What is moon milk?
It’s no secret that a cup of warm milk can help you relax before bed, and moon milk is an ayurvedic take on the sleeping trick – typically made from a mixture of cow’s milk, honey, cinnamon and ashwaghanda – an adaptogen that soothes, aids the nervous system and calms insomnia.
If you’re not yet clued up, adaptogens – named so because they can adapt their function according to the body’s specific needs – are a clever and unique group of herbs used to improve the health of the adrenal system, which is responsible for managing the body’s hormonal response to stress. They help to control cortisol levels and enhance your body’s ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue – hence why they’re big in the wellness world right now.
Why is it so popular?
Firstly, the drink can be adapted to suit any taste – it can easily be made vegan by swapping cow’s milk for any plant-based milk and honey for maple syrup.
Plus, there’s the aesthetically-pleasing pastel creations flooding Instagram right now: popular additions include cherry juice (to make a baby pink concoction), a hint of turmeric (yellow), matcha (green) and butterfly pea flowers (a dreamy pale blue).
Does it really work?
Health experts across the board seem to agree it’s an ideal replacement for an evening cup of tea if you’re worried about your caffeine intake or find tea can keep you awake at night. But as Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert points out, while moon milk may aid relaxation, it’s not a miracle cure for insomnia.
“It is crucial to remember that we as humans are all different,” she says. “Whilst some may swear by a mug of hot milk and sweet spices, others may experience no effect at all.”
If you’re keen to give it a try, though, she recommends drinking your moon milk 20 minutes before you plan on hitting the hay, and ensuring you relax in a screen-free environment to reap the full benefits.
Where can I try it?
London’s Glow Bar has developed a range of coloured moon milk recipes using lavender and rose extract, designed to boost serotonin levels. All of Glow Bar’s moon milks contain the adaptogen ashwagandha but, unlike the original ayurvedic recipe, are dairy-free.
“We typically make all of our tonics and moon milks with non-dairy milks as dairy tends to inflame the system,” Glow Bar Founder Sasha Sabapathy explains. She adds that Glow Bar’s moon milks can be enjoyed at any time of day – whether that’s to help you find a sense of calm before a hectic day, or in the evening to get your system ready for bedtime.
Any recipes to try at home?
Here at SL, we’re big fans of health blogger Kitchen Miranda’s Moon Milk Tea. This recipe features the addition of turmeric, which works to reduce inflammation, lower your blood sugar levels, help your liver detoxify, boost your immune system and ease digestion – all of which help you to get to sleep faster.
- 1 cup of almond or coconut milk
- ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp of ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp of ashwagandha
- 2 pinches of ground cardamom
- Pinch of ground ginger (optional)
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of honey, preferably raw
- Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Whisk in the cinnamon, turmeric, ashwagandha, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg; season with pepper. Continue whisking vigorously to incorporate any clumps.
- Add the coconut oil, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook until warmed through, which should take five to ten minutes (the longer you go, the stronger the medicine).
- Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the honey (you want to avoid cooking honey or you'll destroy its healing goodness), then pour into a mug, drink warm, and climb right into bed.