As an article of food milk is uniquely and incomparably suited to all types of individuals – the infants, the children, the youth and aged; the emasiated, the starved, the convalescent; the exhausted, the weak and those who become weak due to sexual excesses; for sucking women; and, for persons suffering from varied diseases, such as chronic fever, mental diseases, gastric or stomach discharge, ulcers and cancers of the stomach, gastric disorders like dyspepsia or indigestion, intestinal disorders like diarrhoea as well as dysentery, urinary disorders such as albuminuria (i.e. discharge of albumen along with urine, as in diabetes) and also ascites (or collection of morbid fluids or dropsy and abdominal swellings) and anasarca (dropsy—in the skin and the layers beneath the skin). Sushruta, a very respected classical author on Ayurveda however cautions that milk should not be given for drinking in cases of low fever as it might even cause death.
In case of certain diseases like later stages of anasarca, ascites and chronic bowel complaints, a wholly milk diet excluding every other article Including even salt and water is prescribed. Milk is useful in relieving irritation of respiratory and digestive tracts and is therefore prescribed in injuries and lesions there. A mixture of skinimed milk and cream in equal quantities is an excellent and a natural cure for acidity in stomach and heart burn. For persons troubled with sleeplessness, a cup of hot milk before going to bed is recommended.
Even for normal persons, this is a good and health giving as well as nourishing habit. Malted milk i.e. milk in which powder of sprouted grains such as those of barley or ragi is also added is good for this condition. Ragimalt whose use is becoming somewhat fashionable of late is a very good and easily digestible practice, specially suited also to young and vigorously developing children. This is best taken early in the morning and instead of coffee or tea.
If some persons feel a sense of distension in the stomach after they drink milk, they can avoid this feeling by adding and dissolving a pinch of salt in the cup of milk before they take it. Milk is a very effective remedy in cases of poisoning by toxic substances such as corrosive sublimates, copper sulphate and even corrosive acids. Physicians of modem medicine advise a free use of milk for patients of enteric fever and mucous diarrhoea. Milk is then diluted with barley water, or with lime water or with any other dilutent. However, Ayurvedic physicians do not give milk in mucous diarrhoea. The former also consider that well diluted and peptonised milk is useful in treating patients of low fevers.
Milk is frequently utilised as a vehicle to poultices for external application. Milk is given as an injection with prompt benefit and relief of pain in cases of acute iritis. In infants who are constitutionally disposed to develop eczema, injections of milk upto 4 CC are given. This is also repeated every fourth day till 5 or 6 or even 10 injections are given. There is one more rather dramatic way of using milk as an injectable material. This is to give milk protein injections regarding whose medicinal efficacy.
Some authorities declare that though one cannot expect to raise the dead by this means, these injections do a lot to the patients by building up their natural resistance to diseases remarkably in certain cases of crisis. Opthalmic physicians and surgeons use them to treat corneal ulcers with 100 per cent success. The advised course of injections is the following. Injection of 5 CC of milk is given the first day, 8 CC the third day and 10 CC for the following injections with an interval of one or two days between the successive injections.
These intervals are to be lengthened if several adverse reactions occur in the mean while. Such reactions however occur after the first two or three injections only, and, the severity of the reaction is not related to the results accomplished. The full course is usually 10 injections though remarkable and definitive improvements become visible ever after the first three or four doses. The white cell count in the blood gets directly augmented, although quite gradually and is then restored to the normal value finally. These white blood corpuscles in the blood are the defensive mechanisms of the body as they engulf and digest all pathogenic or disease causing foreign matter. As such, their increase in blood is a sure sign of the increase in the body’s resistance power.
As an embrocation viz. to moisten and nib the skin as with a lotion and to clear it and also to improve the complexion, milk is applied to the; body and this is followed by a warm bath within half an hour. This is an excellent cosmetic procedure. Goat’s milk plain or medicated with suitable drugs is useful in pthisis or consumption and the pitta aggravation of the piles. This cures dyspnoea or difficulty in breathing, bronchitis and chronic cases of enlarged liver and spleen as well as discharge of fluids in the stomach. Goat’s milk added or prepared with barley gruel is recommended as a nourishing, sustaining and also curative diet for patients who are weak due to dysenteric diarrhoea.
Goat’s milk alone or still better, the ghee prepared from the milk is a very good diet for convalescents of an attack of diarrhoea.
Eve’s or sheep’s milk is beneficial to persons who are obesce as it helps in slimming down and losing excess fat. This is also salutary in flatulence or bloating of the belly due to gas collection and in gonorrhoea. It forms a good diet for patients of rheumatism and violent attacks of cough.
Ass’s milk is very beneficial in conditions of general debility or weakness and also in such urinary afflictions as are characterised by high coloured or scanty urine. It is extensively used as a curative in cough and liver complaints specially in children and old people and also in chronic bronchitis or inflammation of the bronchil or the wind pipe and specially in cases of whooping cough.
Camel’s milk is useful in many disorders such as oedema (fluidy swellings), dropsy (morbid fluid collections), asthma, consumprranv-feprosy, general scrofulous conditions, inflammations, cancers, piles, intestinal worms, skin lesions, abdominal tumours and even in cases of poisonings. It is much used among the Arabs and also in Rajasthan.
Mare’s milk is beneficial in cases of rheumatism of the legs and the hands.
Human milk is much recommended as a collyrium to be applied for the eye and also as an application to head in cases of eye complaints. It is also beneficial to nose bleeding when it is used to irrigate nose. Even eyelids are irrigated with it. It is said that in China, sucking breast milk is resorted to for persons suffering from chest pain.
Elephant’s milk is definitely beneficial for the eyes. Its curd is beneficial in relieving the shooting pains or shoola and in diseases due to the aggravation of kapha. The butter and ghee prepared from this milk is regarded as being good for the stomach, and counteracts phlegm, biliousness and worms.
Butter from cow’s milk is used with sugar in the complaints of piles, consumption, chronic dysentery, anorexia or tastelessness in food and also facial paralysis. It agrees best with the aged and the young. Charaka, the ancient famous Ayurvedic author considers it as beneficial in chronic dysentery, piles and anorexia. For a diabetic patient, it is given in irritation of the alimentary canal. Use of plenty of butter and other fatty foods is a preventive as well as a curative procedure in the disease of berry-berry. A very common and much recommended use of butter is to smear the broad leaves of plants like Calotropis and Argyrea and apply them over the abdomen in securing relief from the colicy or the twisting pains.
A few other use of butter are the following: 2 tolas of butter are washed one hundred times in water and then mixed with half a tokt of sandal oil. This is an effective application to cure all sorts of sores and ulcers on the skin. Plantain leaves that are themselves cooling in nature are smeared with cow’s butter and used as a soothing and healing application for broad scalded and burnt regions after an incidence of burning. This is an immediate and a useful measure.
Butter from goat’s milk is good for stomach. It is a heart tonic, relieves doshas of all the three types and is beneficial in the complaints of eye, cough, consumptions and phlegm.
Butter from any milk is a soothing base for an ointment.
The modern equivalents of the traditional units of measure indicated in the Text henceforth are as follows:
1 ratti = lgunza the weight of one seed of Abrus precatorius or gunza plant; 8 qurtzas = 1 masha; 10 mashas= 1 tola; 24 tolas = 1 ser; 1 pav =1/4 ser; 1 tola = 10 grams.
Butter milk is efficacious in dyspepsia or indigestion in which case it is best given along with ginger. It is the best diet for feeding infants suffering from diarrhoea. It is an excellent and well known remedy for most cases of digestive disturbances, specially those that are accompanied with fever. It is the most valuable drink for those who are prone to attacks of appendicits and constitutes a nice and refreshing beverage in a tropical country like ours and most popularly used so, specially by the poorer and the middle class of our society. It is quite beneficial also on account of the vitamin C that it contains. Mixed with 6 mashas of alum powder or bhringarqj leaves, pestled well in a mortar and given would result in a clean vomiting. This procedure is recommended for counteracting poisons including those of snake bites.
Whey is highly recommended for patients of consumption, dysentery, piles, tumours, colic, running nose and other types of catarrh. Fresh whey from cow’s milk specially is recommended and given with suitable carminatives in chronic diarrhoea, particularly for those conditions when giving other carbohydrates is not advisable and also when vayu is deranged and there is an excess of fermentation that needs to be checked. This is the ideal food for convalescents of diarrhoea and in chronic cases of enlarged liver and spleen. In general, whey is very good and it is particularly so in those cases of piles where both vata and kapha are aggravated, it is then excellent when given with back salt.
Whey is recommended in cases of many complaints such as urinary stones, constipation, inflammations in mouth and spleen, increased fat or obesity, flatulence and in jaundice when it is given with carbonates of potassium and sodium. In fever accompanied with coryza and tastelessness, whey is mixed with trikatu (the three pungents, pepper, peepul and dry ginger) and given with great benefits.
A diet of whey, fruits and vegetables is recommended and actually much practiced by persons who have exhausted themselves by too fast a life. In the disorders of stomach and intestines of children 2-4 ounces of whey is given per feed ever 3 or 4 hours. Infact, whey can very well form the diet whenever a fat-free food is to be taken. As such, this is the best food for feeding babies that are premature and for the invalid and the debilitated children who cannot digest fat.
Curd is beneficially given in cases of tastelessness in food and also for these who have a feeling of nausea or have a tendency of vomiting. It is good for rheumatic patients. For dysentery in children it is given with the bark of pomegranate. Whey from buffaloe’s milk is beneficial in splenic enlargements, piles, diarrhoea and cholera.
Curdled milk is useful in fever during jaundice, urinary disorders of several types also and acts as an antidote counteracting poisoning by copper. Curd mixed with black pepper powder is given to persons bitten by snake and is reputed to be an effective antidote. Ayurvedists do not advise giving curd to patients of mucous diarrhoea as noted above; instead, they advise a solution of milk, salt and sugar which is then curdled by adding lime juice to this mixture. The resultant curd is then strained through cloth and the separated watery whey is given for the patient.
Ghee is very extensively used in several practices of Ayurveda. Ghee by itself or mixed with honey is a highly esteemed application to heal wounds, inflammatory swellings and particularly the blistered surfaces as well as the scalded and the burnt regions of the skin. It is given with either plantain leaf or betel leaf over which the ghee is smeared; this promotes quick healing.
Ghee is an invariable base of many medicated oils and also forms the base for varied types for irritating skin and is used in the form of injection in cases of wasting diseases. It is given internally along with honey, sugar and mineral ashes or bhasmas of various types. This is administered for tympanitis (or inflammation of the ear drum or the tympanum), painful indigestion and retained secretions.
Ghee, sugar candy and honey is a delectable and efficient medicine for all ordinary complaints of children; this constitutes infact, a routine household remedy. For those children who continuously cry and do not suck mother’s milk and feel always restless, another simple household remedy is advised. This is to give a little salt mixed with ghee and sugar candy. Ghee is given as a nasal drop for cold in the head or coryza. A thin layer of it is smeared over the face and then well massaged; this improves the complexion and adds to the beauty.
An interesting aspect of Ayurvedic medication employing ghee Is to use very old ghee and also use ghee after washing it in cold water several times, nearly hundred times. Ghee of both these types are considered to improve in their quality to a great extent.
For instance, in strong fevers, an emulsion of sandal wood and of old ghee which has been washed one hundred times in cold water, or, an emulsion of black pepper and old ghee is applied to the body of the patient. This is followed by a bath In lukewarm water after half an hour. He is then made to lie on a spread of lotus leaves that are in themselves quite cooling and soothing. This is an old regimen of some classical ayurvedic Texts.
Parana ghrita or old ghee that is more than ten years old has a strong and pungent odour; its colour is reddish brown. This is a very valuable external application in cases of pleurisy (an inflammation of pleura, which is a delicate membranous cover that encloses the lungs and lines the cavity of the chest) and also the painful affections of the joints. Ghee that is of a hundred years old is sometimes available. This is quite dry, hard and nearly smell-less. It looks more like some sort of earth.
This is first repeatedly washed with cold water and is then rubbed in with cold water till it is reduced to a soapy and frothy fluid. This is used as a liniment or a thin layer of ointment. This is regarded for cooling, and also for softening simultaneously. This is much used in such grave afflictions like insanity, epilepsy, neuralgia or acute nervous pain, severe head-ache, asthma, rheumatic affections, stiff joints, persistent burning sensations of the body, hands and the feet and also the affections of the eye.
This is the specification of the great Charakacharya. Such a medication also has a great reputation for reducing temperature in fever. This is evidently due to the profuse perspiration that the treatment induces. Old ghee is used in combination with dry ginger powder in cases of pains in the breast; this is a very successful remedy. A ghee that is of 111 years old is called mahaghrita or a Great Ghee. This is soothing and good at alleviating the aggravations of both vata and kapha.
Ghee from buffaloe’s milk is good for heart, improves digestive efficacy, augments semen generation and is beneficial in piles and diarrhoea.
Ghee from camel’s milk is cooling and good for stomach. It is salutary in vata type of piles. This is beneficially used in cases of convulsions, worm infection and leprosy.
Cream is a vehicle for using certain calxes or substances of minerals or metals that remain after the latter are heated very strongly. Such calxes are medicinal drugs for consumption of the lungs, cough and asthma.
Lactose is useful in debilitated patients and also for those who have consumption, and gastric (or stomach) irritability. This is best suited to sweeten the food for infants. It is specially useful in cases of dropsy or water collection due to kidney or heart affections. As an uterine stimulant, this is given in protracted labour to hasten delivery.
Butter milk, whey, protein milk and peptonised milk are common dietary article utilised most beneficially in feeding invalid children.