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Camel Milk- Harnessing The Liquid Gold In Desert

It's not backing a community, religion, caste, or a particluar region. It is knowing our potential and working out on our weaknesses that matters the most. Knowing about camel milk is knowing more about our India, our diversity, our local communities, and the challenges they face in the name of growth and modernisation. This is not an article that merely focuses on promoting or publiscising camel milk, it is truly an article that would encourage reinforcing our full fledged campaign, MADE IN INDIA by supporting our local farmers and their long live livelihood, and the author Dr. Shruti Mishra made it complete.

Picture Credit : Dr. Naveen Kumar

Location: ICAR-NRC on Camel, Bikaner


Proverbial ship of desert earned its epithet due to its indispensability as a mode of transportation and draught power in the desert. Not so long back, there was a time when camels were the only means of transport in the difficult terrain of western India. But with the development of highways in 2014-2018, bus, tractors and trucks began to serve this purpose of transportation. Thus the camel which was once a requisite to sustain in deserts lost its significance and became unwanted. Gradually herders found it difficult to make enough income by selling camel to survive, so began to abandon their animals. Many herders even began to sell camel meat to earn some money for their livelihood although it was against their traditional norms. Eventually, it leads to illegal slaughtering, so the government took a decision to ban this selling and declared camel as a state animal in 2014.


According to the 20th Livestock Census, the camel population in the state dropped by a drastic 34.69% between 2012 and 2019. In 2012, there were 3.26 lakh camels in Rajasthan, which fell to 2.13 lakh in 2019. In Gujarat, the population declined from 30,000 to 28,000, in Haryana from 19,000 to 5,000, and in Uttar Pradesh from 8,000 to just 2,000. At present, the camel population in India is 0.3 million. And globally it is estimated to be 35 million heads as per FAO, 2019. Not just the camel population, communities such as Rabaris, Fakirani Jats, Samas, and Sodhas which have been herders for centuries are also a threat. These communities have vast knowledge about the rearing, behaviour, and feeding habits of the camel. secondarily camels are not a feral animal, they are domestic animals, they cannot survive on their own in wild .so there is an urgent need to protect these communities as well.


Picture Credit : Dr. Naveen Kumar

Location: ICAR-NRC on Camel, Bikaner

  • Scientific Name: Camelus

  • Common Name: Camel

  • Basic Animal Group: Mammals

  • Size: 6–7 feet in height

  • Weight: 800–2,300 pounds

  • Life Span: 15–50 years

  • Diet: Herbivore

  • Habitat: Deserts in Central Asia (Bactrian) and North Africa and the Middle East (Dromedary)

  • Population: 2 million domesticated Bactrian camels, 15 million domesticated dromedary camels, and less than 1,000 wild Bactrian camels

  • Conservation Status: The wild Bactrian camel is classified as Critically Endangered. Other camel species are not considered endangered.


For ages, camels are reared for milk, meat, and textiles especially in Middle Eastern countries. It is most closest to the human mother's milk. The medicinal value of camel milk is innumerable. Even in Ayurveda medicinal value of camel milk is referred under the classification of "DugdhaVarga". In the Quran, the camel has been mentioned as a miracle of God. In India, due to traditional taboo associated with camel meat. Initially selling its milk, or using its fiber or wool was prohibited among camel rearers. The only thing that their custom allowed was selling of male camel for draught, but gradually to the decline in demand for draught animal, and to sustain their livelihood, camel rearers /breeders are now giving up their traditional beliefs and taboos and many of them now aspire to sell camel milk.

Picture Credit : Dr. Naveen Kumar

Location: ICAR-NRC on Camel, Bikaner


Camel milk is emerging to be our new super food with tremendous health benefits. It is considered to be a health drink due to low cholesterol and fat content in comparison to cow milk. Minerals such as Na, K, Ca, P Mg Fe, Zn, Cu, and vitamins (A, E, C, and B1) are present in camel milk. Vitamin C content is 3-5 times higher and iron content is 10 times higher as compared to cow milk. Due to high vitamin C content, pH is comparatively lower and thus stability (longevity)time is more. It has lower lactose levels, and is, therefore, more easily digested by those who have lactose intolerance. Camel milk is a rich source of chloride because camels usually prefer to feed on halophilic plants such as Acacia to meet their physiological requirements of salts. The values of trace minerals viz. Fe, Zn, and Cu are also higher in camel milk.


Antidiabetic effect

There are 2 types of diabetes type 1 and type 2 . Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, 10% of all diabetes is of this form, it turns out to be fatal unless insulin is provided while in type 2, the body is unable to produce enough insulin,90% of diabetes is of type 2. Camel milk has been found to contain insulin or insulin-like substances. The camel milk whey protein is rich in half-cystine which has superficial similarities with the insulin family of peptides[the human, bovine, goat and camel milk all contain insulin but only camel milk insulin is resistant to the acid environment of the stomach and doesn't form coagulum. It is encapsulated in nanoparticles (lipid vesicles) that make possible its passage through the stomach and entry into the bloodstream.

Antimicrobial effect

Camel's milk has a natural inhibitory system. It is found that camel milk contains various protective proteins, mainly immunoglobulin's (Ig's), lysozyme (LZ), lactoferrin(LF), lactoperoxidase (LP) Peptidoglycan recognition protein(PGRP), and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAGase)that exhibit antibacterial and immunological properties. The levels of lysozyme and lactoferrins are reported to be two and three times higher than those of cow's milk, respectively. Lysozymes exert a broad spectrum of antimicrobial action. The antibacterial activity spectrum of camel milk LZ is similar to that of egg white and differed from bovine milk LZ. The lactoferrin is an iron-binding protein and divests the microorganism from iron by binding to it.


Camel milk has an anti-aging effect due to the presence of α-hydroxyl acids alpha- hydroxyl acids help to shed the outer keratin layer of dead cells on the skin (epidermis) by helping to break down sugars, which hold skin cells together. This helps in bringing out new cells, which are more elastic and clear. Alpha hydroxyl acids help to remove wrinkles and age spots and relieve dryness as they make the outer layer of the skin thinner and support the lower layer of the dermis by making it thick. Besides, liposome present in camel milk is applicable for a potential cosmetic ingredient to improve the anti-aging effect.

Antitumorogenic -camel milk induces apoptosis (programmed cell death)in human hepatoma (HepG2) and human breast (MCF7) cancer cells through apoptotic- and oxidative-stress-mediated mechanisms.


Camel milk contains lactoferrin which is an iron-chelating protein that removes free iron from joints of arthritic patients thus relieves arthritis.


Oxidative stress plays a major role in the pathology of neurological disease including autism .camel milk consumption leads to a significant reduction in the level of oxidative stress by an increase in antioxidant enzymes and non-enzymatic antioxidant molecule The consumption of camel milk in children suffering from autism shows reduction in autism symptoms and improved motor skills, language, cognition, joint coordination, and skin health

All these properties are of immense value for creating a global market for camel milk. A US-based market research company IMarc, in 2019 estimated that the the global market for camel dairy products reached a value of $5.98 billion and is expected to see moderate growth in 2020-25. The prices of camel milk are significantly higher than cow milk owing to its lower production and higher rearing cost but its immense health benefits outweigh its higher cost.



Kohler-Rollefson, a veterinary doctor from Germany, visited India in 1990, to study camel socio-economics and management patterns. Here she got engaged with the Raika people whose lives are traditionally built around camels. However she noticed that the Raika could no longer make a living from breeding camels, the camels were disappearing and the traditional camel culture is being lost.

She started Camel Charisma along with Hanwant Singh Rathore, a native of Jodhpur to sell camel milk products that could be a source of income for the herders. Frozen camel milk, packed in ice is sold directly to customers who are basically parents of autistic children, cancer patients, or those with food allergies. They are also making camel cheese, which has a greater taste, longer shelf life, and are easier to ship.

Camel Charisma products link:


New Delhi based company Aadvik foods (2016) were one of the first to enter into this business of camel milk products processing in India. It procures camel milk from about 200 herders in different locations across Gujarat and Rajasthan and collects between 800 and 1,000 liters of camel milk per day. This milk is either sold in liquid form, frozen dried, or powder form.

They started with just one SKU and now deals in 40 SKUs including soaps, chocolates, flavored milk, moisturizer, face wash, facial scrub, day cream, and body butter.

Aadvik Camel Milk powder

Aadvik Camel Milk Chocolate

Aadvik Camel Milk Body Butter

Aadvik Camel Milk Soap

Aadvik Camel Milk Day Cream


In 2018 Gujarat cooperative milk federation (AMUL) also entered into the camel milk market and tied up with Kachchh Camel Breeders' Association, Kutch Union, and Sahjeevan Trust for the procurement, processing, and marketing of camel milk. So far they have about 60 camel milk producers, holding around 2,000 camels, as members of village-level dairy cooperative societies.

Amul Camel Milk Powder

Amul Camel Milk Chocolate


There are many such Indian products that are veiled up under the cover of modernisation or the so called industrialisation, which attracts us towards the foreign products, wherein we ourselves are equipped with more potential indigenous local varieties to quench our thirst. Endeavoring this type of initiation would support our locals farmers, our local communities, our Indian local bussiness, our Indian market and atlast booming our Indian economy.

A major hindrance in the development of the camel milk market is not its supply, it is the demand that matters. Unless it grows, companies can't keep procuring a larger amount of milk each day. But considering its higher cost, for example, a 200 ml bottle of camel milk from Amul costs 25 Rs, whereas, cow milk costs around 45 Rs per liter. Similarly, a 200 g pack of freeze-dried camel milk from Aadvik costs 1,662 Rs, it is not possible to maintain an adequate demand-supply ratio. So, a cumulative effort from different concerned stake holders like local coooperatives, state government, veterinarians, and the central authorities is the need of the hour, to promote camel milk and its immense health benefits and take urgent measures for the conservation of camel populations and its herders.



Dr. Shruti Mishra

M.V.Sc. student

ICAR- Indian Veterinary Research Institute


Dr. Naveen Kumar


Dr. Amit Kumar Tripathy

Dr. Hemalatha Talluri

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