“Do they not look at the camels, how they are created?” The Holy Quran in Surat al-Ghashiyah (verse 17) mentions the camel, the ship of the desert, as a creation that should be carefully examined and thought about.
Its excellence is appreciated as a creation. An animal with superior physical traits, adaptable to the harshest terrains, the camel is presented as a gift to mankind.
The body structure and other characteristics of this ‘especially-designed’ animal require a detail stretched over thousands of pages, but here will only touch a few benefits of its milk.
Of the estimated 18.58 million camels the world over, 1.2 million are reared in the desert areas of Pakistan. Majority of their population is in Balochistan, followed by Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
But in spite of the country’s large population of camels, they are mostly ignored among the domestic ruminants in terms of care, productivity or research, whereas in the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Somalia and Sudan there are dairy farms with modern equipment to increase population, milk and meat production.
Although camel milk is being consumed on a very small scale, Pakistan has a lot of potential to produce milk on a large scale as our country is blessed with quite a generous population of camels, but unfortunately trade of camel milk is at present irregular and unsystematic.
The camel milk is being sold at around Rs.400 a liter in cities like Karachi, while it is available at around Rs.50 only in the camel habitat areas. The problem is that there’s no system to store the milk and enable the herders to earn more profits.
Camel milk, used medicinally for centuries by nomads, is the closest to human mother’s milk and contains 10 times more iron and three times more vitamin C than cow’s milk.
It’s 40 per cent lower in cholesterol than cow’s milk, having a low sugar and a high mineral content, with sodium, magnesium and possibly iodine – if it was present in the camel’s diet – as well as high protein content.
Camels possess unique, powerful immune-system components, which are contained in their milk. Camel milk might potentially benefit disorders including diabetes and autism. It’s easily digestible when compared to regular milk.
Camel milk benefits are as under:
Boosts your immune system and fights disease
This is due to the presence of protein and organic antibodies that improve immune system function fight off infections and counter autoimmune disorders. Camel milk also contains organic compounds which are beneficial for the neurological system; they can help lessen or reverse symptoms caused by disease such as autism among children.
Growth and Development
The high level of animal proteins found in camel milk, many of which are not found in goat and cow milk, can help to stimulate proper growth and development of bones and organ systems. Protein is one of the most basic building blocks of life, and camel milk provides a lot of it.
Clinical trials showed that recovery from infectious disease (e.g. Tuberculosis) was significantly faster in patients consuming camel milk regularly.
High level of insulin-like molecules that help maintain glucose levels in the body make camel milk ideal for diabetics. Nutritionists are increasingly of the opinion that camel milk can assist in the prevention of diabetes in the long run.
Maintains cholesterol level
Essential fatty acids help maintain ideal level of good cholesterol in the body and reduce bad cholesterol; this in turn can help prevent the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes as well as diseases such as atherosclerosis, all the while maintaining optimal blood pressure level.
Stress and Autism
Research has shown that camel milk might be helpful for people with autism, Type 1 diabetes, food allergies, hepatitis B and other autoimmune diseases
Studies have shown that the consumption of camel milk increases the bodies’ production of antioxidant enzymes thereby lowering oxidative stress within the body.
Camel milk fights allergies, as it contains immune system components that might specially benefit children.
Good for your skin
Due to the presence of lactic acid, collagen, elastin and vitamins B and C, and camel’s milk is believed to have anti-aging properties because it can improve skin elasticity. In fact it is rumored that camel milk was behind Cleopatra’s beauty, because it can prevent wrinkles.
One of the primary risks of camel’s milk is that it is primarily consumed in unpasteurized form. It should not be drunk un-pasteurized as it can carry bacterial infections.
Camel’s milk needs not to be boiled as much as that of cow’s or goat’s. Strong in flavour, with a salt like taste, must be drunk slowly to allow the stomach to digest it.
Studies have found a higher prevalence of pathogenic bacteria in camel milk than in sheep and cattle milk.