A Swiss company called Eurolactis recently announced they’ll be launching the milk in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia. And Eurolactis doesn’t plan to stop at milk: It’s also launching a high-end donkey milk chocolate bar, made by a master Swiss chocolatier.

Whats my opinion? Frankly, I’ve never tasted donkey milk, and I hadn’t heard of ingesting it, or products made from it, until very recently. So I did a little analyse. Here are six interesting things I learned.

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Its a( very) old trend

There are accounts of Hippocrates, the father of medication, extolling the virtues of donkey milk. There are also records of its popularity in ancient Rome, and it was used medicinally in France up to the 20 th century. In other terms, drinking donkey milk is not unprecedented.

Its nutritionally different from kine milk

Compared to other types of animal milk, the donkey variety is actually closest to human breast milk, based on its pH level and nutritional makeup. It also contains less total fat than cow’s milk, and packs more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Natural substances in donkey milk have been shown to enhance immunity, which may be helpful for people with conditions like asthma, eczema, or psoriasis.

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There is some research on its benefits

I actually observed a handful of studies in the National Library of Medicine archive related to donkey milk. One, published this year in the periodical Current Pharmaceutical Design , concluded that donkey milk might help prevent artery hardening, thanks to its ability to distend blood vessels. Another study, from the Journal of Food Science , deemed donkey milk a pharmafood for its nutritional, nutraceutical, and functional properties. After test the product, these researchers concluded that although donkey milk contains a high sum of lactose, when its fermented into yogurt it’s a viable option for people with lactose or cows milk intolerance.

People are already drinking it

While it may seem odd to many of us, current realities is people around the world are taking advantage of this milk and its benefits. For example, in 2011 the BBC reported that more than 50 percentage of the donkey milk produced at a farm outside Bologna, Italy, is sold to pediatric units, for children who cant consume cows milk. Not to mention, it likely savours better than it sounds; many people say it’s odorless and the texture resembles low-fat cow’s milk.

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Its part of a big beauty trend too

In my searches, I came across a number of skin care products featuring donkey milk as the superstar ingredient. I also read on various skincare forums that many people watched positive improvements in their eczema and with their sensitive skin after switching to donkey milk soap. And once again, I detected the knowledge of these benefits is nothing new; there are even reports of Cleopatra bathing in donkey milk to keep her skin appearing youthful.

Well probably ensure more products to come, but they’ll be pricey

Judging from the 269,000 outcomes on Google when I searched for donkey milk, I think its safe to say it’s definitely a thing, and will likely continue to gain popularity. However, donkeys don’t render as much milk as cows do. In fact, it reportedly takes 15 donkeys to make a gallon of milk. That’s one main reason that cheese made from donkey milk( called Pule) costs a hefty $1,000 per pound. Donkey milk farms are also smaller. So the limited supply plus all those desirable health benefits will probably mean a higher price for consumers.

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I personally dont eat dairy, and I dont guess donkey milk will convert me. But I have clients who really enjoy dairy, including some who struggle with skin conditions like eczema. For those folks, I’d say its definitely worth a try. Plus based on the studies to date, I bet well watch even more about donkey milks potential health benefits in the future.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with masters degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Often find on national Tv, shes Health s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the athletics nutrition consultant to the New York Yankees, previously consulted for three other professional sports teams, and is committee certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Sass is a three-time New York Times best-selling writer, and her newest book is ” Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast . ”

This article originally appeared on Health.com .

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