The Super-Nectar Ayurvedic Beverage that is Beyond Divine & Simple to Make: Takra | Dylan Smith #075

Vital Veda Podcast Banner: Takra / Thin Lassi
There is a certain beverage in Ayurveda which supersedes “superfood status” and offers an impressive spectrum of therapeutic benefits. This simple beverage is even categorised with “divine status.”
And the awesome part? This beverage is ridiculously simple to stir up.
The beverage is called “Takra” in Ayurveda, which refers to buttermilk or “thin lassi.”

In this Episode we Discuss:

What is Takra?

Takra is the liquid that is left over from churning the butter out of fermented or cultured cream or yogurt.  If cream is left out for a while the naturally occurring lactic acid-producing bacteria will lower the pH, making it more acidic, which then allows the fat/butter to separate.
Butter-milk is of 3 types:
  1. From which fat is completely removed; - kapha, mandagni, low strength.
  2. From which half of the fat is removed; - good for pitta, moderate power of agni, and if the patient has moderate strength.
  3. From which fat is not at all removed. – vayu, strong agni, patient has enough strength.
Takra’s Tri-Doshic Effect
Thin lassi is known as one of the only foods that pacifies all doshic combinations (various body constitutions).

The Vedic Mythology of Takra / Thin Lassi

The Story of Lord Indra, Ahalyā and Maharishi Gautama:
  • Lord Indra impersonating the rishi to be able to lay with his wife, Ahalyā.
  • The vile curse of Maharishi Gautama, and how the Ashwini brothers declared takra to be the cure for it. 
Takram śakra Durlabham | Lord Indra can’t even get Takra.
Other Devatas missing out on Takra:
Painting of Indra and Ahalyā
Indra, impersonating Gautama, and Ahalyā
  • Lassi is the antidote to the poison in Shiva's throat (Nīla Kantha)
  • Ganesh wouldn’t have a belly if he drank lassi (it would help him digest, lose weight and be less bloated).

The Recipe for Thin Lassi

Mix one tablespoon of yoghurt with a cup of water, mix it with a fork, and drink.
The exact ideal ratio of yoghurt to water should be 1:14.
  • Those looking to make the takra a bit more thick can do a ratio of 1:6 or even 1:4.
    • Thick Lassi is great for those suffering from loose bowel motion/loose stools or diarrhoea.
Yoghurt used:
  • Homemade yoghurt - to learn how to make your own yoghurt check out the reel we posted on our Instagram page (@vitalveda).  
Different ingredients to add:
  • Dried mango + cumin seeds roasted in ghee + buttermilk - best drink.
  • Milk and Lassi are always better to have with spices.
  • Anything but sour or fruit. Cocoa or carob.
  • Amla (Indian goose berry) or honey added to the yoghurt will counter the channel-blocking qualities in yoghurt.
      • Amla pickle - wait a year till they turn black
      • Rice + blended yoghurt + Amla pickle.

Thin Lassi for Dairy Intolerant People

Food intolerances are the product of an imbalanced digestive fire, also known as Agni 🔥. 
  • To decide that one is going to stop eating a certain type of food merely because it cannot be digested properly is not a solution to the root problem. 
  • The Agni needs to be enlivened in such a way that allows for the proper digestion of that food and then one can gradually re-introduce said food. 
    • To read more about the Ayurvedic view on how to overcome food intolerances click here.
    • To learn more about how to use Ayurvedic principles to bring your Agni back to balance, check out our online course: “The Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition”.
Takra, or Thin Lassi, is actually an excellent way to reintroduce dairy once the Agni has been brought back to balance. 
  • You can prepare the lassi very thin and even add a pinch of salt. 
  • Another option is to make the lassi, let the yogurt simmer to the bottom of the glass, and then drink only the water. 

How Often Should One Drink Takra / Lassi

Lassi is described as Nitya Ahara | Nitya Sevaniya Ahara Dravya 
  • Lassi is one of the foods that can be had every day. 
Some Vaidyas even say it is mandatory to be had daily.
Contra-indications: Perhaps not for those with aggravated kapha, suffering of sinus congestion, or with strong dairy intolerance.
When to Drink it:
Especially during the summer, avoid during dinner, with lunch or as a snack.

The Difference Between Yoghurt and Thin Lassi

Yoghurt:
  • Atyanda (more) Abhishyandi (blocking).
  • One can eat it until 16-20 years old, past that point it is not advised.
  • Amla (Indian goose berry) or honey added to the yoghurt will counter the channel-blocking qualities in yoghurt.
      • Amla pickle - wait a year till they turn black
      • Rice + blended yoghurt + Amla pickle.

Benefits of Takra / Thin Lassi

“Those who daily take takra do get sick not have diseases, and any disease cured from takra will not return. Have no doubt that what Amrita is the Nectar of the Devata, so Takra is the Nectar to Humans.”
~ BhavaPrakash Nigantu

“Pharmacy in a glass”
~ Vaidya JR Raju.
Eyes:
Good for itchy eyes, sore eyes, tired eyes; even for those suffering from degenerative eye diseases. 
Skin:
Good for eczema, psoriasis, general inflammation, dermatitis, acne and several other skin diseases.
It brings a moist glow to the skin.
Pitta Shamaka:
  • Very hydrating & cooling. 
  • Protects against heat strokes, hot flashes & other heat-related ailments. 
Digestion:
Lactic acid bacteria:
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) help ‘pre-digest’ your food and also add the bacteria’s digestive metabolites to the food. Pre-digestion makes the foods digestion much easier and brings far more nutrients into the body.
And the bacteria metabolites, which is basically bacteria poop has incredible health benefits since it includes enzymes, antibodies, vitamins, exopolysaccharides, and more!
  • Detoxifies the GIT.
  • Alkaline drink.
  • Increases absorption of nutrients.
  • Good post surgery / pancakarma / rehabilitating gut 
  • Adoption of this procedure will promote and maintain his energy, maintain the kāyāgni and promote his strength, plumpness and complexion.
Helps regulate optimal weight.
  • To loose weight - drink takra
  • To put on weight - add sugar, rose water, cardamom and make it sweet.
    • Spoon off the foamy stuff (part that clogs peoples body, like the foam of ghee).
            • Leave the foam in for weak/debilitated or emaciated people.
Buttermilk cleanses the srotas as a result of which rasa reaches appropriately. 
More benefits:
  • Hair health - good for thinning hair, greying of hair and baldness.
    • In this cases, pitta (fire element) is burning the hair follicles. 
  • Keeping veins and arteries clear
  • Kill viruses
  • Hemorrhoids / piles
    • “There is no medicine, better than butter-milk, for the cure of piles caused by the predominance of aggravated vayu and kapha" - Caraka, Cikitsa Sthana
  • Asthma: add to the Takra mostly fenugreek (also mustard seeds + cumin seeds) cooked in ghee or mustard oil in an iron pot.

Takradhara Treatment

To read all about this treatment click here.

Resources

Book a consultation with Dylan HERE

The Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition Course HERE

Article: How to Overcome Food Intolerances HERE

Recipe for Sweet Lassi HERE

Recipe for Digestive Lassi HERE

Recipe for Cooling Lassi HERE


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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Sweet Lassi

sweet lassi in a silver cup
A sweet lassi recipe that everyone should have at hand. Refreshing, delicious and easy to digest.

Ingredients

1 tsp – 1 TBSP fresh plain yoghurt
1-1.5 cup water.
1 tsp rose water
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp quality sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp fresh cream

Method

Blend ingredients well and drink fresh.

Benefits of Sweet Lassi

  • Improves digestion and a fantastic pro-biotic.
  • Lassi is the best alkaliser.
  • As Lassi improves digestion and absorption it ultimately supports calcium absorption and bone health.
  • Balances heat (pitta) and clear the physical channels.
  • It is the best remedy (with a pinch of salt) for haemorrhoids and anal fissures.
  • A great food to introduce dairy to a lactose intolerant person after they have corrected their agni.
  • Lassi is very hydrating, and a great drink to have with lunch.

Disclaimer: Note that this method of mixing yoghurt and water is a simplified version of making Takra. Real Takra / Buttermilk (not very much different to mixing yoghurt and water) is buttermilk from churning either cream or yoghurt into butter and collecting the buttermilk.

Related Podcast Episode: The Super-Nectar Ayurvedic Beverage that is Beyond Divine & Simple to Make: Takra | Dylan Smith #075

Related Recipe: Digestive Lassi

Cooling Lassi

Ingredients

2 tsp – 2 TBSP yoghurt
1-1.5 cup water
1 tsp coriander leaves finely chopped
1 tsp mint leaves finely chopped

Method

Blend all ingredients together well and drink fresh.

Benefits of Cooling Lassi

  • Helps with skin conditions such as eczema, hives and psoriasis.
  • Perhaps the most important food for pitta imbalance as it balances heat and clears the physical channels.
  • Lassi is very hydrating, and a great drink to have with lunch.
  • Improves digestion and a fantastic pro-biotic.
  • Lassi is the best alkaliser.
  • As Lassi improves digestion and absorption it ultimately supports calcium absorption and bone health.
  • Plain lassi with a pinch of salt is the best remedy for haemorrhoids and anal fissures.
  • A great food to introduce dairy to a lactose intolerant person after they have corrected their agni.

Disclaimer: Note that this method of mixing yoghurt and water is a simplified version of making Takra. Real Takra / Buttermilk (not very much different to mixing yoghurt and water) is buttermilk from churning either cream or yoghurt into butter and collecting the buttermilk.

Related Podcast Episode: The Super-Nectar Ayurvedic Beverage that is Beyond Divine & Simple to Make: Takra | Dylan Smith #075

Digestive Lassi

Ingredients

1 tsp – 1 TBSP yoghurt
1-1.5 cup water
1/2tsp roasted ground cumin powder
1/2tsp roasted ground ajwain powder
1/2 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

Blend all ingredients together well and drink fresh.

Plain lassi containing just yoghurt and water is also very good.

Benefits of Digestive Lassi

  • Improves digestion and a fantastic pro-biotic.
  • Helps in reflux and diarrhoea (in this case make it more thicker).
  • Lassi is the best alkaliser.
  • As Lassi improves digestion and absorption it ultimately supports calcium absorption and bone health.
  • Balances heat (pitta) and clear the physical channels.
  • It is the best remedy (with a pinch of salt) for haemorrhoids and anal fissures.
  • A great food to introduce dairy to a lactose intolerant person after they have corrected their agni.
  • Lassi is very hydrating, and a great drink to have with lunch.

Disclaimer: Note that this method of mixing yoghurt and water is a simplified version of making Takra. Real Takra / Buttermilk (not very much different to mixing yoghurt and water) is buttermilk from churning either cream or yoghurt into butter and collecting the buttermilk.

Related Podcast Episode: The Super-Nectar Ayurvedic Beverage that is Beyond Divine & Simple to Make: Takra | Dylan Smith #075

7 Ayurvedic Super Foods

According to modern science, food nutritionists, food industry leaders and dieticians, so called “superfoods” aren’t exactly “super.” Wikipedia describes that “Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits..”

The European Union has even prohibited the marketing of products as “superfoods,” unless accompanied by a specific medical claim supported by credible scientific research.(1)

Not particularly inspiring…so I will redefine the word from an Ayurvedic perspective.

First of all, there is no need to exaggerate that foods are “super.” Whatever one uniquely needs will be their superfood. Additionally, everything is actually superfood if you know how to transform and use it.

In general, for a food to be “super” it must:

1. Promote ‘Sattva’

Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows back to us in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. Fresh, seasonal whole foods are predominately Sattvic, thus increases the Sattvic quality in us based on the Ayurvedic law of “like increases like.”

2. Detox and Heal the Body

Some Ayurvedic foods are prized for their powerful medicinal properties. Ayurveda valuably teaches us how to use food as medicine.

3. Directly nourish ‘Ojas’

Ojas is the vital essence of our body that translates to “vitality.”
A plentiful reserve of Ojas is reflected in the lustre of the eyes and skin (like the glow in a baby), strong physical strength, immunity and libido, good digestion, vigour and spirituality.

'Ojas' is considered to be the most refined product of digestion. Every food must metabolise through all the body’s tissues before it can become Ojas.

Ojas: a bio-celestial liquid substance that (predominately) resides in the heart, as well as all over the body in a less concentrated matter.

Building Ojas is an art. Perhaps one of the best ways to consistently build Ojas is to eat a diet of fresh unprocessed, seasonal whole foods, and have a balanced agni to support the process. A handful of special foods (some listed below) even metabolise to nourish and build Ojas directly.

The Super Seven!

The seven Ayurvedic super foods I have chosen genuinely are super. They aren’t just packed with a dense hit nutrients, minerals and essential constituents, but actually promote and support your bodies natural intelligence to absorb and produce its own required constituents itself! Further, The Super Seven promote strength, immunity, peace and contentment in the body and mind. And best of all, they are readily available to everyone! Here they are…

1. Hot Water

I am about to reveal to you a very special Ayurvedic purification technique that is excellent for eliminating toxins from the body’s system…
It sounds very simple, but you’ll find that is has a powerful influence in purifying and strengthening the gastrointestinal tract, as well as detoxing and rejuvenating the major systems of the body.

All you have to do is sip hot water frequently throughout the day.

Sipping frequently (rather than focusing on quantity) flushes the lymphatic system, softens hardened tissues (just like hot water will soften leather, unlike cold water) and dilates channels and deeply hydrates the body. It also heals and repairs the digestive system.
In a short time you’ll begin to appreciate the soothing and balancing effect of this technique. Once you have gotten used to it, you will look forward to drinking hot water on a frequent basis.

“Hot water is the most superfood.”
~ Dr. J.R. Raju.

 

 

2. Ghee

Ghee is the crown jewel that joins Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking. Ghee is clarified or purified butter. With all the lactose components & milk solids removed, no-one is allergic to ghee.
Ghee is light to digest and has the special quality of enkindling Agni and supports fat metabolism. It effectively detoxes the gut and is an effective source of internal lubrication.
This concentrated golden substance is highly Sattvic and directly nourishes Ojas.
Click HERE for more on the benefits of ghee

3. Cows Milk

Dairy has a bad name in the press these days. With people increasingly claiming dairy intolerances, it has become perilous in todays new-age health scene.

Let me clarify two reasons why this has developed:

1. The dairy industry in the west is increasingly producing homogenised milk from poorly treated, stress inundated cows that are being fed grains. Further, the milk is pasteurised the wrong way, with added chemicals, pesticides, preservatives and anti-biotic’s.

2. A lot of kids drink cold homogenised milk with sugar filled processed cereals, and topping it off with some fruit in their bowl or having a glass of OJ on the side – a highly “un-ayurvedic” recipe for an incompatible digestive disaster.

Hence, people develop a dairy intolerance. And it may only hit them down the track. Possibly when they finally begin to tune into their own body and become more conscious.

Let me also add, if you believe and accept the notion that “dairy is bad,” you negatively charge the micro-biome in the foods, stress out your own body and if when you eat dairy with guilt it will not digest well due to lack of harmonious compatibility. Mind is the culprit here.

However, Ayurveda on the other hand prizes dairy as one of the most medicinal and nourishing foods and one of the most anabolic foods that directly builds Ojas. Rest assured, it is not a requirement for anybody to drink milk all the time, but if someone is in need of strength or Ojas, milk is one of Ayurveda’s top choices.

What more, it is a classic Ayurveda sleep remedy to drink boiled milk with spices before bed, also having a profound stress reducing action. Modern science has proved ancient wisdom by showing cows milk has certain peptides that lower cortisol and support sleep by 50%.(2)

Cows are considered sacred animals in India and cow milk is highly revered in Ayurveda as one of the most Sattvic of foods.

Please note: milk should always be boiled with equal amounts of water and un-homogenised and preferably organic. This will make it easier to digest.

If you have difficulty with cow’s milk don’t worry, first correct your agni, then slowly introduce dairy. (Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner). Also, there are six other superfoods on the list to choose from!

4. Lassi

Lassi is buttermilk, or diluted yoghurt.

  • Improves digestion and a fantastic pro-biotic.
  • Lassi is the best alkaliser.
  • As Lassi improves digestion and absorption it ultimately supports calcium absorption and bone health.
  • Balances heat (pitta) and clear the physical channels.
  • It is the best remedy (with a pinch of salt) for haemorrhoids and anal fissures.
  • A great food to introduce dairy to a lactose intolerant person after they have corrected their agni.
  • Lassi is very hydrating, and a great drink to have with lunch.

*Yoghurt should be fresh.
Ratios of Yoghurt : Water: 1:4, 1:6, or 1:14.

Lassi recipe here

sweet lassi in a silver cup

5. Honey

Honey is super Sattivc and directly nourishes our own life-nectar, Ojas. It is actually more of a medicine than a food. Due to its richness, it should be taken in moderation.

On the other hand, Ayurveda teaches that honey will be poisonous when heated above body temperature (that means no honey in hot teas, hot porridge, cooking with honey etc.) as it perniciously clogs the channels. This is why is it always important to purchase honey that is extracted at low temperatures.

Learn more: Honey: Nectar or Poison

honey dripping off a honey comb

6. Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is the most thoroughly researched plant on this planet! and i don’t blame the scientists for the 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.

Turmeric has a vast catalogue of health benefits, but here is an essential summary on why to use Turmeric as medicine in your daily cooking:

  • It is the best anti-inflammatory.
  • It regulates mood and boosts cognitive function.
  • Protects the gut and stomach lining.
  • Supports joints: (pain, stiffness, swelling, arthritis) and healthy blood.
  • Since turmeric is anti-carcinogenic, it is vital to use when cooking meat due to the high risk of carcinogenic properties in most meat these days.

Turmeric powder is best advised, always with a pinch of black pepper, as black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric by an astonishing 2000%!(3)

Learn More: The Essential Uses of Turmeric

7. Almonds

Almonds are also Sattvic and help to maintain our Ojas. They are a good source of zinc, strengthen the body and grounding for the mind. But they are also quite rich and heavy, so again, moderation is the key. Half a handful of almonds a day is enough. To make them lighter and easier to digest, always soak almonds overnight in water and remove their skins the next day.

If you are in any doubt about your health please be sure to consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner or your local health physician.

References:
(1)  "Superfood 'ban' comes into effect". BBC News. 2007-06-28.
(2) The Open Sleep Journal. 2009;2:128-32
(3) Research done at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, India Planta Med. 1998 May;64 (4):353-6. PMID: 9619120

article originally published on Welcome Earth

What do you think of these seven ayurvedic super food ideas? Comment 👇