This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Healing Power of Camel's Milk

I've heard people mention drinking camel's milk for quite a long time, and assumed that it was a non-allergenic milk being used as a substitute for people allergic to other milks.  It turns out I was very wrong-  camel's milk is reported to have healing properties, including healing allergies, reducing inflammation, regulating the immune system to decrease auto-immune problems, and increasing the immune system's ability to fight pathogens.  Camel's milk does not contain casein, the protein that most people who are allergic to milk react to, so it is often tolerated fine by people with dairy allergy.  What really got my attention is that it is said to support the immune system much the way IV/IG (intravenous immunoglobulin) treatment does, something I've been interested in for a long time as a treatment for PANDAS but am not able to afford.

We began by drinking several ounces per day and then slowly increased to 6 oz each per day.  We noticed benefits immediately, but the benefits were also dose-dependent so increased as our intake increased.  We seemed to keep the improvements when we stopped taking it.  It tastes a little salty but has a mild flavor so has been one of the easiest interventions to do as well as one of the most effective.  My kids were happy to drink it as "hot chocolate"- I would warm it slightly (not too much to keep it raw), and mix in some carob powder and honey.  It is expensive, however, because we get ours shipped frozen from a farmer halfway across the country, otherwise this would be a daily treatment for us.

This is the intervention that put Roo over the line to recovery.  We started the camel milk during a several weeks break from an educational program that the kids were doing, and when we came back people were surprised and impressed at the rapid improvements Roo experienced.  His language and speech improved dramatically, he was more calm and at ease and socially outgoing, and generally less anxious.  People also commented on how healthy I looked, and now that I know how sick I actually was, it makes sense.  I think the immune balancing properties are what made such a difference for us.

Here are several general sources of information about camel's milk that I have found helpful:

Camel Milk: Healing or Hype? From Julie Matthews' site Nourishing Hope

Got (Camel) Milk?  Is an article that appeared in The Autism File magazine

Camel Milk for Health

An unusual source for antibody–based therapeutics
This article briefly explains why the antibodies found in camel's milk are special and can have more potential benefits for cancer treatment among other things.

The nutritional composition of camel's milk (this page contains a lot of information about the exact amount of various nutrients that occur in camel's milk)

There has even been a TED talk about camel milk.  I was actually not very impressed with it overall;, but it did have some interesting information, so it was still worth watching.

Studies Regarding the Safety and Effectiveness of Camel Milk:

Consumption of camel's milk by patients intolerant to lactose. A preliminary study.
"Except for two patients, who had mild reactions to the maximum dosage of camel's milk (250 mL), the acceptance was excellent. Pasteurization of camel's milk did not affect tolerance. Also, most of the patients showed significant clinical reactions when drinking very low amounts of cow's milk. Camel's milk can be considered an option for the individuals intolerant to lactose who present symptoms when ingesting cow's milk."

Camel Milk for Food Allergies in Children
(A small scale study with impressive results)

Mast cell stabilizing potential of Camel milk (Camelus dromedaries) in the management of asthma
"These findings suggest that camel milk (Camelus dromedaries) possesses mast cell stabilizing properties and therefore can be a candidate for the antiasthmatic treatment and thus, it may be used in the management of asthma."

Camel milk as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes: verification of a traditional ethnomedical practice.
"These results suggest that, as an adjunct to standard management, daily ingestion of camel milk can aid metabolic control in young type 1 diabetics, at least in part by boosting endogenous insulin secretion."

This page from Camel Milk For Health has a list of relevant studies regarding the nutrient content of camel milk, it's effectiveness at treating diabetes and autism, and more.  There is a lot of information on this site so I encourage you to look around.  It includes recordings of several doctors who presented findings at a symposium to study camel milk.

This page from Camel Milk USA also lists a number of studies, mostly about diabetes, but some other ones as well. 

Where to Get Camel Milk:

Dessert Farms

Camel Milk USA Discount Club

Camel Milk America

Camel Milk Association

OASIS Camel Dairy (they sell soaps, lotions, and other personal care products made of camel milk)

Camilk USA

This page from Camel Milk for Health lists a number of sources, including some outside the US.