My supply of 2 litres of imported Dubai camel milk finished in 6 days. Some of the effects of camel milk appear to be unfortunately immediate and impermanent. We were on vacation in Goa while the camel milk trial was on. The day after his last dose of camel milk my son got severely sick, he had been suffering from a mild cold however this intensified and he felt warm to touch, he vomited a bit and was listless. I was not worried because I had many healthful things to give him which his body responds well to. He was given a half liter of ganoderma tincture(a potent anti inflammatory, antiviral medicinal mushroom extract) and about 400 ml of coconut kefir.
What actually worried me was the return of the soft tissue injury on his foot…the swelling was back, along with such a bad limp that he could not walk at all. All this had been absent while on camel milk.With the bumper doses of Ganoderma and kefir he started doing a little better and was atleast able to start walking a little bit, and eat some food. Unfortunately his toiletting regression also returned. I realised that we needed to get him back on camel milk as soon as possible and this seemed like an impossible task, since it was only available at Bikaner and Jaisalmer, both destinations atleast more than 10 hours drive from Gurgaon where I lived.
When I researched the internet, I discovered to my dismay that pasteurised camel milk had been supplied to Delhi upto about 14 months back. It was discontinued in the absence of demand. When I called up the centre in Bikaner they told me that this had been handled by a dairy which had since discontinued the distribution of camel milk. It was no longer sent to Delhi, Jaipur or anywhere. The person from the centre further clarified their role to be research and not distribution. I enquired the point of researching its health benefits if it was not being made available to the general public and he depressed my spirits further. He added that they were trying to encourage herders to extract camel milk as this was being done very seldom and camel milk was generally fed to the target God had probably intended i.e. baby camels.
When we got back to Gurgaon I immediately started my quest for local sources of camel milk. I had seen a small camel grazing in the rural hilly villages at the outer edge of Gurgaon, when I had been for a trail run in the Aravalli hills. I drove down the hilly road and was finally able to locate the owner of the camel. Disappointment awaited…the owner of the camel said that their camel was just a baby and no where near producing milk. Not one to give up, I asked if there were any other camels kept in the neighbouring areas. We were directed to another village a little further away. Travelling down the broken roads I didnt have much hope of finding lactating camels and when we finally found the herder…I was amazed when I saw the group of camels…about 20 of them and about 10 baby camels. The elder was sitting on a charpoy and smoking a hookah. Heart in my mouth I enquired of him whether they could provide me camel milk and was astounded when he smiled and answered that I could get as much as I wanted. They had two milking times 8 in the morning and 6.30 pm.
I started bringing Sahil for a glass of fresh and raw camel milk at 6.30. The balance was frozen and put out to thaw about an hour or so before he consumed it. Since research had confirmed that boiling camel milk destroys the protein based immunoglobulins and hence the immune modulating properties of camel milk, we had it raw for 4 days. I would give him one glass immediately, and then the balance would be frozen and then either thawed before use or made into smoothies. Sahil was having about 3 glasses or 750 ml per day.
- The first visible effects were ofcourse related to his foot injury…the inflammation again started to vanish and the limp completely disappeared.
- The other thing I noticed was an immediate reduction in stimming after drinking the milk and general quietening down. However this would last for about 2 hours only.
- His toiletting again improved dramatically.
- His play with the ipad improved he started exploring new applications on his own rather than perserverating on his few favourites.
- Finally we saw improved self awareness and/or executive function in terms of responding to environmental cues like Sahil going and changing his pants himself without prompting when he observed that they were dirty, or when he went to wear his sandals when I mentioned to someone that it was time for me to go.
I was very happy with the progress but the nagging doubts about the risks of persisting with raw unpasteurised camel milk of untested rural camels hovered over me. I consulted the experts on camel milk on the online camel milk for healing group which I had joined. What appeared critical when having raw milk from any animal source were the following factors:
1. Health of the camels to be ascertained through regular testing by a veterinarian
2. Testing of the milk for pathogens
3. Hygiene of the process of milking i.e. washing/sanitising of the udders, hands and vessels involved in the milking
4.Time period elapsed between the milking and the consumption not to be more than half an hour
I was pretty unconvinced about whether any of the top 3 points being adhered to and was only ensuring the one in my control i.e. giving fresh milk immediately and then freezing the balance
Someone had likened having raw milk in such conditions to playing Russian roulette with my son’s health. Pasteurised unboiled milk was largely said to possess almost the same level of healing because the delicate proteins were relatively undamaged as compared to when boiled. Pasteurisation involved heating the milk to 72deg C for 15-16 seconds and then cooling it down fast so that the heat killed all major pathogens without cooking its componants.
I received some specific advice for pasteurisation from an expert on camel milk as follows “Dear Harshita, pasteurising milk at home is not difficult and doesn’t need a machine. Take a pot with water and insert a smaller pot with the camel milk. Heat the water. This will heat the milk. Take a lab thermometer which goes up to 100 degree Celsius. Stir slowly the milk and measure its temperature. Once 72 degree Celsius milk temperature are reached take both pots from the heater, cover the milk pot with a lid and let it cool down. Best regards”
And another expert added ” If you go as high as 72°C, you don’t want to let the milk cool slowly on its own, as it will remain hot for a long time and cook too much. Either stop at 65°C and leave it to cool, or heat until 72°C and put it in ice water after one minute. Quite enough. Don’t worry about the hot pan, if it is in a pan of water as (first expert) suggests it will not damage the milk.”
So this is what I am following… I have two pans…the outer pan contains water and the inner one camel milk, I heat them both while stirring continuously monitoring the temperature through a laboratory thermometer. As soon as the temperature reaches 72 deg I remove the pans from the heat cover for a minute and then cool them down in cold water. After the temperature comes down a bit the camel milk is put in the freezer to freeze.
Am also planning to get both the fresh and the home pasteurised milk tested for pathogens from a laboratory. However this will take a few days as I need to find a laboratory willing to conduct such a test.
These are minor issues and it is still difficult for me to fathom that I have succesfully found a closeby source of this milk, so scarce in its availability, and which seems to be something my son reacts so positively to. AND I have been able to make this milk relatively safe for consumption without drastically reducing its therapeutic benefits.
The best thing yet…the other day I reached when the camels were returning from their feed. What do they feed on? the healing herbs, shrubs and leaves from a nearby forest…untouched by man… There is joy when the road opens out and the barriers start to fall…