Milk Therapy: Therapeutic Benefits of Buttermilk

When buttermilk is to be used as a definitive medical treatment for any selected disease the following regimen has been prescribed. Before commencing the taking of buttermilk, the patient should be given a meal of kalami or shali rice (good quality of rice of those days), green gram (a very easily digestible article much recommended elsewhere also for its great ease of digestion), or horse gram or a meat soup that can be digested quickly. When the stomach is cleaned, buttermilk is to be given so as to counteract the gases.

First should be taken for seven days, a buttermilk mixed with half the quantity of water. Then should be drink the buttermilk mixed with one fourth quantity of water. Afterwards buttermilk with no addition of water whatsoever should be employed. For persons of very delicate constitution and those who have very feeble digestive fire, buttermilk alone should be given and nothing else.

However, if they do not receive sufficient nutrition to sustain themselves in this way, grind parched rice and prepare a gruel from out of it (called takra avalehika) and give. But perosns with good digestive capacity should consume buttermilk alone in the morning. After this is digested a drink of buttermilk added with saindhav salt and buttermilk with fat are advised. The meals should consist of cooked rice and buttermilk or meat soup prepared with buttermilk and rice.

It is advisable that the patient should sustain himself as much as possible on buttermilk alone. He should drink buttermilk alone when he feels thirsty. In case however the patient cannot sustain himself solely on buttermilk, he can be given preparations of buttermilk, or buttermilk and cooked rice or buttermilk and meat soup. But it is necessary that the first drink in the morning should be buttermilk alone and nothing else. He may be given other things after some time and only as the need arises.

The physician should carry out this regimen for a week, or ten days or even a month after taking into consideration, the necessary factors of time, strength and the vitiation of the patient.

The dosage of the intake of the buttermilk is as follows: The patient should first take 4 tolas of it and then double this amount. Afterwards he can take as much as he desires and this is to be taken again and again but in small quantities each time. How much of buttermilk he can take in the whole day however depends essentially upon his own digestive capacity. But it is always important to keep in mind that buttermilk should never be given in a great quantity at a time. It is always to be taken in small amount and that too sipped slowly.

The amount of buttermilk taken should be less in rainy season as compared to any other season. By consuming a great quantity at a single time, stomach will get agitated and quite likely there may ensue a purging. The net desirable amount of buttermilk intake is also prescribed. This ranges from 5 tolas to a child of 2 to 5 year, to 30-40 tolas to an adult from 25 to 60 years of age and 20-26 tolas to those of 60-80 years and 10-20 tolas for those aged 80 to 100 years. However this amount basically depends on the digestive capacity of the individuals which varies considerably.

With what articles buttermilk should be taken:

We have told above how to take buttermilk alone. But buttermilk can be taken with much benefit along with many articles of food and there are many special culinary preparations of buttermilk as well that are tasty, salutary and quite popular. Among the latter belong, tair patchadi or raita, and mor kolambu prepared with many vegetables. Both are common in South. Or, buttermilk can be drunk along with many beneficial and salutary articles of food such as chutney, curries and the like.

Some of the vegetables given best with buttermilk or prepared best with buttermilk (as a raita for instance) are the following: chilli, vathua, brinjal, small radishes, pitta papada, wood apple, small, raw cucumber, amrataka, jivanti and marisha or salted ginger or raw turmeric and shatavari or Asparagus.

As an after drink in disease:

After drink or anupana as it is technically called is a liquid that is given after a specific medicine is first administered. This liquid may be just water or any other substances such as honey, milk, buttermilk and so on. The function of anupana is to facilitate the best action of the medicine employed. Buttermilk happnes to be one such after drink prescribed in many diseases. For instance this is the after drink or anupana for copper ash (tamra bhasma) given in stomach diseases and mercuric ash [parada bhasma) given in the diseases of vata.

Is buttermilk compatible or not to specific individuals?

How do we test this Important consideration that ought to be borne when buttermilk is used specially for medicinal purposes. The following are the signs to indicate that buttermilk agrees well with certain individuals. For these persons, following a drink of buttermilk there will be no ill effect on the face; instead, there will ensue an increase in hunger, a lightness and a lustre of freshness in the body. Disease will clear out and a nourishment will ensure.

Persons to whom buttermilk does not agree exhibit the following characteristics. There will be an increase in urination, greater amount and thinness of the stools, an agitated state of mind. a dimness in digestive fire, a belching out and many other minor disturbances.

A few miscellaneous informations:

A person who takes to buttermilk especially as a medicine should keep the following precautions. He should give up cohabitation, sleeping by day, hard physical exercises, sitting in awkward and wrongful postures, eating non-salutary diets, bathing and controlling non-controllable urges of the body such as urination, defection and the like.

Consuming buttermilk in the days of atumn, in cases of feebleness of digestive ability, and also obstructions of the passage of vayu and kapha, should be done rather judiciously.

Taking buttermilk in the following circumstances is not praiseworthy: patient of lesions in the chest, in very hot days, for the very weak and to persons troubled by thirst, loss of consciousness and agitated or confused mind and also to women following child birth. In the season of summer, and winter, in a state of weakness, under conditions of a confused mind, and for a patient of plethora, intoxication and painful swellings, giving butter milk is never proper.

For the following persons, giving buttermilk with cooked rice is advised: the hungry, the thirsty, the weak, the child, the aged, and the timid as well as a patient of vata disease, and prameha or the urniary aflection.

One who regularly takes buttermilk would destroy the following diseases. Buttermilk would act as a preventive agent here; piles, intestinal mal-absorption, splenic enalrgements, tuberculosis, swellings, stomach diseases and the like. He will be sturdy in his body, well nourished, strong and satisfied. He will be a more beautiful person than the Lord Kama deva himself and will lfve for hundred years.

It is important to note thus that Ayurveda advises drinking buttermilk regularly as a food accompaniment. This is the best way to derive the maximum benefits from the many inestimable values of buttermilk.

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