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Donate milk and ground snail shells – good balm in Rome

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

The contemporary mosaic shows Cleopatra taking a bath in donkey's milk
The contemporary mosaic shows Cleopatra taking a bath in donkey's milk

Donkey’s milk and ground snail shells were the best-selling lotions in Ancient Rome. The effective action of donkey’s milk is already mentioned by Hippocrates (460-370 BCE). Pliny the Elder, in turn, mentioned the healing properties of milk.

Already Cleopatra VII took baths in donkey’s milk to keep her skin beautiful and young. There is a legend that for one bath more than 700 female donkeys were needed.

Poppaea Sabina (30-65 CE), the second wife of Emperor Nero, also used such bathing. According to the sources, about five hundred donkeys were milked every day so that Poppaea could bathe in their milk. Sabina Poppea claimed that donkey milk has an invigorating effect on her skin.

Sources
  • Donkey milk: Ancient elixir of life experiences modern-day resurgence, 27.12.2014
  • Siegel Jessica, Asses' milk and Melons, 1993

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