Yesterday, the vernal equinox, my friend Lauren came over and made her take on Kundalini Yoga’s golden milk, Golden Milk Cocoa. Laced with turmeric, ashwagandha powder, and a swirl of either coconut oil or ghee, it’s energizing, cleansing, and restorative. An Appalachian folk medicine revivalist, avid forager, and a talented apothecary Lauren Haynes is the woman behind the Chattanooga based Wooden Spoon Herbs, her line of handmade & foraged teas, bitters, oils, salves, lotions, and all manner of other goods. Her valerian flower drops and rose & honeysuckle cream live on my bedside table next to an ever rotating vase of flowers and a half-finished knitting project. You can find those and many other healing products suited for daily life in her store. Made in very small batches by hand, they go quickly so get your hands on them now while they last! And make sure to enjoy this recipe as we move into autumn and all it’s tremulous, energetic vibrations and most especially during the very special super moon lunar eclipse coming Sunday (first in 33 years)! While golden milk is traditionally drunk at bed time, this energizing version is well suited for the morning. She and I both agreed that the stars have had us both a little on edge lately; this is the drink for that.
I’ve been drawn to turmeric lately. It’s more than a spice. It’s ancient medicine. Both a powerful anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant, this root imparts a warm notes of bitter ginger to everything from this cocoa to soups, dressings, curries, and anything else you could dream up. I’m very fond of it in pumpkin soup, and it makes an already vibrant, warming dish even more so. Which is exactly what it does here.
Long used in Ayurvedic medicine, the ashwagandha powder reduces anxiety and cortisol (the stress hormone) as well as improves your ability to focus. After drinking it and reading about it, ashwagandha going to be part of my daily diet—it tackles my main problems: sleep difficulty, anxiety, and poor concentration. I’m very very big on avoiding pharmaceuticals wherever possible (though also a big advocate of taking them when necessary!), so I’m always really grateful whenever anyone introduces me to a new, holistic treatment for any symptoms I struggle with. You can find the powder online or in a health food store with a good herbal section (you don’t want capsule form but pure powder).
I think that making it with non-dairy milk might end up being my normal day favorite, while having it with whole, raw cow’s milk (making sure to not heat it to the point of pasteurizing it) would be my favorite treat. The spices, cocoa, milk (I like almond, coconut, and hemp milks as well), and healthy dose of fat first thing in the morning is enough to tide me over until lunch. Especially if I drink two cups myself. Which I might have. Warm & sweetened with honey only, I can’t think of a better elixir for autumn. Another big thank you to Lauren of Wooden Spoon Herbs for taking the time to come share this recipe & her craft. Be sure to visit her shop; right now she’s doing a special where if you purchase an Autumn Wellness Kit you get an Elderberry-Sumac Elixir for free! Now to talk her into teaming up with me for a local workshop…
- 560 grams (2.25 cups) milk (or milk alternative)
- 30 g (1/4 cup) cocoa, sifted
- 10 g (about 2 tablespoons) turmeric
- 5 grams (about 1 tablespoon) ashwagandha powder
- 180 g (about 1/2 cup) honey or to taste
- 1 T coconut oil or ghee, divied (1/2 T per mug)
- In a saucepan heat the milk until very warm but not simmering. On low heat, whisk the cocoa in to the milk along with the turmeric and ashwagandha powder. Once it's completely combined, whisk in the honey until dissolved. Remove from heat, divide between mugs by either pouring it into a kettle or simply ladling it in, and then stir 1/2 tablespoon of either coconut oil or ghee per cup. The recipe easily doubles to serve more and keeps nicely in a kettle, just give it a good stir if it's sat for long.
If you can't find the ingredients in your local shops, you can easily order any of them online!