Come cold season, we expect common cold and flu symptoms especially with little kid and grade schooler at home. One of my childhood memories is whenever I used to catch cold, my mom would prepare Masala Paal (half a cup of warm milk with 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/4 tsp pepper powder) that night for me. I hated the very look of it. Yellow liquid with black specks floating at random. Milk is supposed to be white and frothy and sweet and soothing. This was nothing of that sort. I would run and hide as much as I could, bargain with her to reduce the quantity she gives me by half or even argue on why she should skip that damn pepper which leaves my lips burning. She would increase the honey but no other compromise. Fine, I would have one more teaspoon of honey at the end of that milk. How much drama I used to create! Now, with my kids, I give them the same at the first strike of a cold symptom. I know what they feel when they rebel. But it is important for them to drink it in order to feel better and stronger the next day. Falling sick is lot more work than few minutes of argument and lecturing! Logic and logistics are mommy’s worries. Kids are kids and I have to give them reward at the end anyway! Of-late, I started calling it Baahubali Milk, which turns their white blood soldiers racing in their blood streams into super heros that they are capable of fighting the bad guys, the virus and bacteria that have launched an attack now. Drama! Works both ways 😉
So what makes this milk so special? We all know turmeric is anti-inflammatory. It boosts our immune system. But then, when we just add turmeric, our liver would flush it out through the kidney by making them water soluble. When pepper is present, though, this function of liver is inhibited. Plus when we have a fat base, which is the milk, that helps absorb a good portion of it through our lymphatic system, bypassing the liver. This bioavailability (availability of a component in the blood stream) of turmeric in presence of pepper increases by 2000%. Now that is definitely super hero standard! How much my mom knew when she forced, cajoled me into having this except that she did not know the science, I marvel now. I do want to bridge the “why” gap for my kids!