Donkey's milk has medicinal properties
A common belief in rural Tamil Nadu is if one drinks donkey's milk regularly, one will be able to put in hard physical work.
Even a crying baby giggles after drinking donkey's milk. So goes a Tamil proverb that highlights the medicinal properties of donkey's milk.
A common belief in rural Tamil Nadu is 'if one drinks donkey's milk regularly, one will be able to put in hard physical work -- like donkeys -- famed for their trekking and carrying heavy loads on their back'.
But donkey's milk has become a rare commodity now, unlike cow's milk or goat's milk, which Mahathma Gandhi used to like.
Allimuthu, a native of Sannasinallur near Jayankondam in Perambalur district, who sells donkey's milk on the Turaiyur-Athur road, says donkey's milk is not only rare but a seasonal commodity.
'We are about 10 families involved in the sale of donkey's milk. We are camping near the small town of Turaiyur only to sell donkey's milk', he says.
Allimuthu and others bring their donkeys to Turaiyur and milk them on the roadside. 'Customers can buy fresh milk from us, whatever quantity they need', he adds.
Donkey's milk however is not poor man's milk. It finds place in the history of many countries. Legend has it that Queens and Princesses famous for their beauty had taken bath in donkey's milk.
Donkey's milk is beyond the reach of common man for it sells at ₹600 a litre. Each donkey gives around 1.5 litres a day. The milk is normally given to babies in a conch. A baby is supposed to take 50 ml, says Dr Kannan, a Siddha doctor.
They market donkey's milk, saying it gives babies good resistance power, to resist infection, virus etc. It also gives strength. Curious people who see donkeys being milked do agree that their milk is good but say the price is prohibitive.