Excerpt via Bon Appetit
BY ALAINA SULLIVAN
This drink basically tucks you in, reads you a story, and turns off the lights. (No, it’s not a shot of whiskey.) Drinking Moon Milk is like climbing under a down comforter with Miles Davis. Warm, and real smooth. I like to sip a small mug before bed to help me unwind and ease into those zzzs.
The seed for the recipe was planted when I began dabbling in herbalism. I was learning about plant healers, adding roots to my pantry with names that would trip up the Scripps National Spelling Bee champ, and getting all kinds of witchy in my kitchen. I also wasn’t sleeping well and needed a way (that wasn’t wine) to take my mind off the turntable before bed.
In Ayurveda—one of the oldest systems of natural healing in the world—warm milk is a common remedy for sleeplessness. (Maybe your grandma gave it to you as a kid. Maybe she wasn’t as crazy as you thought.) Traditionally whole cow’s milk is used, though, if you’re avoiding dairy, try unsweetened nut or seed milk—I like hemp or cashew. In herbal medicine, roots and harder plant material like seeds and bark are often decocted (cooked over low heat for a length of time) as a way of extracting their healing qualities. The milk facilitates this, and fat (traditionally ghee) is used as a vehicle to help further cull the herbs’ magic. Fat also nourishes ojas—your vital essence and glow. It’s what keeps your tissues juicy and your organs doing their thing.
I love that this recipe’s got that whole I’m-delicious-but-also-medicinal thing going. It’s laced with deeply nourishing herbs like turmeric, the great inflammation tamer, plus cinnamon and cardamom, which are pro at keeping you a well-functioning, warm-blooded mammal. Nutmeg is a natural sleep aid (which is maybe why you always feel drowsy after eating all those holiday baked goods), and ashwagandha, an adaptogenic root herb, is a friend to the nervous system and particularly great at shepherding you to dreamland. Ginger helps you assimilate all the nutrients into your system, and the whole gang pacifies a racing, restless mind. My kind of night cap.
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SHOP THE INGREDIENTS
- 1 cup whole milk or unsweetened nut milk (such as hemp, almond, or cashew
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground ashwagandha (or another adaptogen, like shatavari or astralagus
- 2 pinches of ground cardamom
- Pinch of ground ginger (optional)
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil or ghee
- 1 teaspoon honey, preferably raw