Camel’s milk has supported Bedouin, nomad and pastoral cultures since the domestication of camels millennia ago. Camel’s milk is a whole food, allowing herders to survive solely on the milk when taking the camels on long distances to graze in desert and arid environments. Due to recent research into the milk it has begun to gain acceptance outside of traditional communities as a health tonic and a medicine.
Camel milk, which is slightly saltier than traditional milk, is drunk widely across the Arab world and is well suited to cheese production. It is is rich in vitamins B and C and has 10 times more iron than cow’s milk.
Camel’s milk is said to be an ‘acquired taste’, yet many people around the world depend on it. Its composition is closer to human milk than cow’s milk is, so it is better for us. It also contains antibodies, and these may help fight serious diseases like cancer, HIV/Aids, Alzheimer’s and hepatitis B. It could be the ‘super food’ of the future in the West, and generate much-needed income for developing countries. The United Nations is calling for the milk to be sold to the West.
Will Camel milk become the ‘Insulin’ of the future?
Health benefits of camel milk are attributed to presence of high concentration of insulin-like protein and other factors that have a positive effect on the immunity. The fact that it does not coagulate easily in an acidic environment (e.g. in the stomach) makes it available for absorption in the intestines. The anti-diabetic action of camel milk has been attributed to the camel’s choice (or is it default!) grazing/browsing on natural vegetation in the desert, including salty herbs and plants, some medicinal plants like the (neem).
In Somalia and Kenya , some diabetics who recognise the value of Camel milk are using Camel milk therapy to control their Diabetes.
Benefits of Camel’s milk for children with autism and neuro-integrational / immunological challenges
Camel milk does not have casein and may be an effective treatment for autism. People with autism who were given camel milk instead of cow milk: a 4-year old girl drank camel milk for 40 days and her autism symptoms disappeared. A 15-year old boy recovered from autism after 30 days of drinking camel milk. Several 21-year old individuals with autism were given camel milk for two weeks and they became quieter and stopped hurting themselves. Read more on a small project in India and a research on Autism and Camel Milk Therapy
Camel milk for food allergies in children.
Food allergies in children are often very serious and can lead to anaphylactic reactions. Observations that camel milk ameliorates allergic reactions were noted over the years. The effect of camel milk is probably related to its special composition.
An investigation was carried on eight children with food allergies who did not benefit from conventional treatment. Their parents, or their physicians, decided to try camel milk as a last resort. The parents were advised by regarding how much and when the children should drink the milk and the parents reported daily on the progress of their children.
All eight children in this study reacted well to the milk and recovered fully from their allergies.
Is Camel milk the new Viagra?
Farmer Vimaram Jat, from the Indian state of Rajasthan who has fathered a child at the age of 88, put his virility down to drinking two to three litres of Camel milk a day.
Camel Milk based beauty products?
Camel milk is a natural source of Alpha-Hydroxy acids which are known to plump the skin and smoothes fine lines. Camel Milk soap provides a most luxurious bath experience.
Camel Milk products:
Products from Camel milk are already hitting the shelves of shops such as soaps and yoghurts. An Austrian chocolate maker has joined forces with an Arabic Camel farm in Al-Ain (United Arab Emirates – UAE) to create a new delicacy – Camel milk chocolates. But as yet the chocolates are only available in the UAE but is deemed to conquer the world as the sweet ambassador of Arabia. (For those interested, also check out www.camelicious.ae and www.al-nassma.com)
In pastoral societies, milk is traditionally consumed predominantly in the form of fermented milk. Fermentation is the only means of preserving milk under warm condition. In eastern Africa, however, where 60% of the world camel population are held, there is a long tradition in preparing fermented camel milk camel. The milk is either home-consumed or sold.
To prepare fermented camel milk, containers of calabas, cly potes , plant fibre vessels or hollowed wood vessels are smoked by burning chips of Olea africana or Acacia busia. The daily residual fresh milk is poured into the milk container. No starters are used and acidification develops after e few days, either from natural flora of milk when it is not boiled, or from the bacteria growing on the sides of the vessel.
The milk is left in a quite place, often in a covered container sheltered from dust for usually 24-48 hours until it becomes sour. The ambient temperature is normally between 25 and 35 °C. Due to spontaneous nature of the fermentation, this traditional method results in a product with varying taste and flavor and often of poor hygienic quality.
To improve this spontaneous traditional fermentation, controlled fermentation using mesophilic lactic acid bacteria starter culture have been developed and successfully introduced in camel milk processing plants in different eastern African countries.
Most attempts to make cheese from camel milk have revealed major difficulties in getting the milk to coagulate.
In Mauritania a project to make cheese from camels’ milk received a Rolex Award for Enterprise in 1993: camel cheese is not easy to make, as camel milk does not curdle naturally. Besides, cheese making needs a cool, damp climate, which is not the case of Mauritania.
With the help of an FAO Technical Co-operation Programme, including the expertise of French Professor J.P. Ramet – who carried out the original research for FAO and discovered how to curdle camel milk – two types of cheese were made and ‘designed’ for the European market, cheese not being a tradition in Mauritania.
In fact, European regulations do not include camel milk : as a result new regulations must be drafted specially. Scientific research has been undertaken to find technical solutions for camel milk specific behaviour in relation to some tests.
It is hoped that camel cheese will soon be available for export.
On the other hand, at Camel Gate other results were found. With the same amount of calf rennet, the coagulation time of camel milk is two to three-folds longer than in cow milk. The action of rennet on camel milk leads to coagulation in the form of flocks, with no firm coagulation. There are some reports in the literature showing that clotting enzyme from one species is more effective and specific with milk from the same species. Chymosin from lamb where found to be more effective with lamb milk than with cow milk. Pig chymosin and pig pepsin have shown higher milk clotting activity against porcine milk than against bovine milk. These findings suggest an adaptation between the proteolytic specificities of the gastric proteases and the structure of the caseins. Accordingly, it can be expected that camel chymosin would be more effective in camel milk than calf chymosin. Following this, our Laboratory developed recombined camel chymosin, from mRNA, obtained from the stomach of a young camel. The process has been patented.
After the preliminary tests in laboratory showed the effectiveness of the Camel chymosin field studies for making cheese from camel milk have been successfully run in different east African and Sahel countries.
(Camel chymosin can be obtained from Dr. Zakaria Farah firstname.lastname@example.org)
Like cheese, butter is also not a traditional camel milk product as is it difficult to obtain camel milk butter following the same preparation procedures as for cow’s milk. This is due to the lack of agglutinin, a protein which promotes clustering of fat globules and formation of cream layer in cold milk. Also the high melting point (41-42C°) of camel milk fat makes difficult churning camel milk cream in temperatures commonly used for churning cow milk.
Camel Gate laboratory developed a simple method for manufacturing butter from camel milk fat. According to the method, butter was obtained by churning camel milk cream at temperatures between 20 and 25C°. This temperature is considerably higher than that of cow milk which normally varies between 8 and 12C°.
Heat treated product
There are very few studies on the effect of heat treatment on the proteins of camel milk. Research work in our Laboratory indicates that the whey proteins in camel milk are more heat resistant than in cow milk. Under the selected experimental conditions the rate of heat denaturation of camel milk whey proteins was approximately twofold lower than cow milk whey proteins. This indicates that camel milk can be easily pasteurised, and there are commercial small and middle scale camel milk processing plants for production of pasteurised milk in Mauritania, Kenya and Somalia.
Will you give Camel Milk a try?
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