to the versatile properties of adaptogens, they`re used in many clinical pictures and can have positive effects.
Here are a few examples of adaptogens:
- maca: is used especially for hormonal disorders
- golden root: for stress and low mood due to increased psychological stress
- reishi: strengthens the immune system, helps with allergic skin diseases & chronic fatigue
- ginseng: more energy & improved mental performance
- chaga: strengthens the immune system
- ashwagandha: promotes sleep or concentration depending on use
Due to their complex mechanism of action, adaptogens can be used for many different diseases and symptoms. The above-mentioned are only a small selection.
What belongs in a moon milk and how do I prepare it?
Which ingredients you put in your moon milk is of course up to you and your individual needs. However, there are a few basic ingredients that are essential to a Moon Milk. These are:
- plant-based milk
- ashwagandha powder
These two ingredients belong in a moon milk and shouldn`t be missing. You can add other adaptogens, depending on your needs. Reishi would also be possible because of its calming effect. If you suffer from a hormonal imbalance, it would make sense to add Maca.
Because of the somewhat unpleasant taste of Ashwagandha I recommend you to add a sweetener and delicious spices. So that you can mask the taste a bit pleasant. My favourites are ground cinnamon or my homemade golden milk mixture with turmeric. Turmeric is in principle always a good choice because of its various positive properties on our body. And apart from its healthy effect, the moon milk also tastes really delicious when these spices are added. But I also love the two versions I share with you today, with blue spirulina or with hibiscus and rose.
What is Ashwagandha?
Now you know that Ashwagandha absolutely belongs in a moon milk. But what is it about the adaptogen?
Ashwagandha – the name of the plant in Sanskrit, by the way – is also called sleeping berry or Indian ginseng. Its botanical name is Withania somnifera. And if you have a minimal memory of the Latin lessons at school or are very well versed in the language, you will immediately notice that the plant must have something to do with sleep. Somniferum means “to bring sleep”. It`s exactly this property that is attributed to Ashwagandha. The plant is an adaptogen that has sleep-promoting properties. The positive effect on sleep is based on withanoloids, which are contained in the root. They`re, so to speak, the active ingredients in Ashwagandha.
Depending on the use, Ashwagandha can also have a stimulating effect. But more about this in the next section. Traditionally, the sleeping berry is also used as an aphrodisiac and is said to help with hormonal disorders.
What are the health benefits of moon milk?
If you`ve read up to here, then you`re probably already aware of the positive effect that moon milk can have on you. Nevertheless I would like to mention it again briefly.
The effect of moon milk – respectively Ashwagandha – on your body and mind depends very much on the way it`s applied. If you drink moon milk before you go to bed or in the evening to get off a stressful day, you`ll feel a calming or even sleep-inducing effect. However, Ashwagandha can also have the exact opposite effect, i.e. it can stimulate you and improve your concentration. If you are drinking moon milk and you`re still working on projects, studying for an education, or doing anything else to help you concentrate, then moon milk will help you.
In addition, moon milk can help with hormonal disorders such as myomas, PCO syndrome and other similar disorders associated with an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. However, a combination with maca powder is then recommended. Moon milk can also help with libido disorders. Always provided that you also add Ashwagandha. Here I`d like to add that the use of adaptogens for such disorders is best always discussed with a healer, doctor or naturopath. They can advise you more precisely, treat you and give you information about the exact dosage. Furthermore, you should never exceed the maximum dosages indicated on the package. This is because herbal medicines are very potent remedies which, in the wrong dosage, can have unwanted side effects.
My personal experience with moon milk
A while ago, I kept seeing posts about moon milk on social media. And since I`m a very curious and experimental person by nature, it was immediately clear that I`d try Ashwagandha. Fortunately I`m blessed with a very good sleep and rarely have problems falling asleep. Depending on the phase of the moon, however, I sometimes lie awake with circling thoughts. No negative thoughts or fears, but rather a surplus of ideas that keep me awake on a few evenings per month. Such phases, however, are also dependent on how excessively I`ve worked on projects before going to bed. Then I find it harder to relax.
Therefore – and because of my curiosity about moon milk – I decided to test moon milk. Especially to create a so-called ritual. When I dank it for the first time, my mind and body switched to the “chill mode” as I call it. That means I drink my moon milk in peace and devote myself to something relaxing, be it reading a book, listening to a podcast or watching a little Netflix. My body then automatically switches to the end of the day mode.
In that sense, the moon milk has helped me a lot to bring more relaxation and calmness into my evening routine. I can’t say much about sleep-promoting properties, as I`ve an excellent sleep. However, I can confirm that the moon milk makes me tired.
I can also testify to the stimulating effect of ashwagandha! One evening I drank moon milk and was still working on the blog, after that I was so full of motivation and energy that I couldn`t fall asleep.
In my opinion, the effect of moon milk therefore depends very much on the mindset and the activities still planned. If you still want to learn or work on something, it promotes concentration. If you`re ready to switch off, it helps to relax. In any case, moon milk is a healthier ritual than a glass of wine.
How often do I drink moon milk
Do I drink moon milk every night?
No, honestly, I don’t. The consumption of plant-based milk is too high for that. I make my own vegetable milk once a week and it has to last for a week. If I would drink moon-milk every day, I`d produce a lot of waste due to bought plant-based milk or I`d have to make new milk about 3 times a week. I`m too lazy for that! Of course you can drink moon milk every evening. As long as you keep to the prescribed Ashwagandha dosage, this is no problem at all. In principle you could also dilute the moon milk with water to reduce the consumption of plant milk, but I don’t like it. So I just drink intuitively when I feel like it.
But at the moment I`m again thinking about taking Ashwaghanda daily, because I could possibly imagine a positive effect on my myomas. But I can tell you more about this in a separate blog post. If you`re interested in the topic, write it to me in the comments or by e-mail.
What should you look for when buying Ashwagandha
When buying Ashwagandha there are several things you should consider.
Capsules or powder?
First of all, the question arises in what form you would like to take ashwagandha. There are for example capsules or powder. With the capsules you should absolutely clarify whether they are vegan. Of course they`re not suitable for the preparation of moon milk. Unless you want to open each capsule individually. Capsules are not an option for me personally. However, if you prefer to use Ashwagandha as a stimulant, then they might be an option.
For moon milk, powder is suitable. So if you want to take advantage of the sleep-inducing effect, then I recommend powder. Why? Because preparing and drinking moon milk creates an evening ritual. In time, your brain will recognize this routine as preparation for going to bed and will automatically release the necessary messenger substances in your body so that you get tired.
When buying Ashwagandha products you should also make sure that they are powder/capsules from the roots of the plant. And don’t just buy the product from any internet shop, but inform yourself in advance or go to the pharmacy, drugstore or health food store of your choice. It`s very important to consume only herbal adaptogens that really come from reliable producers. Otherwise there is a risk that the products are contaminated with other similar looking plants. Furthermore, I`d only buy products that come from organic production and that can give exact information about how much withanoloids are contained per dose.
quality is key
The price shouldn`t be the decisive factor for herbal medicinal products, but the quality and purity. Many adaptogens – some of which include ashwagandha – are not covered by the Medicines Act, but by the Food Act. The requirements for quality and purity are somewhat laxer in this area. Therefore it`s very important that you research well in advance or get advice from a specialist. If you`re interested, you can also contact me, I`m a pharmacist. I bought my Ashwagandha in a health food store and it`s certified organic.
Ashwagandha & sustainability
You wonder what the situation is regarding sustainability? As always, I want to be completely transparent with you. Ashwagandha is an Indian plant. That’s why most of the products come from India. Respectively the plant is grown there, the roots are harvested and then processed into powder. It may be that the powder or the capsules are produced in the country where the company you buy from comes from. But the plant itself almost always comes from India. Ashwagandha is therefore rarely a local product.
Are there more sustainable and regional options? I`ll discuss this topic in a separate blog post that will appear in the coming weeks.
Personally, I don`t consider Ashwagandha to be a necessary, but rather a very helpful and healthy product. Similar to superfoods. As far as I know there are local options. However, these are not adaptogens that support the body’s own functions, but merely options that have certain similar effects to ashwagandha. Therefore – and precisely because of its adaptogenic effect – ashwagandha is indispensable for me, even if it`s not a regional product.
why you should try moon milk:
- reduces stress
- is sleep-inducing
- calms down
- promotes concentration
- supports the body’s own functions
- is healthy
- has a supportive effect on hormonal disorders
- is vegan & purely herbal
- is the perfect bedtime ritual
- easily prepared
- quickly prepared
other trending beverages:
If you are trying this moon milk, I would love your feedback here in the comments. If you share your creation of this recipe on Instagram, please don’t forget to link @velvetandvinegar and use the hashtag #velvetandvinegar. So my community and I won’t miss your contribution.
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- milk frother
- 250 ml plant-based milk organic
- 1 tsp* ashwagandha powder organic
- 1-2 tbsp sweetener of choice organic
toppings / ingredients of choice
- 1/2 tsp hibiscus tea organic
- 2-3 dried rose buds organic
- 1 pinch of blue spirulina powder organic
- Heat milk in a small pan together with the sweetener. If you like to add spices and / or tea its the moment to add it as well (for example cinnamon, turmeric, hibiscus tea, etc.)
- Mix in the ashwagandha powder as soon as the milk starts to steam. Mix very well to prevent clumps.
- Pour in a cup and add some frothed plant-based milk and toppings of choice.
- a blue spirulina coconut moon milk
- a hibiscus rose moon milk