Mazlan didn't think much about fitness and health before, but as age crept up on him he realized the importance of staying fit and healthy.
When I was asked to drink raw camel milk, my initial reaction was, "Huh?" But, after spending a few years working in the Middle East, I am now familiar with the many health benefits of camel milk.
For centuries, camel milk has been one of the staple foods for the Bedouin Arabs. In the harsh and arid desert country, it not only replaces water but provides the essential nutrients to keep people healthy.
The Bedouins drink raw camel milk that is freshly milked. Sometimes they drink it when it is slightly sour, in the fermented form. They believe the pasteurized version has fewer nutritional and healing qualities.
Camel Milk Health Benefits
The Bedouins also believed that the camel's diet must consist of a certain type of plants to enhance the milk's curative power.
However, research showed that even without these special plants it is still potent and amongst the camel milk health benefits are:
- General well-being: The numerous nutrients help promote the body's natural defenses. 
- Anti-aging: The Alpha hydroxyl acid that is present in camel milk helps smooth fine lines. 
- Cancer: Camel milk also contains anti-tumor properties. 
- Camel Milk and Diabetes: The presence of high levels of insulin-like protein (about 52 microunits/ml) help reduce diabetes.  .
- Liver disease: Contains antiviral properties that help reduce liver inflammation. Camel milk also has many nutrients that are required for healthy liver function. 
- Autism: It is rich in immunoglobulin, which will strengthen the body's autoimmune system. This helps treat and heal autism.  . You can read more about autism and camel milk, here.
- Thalassemia: The curative properties protect the body from oxidative injury. 
- Acne and eczema: The anti-microbial properties will act as a natural cleanser. 
- Arthritis: The lactoferrin helps remove free iron from the joints of arthritic patients.
- Tuberculosis: The antibacterial and antiviral properties are known to destroy the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 
- AIDS: AIDS patients in Africa drink camel milk to help them recover.  .
Research on Camel Milk Health Benefits
Below are several works of research that confirm and document the benefits of camel milk:
- Children with Lactose Intolerance: Gulf News reported that studies by Pediatric Allergy-Immunology Clinics of the Hamad Medical Corporation showed children who are allergic to cow's milk can safely take camel's milk.
- Camel Milk for Cancer Cure: Studies at both King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, and the University of Alberta, Canada showed successful applications of camel milk for cancer treatment
- Autism and Camel Milk: Prof. Reuven Yagil of Ben-Gurion University, Israel feed camel milk to autistic children and concluded that it has a positive effect on treating autism.
- Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis E Virus: Studies show positive results with camel milk in impeding the growth of HCV and Hepatitis E Virus. These studies were published in Virology Journal (September 2012 issue).
- Is Pasteurized Camel Milk Effective?: The Bedouins believed that only fresh camel milk is effective in healing ailments. However, studies by Dr. Millie Hinkle showed positive results for similar ailments when using the pasteurized camel milk.
For more published reports and bodies of research, see the "Reference and Further Reading" section below.
Camel Milk vs. Cow Milk
Cow's milk is easily available and is cheaper but it has its side effect. One example is lactose intolerance. This is where camel milk excels.
To start with, camel's milk is known to be the closest to the human mother's milk and is easier for babies to consume. Research studies from around the world also confirm that it is highly nutritious. The composition of whey proteins and caseins in camels milk differs from cows milk, which could be the reason for its healing properties.
When compared to cow milk, camel milk is:
- Lower in lactose
- Higher in potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and sodium.
- Lower in cholesterol
- Contains three times the amount of vitamin C
- Has ten times the amount of iron
- Contains higher unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins
- Has more Vitamin A
- Has a higher protein level
- Contains ten times the amount of antibacterial and antiviral properties
- Easily absorbed: It doesn't coagulate easily, even in an acid environment like our stomach. Hence, it is easily absorbed by our digestive system.
- Dissolves better: In powder form, it will dissolve better.
- Lower Yield: However, camel produces a lower yield at 13 pints (6.2 liters) as compared to cows' higher yield of 50 pints (23.7 liters)
With these camel milk health benefits, we should switch from cow milk to camel milk. But due to its low yield, farmers prefer to raise cattle. So, camel milk supply is limited and expensive.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ranked camel's milk as the healthiest animal milk.
How Does Camel Milk Taste Like?
In 2007, I had my first taste of a freshly milked camel milk from a farm in Dubai. It was warm and smelled strong. It was also mildly salty. My stomach was not used to this milk and I had diarrhea for the next two days. Maybe I should have drunk it slowly to allow for better digestion. My Arab friend reassured me that this is a normal reaction for first-timers because it 'cleanses the system.'
The taste varies according to the animal's diet and the amount of water it had drunk. Some say it is mildly sweet like low fat cow's milk. Others say it tastes like salty vanilla-flavored milk.
Unlike cow's milk, camel's milk is opaque white in color.
I have not tried the fermented version and I don't think my stomach is strong enough for that. This camel milk curdle is commonly consumed by the traveling Bedouins.
Updated April 2017: On my recent trip to Saudi Arabia in March 2017, I had a chance to drink pasteurized camel milk sold at the supermarket. How does it taste like? It tastes awesome. In fact, I can't tell the difference from this pasteurized camel milk to a pasteurized cow milk. So, if you had a chance give it a try. It not only taste good but it's full of health benefits as well
Camel Milk Products
The followings are camel milk products that are available but in limited quantities.
Camel Milk Cheese
The Bedouins and the camel herding tribes will process excess camel milk into cheese. Camel milk does not coagulate easily and the common method of using rennet does not work. So, they use a process known as "lactic fermentation," in which milk sugar is decomposed into lactic acid, turning the milk sour. Camel milk cheese doesn't taste as good as cheese made from cow milk but it is more nutritious.
Now, under the auspices of United Nation's FAO research work, camel milk can now coagulate using vegetable rennet and calcium phosphate. The end product is a low cholesterol cheese. Due to limited production, it is only sold in small quantities.
Camel Milk Butter
Just like cheese, camel milk butter is not easy to produce due to the poor coagulation and the time taken to produce it. Some farms have found a way to process that churns out decent camel milk butter. Again, it is in limited quantity and it is more expensive than other kinds of butter.
Camel Milk Chocolate
The world's first camel milk chocolate was produced by Al nassma, a company in Dubai in late 2008, available only in the UAE. But you can buy it online if you search for camel milk chocolate.
Camel Milk Ice-Cream
Al Ain Dairy from the UAE launched their ice cream made from fresh camel milk, which is suitable for people with lactose intolerance. It is available in chocolate, cardamom, saffron, and the all-time favorite, vanilla flavors.
It is sold under the brand name Camelait, that also includes flavored camel milk and camel milk powder.
Camel Milk Powder
Fresh camel milk is not available in my country but selected Middle eastern shops are selling camel milk powder. I tried the Aadvik Camel Milk Powder, produced by a company in India. It is 100% camel milk that is freeze dried and no additives. It is also gluten-free. I like the taste and it is also available on Amazon.
Camel Milk Soap
Camel milk soap is very popular in the Middle Eastern countries as it is good for the skin especially if you have eczema. Unfortunately, camel milk soap is not 100% camel milk but only 25%. The other main ingredient is fat. Buy only soaps with natural vegetable oils, such as olive oil which gives added benefits for skin with problems. Animal fat is widely used in all types of soap but why wash in some animal's body fat?
Where to Buy Camel Milk
If you live in the Middle East, parts of Africa, China, Russia, or northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, fresh camel milk is easily available. In some of these countries, you can even buy at the supermarket.
If you live outside of these countries or in an area where camel rearing is non-existent, your best bet is to buy camel milk powder online. Or buy in the capsule form, which is more convenient and taken with you to work or whenever you are away from home. Both forms are available on Amazon.com.
Camel Milk to Raise Economic Standards
The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognized camel milk as an important commodity to raise the economic standard for people who live in arid and semi-arid desert areas. It will be marketed and sold based on its nutritional and health benefits. This will bring in additional income to people who produce and sell it.
Production in Non-Traditional Camel Rearing Countries
The followings are examples of camel farming in non-traditional camel-producing countries that show its growing importance.
Camel Milk in USA
It used to be illegal to sell or even produce camel milk in the U.S. It was not until 2009 that the Food and Drug Administration legalized its domestic production and consumption. In 2012, the FDA finally gave approval for camel milk to be sold throughout the U.S.
Since production costs are still expensive for American camel breeders, current sales are limited to medical use and to ethnic residents who use it in traditional foods.
Farming in the Netherlands
After his university research on the commercial viability of camel milk, Frank Smits was convinced that he should venture into this unknown territory. In 2006, he started the first and only commercial camel farm in the Netherlands and now exports camel milk to Britain and Belgium.
Research Center in India
To help improve the socio-economic status of people in arid and semi-arid zones, the Indian government established The National Research Center on Camels in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. Camels were identified as an important animal for this harsh and fragile desert ecosystem and studies were conducted to help camel owners improve their economic status.
Part of the program states that camel milk will be sold at subsidized rates to poor families who have diabetic members or children with disabilities.
Camel Rearing Industry in Australia
Camels were imported into Australia as early as the 1860s and were used as working animals in the semi-arid desert areas. Now, camels are reared for their milk and meat. With an increased demand for camel meat and milk in Asia and parts of the Middle East, Australia now exports most of its supply of camel products.
Farm in Netherlands
Acceptance of Camel Milk
Several studies on the healing properties of camel milk by reputable universities and institutions have led to its higher level of acceptance outside of traditional camel-rearing communities.
What about you? Will you try camel milk if you know you suffer from the above ailments?
One Aussie girl gave it a try to see if it helps her bowel problem. Read her experience here on Yahoo News.
References and Further Reading
- Dr. Millie Hinkle
- Food allergies in children
- Antibody-based therapeutics
- Israel Journal of Veterinary Medicine: Therapeutic value of camel milk in tuberculosis
- Toxic effect of aluminum
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is camel milk good for colon cleansing ?
Answer: Camel milk has been used to detox the body, so it should be good for colon cleansing.
Question: After hearing about the healing properties of camel milk, I was wondering how much raw camel milk should you first start drinking?
Answer: A small glass of the raw camel milk should be a good start.
Question: Is it advisable to take camel milk when fermented?
Answer: The Bedouin has been taking it for centuries, but I personally prefer the fresh camel milk over the fermented version.
© 2013 Mazlan
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 18, 2018:
This is a very interesting article regarding the health benefits of consuming camel milk. Too bad it is not readily available in more parts of the world.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on June 18, 2018:
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 11, 2018:
I never even considered drinking camel milk. I am lactose intolerant and use coconut milk for cereal. I don't really drink any type of milk otherwise.
I think your article is excellent as it has a wealth of information, including the ongoing research. The implications will be interesting to watch in relation to diseases.
Rohan Singh from INDIA on October 04, 2015:
I have heard of other milks and I have read in a book that camel milks are very beneficial like other milk such as goat milk and cow milk. They contain some special nutritional profile. Love to find it here.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on May 26, 2015:
Hi Ibrahim. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experience. You are lucky to have fresh supply of cheap camel milk in your area!
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on May 26, 2015:
Hi Bilal. To be on the safe side, you must always boil camel milk. If you bought it 'fresh' from the farm and it turns 'lumpy' when you boiled, the milk is probably no longer fresh and has started to ferment. In hot weather, fresh camel milk do not keep for long.
Ibrahim on April 27, 2015:
I live in Somalia, Baidoa town, I hve just drunk the camel milk and I use it every day because we have tought its benefits by our parents and grand parents so that is we rely on it. We have so many camels here and the milk is fresh and cheap.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on January 12, 2015:
Hi Gode tia byrnes, yes you should give it a try. Research and studies have shown its effectiveness, and besides camel milk is a form of food and is not chemical like most medication. I pray that your daughter will respond well to this alternative remedy.
Gode tia byrnes on January 11, 2015:
I think this is simply amazing, how it just has so many benefits and would love to try this product on my daugter diagnozed with diabeties type 1 2 years ago
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on January 08, 2015:
Hi Diana, you are lucky to have a doctor who is not so hung up on the usual prescription medication. For the doctor to recommend camel milk shows his vast knowledge on what other options are available for your son.
Yes, of course you can have it with your porridge. Use it like you normally do with cow's milk.
Camel milk is expensive right now as there is no large commercial farm for the production. But you are lucky to get them in Kenya. We have to resort to the powder version, which is even more expensive.
Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experience.
Diana on January 07, 2015:
Thanks for all the commente a paeditrician recommended camel milk for my 5yr old son, at first i thought it was a bit joke i googled i think its good. Camel milk Is hard to get in Kenya i managed to get a few pints though its vert expensive. My question Is Can i take camel milk in porridge coz i can't stand the taste of milk in my mouth
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on December 11, 2014:
Hi Romanian, if you google you might find a supplier of camel milk in your country. A supplier from the Netherlands sells camel milk powder online. You might want to check them out as well. Hope you succeed. Thanks for dropping by.
Nicu from Oradea, Romania on December 10, 2014:
It's good to know this about camel milk. I will probably try it one day, but I can't find this in my country.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on November 25, 2014:
Hi Tina. Yes, of course. In fact, as mentioned in my article, camel's milk is highly nutritious and is known to be the closest to human mother's milk. It is easier even for baby to consume, let alone a pregnant woman. The Bedouins have been doing this for centuries.
Tina on November 25, 2014:
Can pregnant women drink it
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on November 21, 2014:
Hi maryam. Yes you can heat camel milk, but do it gently and slowly. And of course, you can drink after that. I am not sure about reheating camel milk, but I guess reheated milk may present a bacteria risk just like cow milk.
maryam on November 20, 2014:
wow. camel milk sure has its benefits. I wanted to know if we can boil camel milk and then drink it. plus is it safe to reheat camels milk before drinking. I like warm milk better than cold milk
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on November 16, 2014:
@yasirchohan, camel milk is indeed an astonishing product that is very much under rated. Thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on November 11, 2014:
Some people say that camel's milk is the next superfood. But right now many people are still 'in the dark' over its benefit, mainly because the milk production has not gone on a big commercial scale, as compared to cow's milk. It's a pity I don’t worked in the Middle East country anymore, otherwise camel's milk will be my daily morning drink.
Thanks missmarsh for dropping by and commenting.
Loralie Lyndon from USA on November 10, 2014:
Oh my! Thanks for all the great information on camel's milk. I never knew it could be used for so much or that so many things were made from it! Such an interesting article. I appreciate you sharing this!
Yasir chohan from Reisterstown on November 10, 2014:
Oh Wow! This is astonishing. Nothing has been made without its uses and purpose!
Roy on August 05, 2014:
Would like to inform you that if anyone wants camel milk regular supply in Delhi and other nearby regions,feel free to call at +91-8130337895. Or drop a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
jacki on May 11, 2014:
i m very exciting to get camel milk,,, however and whatever i will get milk soon,, coz of,,, nothing is expansive then our health
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on February 16, 2014:
@Lookingforacure, I asked the same question when I was in Saudi Arabia last year and the answer given was fresh camel milk is better. However, if there is none near where we live and if there are any, it could be expensive, then the powdered milk is the next best thing. You can get it through Amazon.com
The Smits camel farm in the Netherlands sells camel milk in capsule form; you may want to check with them on the pricing and shipping arrangement. Their web site is http://www.kamelenmelk.nl/index.php?lang=en
If the pricing is out of your budget, is goat's milk another possible option that your Holistic Doctor can consider?
Hope this will help you and wish you all the best
Lookingforacure on February 15, 2014:
Is powdered camel milk as effective as fresh in healing? My wife has been suffering from Chronns Disease for 5 years and we are out of options. We recently spoke to a Holistic Dr and she suggested Camels milk; however, its out of our price range. Any help would be appreciated.
Rohit Nagpal on December 28, 2013:
We make fresh camel milk available in India. If you are interested buying it you can contact me on email@example.com
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 09, 2013:
@TheKatsMeow, I am glad this article has help to enlighten you with the benefits of camel milk. Have a good day
@wqaindia, Thanks for the suggestion. It could be a long chapter if I include this. Best way is to buy camel milk powder online
@teaches12345, you are right. I should have boiled the camel milk before drinking. However, at that camel farm, this was not possible. Thanks for your support and the votes
Dianna Mendez on April 06, 2013:
I wonder if you had the camel milk heated, on your first try, it would digest easier? Anyway, interesting post on camel's milk. It does appear to have much to offer the body in vitamins and building the immune system. Voted up+++
Ashok Goyal from 448 Dalima Vihar Rajpura 140401 Punjab India on April 02, 2013:
Amazing! but I could not find any one selling fresh camel milk or packaged camel milk and cheese in or around 200 km of my city.
Can you add another chapter about availability of the fresh or processed and preserved camel milk or its products. It is a good business idea.
Katee Shew from Canada on April 02, 2013:
Wow I had no idea that this stuff was so healthy! I will be honest and say that I have never tried camel's milk and before this article I never would have wanted to try it either! thanks for teaching me about something new!
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 01, 2013:
@kidscraft Thanks for dropping by and the votes. It is actually more expensive to rear cows in the desert. To start with, cows consumed more water than camel and that is not easy to find in the arid desert areas.
@Nell, It is strange how God make nature survived in whatever conditions they are in and in the arid desert, there are plants and animals that you can lived on for the required nutrition. Thanks for the vote and Share
@Rajan, do you know that they sell camel milk ice cream in Rajasthan? Rajasthan also have a good and highly respected research center on camel. Thanks again for the votes and Share
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 01, 2013:
This is fantastic information. We do have lot of camels in Rajasthan, the desert state of India. It is great to know these awesome benefits that camel milk provides. Thanks for sharing.
Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing this hub.
Nell Rose from England on April 01, 2013:
Thats certainly fascinating news, who would have thought it? and well done for drinking some! lol! I often wondered how the people of the desert got their nutrition, fascinating hub, and voted and shared, nell
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on March 29, 2013:
Wouaw... that's very interesting! But why not! We have to stay open to what people use in other corners of the Earth! It's for sure that I can envisionned any cows in the desert so they have to find other ways to have something to drink! Thank you very much for this in depth article about all the properties of camel milk. I learned a lot today!
Voted up, interesting and awesome!