Mare’s Milk Use to Boost Immunity Increases Amid Pandemic in Kazakhstan

NUR-SULTAN – The treatment of COVID-19 is still experimental. Even now, Kazakh doctors are preparing to change the eighth edition of the clinical protocol for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. Meanwhile, many Kazakhs have started to search for non-traditional prevention and treatment means such as saumal (fresh mare’s milk), kymyz (fermented mare’s milk), and tail fat. For Central Asian nomads these were quintessential products with high nutritional value.

A boy drinking saumal (fresh mare’s milk) at a farm near Kokshetau. Photo credit: tengrinews.kz.

Owners of small and large farms in the Akmola Region have seen a drastic increase in demand for saumal amid the pandemic, reported tengrinews.kz.

A small farm owner with six horses near Kokshetau recently spoke with Kokshe TV about the increased demand for fresh mare’s milk. The farm owners stress that the clients come all the way from the city and nearest villages for a cup of saumal. Saumal “lives” for only a few hours after milking and then loses most of its beneficial properties. People, thus, sign up beforehand to come specifically during the milking hours at the farm.

“There are a lot of clients now. It is like an irruption [of clients]. We do not even have time to make kymyz (fermented mare’s milk). Every two hours from eight in the morning I milk a mare. And they drink all the milk right there,” said farmer Kenzhegul Badel.

“We’ve been coming for it (saumal) for a week, twice a day. [It is] very nutritious and full of vitamins. The result is tangible. [When our] children get a little ill, [we] immediately [give them] milk to strengthen [their] immunity,” said client Izmukhan Yeskendirov.

Although scientific studies have found many benefits to saumal and kymyz, there is no evidence that mare’s milk or tail fat can prevent or treat coronavirus. The Kazakh doctors, nevertheless, recommend drinking mare’s milk as a supplement to support the immune system.

Almaty’s chief part time pulmonologist Saule Kassenova recommended patients who recovered from COVID-19 to work on rehabilitating their lungs with regular breathing exercises, and consumption of kymyz and shubat (camel’s milk).

“Since we are talking about rehabilitation, the methods of traditional medicine are still important. We know about the very good, healing properties of national drinks – kymyz and shubat. Patients can take them if they do not have concomitant pancreatitis or other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract,” she explained at a July 13 press briefing.

“The mare’s milk contains a storehouse of vitamins necessary for the human body. Saumal is close to breast milk by trace elements after goats,” said Sulen Ilyasov, the head of the Akmola regional health department.

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