The Guardian reports on a Newcastle University study to be published in the Journal of Dairy Science this month and notes, among other things, that we should be drinking donkey milk as it’s higher in protein and lower in fat than cow milk.

In the nineteenth century physicians believed that donkey milk helped to cure tuberculosis, and milch jennies were kept in Berkeley Square in Mayfair for wealthy consumptives. I’m not sure if it was effective; the only snippet that comes to mind is the fact that mare’s milk is closer to human breast milk in composition than cow milk is. Also, how much milk does one get out of a donkey? And would one have to resort to the ancient Scythian practice of putting a blow-pipe to the lady equid’s, er, parts, to bring the milk down?

If you don’t fancy drinking donkey milk, you can always do a Cleopatra and bathe with it. The Swiss firm Câlinesse has an entire range of donkey-based cosmetics from moisturiser to bust firmer to eye cream. Naturally it is taken only from very happy donkeys.

Lactose intolerants beware though: it contains considerably more lactose than cow milk.

11.11.2012 Update: donkey cheese is the most expensive in the world, at £800 per kilogram. This fact courtesy of this Telegraph image of a Serbian woman milking a donkey.

Published by Susanna Forrest

Author of The Age of the Horse: an Equine Journey Through Human History and If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of Equine Obsession.

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