The Ultimate Guide to Golden Milk, Everything You Need to Know

Published on October 20, 2016

What is Golden Milk?

Golden Milk is based on the traditional Ayurvedic recipe that has been savored for centuries and used to support the mind and body in a number of ways.* 

Making Golden Milk from scratch only takes about 15 minutes - if you have all the ingredients already on hand - but in today’s busy world, sometimes even that can feel like an insurmountable task. That’s why we created our own convenient version, which honors the Ayurvedic roots of this nourishing drink - and acknowledges the realities of our overscheduled lives. 

Gaia Herbs Golden Milk is vegan and gluten-free with no GMOs or soy, with natural sweetness from Dates. Golden Milk is a convenient modern spin on a revered ancient drink.

Golden Milk Ingredients

What’s in Golden Milk? Turmeric, for sure! This warm yellow beverage takes its color from Turmeric, which we combine with other traditional Ayurvedic herbs like Black Pepper, Cardamom, Vanilla and Ashwagandha.


Turmeric is a versatile herb that supports a healthy inflammatory response in the whole body while maintaining overall health and vitality.* Turmeric offers whole-body support, with both antioxidant support and support for a healthy inflammatory response.* (Read more about using Turmeric for cooking and taking it as a supplement.)

Black Pepper

Traditionally paired with Turmeric to support absorption, Black Pepper also adds a hint of spiciness.* This herb is very common in Ayurveda, and it is traditionally considered to be a hot, pungent herb. As such, it stokes digestive fire, called agni, by promoting the natural release of digestive secretions.* It was actually called the “King of Spices.”


The sweet aroma of this herb has long been used to naturally boost mood.* Plus, it just tastes so good in warm milk! Traditionally, Vanilla was considered to be an aromatic herb that supports the nervous system, and it was used to support a healthy libido.*


Valued in Ayurveda, this adaptogen tonifies the entire system.* Ashwagandha is one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbs used today. This herb is both a tonic, meaning it supports the body’s overall wellbeing, and an adaptogen, meaning it supports the body’s natural resistance.*


This aromatic herb has a long history of supporting the digestive system.* A relative of Ginger, Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) was called the “Queen of Spices” in Ayurveda, where it is commonly used. It supports elimination of intestinal gas, while improving digestive function.*


This naturally rich, sweet fruit is a source of vitamins and minerals. Dates have a complex sweet taste similar to caramel, making them a popular swap for sugar. The Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera) dates back 50 million years, according to fossil records. A staple across the Middle East, it is made into sugar, vinegar and syrup.

Other recipes, both traditional and modern, use additional herbs. Ginger is a common addition to support digestion and add spiciness.* Allspice, Cloves, Mace and Nutmeg are sometimes used, too. Saffron - which has been used in Ayurveda to support a healthy mood - can also be added.*

Learn More about ingredients in Gaia Herbs Golden Milk at MeetYourHerbs.

How to Make Golden Milk - It’s Easy!

Making Golden Milk is easy. Follow these basic steps to make this Turmeric-based beverage:

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 1 min Cook Time: 5 min


  • Milk
  • Gaia Herbs Golden Milk


  1. Simply heat 1 cup of your favorite milk.
  2. Whisk in 1 serving Gaia Herbs Golden Milk.
  3. Heat, stirring often, until mixture is quite warm but not boiling.
  4. Remove from heat, then pour into a cup and savor immediately.


  1. You can also stir in honey and additional herbs as desired.
  2. For a vegan option, you can substitute non-dairy milk and raw or coconut sugar.
  3. In Ayurveda, milk is traditionally boiled to promote absorption and digestion, and around bedtime, warm milk is considered soothing and soporific.*

You can also follow the traditional recipe if you prefer a true D.I.Y. experience. No matter which version you choose, you may want to use a milk that contains fat.

The dietary fats serve two purposes. First, they help your body absorb the fat-soluble components in the herbs, including the curcumins in Turmeric, which are what give it that golden hue.* The fats also carry and coat those herbs and spices, creating a smooth, balanced taste. By heating the herbs in the fat before adding the milk, you release their aroma and flavor. (This is why, in most recipes, you add dried herbs and spices at the beginning, with a little oil. It makes them taste better!)

4 Ways to Customize Golden Milk with Herbs

Golden Milk on table with herbs

There’s no wrong way to consume Golden Milk, so you can really get creative and make it your own. If you’re a fan of using herbal supplements in your food and beverages, you can customize your Golden Milk by adding other herbs. We like liquid herbal extracts of:

  1. American Ginseng: Supports normal levels of energy and stamina.*
  2. Cinnamon Bark: Helps maintain normal blood sugar.*
  3. Holy Basil Leaf: Supports a healthy response to stress.*
  4. Ginger: Promotes healthy digestion and supports a healthy inflammatory response.*

How to Incorporate Golden Milk into Your Daily Routine

Here are five easy ways to start adding Golden Milk into your daily routine:

Swap in a different milk

Use whole milk with cream on top for a particularly rich cup of Turmeric tea. Use coconut, cashew or almond milk - maybe even one with extra vanilla flavor. You can also top it with whipped cream or coconut cream. Or use your “everyday” milk but stir in a special honey. This sweet drink is worth sipping slowly! You could also use a honey swizzle stick or melt a dark brown sugar cube in the bottom for a rich sweetness to the last drop.

Golden Milk being stirred in mug

Drink it instead of coffee or tea 

Sometimes it’s not the caffeine we crave but the ritual surrounding having a fresh, hot cup of our favorite beverage. “Turmeric tea” doesn’t require any fancy equipment like that morning cup of pour-over coffee, but it does involve a few mindful steps. There’s an aromatic component that triggers our olfactory bulb to signal to the brain that the scent is a pleasant one, thus releasing serotonin and other feel-good hormones. Breathe deeply to inhale the scents of each herb, and savor every sip.

Garnish it as you would you a regular latte

Try a sprinkle of cinnamon or cardamom, an extra dash of vanilla or a pinch of nutmeg. Add frothy milk, use a dollop of whipped cream (can you tell we really like this idea?) or sweeten it to taste. Or try a sprinkle of vanilla- or cardamom-infused raw sugar.

Blend it with goji berries or whole, pitted dates

For antioxidant support, blend your milk with a tablespoon or two of goji berry powder before whisking into your Golden Milk.* Whole, pitted dates are a caramellike natural sweetener that can be used in place of honey, making it vegan, too!

Make it seasonal

While it is anything but traditional, you could also add a bit of pumpkin pie syrup (all-natural, of course) or pumpkin pie spice for an autumnal twist on your Turmeric tea.

Why Golden Milk?

Why should you consider integrating Golden Milk into your life? Because mindfulness is golden. We all need to take time for ourselves. We like to think of the ritual of sipping a warm mug of Golden Milk as our “Golden Hour” (though it takes nowhere near that long from start to finish). Taking the time to treat yourself to a comforting, nourishing drink is an act of mindfulness.

woman holding mug of Golden Milk

Imagine, after a long day of work, curling up in your favorite chair and wrapping your hands around a steaming mug full of rich, creamy milk that’s slightly spicy and sweet. That’s your Golden Hour, no matter how long you stay present. Because there is no caffeine in Golden Milk, you can have your Golden Hour any time of day without worry that you’ll be up all night.

Even if you’ve never tried Turmeric or Golden Milk, it may instantly feel familiar, thanks to those aromas of comforting, warming herbs, redolent of eggnog or maybe horchata.

How do we find Golden Hour?

  • Around the dinner table with our kids, with Golden Milk as a sweet finish to the meal.
  • Sitting on the couch with a dear friend, catching up and laughing until tears roll down our faces and into our mugs.
  • During the afternoon slump, when we forgo the candy or coffee and inhale the warm coziness deskside.
  • On a rainy fall Saturday in the mountains, with a good book and a snuggly cat.
  • After yoga class, as a gratitude circle as a swap for the traditional coffee kvetch.
  • In place of the eggnog at a family holiday gathering.

The only rules are that you have to be mindful and present as you sip. No phones. No email. No screens. Just you, your breath and a steaming mug of Golden Milk as an act of self-care. Feel free to share it, too!

History of Golden Milk

Golden Milk is having a moment, but while this warm, comforting beverage seems like a new and trendy drink - invented, perhaps, by a clever barista - this Turmeric latte actually has a long, rich tradition of use dating back thousands of years. Within the ancient branch of medicine in India known as Ayurveda, Golden Milk is a tonic that’s meant to be nourishing, while also tasting delicious.

Ojas, meaning vigor in Sanskrit, is the essential energy of life, and it’s said that Golden Milk - or haldi ka doodh as it’s traditionally known - helps to naturally strengthen that vitality. The ojas circulates to sustain the body and support clarity of mind and emotions. With one sip, you’ll understand. Just as in the West, warm milk has been used as a comforting bedtime beverage, “Turmeric tea” has served the same purpose. Other herbs can be added (and always have been) to offer additional support as desired.*

Turmeric isolated on table

Turmeric has long been used to support a healthy inflammatory response in the entire body, among other uses of this vibrant yellow herb, and in Golden Milk, it’s combined with other traditional Ayurvedic herbs.*

In addition to pleasing the palate, the recipe for Golden Milk tea honors Ayurvedic dietary principles. Ayurveda promotes a diet focused on “sattvic,” or fresh and pure, foods that are easy to digest and provide ojas. These foods include many of the traditional ingredients in Golden Milk: dates, honey, milk and ghee, plus the nuts used for milk in plant-based versions. Rajasic foods, which are naturally stimulating, are used in moderation to stoke our inner fires (agni) and promote vital energy. The herbs and spices used in Golden Milk are considered rajasic.

In India, the comforting drink is still consumed at bedtime, and moms often make it to soothe kids, too. When we sampled Gaia Herbs Golden Milk in the spring of 2016, a woman squealed with delight when she tasted it. “It’s just like my mom’s,” she exclaimed, going on to share how she and her sister liked to use their fingers to scoop out any bits of herbs and honey that had settled in the bottom of the mug. That lightly spiced warm milk, she said, transported her right back to her childhood.

Turmeric tea also made its way to Okinawa, in southern Japan. This island is considered to be a “Blue Zone,” where inhabitants are known for their longevity. Researchers credit Okinawans’ long lives to a healthy, vegetarian diet and strong social and familial bonds. Okinawan Turmeric tea is slightly different from Golden Milk, with the Japanese preferring theirs be served cold and unsweetened, according to Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being, by integrative physician Andrew Weil, M.D.

Modern, creative versions are making waves across the U.S., too. The Turmeric Tonic at Sqirl in Los Angeles uses spiced apple juice in place of milk and swirls in cardamom ghee. Dobra Tea, a tea shop in Asheville, NC, serves Turmeric tea blended with coconut butter, goji berries and Black Pepper for a traditional Chinese medicine meets Ayurveda spin on Golden Milk. There are vegan, Paleo and even raw versions popping up around the country.

Where to Buy Golden Milk

To buy Golden Milk online with FREE, fast delivery, shop now at our online store.

To find a store nearby that carries Gaia Herbs products, enter your zip code on our Where to Buy page. 

Selected Sources
Brannigan, Johnny, Rhoda, Daniel, and Yarema, Thomas. “Eat Taste Heal.” Five Elements Press, Hawaii. 2006. Weil, Andrew. “Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being.” Anchor Books. 2005.