Who would have thought our favourite seaside ride carries loads of health benefits, and not just the kids?
As well as providing summer entertainment along our sandy beaches, donkeys are packed full of other goodness, namely milk.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, donkey milk has “particular nutritional benefits” and could benefit those who are allergic to cow’s milk.
Is donkey milk right for you?
A natural product, donkey’s milk is very similar to human mother’s milk and rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, but it’s lower in fat than cow’s milk.
Its medicinal benefits range from miracle creams to a cure-all for various ailments and is said to be easier to digest than cow’s milk.
Should it be part of your beauty routine?
It also contains anti-ageing and antioxidant ingredients. Indeed, the ancients were the first to recognise its healing powers and Cleopatra is supposed to have bathed in buckets of ass’s milk to improve the appearance of her skin.
As well as being a key ingredient in modern beauty products for its hydrating powers – donkey milk has four times the vitamin C as cow's milk, and contains casein, lactose, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D, and E, according to donkeymilkbeauty.com. It can also help sensitive skin conditions such as eczema, and triggers fewer allergies than cow’s milk.
Where can I buy it?
But before you go rushing to the dairy department, farming for donkey’s milk isn’t that common, especially in the UK.
Donkey milk can’t be mass produced as easily as cow’s milk and female donkeys need to be milked by hand.
People who’ve tasted it say it’s ‘surprisingly pleasant’, doesn’t have any overt aromas and is very similar to skimmed cow’s milk, although a tiny bit sweeter.
However, a Swiss dairy company called Eurolactis sells whole freeze-dried donkey milk which can be taken as a nutritional supplement, Swiss donkey milk chocolate and donkey milk hazelnut cocoa spread – which you can always try massaging in to see if it has any anti-ageing powers as well as tasting delicious!
What else is it good for?
Closer to home, The Soap Kitchen sells Donkey Milk Powder, but it’s only to cosmetic standards, so can be used in sun creams and lotions, and is especially good when used in products for sensitive skin.
Along with the beauty benefits, donkey’s milk contains inflammation-reducing fatty acids that can boost heart health and it’s also reported to have many functional properties.
Can we take it seriously?
Scientific research papers on its potential benefits for allergies and skin complaints have multiplied over the past few years, but scientists suggest more clinical studies are needed.
So you may be glugging a glass in the near future, but not tomorrow.