Takra: Buttermilk, The divine healer

“He who uses takra daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita (divine nector) is for the gods, takra is to humans.” Bhavaprakasha Chpt 6.7

Daily intake of Takra keeps the person healthy by virtue of its agni deepak and tridosha shamak properties. In combination with different drugs, Takra is indicated in various disorders.

Takra or buttermilk, not to be confused with the buttermilk we buy already prepared by other methods in the store, is a liquid preparation prepared by continuously churning yogurt in water. This preparation is used in many diseases and is overall quite healthy for the human being. It is a great treatment for IBD and Crohn’s disease as well as poor digestion, hemorrhoids, tumors, oedema, diarrhea, anemia, urinary diseases and many more.

When taken in the correct quantity, takra cleanses the channels of circulation (srotas), as a result of which rasa, the end product of digestion of food, reaches the tissues properly. It creates proper nourishment, strength, and complexion. It cures one hundred diseases including those of vata (80 in number) and kapha (20 in number).

There is no medicine better than buttermilk for treatment of hemorrhoids cause by vata and kapha. – Charaka Samhita CS. Chpt 14

The microchannels carrying nutrients to all cells in the body, when they get clogged or blocked due to any reason, the particular organ or system suffers in efficiency due to lack of nutrition. It is essential to remove such blockages. The herbs or their combinations which tackle these problems are termed “Rasayana” in Ayurveda. The forces which cause the blockage or resistance must be removed. The channels which cause transport are termed “strotas”. Charaka states that buttermilk removes such blockages and purifies the “strotas”. This causes better movement (ayana) of the nutrients (anna-rasa). When adequate nutrition is obtained by cells (koshas), they start working with full force.

Due to saturation or ageing of strotas during old-age, the control systems of the body do not get adequate nutrients, which causes aging symptoms such as reduction of memory (dementia), reduced vision, wrinkles on the skin, graying of hair, etc.

But those who take buttermilk regularly, slow aging, keep their arteries flexible for a longer time. Thus buttermilk is an elixir (param-amrutam) which keeps `Jara’ (oldage) and `Vyadhi’ (disease) away. The ayurveda treats buttermilk as an excellent food to keep cholesterol related problems miles away.

With all of that said, you see how great takra is for health of digestion and this means the entire health of the body and mind.

 

There are three types of Takra according to Acharya Charaka.

1. with all of the butter removed or skimmed or put through a strainer

2. with half of the butter removed

3. With no butter removed

These are used as per the individual’s health and constitution mainly based upon their ability to digest.

The properties of takra are:

Taste: Astringent, sour, and sweet

Secondary taste: Astringent

Potency or energy: Hot

Post digestive effect: Sweet

Quality: Binding, light, dry

Actions: digestive, promotes intellect and nourishes the brain tissues, promotes immunity, pacifies vata, and gives satisfaction.

 

Sushruta Samhita states that the properties of buttermilk is of 2 types based on the taste viz., madhura and amla (sweet and sour) with kashaya anurasa (astringent in secondary taste); laghu (light), ruksha (dry) in nature; ushna veerya (hot in potency) and madhura vipaka (sweet at the end of digestion) and kindles the digestive power

Types of buttermilk based on Fat content

Type of buttermilk

Method of preparation

Indication

Ruksha Takra

Churned curd from which fat is completely removed

Mandatama Agni (poorest digestivcapacity), Adhama bala(least body strength), increased Kapha dosha

Ardhodruta snehTakra

Churned curd from which half of the fat is removed

Mandatar Agni (poores digestivcapacity), Madhyama bal(moderate strength), increased Pitta dosha

Anudhruta sneha takra

Churned curd from which fat is not at all removed

Manda Agni(poor digestive capacity), Uttama bala(strong body strength), increased Vata dosha

Types of Buttermilk based on Method of Preparation and Water content

Type of buttermilk

Method of preparation

Properties and Actions

Ghola

Churned curd without adding water and without removal of fat

Mitigates Vata pitta, gives contentment when mixed sugar

Mathita

Churned curd without adding water but devoid of fat

Pacifies Kapha and pitta

Takra

Churned curd by adding one fourth quantity of water to it

Light for digestion, kindles digestive

Udashvita

Churned curd by adding half part of water to it

Kaphakaraka (Increases kapha), balya (strengthening)

Chachika

Devoid of fat by churning and then added with more quantity of water

Pacifies Pitta and Vata, relieves thirst, tiredness, kindles digestive fire by adding saindhava lavana


Contraindications of taking takra:

Even though buttermilk is well advised diet in many diseases, sour fat free buttermilk cannot be used in conditions like trauma/wounds, ushna kala (hot seasons ushnkale sharad greeshmayo) krisha (debilitated persons) and sutika (puerperium); sour buttermilk in  fainting, giddiness, burning sensation & disorders of rakta and pitta; sweet full fat buttermilk in aggravated kapha which is situated specially in chest, throat and head. In the warm, the vital functions of lactic acid bacteria accelerate and they convert more milk sugar into lactic acid. As a result, the taste of the product becomemore sour then may be not acceptable to the palate of many people.

 

 

How to make it:

Buttermilk is prepared by churning the curd in a vessel by adding 1/4th to 1/2 parts of water. The fat called butter is separated. The liquid portion that is neither too thick nor too thin is considered as buttermilk
– Sushruta Samhita, Sutrasthana; Dravadravyavidhimadhyaya: Chapter 45, Verse 85.

This is really easy. Just take a small amount (1/5th) fresh whole yogurt and add it to 4/5th water. The easiest way i have found to do the churning is to put it in a bottle, make sure the lid is screwed on tight and shake the mixture for a couple minutes. The butter will separate from the curd and float and make dry looking bubbles. This is the part you might be skimming off the top if the digestion is really weak.

To this mixture many herbs can be added as per the desired effect for treatment of different ailments. As a general drink it is good with a little of roasted cumin and some rock salt. Another delicious way to have it is with some coriander and a little salt. My favorite is with a bit of rock sugar added. (pitta) A classical way to mix is using asafoetida (hing) and rock salt.

How to use:

For general digestive problems this little drink can be taken for breakfast. As for treatment of other diseases it is best to see a real ayurvedic doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
The buttermilk made by adding water 25% by volume of curd is “warming”, called “Takra”, and therefore should not be taken in late summer and fall when pitta is accumulating and going into excess (note here that Western Ayurveda is incorrect in teaching that pitta is high in summer due to it being hot. This idea of pitta being in prakopa in summer is the normal Western superficial and wrong understanding of Ayurveda with no depth of the details.). Excess diluted buttermilk (100% water added to equal quantity butter) is “cooling” in nature.

Care is necessary to see that curd is not sour (yogurt bought in the store is excessively sour) and water added should be taken warm in winter and cold in summer. Buttermilk is not recommended after sunset. Especially for asthmatics. If must, make a special recipe by adding a little chickpea flour, turmeric powder, green chillies, to kill its Kapha promoting tendency.

 

In general, takra can be simply modified in cases of…

Increased Vata Dosha – Sour buttermilk + rock salt (Saindhava) OR Sour Buttermilk + dry ginger+ rock salt

Increased Pitta Dosha – Sweet buttermilk + Sugar candy(Sita)

Increased Kapha Dosha – Sweet buttermilk + Trikatu (Shunti, Maricha, Pippali) + Alkali(Kshara)

Takra can also be added to rice dishes instead of water for a real delicious treat.

Butter milk detoxifies body and cleanses the intestines, relieves constipation and helps to replenish intestinal flora. It has less fat compared to milk and is rich in calcium, potassium and vit B12.

Each 100 grams of Buttermilk consists of the Nutrient Values in below mentioned proportions

Calories

40 kcal

Water

90.13 g

Macronutrients

Carbohydrates

4.79 g

Protein

3.43 g

Fats

0.51 g

Micronutrients – Vitamins

Vitamin A

47 IU

Vitamin C

1.0 mg

Vitamin B 6

0.034 mg

Vitamin D

1 IU

Thiamin

0.034 mg

Riboflavin

0.154 mg

Niacin

0.058 mg

Micronutrients – Minerals

Potassium

151 mg

Calcium

116 mg

Buttermilk contains various proboitics mainly L. lactis subsp. lactis, L. lactis subsp. lactis var. diacetylactis, L. lactis subsp. Cremori. The probiotics are the ‘live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amount confer health benefits to the host. The presence of Lactic Acid Bacteria and Lactic Acid in buttermilk inhibit the growth of many pathogenic organisms. Continuous consumption of Lactic fermented milk may help to change the intestinal flora and prevent the growth of putrefactive organisms. Lactic fermented milk products are more readily digested than unfermented milk by persons suffering from intestinal disorders. They not only improve intestinal tract health but also do various functions like suppressing the endogenous pathogens and exogenous pathogens, enhancing the immune system modulation, cholesterol reduction, synthesizing and enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients, aid in lactose digestion, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, urogenital infection, decreasing the prevalence of allergy in susceptible individuals, decreases the production of a variety of toxic or carcinogenic metabolites and aid absorption of minerals, especially calcium, due to increased intestinal acidity. It was also found to protect against colon cancer by Sphingomyelin which is specifically responsible for the reduction in the number of apoptosis- resistant cells. Drinking buttermilk also significantly lowers blood pressure on regular consumption.

 

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30 thoughts on “Takra: Buttermilk, The divine healer

  1. I am suffering from IBS, and i cannot take dairy products, whenever i take i get loose motions, this happens with curd, milk, butter milk and lassi. all sort of products, i know that chaach is the only effective way to heal IBS but it creates problem for me, it gives gas and loose motions to me, i even remove all sort of butter from it but it still creates problem. I am already on ayurvedic treatment where my doc is giving me Kutaj and Vatsakadi vadi. What to do?

    • Nitesh,

      Thanks for your comment and question.
      I do not have a proper intake or any information to really say anything, specially if you are already under treatment.

      Takra is grahi, so having it create loose motions is highly unlikely. I would have to ask if you are making it properly and what that is?

      Also there are herbs to be added to it that will help as well.

      What else are you doing besides taking these herbs that you mentioned?

  2. Hi,

    I have high pitta dosha.I am trying to reduce the heat in my body by avoiding sour foods.Confused by the articles on buttermilk in google.As per this article,Curd with a lot of water (100%) is a cooling one but with 25% is warming.Could you clarify ,is it ok to have buttermilk.

    Also ,is brown rice ok because I have seen quite different views.Some say it increases pitta and others say its fine.

    Thanks Sir.

  3. Pingback: Once again your being duped. Real ghee. It is NOT what you are buying in the store. | trueayurveda

  4. Hi. thank you for posting this informative article. I am about to start a small buttermilk joint and would like to know the ratio of buttermilk to water that i can add. Is it 100:100 ratio or something else. It is start of the summer in bangalore (India) now. and how can i make it tasty and very healthy. Please help me.

    • Sujay,
      There are 11 different types of buttermilk all with their own reasons for being made as per ayurveda and what they are good for and for whom and why. There are many many many recipes with their amounts and details for many diseases. If you are opening a place, please do not call it Ayurveda or Ayurvedic without knowing what you are doing and why. It is not ethical nor would that ba Ayurveda. You are totally safe with a 1:5 ratio curd to water. Takra itself is only one of those 11.
      Good luck with your business and keep it on the up and up.

      • Hi, thanks for your reply. I will surely keep 1:5 ratio in mind. I have one more question which is about the spices. I was planning to add coriander, mint leaves, curry leaves with chopped ginger, chopped green chillies, hippLi, cumin powder, hing. Could you please guide if all these are fine to add and can be given to any one who comes or should I eliminate some.

      • There are two posts on buttermilk and you will find enough information there. I would advise you to stick to the basics and not make up stuff. I may do another posting on buttermilk soon. Buttermilk is not to be consumed in early summer and Autumn. or when there is open wounds as it will stop the wound from healing. Other contraindication are if one as burning sensations, fainting, pulmonary consumption, and bleeding diseases in general. Ayurveda does not make one thing for everyone. it is all within the details of understanding the details that makes it a medicine or a poison. That is with everything. Not just buttermilk.

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  6. are there any incompatible food combinations with buttermilk? (Meat, beans, paneer, eggs, etc.)? Should it be consumed before, during or after a main meal? If before or after, how much time before or after the meal?

    • From my memory one major incompatibility is with monkey face tree/ kampilaka. Don’t have any of that do ya? It is a herb called Mallotus philippinensis. I would not worry much about it as most of what is eaten and the way it is eaten is already not proper. This one is not a biggie. 1/2 cup to a cup after a meal is fine. And just so that you understand, this is all in general. Everything in Ayurveda is as per the individual or in other words, I can’t possibly tell you how much or when to take without knowing what your situation is. Hope that helps.

  7. Pingback: Takra: Buttermilk, The divine healer | trueayurveda

  8. Thank you for this informative article. Would I have to first make the yoghurt myself? Or can I buy organic yoghurt (does it need to be full cream?) and make the buttermilk from the bought yoghurt, adding jaggery and himalayan rock salt? I’m a Vata/Pitta, but have a Pitta illness at the moment, yet my Ayurvedic practitioner recommended buttermilk. Thank you.

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