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Origins of Donkey Milk: Using Ancient Remedies to Achieve Timeless Beauty

Origins of Donkey Milk: Using Ancient Remedies to Achieve Timeless Beauty

Donkey milk has been used cosmetically throughout history, with prominent Queens such as Cleopatra and Poppaea Sabina using its anti-ageing properties to preserve their beauty. Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who earned the title of the ‘father of medicine’, proclaimed the medicinal benefits of donkey milk in 460 BC, prescribing it as “treatment for liver problems, fevers, infectious diseases, joint pains, nose bleeds, and wounds.” Source: Hippocrates. The Genuine Work of Hippocrates. Vol. 1. Sydenham Society 1843

However, Hippocrates was not the only individual to acknowledge the healing powers of donkey milk. Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra, who was renowned for her surpassing beauty, was known to manipulate the rejuvenating properties of soured donkey milk to preserve her flawless complexion, by bathing in it daily.

When milk sours, the sugar lactose is converted into lactic acid by bacteria. When lactic acid is applied to the skin it causes the surface layer to peel off, uncovering a smoother and blemish free layer of skin. Of course, nowadays, this is known more colloquially as a chemical peel, and without knowing it, Cleopatra set the precedent for modern day natural cosmetics.

Yet not only did she use the milk for chemical peels, Cleopatra also used donkey milk as a face wash, as it contains essential fatty acids that are rich with vitamins C, B and D12 that assist in minimising the effects of ageing.

The beneficial properties of donkey milk spread to Rome, with Roman Empress Poppaea Sabina, the second wife of emperor Nero, using donkey milk to maintain her virtuous appearance. Poppaea would wash her face 7 times a day with donkey milk, as she believed that within the milk, “lurked a magic which would dispel all diseases and blights from your beauty”. Poppaea would apply the milk 7 times daily to preserve the whiteness of her skin, which ancient Roman culture associated closely with virtue and beauty. 

Ancient roman authors attested to the benefits of donkey’s milk, including the naturalist Pliny the Elder, who advocated: "Donkey milk effaces wrinkles in the face, renders the skin more delicate, and preserves its whiteness: and it is a well-known fact, that some women are in the habit of washing their face with it seven times a day, strictly adhering to that number Poppaea, the wife of the Emperor Nero, was the first to practise this indeed, she had sitting-baths, prepared solely with donkey milk " Source: Pliny the Elder. The Natural History. Book XXVIII “Remedies derived from living creatures”. John Bostock 1855.

Donkey milk has been incorporated into the beauty regimes of the modern day, with cosmetic brands acknowledging the effectiveness of its anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are now used to refine the appearance of skin. As such, we can thank the expertise of beautiful women throughout history, such as Cleopatra and Poppaea for acknowledging the benefits of donkey milk, and it's vital incorporation within ancient beauty regimes that now transcend history.

Looking to achieve the same flawless beauty as Cleopatra and Poppaea?

Olivolio follows the same principles as earlier Beauty Gurus, using ancient remedies to achieve timeless beauty. Our natural donkey milk products are sure to make your skin as flawless as Cleopatra’s, Click here to shop our products now.

comment 2 comments

Clara calendar_today

Wow!!! I never knew this was so effective, great read!

Shannon calendar_today

What a fantastic read! and an even greater product!

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