Donkey milk also known as ass milk or jenny milk, has been a hidden gem in human history, cherished for both cosmetic and alimentary purposes since ancient times. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the historical significance, production methods, composition, and diverse applications of donkey milk, uncovering its enduring relevance and potential in contemporary contexts.
Table of contents
- A Glimpse into History
- Production: A Delicate Art
- Composition: Closer to Nature
- Functional and Bioactive Marvels
- Nutritional Marvels: Beyond Infant Formula
- Commercial Forms and Preservation Techniques
- Cosmetic Marvels: Nourishing the Skin Naturally
A Glimpse into History
Ancient Wisdom and Medicinal Use
From the annals of Egyptian antiquity to the wisdom of Hippocrates in the 5th century BC, donkey milk has been esteemed for its healing and cosmetic virtues. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed it for various conditions, ranging from poisoning and fevers to wound healing and liver troubles.
While recognised in Roman times, it was not until the Renaissance that donkey milk received scientific consideration. Georges-Louis Leclerc, the Comte de Buffon, extolled its benefits in his Histoire naturelle, and even Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, incorporated donkey milk into her skincare routine.
In the 19th century, Dr. Parrot of the Hospital des Enfants Assistés propagated the practice of bringing motherless babies directly to the donkey’s nipple, a testament to its nourishing qualities. Donkey milk was sold to feed orphaned infants and aid delicate children, the sick, and the elderly.
Production: A Delicate Art
Seasonal Polyestrous Nature
The donkey, considered a seasonal polyestrous animal, undergoes a reproduction cycle influenced by the farm’s latitude. Pregnancy lasts approximately 12 months, contributing to the unique dynamics of milk production.
Limited Donkey Milk Supply
Differing significantly from conventional dairy species, donkey milk supply is limited due to the equid mammary gland’s low capacity. Milking, a meticulous process, occurs two or three hours after separating the foal, with donkeys typically milked three times a day for 20 to 90 days after foaling.
Composition: Closer to Nature
Comparisons of donkey milk with cow, sheep, and goat milk reveal a striking resemblance in lactose, protein, and ash levels to breast milk. Despite high lactose content, the average fat content is lower, often necessitating supplementation with vegetable oil for infant nutrition.
Amino Acid Profile
The casein to whey protein ratio in the milk of donkey is lower than that in cow milk, while the amino acid profile mirrors that of human milk. Essential amino acids align closely, emphasizing the nutritional affinity between donkey milk and human milk proteins.
Donkey milk, known for its nutritional richness, has been hailed for various health benefits through the ages. Here’s a glimpse of its miracles:
- Nutritional Composition: Ass milk is lower in fat and calories compared to other types of milk. It is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D, and E, along with proteins, calcium, and anti-bacterial enzymes .
- Antioxidant Activity: The milk exhibits antioxidant properties, contributing to its potential health benefits .
- Immune Boost: Considered a “Pharma food,” research suggests that milk of donkey can boost immune function, thanks to its notable health effects .
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Donkey milk has a low omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, which may be advantageous in terms of cardiovascular health .
Functional and Bioactive Marvels
Donkey’s milk boasts functional proteins like lysozyme and lactoferrin, actively inhibiting the growth of iron-dependent bacteria. Lysozyme’s high concentration, coupled with its thermo-stability, positions it as a key component in the intestinal immune response.
Growth Factors and Hormones
The mammary secretions of donkeys contain human-like leptin and bioactive peptides such as insulin-like growth factor 1, ghrelin, and triiodothyronine. These compounds, akin to human milk, present nutraceutical potential, regulating food intake, metabolism, and infant body condition.
Nutritional Marvels: Beyond Infant Formula
Natural Hypoallergenic Milk
Pasteurized milk emerges as a natural hypoallergenic milk, tolerated by approximately 90% of infants with cows’ milk protein allergy (CMPA). Its pleasant taste and lack of allergenic reactions make it a preferred choice over soy-based formulas.
Infant Nutrition and Cognitive Development
For infants, especially those allergic to cow or goat milk, donkey milk serves as a valuable supplement. Its low fat content, mimicking breast milk, requires integration with essential fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, crucial for brain and retina development, find a natural source in milk of donkey.
Ass milk contains immune-enhancing compounds, including lysozyme and lactoferrin, safeguarding infants against diseases. The appealing flavor and appearance further contribute to its acceptance among children.
Commercial Forms and Preservation Techniques
Donkey(Ass) milk is available in various forms, from raw and pasteurized to freeze-dried and fermented (kumis). Each form caters to different preferences and applications.
Freeze Drying: A Biologically Preserving Technique
Freeze drying preserves the biological quality of milk, retaining its nutritional, functional, and cosmetic properties. This method, though costly, ensures a shelf life of two years without chemical preservatives.
Drawing from ancient traditions, fermented donkey milk, akin to kumis, boasts potential health benefits. In Mongolia, where kumis is considered a cure for 40 diseases, the tradition endures.
Cosmetic Marvels: Nourishing the Skin Naturally
Natural Ingredients in Cosmetology
The cosmetic industry has embraced Ass milk for its natural origin and effectiveness. Scientific studies on creams containing lyophilized donkey milk reveal its benefits for the skin, attributed to the proteins and bioactive substances present.
Donkey milk, once a remedy in ancient civilizations, now stands as a versatile marvel with applications ranging from infant nutrition to cosmetic formulations. Its rich history, coupled with its nutritional and therapeutic potential, positions it as a compelling subject for further exploration and integration into modern lifestyles. Embrace the miracle of ass milk – a timeless elixir bridging the wisdom of the past with the needs of the present.
Donkey milk has been cherished since ancient times for both cosmetic and alimentary purposes. From Egyptian antiquity to Hippocrates, its healing and cosmetic virtues have been recognized. Today, it continues to be valued in modern applications.
Donkey milk closely resembles breast milk in lactose, protein, and ash levels. Despite its high lactose content, it has a lower average fat content, often requiring supplementation for infant nutrition. Its unique amino acid profile and functional proteins like lysozyme and lactoferrin contribute to its distinct composition.