5 Top Benefits & Uses of Buttermilk | Chaas For Skin, Hair & Health

Homemade fresh buttermilk has amazing health and beauty benefits and we often use it in home remedies. It is called Chaas in Hindi, Mor in Tamil, Majjiga in Telugu, Majjige in Kannada, Chaass in Punjabi and Ghol in Bengali. Since buttermilk has all the fat removed, it is very easy to digest by everyone including people who are sick so we use it extensively in home remedies and since it is also a body coolant, we consume it regularly during hot summers. Buttermilk also has amazing skin and hair benefits and I love to use it in my beauty treatments like face packs and hair packs.

What Is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is actually curd | yogurt that is removed of all the butter. When we ferment milk we get curd and when we churn curd mixed with water, the butter separates and floats on top leaving the fragrant butter less water below we famously call buttermilk. It retains all the health benefits of yogurt but it is removed of all the fat content, it is easier to digest.

Buttermilk Calories & Nutrition:

1 cup of buttermilk has around 99 calories, 2.2 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of protein (the amount mentioned here will vary depending on the milk the buttermilk is made from). Buttermilk is rich in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium.

Benefits Of Drinking Buttermilk:

For elderly people who find it difficult to digest yogurt will find buttermilk easier on their digestive system. Even diabetic patients and pregnant women can drink buttermilk daily. People who are suffering from piles will greatly benefit if they include a lot of buttermilk in their diet.

Since buttermilk is very low in calories, it can be added to weight loss diet too. If you don’t like to drink buttermilk alone, you can also whip it up with the fruit of your choice and consume it as a smoothie, it will keep one satiated for a long time.

Buttermilk can be used in all the home remedies to mix the dry ingredients. For example, it can be mixed along with any herb powder and consumed for treating any ailment at home.

If you are used to making buttermilk from processed milk curd, I would strongly advice making it from grass fed whole milk curd. Once you taste that buttermilk you will never stop drinking it and it has more health benefits than store bought buttermilk.

Here in my place people are so used to buttermilk that they can even distinguish it from what type of milk it is made from. For instance, buttermilk got from traditional cows (naatu madu in Tamil) has got the best flavor than the ones got from other cows and it is more healthy too……

How Do You Make Buttermilk At Home?

Traditionally buttermilk is made by placing homemade yogurt made from whole milk along with twice it’s amount of water in a large pot and then we churn it using a traditional churner. After few minutes of churning by hand, the butter will float on top and we remove the butter and store it in separate vessel. The left over water is buttermilk.

When I was younger I used to love standing near and watching my grandma expertly churn yogurt into buttermilk. It was a ritual that was followed daily without fail and freshly made buttermilk from grass fed cows milk is a treat both to our stomach and heart.

Since the amount of yogurt  to be churned was lot, the buttermilk churning was done in huge pots using a rope. After I got married, I was doing it the traditional way for some years but now even I have started using immersion blender for convenience sake.

Buttermilk Churning

A few weeks back, I read a very sweet and interesting real life incident about using traditional buttermilk churning and it really made me smile. A middle aged women who has got constant aches and pains finds to her great dismay that her blender has stopped working.

To further add to her misery her husband takes the blender to the repair shop and informs her that it will take a week for it to be repaired again. Grumbling and complaining she brings down her traditional grinding stone and churning machines from the attic and starts using them.

A few days pass by and she suddenly realizes to her great amazement that her aches and pains have vanished. She was so excited that she decides to share her experience with everyone. All our traditional ways of grinding and churning are very good workouts that keep us flexible and healthy. I also have to add that even the simple act of using a rope for buttermilk churning is very calming.

How To Store Buttermilk?

We usually pour lot of water to the left over buttermilk and store it in a pot at room temperature, the next day the excess clear water will float on top. We just strain the clear water off and use the buttermilk, this method prevents buttermilk turning sour. Buttermilk does not spoil easily but it can turn sour especially during hot summer months. During hot summer months, it is better to store it in the refrigerator. If stored in the refrigerator it can last well for 3 to 4 days.

Buttermilk Substitute:

Many ask me for a good substitute for buttermilk. Usually low fat yogurt that is whipped with equal amount of water is a good substitute for buttermilk. But please remember it will never have the flavor and taste of freshly churned buttermilk…:)

Buttermilk Side Effects:

Usually buttermilk is well tolerated by everyone but if buttermilk turns sour, it might cause stomach irritation for people who are suffering from acidity. For them I would suggest consuming freshly churned buttermilk. Also make sure to add only boiled cooled water while churning buttermilk to prevent any infections.

5 Top Uses & Benefits Of Buttermilk For Health, Hair & Skin:

1. Buttermilk For Menstrual Pain:

This remedy for menstrual pain made by mixing buttermilk with asafoetida has been used for ages in our village side and can greatly reduce the discomfort during periods. Asafoetida also called as hing is a dried gum obtained from a perennial herb. It has a strong pungent smell and we use asafoetida everyday in our day to day cooking. It is available either in powder form or in small slabs.

I always buy it in slabs and break it into small pieces and sun dry it till crisp and store in an airtight box. I feel that asafoetida which comes in slab has better flavor and smell than the one that comes in powder form.  This remedy is really a boon for women as it helps to get rid of menstrual pain. For this remedy, fry a small piece of asafoetida in an empty kadai, powder it finely in a mortar and pestle and add it to 1/2 cup of buttermilk along with little bit of sugar.

Women with menstrual pain can take a cup of this once everyday to get relief from menstrual pain. I read that asafoetida contains special chemicals which can thin the blood thus making the blood flow smooth. The only con about this remedy is that the smell of asafoetida is very strong and it lingers in the mouth for quiet some time. But I think we can overlook that as it really helps one with menstrual pain……..

2. Buttermilk For Skin & Hair:

Once a reader of this blog wrote on the comment section that adding milk in face packs was making her face oily. This happens if you have normal to oily skin as the fat content in the milk makes the skin oilier. The best solution is to replace milk with either pure rose water or buttermilk. Adding buttermilk to face masks prevents oiliness but at the same conditions and softens the skin.

You can mix buttermilk with besan or oatmeal powder or clay for a firming mask. You can also add it like milk in the bath for a healing bath soak. Dabbing pure buttermilk on the skin is a very good remedy for sunburned skin and it is a very cheap and effective treatment. Try to include buttermilk often in your beauty regimen and the best way to use it is in face packs. You can also use it as a cleanser, dip a piece of cotton in buttermilk and use it to clean the face.

It cleans the face well along with softening the skin. Like for skin, buttermilk can be used for hair too. Sour buttermilk when mixed with lemon juice acts as a good home remedy for dandruff when massaged into the scalp. We can also use buttermilk for grinding fruits like amla to use it as a hair mask, it does not make the scalp very greasy but it conditions really well.

3.Buttermilk For Indigestion & Diarrhea:

Dry ginger is one ingredient that we use often as a home remedy and I always have dry ginger at home. This remedy using buttermilk and ginger is used to treat flatulence and upset stomach. This remedy was taught to me by my husband’s grandmother. She was really good with home remedies and lot of remedies in this blog is from her. Dry ginger is called “Sukku” in Tamil and it is easier to get sukku as it is available in all the departmental stores.

Ginger root contain gingerols, camphene and oleo resins. These substances increase the gastric juices thus treating diarrhea, gastric problems etc. Butter milk is also great for treating stomach ailments. To make this remedy, grind a small piece of dry ginger using a day old buttermilk (buttermilk which is a bit sour) and crystal salt to a fine paste.

Thin it down with fresh buttermilk, the mixture should be thin. If you are not able to grind it finely, strain the mixture. This remedy can be safely given to children, but reduce the quantity of dry ginger for them. Drink this once and you will feel better in no time. This is not bitter at all, only a bit spicy to drink.

4. Buttermilk for Weight Loss:

Nowadays drinks for weight loss are sold by the millions, everywhere you turn around you see advertisements promising zero fat, zero sugar and that it can be safely consumed by people who are on restricted calories. When you turn these bottles around you see a long list of chemicals that we can’t even pronounce. The manufactures have to add something to make the product taste good and that too after promising zero fat and zero sugar!

They add all these chemicals to make up for the taste of fat and sugar. My point is when we have wonderful traditional drinks that are really of less calories, no chemicals added, costs only a fraction to make and above all tastes good, why consume something that we don’t know fully about? Try drinking spiced buttermilk daily instead of weight loss drinks and you have a wonderful weight loss aid.

To make the spiced buttermilk, pound either fresh coriander or curry leaves along with required amount of crystal salt and cumin seeds finely in a mortar and pestle. Mix this finely crushed mixture in required amount of fresh homemade buttermilk and mix well. Strain and your refreshing spiced buttermilk is ready. I was making this mixture daily for my son during his summer holidays as he spends most of his time out playing or fishing under the hot sun, it kept his body cool and prevented summer boils.

5. Buttermilk For Stomach Burn:

I can’t think of buttermilk without thinking of palaysatham. During the time the refrigerator didn’t make it’s way into our homes, whenever there was left over cooked rice, boiled water was poured in the left over rice and left overnight. The next day morning, it was mixed with buttermilk and salt. This used to be the traditional breakfast with raw small onions as an accompaniment. We call it “Palaya sadham/ Neeragaram” in Tamil. Neeragaram has amazing health benefits.

Having palaya sadham for few days on an empty stomach cures stomach burns. Palaya sadham is also rich in vitamin b12. It is also an amazing body coolant and if you are a person who is out in the hot sun a lot, try drinking this neeragaram before going out, your body will not develop heat boils nor will it get dehydrated very soon. We make palaya sadham often, though not regularly like in my grandparents times.

But on a hot summer morning, having “Palaya sadham” is literally heaven. We make palaya sadham in different ways, the one I have posted is easy and quick. To make palaya sadham, the previous night add little left over rice in a cup. Pour boiled water and few drops of castor oil, close it with a lid and leave it overnight.

The next day morning, add little buttermilk and salt and mix everything together well and have it in an empty stomach. You can bite into the small onions for spiciness. Continue having this for some time and you will feel much better. Both buttermilk and castor oil cools the body. For even healthier version, try making this palaya sadham with brown rice.



  1. Anonymous
    June 23, 2015 / 2:14 am

    for pazhayasadam. boil the water, let it cool? then pour over the rice…which specific variety of rice is best for this there are many kinds.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 27, 2015 / 5:22 am

      You don't have to boil the water, if it is filtered. We usually use either Ponni or IR 20 variety rice, the best is to use hand pounded rice (kaikuthal rice)…

    • Anonymous
      June 27, 2015 / 11:29 pm

      what i meant was should we pour boiling water over it or cooled water over it (which was boiled or filtered).have you tried unakkalari rice, matta, samba rice or idli rice?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 30, 2015 / 3:59 pm

      Pour cooled water over it :). I have tried with idli and hand pounded rice, yet to try with other variety of rices…

  2. Aditya Singh
    September 16, 2017 / 7:39 am

    Can we add turmeric into butter milk?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 18, 2017 / 4:12 pm

      Yes, you can add turmeric to buttermilk…

  3. December 14, 2020 / 12:22 pm

    Excellent post and wonderful blog, this sort of interesting posts I really like, keep it up…

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