NPR

Mare's Milk For Health? Europeans Look To Horses For Ancient Remedy

Chekhov and Tolstoy swore by its curative powers. While mare's milk remains a niche product, its reputation as a health elixir is causing trouble for European producers in a more regulated age.
A foal nurses from a mare at the Lindenhof Stud in Brandenburg, Germany. While mare's milk remains a niche product, its reputation as a health elixir is causing trouble for European producers in a more regulated age. Source: Susanna Forrest

Goat's milk. Sheep's milk. Soy milk. Almond milk. The grocery store shelves these days are filled with alternatives to dairy from cows. But in Europe, interest is growing in milk from a surprising source: horses.

While the idea of sipping mare's milk might sound unusual to Western readers, it's been a traditional staple in Central Asia, where it is often fermented into "koumiss," a mildly alcoholic drink that was adopted by Russian doctors in the mid-19th century as a treatment for tuberculosis. Patients no less illustrious than the writers Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy swore by its curative powers. In Europe today, mare's milk remains a niche product, but its reputation as a health elixir is causing trouble for producers in a more regulated age.

That includes dairy

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