The Herb Stop Blog
What is Moon Milk? Amazing Health Benefits & Recipes
Moon milk is a drink with roots in Ayurvedic traditions that has recently gained popularity. You may have even seen beautiful pictures of pink, blue, or gold moon milk drinks online or on Instagram. However, moon milk is not just lovely to look at but has several key health benefits, especially when it comes to promoting a better night’s sleep.
Typically, moon milk is made using warm cow’s milk or plant-based milk alternatives, and a combination of herbs, like ashwagandha or astragalus, that promote better sleep, healthy immune function, and better stress management.
Let’s start by looking at the health benefits of typical moon milk ingredients before jumping into some delicious moon milk recipes!
The Science Behind Warm Milk and Sleep
A common suggestion for making yourself feel sleepy is drinking warm milk before bed. According to the Sleep Foundation, scientific evidence backs this suggestion up by showing that drinking warm milk before sleeping can help you fall asleep easier and improve your sleep quality.
One study found that people staying in a hospital’s heart unit who drank honey and warm milk before bed noticed improvements in the quality of their sleep. This study took place over three days and showed almost immediate sleep improvement for the patients drinking warm milk and honey.
Another three week study looked at adults over the age of 60 and studied the effects of fermented milk (think kefir or cultured buttermilk) before bed. The adults drinking fermented milk noticed reduced nighttime wakings when compared to the placebo group.
Lastly, additional scientific studies discovered that warm milk helped people fall asleep more easily. This study tested people over the age of 65. It noted that the individuals who drank milk and engaged in some type of physical activity during the day had an easier time falling asleep than those who did not.
In short, warm milk can help make us sleepy, improve the restfulness of sleep, and reduce nighttime wakings. If you struggle with insomnia and drink dairy, try drinking warm milk before bed. Even better, try one of our delicious moon milk recipes below (dairy-free options, too)!
In addition to warm milk, moon milk is usually made with ashwagandha or astragalus, which promote better sleep, stress relief, and a healthier immune system.
Ashwagandha and Astragalus
The other necessary component to make moon milk is herbs that help your body deal with stress and better sleep.
Ashwagandha is a popular choice because it is a general adaptogen for combating stress, can promote restful sleep, and supports improved function of the adrenals, which helps with stress. Ashwagandha is also known as Indian Ginseng and has been traditionally used for revitalizing the mind and body after stress-induced fatigue, nervous exhaustion, and more. We also frequently recommend it for calming the body and promoting deeper sleep.
Studies have even shown that ashwagandha helped significantly reduce cortisol levels in the group who took a high concentration of ashwagandha during the study.
Astragalus is another excellent choice for moon milk, especially if you want to supplement and support healthy immune function. Traditionally, astragalus is used to build immune resistance, increase overall energy, and help the body recover from illness. Like ashwagandha, astragalus may also promote healthier adrenal gland function, which helps the body manage stress and fatigue better.
Studies on astragalus have shown that it possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can stimulate immune function. For more information about astragalus, read our previous piece on the best immune system boosting herbs for cold season here.
Keep reading to learn how to incorporate ashwagandha and astragalus into your delicious moon milk!
Moon Milk Recipes
There’s no wrong way to make moon milk - we recommend trying different combinations and seeing what tastes and feels good to you.
Typical moon milk ingredients we recommend trying out:
- Our delicious Moon Milk shake
- Warm water or cow’s milk
- Non-dairy, plant-based milk options, such as almond, coconut, or oat milk
- Natural herbs and adaptogens, like ashwagandha and astragalus
- Herbs or dried flowers for a beautiful garnish (try our dried Strawberry Powder out for a sweet burst of flavor!)
- Delicious spices, like cinnamon, cardamom, or turmeric
- Sweeteners, such as honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
For a quick, supportive shake in the evening, we recommend our scrumptious Moon Milk Shake, which has ashwagandha, cashew nut milk powder, ginger, cinnamon, and much more. Our shake helps promote reduced stress and only needs to be blended with warm water to be ready to drink!
If you’re planning on making your own moon milk, we recommend using about two capsules worth of ashwagandha and two capsules worth of astragalus capsules. This will be equivalent to about ½ tsp for your moon milk recipe.
To create your own moon milk recipe, we recommend using the following guidelines when making it:
- Use a ratio of 1.5 cups of milk or plant-based milk to 1 teaspoon of an herb, a delicious spice of your choice, and a sweetener of your choice.
- Sweeten the drink to your liking. We recommend trying different ratios out to perfect it.
- Blend the ingredients and heat over medium heat on your stove until warmed through.
- Optional: strain the beverage for an extra smooth finish
- Garnish with beautiful herbs or dried flowers, like rose, lavender, butterfly pea flower, or chamomile, for a beauteous look sure to delight your senses.
- Enjoy your moon milk! Take a moment to let the drink fully immerse your senses and relax your mind and body.
If you prefer a vegan alternative using almond milk, try this fantastic Vegan Pink Moon Milk recipe from Heart Beet Kitchen. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 6 ounces almond milk
- 4 ounces unsweetened tart cherry juice
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ashwagandha powder
- Dried culinary rose petals (garnish)
Check out their Vegan Pink Moon Milk recipe for the complete instructions.
f you’re interested in learning more about sleep and defeating anxiety and insomnia, check out our previous piece on herbal remedies for insomnia here for more ideas.
We hope you try out one of these delightful and delicious moon milk recipes! We find it to be a very soothing, enjoyable drink to have before bed and hope it helps to soothe your mind and body.
Leilah & Natalie