In Ayurvedic medicine, Kshirpak is known as a medicated milk. It is made using a lengthy process of infusing the milk with herbs, over a low heat, for a prolonged period of time. Although it takes a bit longer to make than a simple tea infusion, the potency and therefore effects of the herbs are noticeably heightened and you may find the extra effort is well worth it! With all of the COVID chaos (not to mention political upheaval) still flowing strong, I thought we all may be in need of a soothing, natural, DIY home sleep remedy to end our week.
Kshirpaks can be made using just about any herbs, although loose leaf or cut and sifted herbs tend to do better than powders. Although you can make an herbal decoction* that is in similar in potency, the Kshirpak’s magic comes from the nourishing, building, Vata-reducing, Ojas-increasing, properties of the milk. Not to mention, many herbal constitutes extract easier when a lipid (fat) source is available. With this particular remedy for sleep, the milk (or almond milk) works amazingly, as it has a very direct, grounding effect on the brain and nervous system.
*Herbal decoctions are herbs that have been steeped in water, over a low heat, and boiled down dramatically, over a prolonged period of time.
Our Sleepy Tea is a pleasantly delicious blend of herbs that are great for soothing your body and mind after a long, chaotic day. If you do not have this tea at hand, feel free to replace the tea with your own blend of similar herbs such as Tulsi, Ashwagandha Root, Passionflower, Skullcap, Chamomile, and/or Rose Petals. Even using only a few of these herbs slowly infused in the milk, you will still experience great calmness and stress relief!
Although milk possesses many great healing properties, it is important to make sure you are using a high quality, organic source. Generally speaking, milk is balancing for Vata and Pitta types but will be increasing for Kapha. This is not a problem however, as Kapha can replace the dairy milk with almond milk (homemade is best – get our recipe here!) for similarly nourishing effects without the heaviness of the dairy milk. In fact, no matter your body-type, this replacement should be made if you cannot digest dairy milk well; so please listen to your body and see what is best for YOU.
You may notice that this recipe takes 3 to 4 hours to steep. Luckily the preparation is super quick and easy and if you plan ahead properly, you can simply have this tea steeping throughout your evening and it will be hot and ready for you by bedtime. If you are not that punctual however, do not worry! There are ways to make this remedy a bit quicker, either by using less water, more herbs, or a higher heat on your stove. See more details below the recipe!
Sleepy Tea Kshirpak Recipe
- Doshic Effect: Vata ↓, Pitta ↓, Kapha ↓↑*
- Makes: 1 cup (recipe can be multiplied)
- Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours (see the “Quick Tips” below the recipe for shorter cook times)
*Kapha types should substitute the dairy milk with almond milk to avoid heaviness and congestion. Goat milk may be suitable as well.
- Sauce pan with lid (large enough for 5 cups of liquid)
- Measuring cups and spoon
- Fine mesh strainer, muslin cloth, thin dish towel, or a thick paper towel
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup milk* (substitute with almond milk or goat milk)
- 2 heaping tablespoons Sleepy Tea**
- 1-1½ teaspoon honey (optional)
*Kapha types should substitute the dairy milk with almond milk to avoid heaviness and congestion. Goat Milk may be suitable as well.
**If Sleepy Tea is not available, substitute with your own blend of similar herbs such as Tulsi, Ashwagandha Root, Passionflower, Skullcap, Chamomile, and/or Rose Petals.
1. Add the water and milk to a large sauce pan and bring the liquid to just below a boil. Be careful, as milk tends to overflow when it comes to a complete boil.
2. Turn the heat to low (I use the “2” setting on my stove) and add in the Sleepy Tea. Cover the pan leaving a slight crack to allow some evaporation to occur.
3. Allow the tea to steep here until the 5 cups of liquid have boiled down to 1 cup. This will take about 3 to 4 hours depending on how low the heat is.
4. Once the steeping process is complete, strain the herbs out using a fine mesh strainer, muslin cloth, thin (clean) dish towel, or a thick paper towel.
5. Place the strained milk into a mug. Let the milk cool slightly (to about 110 degrees) and then add in the honey (if using).
6. Sip on this Sleepy Tea Kshirpak about 15 to 30 minutes before your desired bedtime for a cozy, sound, and restful sleep!
Although this recipe is the preferred method for making a Kshirpak at home, you may find it is not realistic with your daily schedule. In this case, it may be best to bend the rules a bit to allow ease and consistency with this natural sleep remedy. Here are a few ways to make this recipe in less time!
- Use only 2 cups of water rather than the 4 cups recommended; keep the milk at 1 cup and boil everything down slowly until only 1 cup remains. This will take about 1½ to 2 hours at a low heat. For less time still, only use 1 cup water.
- Place the heat at a higher temperature to allow quicker evaporation. I would recommend not exceeding a low-medium however (about a 4 setting).
- Uncover the pan or allow a larger crack in the lid for quicker evaporation.
- Make a double batch to reheat* the following night.
- Make the Kshirpak earlier in the day to reheat* with ease at night.
*Leftovers are not recommended in Ayurveda, but sometimes they will be better than not having the medicine at all. Ideally all leftovers should not be more than 1 to 2 days old. Never reheat the milk more than once.
Other Teas to Use for Kshirpak
You may find that you want to explore more into this world of Kshirpak! I personally love the creamy taste it creates, and the increased nourishment and health properties are icing on the cake. Here are my favorite teas to use when making Kshirpak. Simply use this recipe as a template and replace the Sleepy Tea with equal amounts of the other blend.
- CALM Tea – for calming the mind and nervous system and reducing anxiety
- AWAKE Tea – for supporting digestion, circulation, and mental clarity
- Ayurvedic Spiced Chai – for supporting digestion and circulation
- Tulsi Synergy Spice – for supporting immunity, digestion, and circulation (avoid all milk products during cough, cold, or congestion!)
- Golden Milk – for supporting relaxation, inflammation, bone health, and a sound sleep