Camel is one of my favourite animals. One of the privileges living in the Middle East is I can see camels more often here. The picture of camels in this article is taken by myself during our family vacation in Salalah, Oman. There are many benefits of camels, including for transportation and also source of food and drink. Both the meat and milk of camels are delicious and good source of protein. In this article, I would like to share the miracles of camel milk, that also my favourite types of milk.
In deserts, camel milk is a substitute of cow’s milk. Camel farming is well adapted in deserts as camels are easily survive in warm climatic conditions while cow dairy farming requires enormous amount of water and electricity (Al Nohair, 2021). It can produce more milk for a longer period in arid zones than other livestock species. However, camel’s milk is not well studied compared to other milk because the consumption of camel’s milk is restricted only to some parts of the world such as middle east, Africa and Australia. The proportion of camel populations on the world are 89% one-humped and 11% two-humped camels (Jilo and Jegegne, 2016). Its compositions also more variable than cow’s milk since the feed, age, breed, lactation stage, region and season have more significant effect on camel (Swelum et al, 2021). The demand of camel milk is increasing and now it is also available in local markets of middle east (including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman) and African countries (including Somalia, Mauritania, Kenya, Mali, Ethiopia, Niger, Sudan, Chad), Australia and even in United States of America.
Here are the mean values of chemical constituents of several types of milk (Sabahelkhier, 2012):
|Type of milk||% Protein||% Lactose||% Fat||% Total solid||% Ash||% Moisture|
According to Sabahelkhier (2012), the water content of camel’s milk is similar to human milk which is around 88%. It has the closest characteristics to a human mother’s milk and very suitable for human consumption (Mustafa et al, 2020). The average total solids of camel’s milk is 11.7% while protein is 3.1%; fat 3.5%; lactose 4.4%; ash 0.79%. Camel’s milk has lower sugar and cholesterol and higher minerals and vitamins than other milk (Zibaee et al, 2015). In terms of taste, it has significantly saltier taste than cow’s milk due to its high mineral content (sodium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc and magnesium. It also has higher protective proteins like lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, immunoglobulins and lysozyme, lacks β -lactoglobulin.
The miracles of camel milk are its medicinal values. Based on the latest research, here are some of them:
- Antibacterial effects against some pathogens (Yassin et al, 2015 and Jrad et al, 2015)
- Antiviral activity from its lactoferrin (Abdel Gader and Alhaider, 2016 and Rasheed, 2017)
- Recommended for treating patients with hepatitis C virus (El Fakharany et al, 2017)
- Anti-arthritic and cartilage protection (Rasheed et al, 2016)
- Anticancer properties (Abdel Gader and Alhaider, 2016 and Rasheed, 2017)
- Have significant therapeutic improvement for autism paediatric patients (Abdel Gader and Alhaider, 2016 and Rasheed, 2017)
- Alternative for cow’s milk allergy (Navarrete-Rodríguez et al, 2018)
- Immune therapy for people with autoimmune disease (Abdel Gader and Alhaider, 2016)
- Beneficial effects for diabetes mellitus including reducing blood sugar and insulin resistance, also improving lipid profiles (Mirmiran et al, 2017)
- Rich in magnesium and zinc with antiulcer properties (Al-Wabel et al, 2012)
- High in α-hydroxyl acids which are good for the skin and can be used to treat skin disorders such as dermatitis, Acne, Psoriasis and Eczema (Sunkyu Choi et al, 2014)
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Al-Wabel, Naser A. et al. “Antiulcerogenic Effect of Camel Milk Against Ethanol Induced Gastric Ulcers in Rats.” (2012).
El-Fakharany EM, El-Baky NA, Linjawi MH, et al. Influence of camel milk on the hepatitis C virus burden of infected patients. Exp Ther Med. 2017;13(4):1313-1320. doi:10.3892/etm.2017.4159
Gader AG, Alhaider AA. The unique medicinal properties of camel products: A review of the scientific evidence. J Taibah Univ Med Sci 2016;11:98-103. DOI:.10.1016/j.jtumed.2015.12.007
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Jrad, Z. et al. “Antimicrobial Activity of Camel Milk Casein and Its Hydrolysates.” Acta Alimentaria 44.4 (2015): 609–616. Web.
Kula J. Medicinal Values of Camel Milk. Int J Vet Sci Res 2016;2:18-25
YASSIN, Magdy Hassan et al. “Antimicrobial Effects of Camel Milk against Some Bacterial Pathogens.” Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 3.3 (2015): 162–168. Web.
Mirmiran, Parvin et al. “Camel Milk Has Beneficial Effects on Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review.” International journal of endocrinology and metabolism vol. 15,2 e42150. 11 Mar. 2017, doi:10.5812/ijem.42150
Mullaicharam AR. A review on medicinal properties of camel milk. World J Pharm Sci 2014;2:237-42.
Mustafa AB, Faraz A, Baum D, Elgenaidi A, Bashari M, Alkaskas A, Elhag A. Impact of early weaning on constituents and nutritional values of camel milk in modern system. Open Vet J. 2020 Aug;10(2):232-238. doi: 10.4314/ovj.v10i2.13. Epub 2020 Jun 30. PMID: 32821668; PMCID: PMC7419065.
Navarrete-Rodríguez, E M et al. “Cross-over clinical trial for evaluating the safety of camel’s milk intake in patients who are allergic to cow’s milk protein.” Allergologia et immunopathologia vol. 46,2 (2018): 149-154. doi:10.1016/j.aller.2017.06.005
Rasheed Z. Medicinal values of bioactive constituents of camel milk: A concise report. Int J Health Sci 2017;11:1-2.
Rasheed N, Alghasham A, Rasheed Z. Lactoferrin from Camelus dromedarius Inhibits Nuclear Transcription Factor-kappa B Activation, Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression and Prostaglandin E2 Production in Stimulated Human Chondrocytes. Pharmacognosy Res 2016;8:135-41. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.175612.
Sabahelkhier M.K. Comparative Determination of Biochemical Constituents between Animals (Goat, Sheep, Cow and Camel) Milk with Human Milk. Research Journal of Recent Sciences, 2012; 1(5):69-71
Sungkyu Choi, et al. “Preparation of Camel Milk Liposome and Its Anti-Aging Effects.” Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists of Korea, vol. 40, no. 2, Korean Society of Cosmetics, June 2014, pp. 155–162, doi:10.15230/SCSK.2014.40.2.155.
Swelum AA, El-Saadony MT, Abdo M, Ombarak RA, Hussein EOS, Suliman G, Alhimaidi AR, Ammari AA, Ba-Awadh H, Taha AE, El-Tarabily KA, Abd El-Hack ME. Nutritional, antimicrobial and medicinal properties of Camel’s milk: A review. Saudi J Biol Sci. 2021 May;28(5):3126-3136. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2021.02.057. Epub 2021 Feb 21. PMID: 34025186; PMCID: PMC8117040.
Zibaee S, Hosseini SM, Yousefi M, Taghipour A, Kiani MA, Noras MR. Nutritional and Therapeutic Characteristics of Camel Milk in Children: A Systematic Review. Electron Physician. 2015;7(7):1523-1528. Published 2015 Nov 20. doi:10.19082/1523