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Ultimate Guide to A2 Cow Milk Benefits | Properties, Sourcing & Contraindications from Ayurveda

This post was last updated on April 10, 2023 by Preethi Sukumaran

Cow’s milk is an important food in Ayurveda. Regular intake is said to improve ojas, tejas, build good dhatu and positively impacts physical and mental health and nutrient availability in the body. However today we get many varieties of cow’s milk. Are these all the same? What are the a2 cow milk benefits for us? In this article we analyze milks from an ayurvedic perspective .

What Milk is widely available in India today?

The predominant, widely available milk in India is processed, homogenized, pasteurized milk sourced from large cooperatives and conglomerates. They follow a collection + aggregation model.

In India cooperatives follow a mixed model where they aggregate milk from different sources

Here Milk is sourced from small dairy farmers with any breed of cow or buffalo, mixed together, homogenized to follow government standards of fat percentage and then sold as toned milk, full fat milk, etc. Which in turn use a mixture of own milk and aggregated milk. This is the case for all major cooperative dairy conglomerates across India.

Problems with Commercial Mixed / A1 Milk type

• Milk is sourced from different kinds of daily cattle and mixed together: so we have desi (A2), foreign (jersey – A1), hybrid (desi+jersey), buffalo, and sometimes goats milk being mixed together. The properties of each of these are different and will have a different effect on the body. Depending upon the mixture we get, the body may accept it better or it may not.

• As Dairy farmers are rewarded for fat percentage of Milk (higher cost paid for higher milk fat), they are incentivized to replace lean indigenous breeds with foreign breeds which are naturally high in fat. Again to conserve milk fat, they restrict the animal’s movement and can feed the Animal high fat and unsuitable diet in order to extract high fat milk.

• Unnatural, cruel dairy farming practices: To extract maximum yield from Cows, dairy farmers unnecessarily induce lactation through hormone injections. The animals are often kept in crowded and unsanitary conditions leading to diseases and antibiotic injections. As the animal is subjected to so much strain, her natural life comes down to half.

Cow, fetus and calf being treated as commodities. With the high increase in demand for meat in India and abroad, our country is a primary exporter of cattle for slaughter. Traditionally in India, meat consumption was restricted and every community would practice vegetarianism in certain months, seasons / days of the week which had to do with cultural and spiritual traditions and seasonal rhythms. With this heterogeneity being slowly replaced by homogenous consumption, there is a much higher demand for newer kind of meat, including beef. 

Commercial dairy practices could end up exploiting cattle
  • Medical advances have also lead to greater cruelty in dairy which many of us are unaware of. For all in vitro cell work, be it creation of veterinary or human vaccines, stem cell research, gene targeting or even IVF treatments, we need a grown medium to grow in vitro cells.  Bovine fetal serum is the primary culture medium of choice. This is derived from the placenta of bovine fetus which leads to repeated insemination of dairy cattle and destruction of bovine fetus in order to extract this serum. FBS is made from the blood of bovine fetus which is then processed into raw serum.  

• End user contamination: Often due to the presence of a very large cold-chain, on and off there is adulteration of Milk – Urea, Detergent powder, etc. are used to preserve milk for a few days till it reaches you

Huge Backlash against commercial dairy farming leading to movements like veganism

A2 Desi Cow milk in Ayurveda (Go Ksheera from a native cow) is considered an elixir. Obviously, at the time the texts were written, there was no need to make a distinction between A2 and A1 and we ONLY had A2 native cows in India. A1 Cows are a very recent addition (of about 50 years vintage) to Indian dairy farms.

Today we see a huge backlash against Dairy, some of it legitimately so. We are seeing disease conditions of epic proportions and are handling certain forms of autoimmune disorders, chronic skin conditions, allergic and respiratory conditions and cancers of various kinds. Desperate for answers and solutions, we latch onto every new theory / opinion that tries and explain the spread of such disease conditions.

There are 2 unfortunate reasons that Dairy, especially commercial dairy has taken such a huge backlash around the world:

One is the rise of commercial dairy farming with epic proportions of animal cruelty, all designed to treat the Cow as a machine and literally milk her to her death, shortening her Life span and treating male calves as fodder to the leather and meat industry in the bargain. Medical advancements have created even more inhumane practices destroying fetuses in situ and creating repeated harmful pregnancy in order to harvest blood cells from bovine fetus. 

The second reason is linked to the first. Because of the huge, single minded focus on Milk, and Milk alone of a particular variety with a certain amount of Fat, India has joined the world of commercial dairy farming by exporting ad nauseum Jersey / Holstein breed cows that give higher fat, A1 milk.

In the process, we have carefully ruined our indigenous dairy genetic strain and almost sounded the death knell for what Ayurveda terms as “ojas improving, dhatu improving and prana extending” – A2 desi cow milk.

What is the difference between a1 and a2 milk? 

indigenous Indian cow breeds, with a prominent “hump” on their shoulder. These indigenous breeds are derived from the primary strain of “Zebu cattle”, descended from Indian Aurochs. We can see iconography and depiction of Zebu breed Indian cattle from ancient rock edicts, bas reliefs, temple sculptures and descriptions across Ayurveda, Itihasas, Smritis , Vedas and the Puranas.

A1 milk is derived from the European version of Bos, which migrated away from the Asian and African heartland close to 4000 years ago. This species developed a slightly different version of Beta casein in the Milk which is now called A1 beta casein, as opposed to A2 Beta casein found in Indian indigenous cattle.

What is A2 cow milk? Is it different from Native / Desi Milk

In this article, we have gone a step further from talking about a2 cow milk benefits and have spoken about native / desi cow breeds and the milk they give us. Why is this important?

There are now hybrid breeds of jersey and foreign cattle varieties which have been bred to deliver milk with a2 milk protein in them. This is possible through careful gene targeting and selective breeding. Therefore, even if the cow is not of Indigenous breed, it can still give a2 milk.

So is this milk idea for us? What does Ayurveda say about the benefits of a2 milk? And does the sourcing or rearing of cattle have any effect on milk nutrition or its benefits? To understand this, we have to first understand how Sanatana Dharma and Indian tradition see the Cow. 

Cow as Gau Mata – unique status in Indian Ayurveda, Krishi vigyan (agricultural science)

The Cow is revered and respected as “Gau mata” in the Indic civilization. This reverence extends beyond India to other lands where the civilization has reached like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, etc. This reverence finds its way into Hindu temples, Agama Shastras, the 18 Puranas, iconography, and in the Smritis and Vedas. 

The Cow is worshipped as "Mata" i Indian tradition.

At a physical level, the Cow is of course valued for her myriad offerings not just from her udder, but also the “Mala” she secretes, namely the Cow Dung and Cow Urine (Gau mutra). Gau gobar (Cow dunk) and Gau mutra are extensively used in Ayurveda, Siddha and Krishi vigyan (agricultural science in India).

Go-bar (cow dung) is used in ritual purification, in homas and yagnas, and also to purify various kinds of Rasa (metals), minerals and poisonous herbs.

Gau mutra is also used in Shodana of certain Metals and Minerals. Treated cow urine is a very powerful “drug of choice” in certain aggravated disease conditions like kidney disorder, splenomegaly, certain kinds of cancers etc. Skeptics notwithstanding, there are very powerful testimonies to how well these therapies worked, when undertaken in the right Ayurvedic method.

In Krishi vigyan, Go-bar and Gau mutra are invaluable to a farm. This is why in Indian traditional systems the value of a cow cannot be economically measured simply by the milk she produces. In fact, the Urine and Dung are of far greater value in a farm helping give good quality produce, arrest the growth of unwanted weeds, keeping down predatory population of insects that can destroy the crop, etc.

Today, the Indian organic agriculture movement has access to ONE such formulation: Panchagavya – made from the 5 by-products of a cow – gobar, gaumutra, milk, curd and ghee, . Vrikshayurveda as a science is as old as Ayurveda – the texts talk of numerous such formulations that are designed scientifically on Ayurvedic principles to improve crop yield, nurture soil, keep down predatory insects and animals, improve quality of produce, etc.

The offerings of a Cow including Dung and Mutra are extremely valuable in traditional medicine, farming and all dharmic practices.

And Gaumutra and Gobar is integral to many of these traditional farming practices and concepts.

We can go as far as to say that the Indian Cow is integral to many aspects of our health and well-being, according to traditional wisdom. There is nothing better than cow dung and cow urine for improving soil, produce and yield. Cow dung and Cow urine are integral to Ayurvedic science both directly and indirectly to either enhance the qualities of the herbs, metals and minerals we work with or consumed as a drug.

Similarly, the direct fruits of a native Cow, i.e. a2 desi cow milk, and by products made from it like Ghee, Butter, Buttermilk, and in some cases Curd are all considered Elixirs. Cow Ghee is and should be an integral part of every Indian’s diet.

So for this wide reaching improving effect the Cow has on every sphere of our food, health, harmony and well-being, she is rightly called Gau Mata – the Mother of us all. In fact, the Mother of all Mothers.

Ayurveda analyses all Milk, not just A2 desi Cow milk

The Ayurvedic Nighantus and Samhitas are extremely detailed and deep. So it should come as no surprise that the Acharyas have analyzed the properties of different kinds of milks – both from animals and human beings and have given us when each of these can be consumed.

Not content with this, they have also analyzed the qualities of the byproducts of these Milks like ghee – so the texts lay out in detail the qualities of ghee made from human breast milk, from sheep milk., from camel milk, etc., and finally from A2 desi Cow milk and curd.

The qualities of each of these types of milk differ according to the basic nature of the animal, the gunas and mano gunas within the animal, where the animal is found, and finally, how the animal is treated and how these products are extracted and processed.

Important factor when sourcing A2 cow Milk – sattvic and karmic quotient of milk

The Cow is considered a being of Sattva guna. Umpteen karmic debts are removed and punya (fruits of good deeds) accrues to us when we perform service to cows and ensure they are not harmed in any way.

An important factor in ancient raja Neethi (conduct of Kings) was the care of animals, especially important animals like the Cow. True Kshatriya Dharma lay in providing justice to the Cow and her calf. we have many examples in Indian tradition of famous kings like Manu Neethi Chozhan who granted justice to Cows even at the cost of their own family, and were richly rewarded by the devathas as a result of this merit incurred.

Manu Needhi Chozhan, ancient Chola King who beheaded his own son and then offered his own, as an act of justice to a Cow who had lost her calf in his kingdom.

Given the exalted status of the cow in Indian culture, Ayurveda cautions us to partake of the cow’s offerings with great care, ensuring no ill treatment or disrespect. Cow’s Milk is not a mechanical nutritionally superior food alone. It is an offering made by the Cow from her own Dhatus and tissues. 

The huge number of benefits that cow’s milk contains, only accrue to us when we source the milk correctly without harming or disrespecting the cow or her offspring. 

Milk must be sourced from a farm where the animals are treated well. When we take Milk from a cow, we are taking a portion of food that she has produced for her calf. So we incur a Karmic debt towards the Cow and her Calf. We must ensure that we treat the Cow and her Calf well, look after their health and ensure they live happily with us to reduce that Karmic debt slightly. Hence these practices are specified in Ayurveda.

Only when the cow and calves are well looked after do we get good quality, karmically pure milk

• Milk must be taken after the calf has had her full
• Cow must not be subjected to extended lactation period simply to get more Milk out of her
• Cow and calf must be housed in clean, hygienic and pleasing environment
• Cow and calf must both be healthy and willing to spare excess Milk. We must not take milk from a cow who has lost her calf, or whose Calf is sick.
• Cow and calf must be allowed to graze and eat their normal diet. We must not give them food that is not suitable to them and which makes them ill (both are common practices in commercial dairy practice).
• As far as possible, we must take Milk from locally available breeds – their fat content and other nutrient parameters are most suitable for the climatic conditions we live in.
• We must source Raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk which we then boil at home as per prevalent Ayurvedic practice. Hence it is “cooked” for the first time when it reaches us.
• Dairy is precious. It is made by a Mother from her dhatus for us. We must use it as necessary and should not over indulge in it or waste it.

If we follow all these practices and source milk correctly, we can get the full range of a2 milk benefits. 

Health benefits of A2 milk from desi cow according to Ayurveda

Ashtanga Hridayam calls “Go Ksheera” (cow’s milk) “ Jeevaniya” (restores life /jeeva), and “Rasayana” (regenerative / anti-aging). Its health and nutritional benefits are extremely useful in “Kshatksheena” or conditions of emaciation and extreme injury to slowly build and restore strength.

Kshataksheena is a condition that is nonexistent among most of us today – it refers to emaciation caused by injury on the battle field. Today, this is probably applicable to soldiers and those in the defense cadre and also to those of us recovering from illness and long stays in a hospital.

Apart from this, A2 desi cow milk is also referred to as improving “Medhya” or intellect, improving “Balya” or strength. It is a galactagogue and is also considered slightly laxative in nature (sara).

A2 desi Cow milk is a natural health drink with many health benefits. Due to its health giving properties, it relieves “shrama” (fatigue), “bhrama” (giddiness), “mada” (intoxication), svasa (asthma /breathing / respiratory disorders), “kasa” (cough based disorder), trishna (excessive thirst). Ksut (excessive hunger), jeerna jwara (fevers brought on by indigestion / toxin buildup), “Mutrakrucha” (painful urination / dysuria), vitiated disorder of Rakta + Pitta (anemia, bleeding and circulatory disorders, etc.).

a2 cow milk benefits - huge number of benefits accrue from health and mental well being

Most importantly there are special spiritual qualities associated with milk. It is both Mangalyam and a remover of “Alakshmi”. This explains its deep significance in auspicious events like going to a new home, during festivals like Lohri, Pongal, etc.

Who should drink A2 native cow’s milk? 

A2 native cows milk is rich elixir for women. This is because it pacifies Rakta, Pitta and Vata aggravated disorders. women are very sensitive to disorders of both Rakta and Vata. One Rakta disorder that many Indian women have is anemia and postpartum women and working women are very affected by aggravated Vata dosha.

Bhavaprakasha Nighantu says that those who are weak, emaciated, suffer from chronic jwaras (malaria, dengue, chikungunya), and emaciation are advised to drink cow’s Milk. It is especially suitable for those who suffer from vata disorders like vertigo, anxiety, spasms, and pitta disorders like anemia, burning sensation, excessive thirst.

For women suffering from infertility / reproductive issues, UTI, vaginal discharge, etc., milk is one ideal food.  Women who suffer from repeated miscarriages are much benefited by daily milk consumption.

Also children, old people, those who suffer from “Kshata-kshina” (translated as emaciation and fatigue due to battle – in today’s context overwork), a2 native cows milk is healthier than regular milk.

A2 milk is healthier for sexually active adults who should drink Milk regularly. Reproductive tissue like ova, semen is considered the very last dhatu to be formed in the body by Ayurveda, just before Ojas. So when we are sexually active, we deplete vital dhatus in the body, especially Men. So a common practice suggested in Ayurveda is to drink milk regularly in sexually active adults. This has several health benefits but the main one here is that it re-charges the body and ensure vital energy is restored.

When is Milk contraindicated in Ayurveda?

While Milk is generally suitable for all and across all stages of life, in certain cases milk intolerance could be present genetically. In certain other cases, due to certain disease conditions, the effects of a2 milk may not be healthy or suitable for that particular person.

In conditions like Diabetes, skin diseases like eczema, and psoriasis Ayurveda says Milk is unsuitable to consume. This is because Milk is sweet and can aggravate Kapha when the body already has a Kapha vitiated state. Even in diseases like scalp psoriasis and severe fungal dandruff, Milk is contraindicated. 

Milk is contraindicated in many Kapha related conditions like diabetes, cystic acne, skin disease, etc

If you have cystic Acne, especially as an adult, there is Kapha vitiation in the body – here too Milk and Milk products are contraindicated excluding well churned buttermilk with fat removed. 

Benefits of A2 cow Milk in Post-Partum Hair fall

 Post-partum women suffer from high vata aggravation due to the act of birth plus dhatu depletion due to continuous late nights, breast feeding, overall exhaustion and caring for the baby.

Hence in Ayurveda, a rigorous post-partum schedule is suggested with frequent abhyanga, stomach tying and a careful nourishing and vata balancing diet. 

When vata is not brought under balance, post-partum women often suffer from excessive hair fall. To control this, an excellent vata balancing and nourishing ritual is to consume a2 milk. A warm glass of a2 cow milk can reduce fatigue and improve milk quality and quantity in breast feeding moms.

Health Benefits of A2 Milk in stress and anxiety related sleep and hair issues

The benefits of a2 cow milk, as we have seen above, also extend up to mental stress, anxiety and worry. Over the last 2 years at Krya, we have seen a sharp spike in stress and anxiety related insomnia, mental worry, inability to shut off from work and hair fall. From stress and anxiety-related hair fall, regular abhyanga, pada abhyanga and regular Shiro abhyanga is extremely useful.

It is important to understand if you are suffering from vata related stress or pitta related stress. For Vata related stress, following vata balancing measures and choosing a vata stress balancing hair oil is helpful.

Milk is helpful in stress and sleep related hairfall

For Pitta related stress, choosing a pitta calming diet, cutting back on work, adding abhyanga to the routine and a Shiro abhyanga with a pitta calming hair oil is useful.

In both types of stress, adding milk to the routine has many potential benefits and is very helpful. Milk can even be drunk just 30 minutes before sleeping to soothe the body and improve sleep, as long as your digestion is healthy and you have enough room to drink and assimilate milk. 

Hair thinning and premature greying – A2 desi milk is healthier than regular milk

Hair thinning and premature greying are both signs of aggravated Pitta dosha. In both these cases cutting back on Pitta aggravating foods, eating at the right time, cutting down on stress, anxiety, and adding good hair oiling with a Pitta calming hair oil is helpful.

A good diet addition in these cases of Pitta aggravation is to choose a2 milk from a desi cow. If your digestion is good and you do not suffer from high acidity or gastric irritation, a2 milk can be very nourishing and help regulate the dhatus and produce both hair growth and relaxation factors. 

How to prepare and drink A2 Desi Cow milk for maximum milk nutrition

The simplest, and easiest and most potent form of self-care you can do for yourself is to drink a glass of good quality A2 desi cow milk every morning.

Ayurveda has many precise milk preparation ideas

The Ayurvedic Samhitas give us some rules for preparing and consuming Milk:

  • GoKsheera must be freshly boiled, preferably within 4 – 5 hours of Milking. Once boiled it should not be heated / re-boiled in any way as the Samhitas tell us that this enhances its Kapha and mucous clogging properties.
  • Many of us in India consume pasteurized milk which we re-boil at home. So we are re-boiling already “cooked” milk. As per this rule, we are all automatically subjecting ourselves to a Dravya which is guru (heavy to digest) and Kapha aggravating.
  • Hence, we advise sourcing raw, fresh A2 desi cow milk which we can boil at home
  • The Go Ksheera we get should be whole and taken directly from the cow – this means it should not be altered / changed in any way.
    • Commercial milk has fat extracted/ added back to suit standard trade definitions like low fat, medium fat, full fat etc.
    • Whole milk has its own proportion of fat which depends upon desha, kala, cow species, etc.
    • The properties we have described of A2 Cow’s milk only hold if this milk is unaltered in any form – so we advise sourcing fresh, whole Raw A2 desi cow milk
  • Go Ksheera must be boiled with 25% water. The Milk has to be boiled until the water completely evaporates. This makes the milk lighter, and more easy to digest.
    • When milk is boiled this way, it is processed to ensure that no Kapha aggravation results.
    • The milk is lighter, more easy to digest and is absorbed much better as well.
  • Freshly boiled, warm milk is ideal to drink. It should be flavored with the right spices that suit each one’s prakriti

How to make a2 cow Milk tastier and more appealing for each type of prakriti?

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with Milk. As a child, I refused to drink warm Milk. I also disliked the sight of plain Milk. So I would demand addition of chocolate flavored Milk additives.

The addition of such commercial Malted beverages is virrudha ahara. Many of the synthetic preservatives added to such drinks have a salty taste, and salt is virrudha ahara with Milk. Similarly adding sour substances is also virrudha ahara – citric acid and such preservatives added to these commercial Milk additives is also Virrudha Ahara.

Hence: Do NOT add any commercial Malted beverage, chocolate or any flavoring agents to Milk.

Here are some suggestions:

Milk for Kapha type individuals

  • For Kapha leaning prakritis (tends to put on weight or is overweight):
  • Boil Milk with 25% water added until the water evaporates. This is the basic Ayurvedic milk boiling technique. 
  • Flavour this milk with a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Drink warm and unsweetened. Drink this first thing in the morning after bowel movement, around 6 am – a small glass (50 – 75 ml) would do.

Milk for Vata type individuals:

  • If you are underweight, restless, prone to insomnia and are easily stressed, have panic attacks, etc, Milk can be very beneficial for you
  • Boil Milk in the ayurvedic way as given above.
  • To this Milk, please add a pinch of pepper, 1 – 2 roasted and powdered cardamom pods and organic mishri (sulpharless sugar). Start with 50 ml, and gradually build it up as you find your absorption level improving. You can drink upto 150 ml of Milk / day for this prakriti. however, Vata leaning individuals have varying digestive capacity – so the body must be gradually accustomed to this drink.
  • Drink this milk after bowel movements, first thing in the morning. Gentle yogic exercises should follow, 30 minutes after this drink.

Milk for Pitta Type individuals:

  • If you have had high hair thinning, premature greying, are prone to temper tantrums, and have sensitive, easily reactive skin, and have medium build (neither over or underweight) try this combination
  • Boil Milk the ayurvedic way, as given above.
  • To this Milk, please add a small amount of sugar (sugar level in between Kapha and Vata Milk), and a powdered spice mix of 1 elaichi pod, a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of pepper and 2 pinches of dhania (coriander seeds) powder, roasted and ground. Pitta leaning individuals can start with 75 ml and go upto 125 ml of Milk.
  • Do light household chores after this Milk (if unused to Milk) like light sweeping, folding of clothes, clearing up, watering plants, etc. and then go onto yoga.

I drink A2 Cow’s milk in my tea / coffee: is this good enough?

Many times I hear a response that Milk is consumed with Coffee / Tea. Please note, this is NOT Milk. Any substance added to Milk, changes / alters its properties. This is why we add certain spices to Milk like Turmeric, black pepper etc., to reduce its “Snigdha” (oil) guna, reduce its “Madhura” (sweet) rasa and vipaka, etc.

Milk in coffee or tea simply brings more balance to the drink. But you will not get the nutritive benefits of milk

Both coffee and tea strongly alter of the properties of Milk. So when we add these to Milk, we get a milder version of Coffee / Teaand not a slightly altered version of Milk.

I heard Black tea / coffee is healthy and I drink it – what is your POV on this? 

The tradition of regular black tea or black coffee is a disaster for your gut. It can greatly increase the Pitta in the body and damage the lining of your gut leading to severe acidity, IBS, etc.

Therefore, adding cow’s milk to tea and coffee makes them milder and easier to digest for the body. But you will not get the good properties of a2 desi cow milk when it is added to tea or coffee.

I drink Plant “Mylks” like Almond Milk, Soy Milk – Do these have the benefits of a2 milk?

Adding native a2 cow’s milk to tea and coffee is different from adding Almond Milk, Coconut milk, Oats Milk or Soy milk to these beverages. None of these “mylks” have the same properties of cows milk.

Soy milk, being derived from a lentil can increase the vata dosha of your drink. Almond milk can increase pitta and Kapha nature of the drink, and is not suggested for regular, all round the year consumption.

Plant milks are not the same as cows milk

Please do remember that the complete set of properties and benefits come from the nature of the desi cow herself, how she is treated, how the little ones are treated and the ineffable, special prabhava (qualities) of native cows milk which is divine. This cannot be replicated / recreated / substituted by anything else. 

Preethi’s experience with going vegan and why she does not recommend a vegan diet

There is a whole, separate post waiting to be written about my experience with going vegan. As a lifelong vegetarian and wanting to live a more ethical life, I was horrified by commercial dairy farming practices. So on the strength of my conviction, I went vegan in 2010 along with my partner, Srinivas Krishnaswamy.

We were committed and strict vegans until 2015 for 5 years. In 2016, on the consistent advice of my Vaidya and seeing disastrous health issues with being vegan, I switched back to a Vegetarian diet. At that time, I was suffering from severe anemia, and nutritional deficiencies. All of these were slowly corrected through Ayurvedic treatment and Ahara Niyama including drinking Milk.

In the case of Srinivas, his health issues were MUCH more severe. He developed a form of gout, described in Ayurveda as Vata Rakta. This is a SEVERE and aggravated increase in vata Dosha leading to extreme weight loss, extreme degeneration of bone, joint and teeth, and severe, constant pain while using the bones and joints. So for 2 years, Srinivas suffered from loose and shaky teeth, severe weight loss, reduced appetite, insomnia, anxiety and swelling of bone and joints – all signs of aggravated and imbalanced vata dosha.

Again in his case, it took Ayurvedic treatment of nearly a year with special medications, restricted travel and addition of good quantities of carefully sourced Milk and Ghee to make up for the nutritional deficiency. When we begin to follow Ayurveda, we come to the realization that Ayurveda and veganism do not co-exist. Go Ksheera, carefully sourced A2 Cow’s milk is a panacea in Ayurveda.

It is consumed extensively during pregnancy, post-partum, as a child, as an adult and in old age. It is only restricted in a few disease conditions.

All the modern milk based foods that we consume are not advised in Ayurveda. So there is no over dosing on cheese, curd, high amounts of paneer etc. We are advised to have some milk, small amount of buttermilk (obtained after making butter) and decent quantities of ghee.

There is a huge, disastrous, un-thought through urgency in the Vegan movement today, especially in India. Buoyed by a few studies like the China Study and limited success in a few disease conditions like diabetes (where Ayurveda anyway advises to follow a largely vegan diet), many Medical professionals, Nutritional experts and Vegan concerts are urging people to drop Dairy completely.

Nuanced debates on A1 vs A2 milk, on the benefits of a small amount of carefully chosen dairy, or even the differences between different Milk by products are not discussed in this wave. Ayurveda does not treat A1 and A2 milk as the same. Neither are the properties of Milk and curd the same nor is butter and ghee interchangeable.

Most importantly, enough is not being said about the issues many Vegans continue to face after many years of giving up on the beneficial aspects of Milk.

However, we are far from being the only Ex Vegans with health issues.

In my work, I have met many Vegans with extremely high vata aggravation, bone and joint disorders, restricted Menstrual blood flow, oral issues like loose and falling teeth etc. At a simple level, many of the Vegans who have come to us at Krya complain of loose and brittle and falling hair, very high skin darkening and joint and bone issues like gout. All of this is linked to aggravated Vata dosha DIRECTLY affecting asthi dhatu (bone) which is a key seat of Vata dosha in the body. Asthi Dhatu has a direct and immediate correlation with bone and joint health and the health of hair.

The aggravation in Vata dosha in the Vegan diet can be attributed to 2 key causes: Dropping Milk and ghee from the diet which potently bind aggravated Vata dosha in the body. The second reason is ADDING on a high amount of nuts, seeds and lentils and attempting to substitute Dairy with modified forms of Nuts, seeds and Lentils.

As we can guess, Nuts, Seeds and Lentils are already high in Vata Dosha and have dramatically different properties from Milk, ghee and other dairy products in Ayurveda. For example: Cashew milk can never be a substitute to A2 Cow’s milk – to think that something that looks and tastes like Cow’s Milk IS Cow’s Milk is absurd.

I share my Vegan story and my concerns around this movement to sound a warning bell. If you do intend to make such sweeping health changes, please consult many more health professionals, especially an Ayurvedic Vaidya who can examine you and ascertain if your body can handle this transition.

Do remember: We never miss good health until we lose it!

I haven’t drunk A2 desi Cow milk in a while: how to start?

 Most of us have an aversion to Milk. I did too.

At first it was extremely difficult for me to drink Milk. Milk is dense and slightly heavy to digest. It takes getting used to. It also has a subtle taste, especially if it is drunk without additives like chocolate, coffee, tea, etc.

I started with a small glass of Milk. I was slowly able to increase the volume of Milk drunk as my system got used to it. I am still unable to drink Milk twice a day as is advised for my stress level and activity. But I am able to drink 1 glass of Milk in the morning every day and it is a good start.

Silver enhances A2 cow milk benefits

The Ayurvedic texts advise that Milk is ideally stored and drunk in a silver vessel. Metals are extremely important to enhance health as per Ayurveda and we are advised to eat and drink out of glasses and plates made with silver and gold. This ensures very minute quantities of these metals enter our body via the ghee and milk we consume in these vessels.

Silver enhances the nutritive value of milk

Drinking Milk from a silver glass is excellent if you have high pitta issues like premature greying, hair thinning, etc. Do read more about a pitta balancing diet here.

Things to keep in mind for your daily Milk drink

Keep a separate silver glass / tumbler for each family member if possible. This is the case with all personal eating utensils, as the metal interacts with your lips, fingers, etc. as you mix your food and drink your milk. The body then absorbs whatever is appropriate for it from your glass / plate.

As soon as the milk is boiled, pour the appropriate amount into your silver tumbler and mix your sugar, spices, etc. into the tumbler. Allow the milk to cool in this tumbler until it reaches a temperature you are happy with. Milk should be sipped warm, but everyone differs in how much warmth they can handle.

When should you be drinking Milk, ideally?

Ayurveda advises that you give yourself time to slowly enter the day when you wake up. This contemplative time is ideal for Milk drinking. Find a comfortable spot and look outside at trees / birds, etc. while you slowly sip your milk.

Milk should be had only on an empty stomach. Morning is best as it gives your body time to absorb the Milk slowly. If this is not possible, evening time (around 4) is ok, but the stomach should be clear and empty.

Night Milk drinking is ONLY advised for old people, patients, people who are very emaciated, small children etc. Here too, in the case of Adults, Milk should be drunk on an empty stomach and enough time should be allowed for the body to digest the Milk – one must not go to sleep immediately. For these reasons, we suggest drinking Milk only in the daytime.

Can I add ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha and Shatavari to my Milk to enhance its effects?

Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha and Shatavari have become extremely popular over the last few years because of their adaptogenic, stress relieving, fertility enhancing properties. However, please note that they are “powerful”. Ayurvedic Acharyas have given us specific instruction on how to prepare these herbs and how they should be processed and what should be processed along with them for maximum effect There are also many rules on who can consume these herbs, and for how long.

Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha and Shatavari should not be used on your own. Always consult a vaidya before usig them

So these herbs should not be used without medical advice from a well-qualified ayurvedic Vaidya. Avoid OTC supplements or ready-made powders of ayurvedic herbs. Do not self-medicate. 

To Sum up: A2 cow milk benefits

We hope this article gave you an insight into the great esteem with which Ayurveda holds carefully sourced A2 Desi Cow milk and its byproducts. We hope you were able to understand the difference between commercial milk and a2 cows milk from a desi cow. The effects of a1 and a2 milk are different in us.  We hope we are able to give you a good sense of why it is so imperative to source native cows milk which is karmically pure from a small holding where the cows are treated well and with respect. 

A2 milk contains many nutritive factors that are extremely helpful in many hair conditions like hair thining, greying, stress related hairfall. It is also especially useful in certain stages like post partum stage. At the same time, the kapha and dhatu enhancing properties found in cow’s milk are contraindicated in certain Kapha related conditions. 

We write this article after a great deal of personal experimentation, harrowing health issues, and after experiencing the painful process of building our health one step at a time. We hope our experiences helps you make the right health decisions for you and your family. We also hope this article gives you insights into the importance of dairy and how you must include it for good health benefits.

If you have any questions on this, do write to us . For a hair / skin consultation DM us on Whatsapp. 


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Preethi Sukumaran
Preethi Sukumaran

Preethi is deeply committed to the formal study and application of the timeless principles of right living as laid down in the Ayurvedic canon. At Krya, her synthesis of ayurvedic principles with botanical expertise drives R&D & Product development.

We have over 100 proprietary formulations in the market today which are trusted and loved by our consumers.

Preethi is also deeply passionate about building Krya based on the Indic principle that Dharma leads to Artha ; we call this "Dharmic Entrepreneurship". She works with the Krya team on establishing Krya as one of the most trusted wellness brands in the categories we operate in.

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  1. In a city like mumbai where to get A2 cow milk?
    Will Modi government take note of your article and instruct Animal husbandry Ministry to develop centres across country for breeding A2 milk producing cows
    Can a movement be started at National level to bring back desi glory?
    Many more

  2. The article is very simply, beautifully , logically articulated. I am experiencing the benefits of not only the Milk & its other derived products but also the agri produced from the soil nourished by using Dung & Urine . Also experiencing the Energy of the cows & the calming benefits from the ambience created by burning dung cakes with Ghee & Rice….we are so blessed to even experience the benefits of the ash left after doing our daily homa…..God bless you for explaining the theory, philosophy & the importance of Cow per se in our lives .

    • Sanjay – thanks for sharing. It is great to know that in this day & age you are a Nitya Agnihotri – remarkable! Your farm and neighbors are indeed lucky to have the benefits of your agnihotra homa. The integration of farming with vedic living is perfectly symbiotic.

  3. Thank you so much for this informative article. I would like to know if you are aware of any suitable dairy in Bangalore, preferably in the northern suburbs?

    • Thanks Prasad: I am told Healthy Buddha and Akashaya Kalpa are good sources of Milk in bangalore – please do enquire with them.

    • A2 versus A1 is the very least of the key parameters that are of interest in choosing the ideal dairy products for us as per Ayurveda.

      We use the term A2 only as an easy way to communicate to a wide audience but the correct term is dairy products from a native Indian cow breed with the characteristic hump, which has been ethically treated, calf fed properly, the colour of the cow, shape of her horns and many such parameters.

      Now it so happens that all Indian native cow breeds automatically have the A2 protein strain, but that is not the only important parameter.

      Even buffalo milk, goat’s milk or some varieties of non-indian cow breeds also have A2 strain, but they are not equal to Gavya products from native Indian cow breeds.

      The nature of the animal , in this case, the native Indian cow is an vital factor that determines the nature of the products derived from them. So A2 cow ghee is an incomplete and misleading term, used only as a shorthand. When we talk about the incredible properties of milk or ghee, as per Ayurveda, we strictly refer to the dairy products from the desi Indian cow breeds with the characteristic shoulder hump.

  4. Loved the article ,in a time when there is a lot of ignorance regarding the diet . Ayurveda is wholesome and scientific . Thanks.

  5. Really very good Articles! Thank you so much to explain in simple terms..

    We are running our own Gaushala (Gir and Kankrej cow, Desi cows) at Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and serving the A2 milks, A2 ghee, Butter milk in Ahmedabad city.

    We would like to share your articles across our clients.

    Thank you
    Praful Rajput
    Aaryan Gir Gaushala

  6. Thank you for writing this beautiful and informative article. Wishing your endeavours will help people lost in a maze of advisory based on commercial research to get back to the naturally healthy and happy way of living as propounded by Ayurveda. Looking forward to more.?

  7. nice article useful information, there is some additional benefits of a2 milk such as it helps to improve immunity, fights with asthma, and much more check out our article on how a2 milk helps to improve immunity power during this pandemic.

  8. Can you pls throw some light on consumption of colostrum from cow. How frequently can one consume the same ? Would appreciate your views.

  9. Extraordinary knowledge shared on milk. I mostly follow what you have shared here. Has been a wonderful source to share with young adults to dispel myths on vegan milk et al. Look forward to all your soulful shared wisdom. Thank you.

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