You may or may not have heard of raw milk. Unless you are already a an aficionado, your first response might be “Ack! Isn’t that dangerous?” Well, yes, if it’s from cows that are living in confinement and unsanitary conditions. But raw milk from a certified dairy is both statistically safer than pasteurized milk, and far more healthful. Large-scale pasteurization started in the 1800s, and while well intentioned, was only beneficial in direct contrast to the foul milk production practices of the time. Cows in urban areas were fed distillery slop, the acid remains of fermented grains, in what was probably the first experiment in recycling garbage into the food chain.
The slop – being an unnatural food – was very bad for the cows and they became emaciated and diseased. But they were still able to produce milk. The milk was of such poor quality that it could not be made into butter or cheese, but it could be sold. Subsequently, the death rate for children began to increase in cites. Pasteurization was a quick and economical solution to the milk problem.
A different solution had also been put forth, however, it was more difficult and expensive. Henry Coit MD suggested certified dairies. He started a Medical Milk Commission, which set standards of purity and cleanliness for milk production. Doctors valued quality raw milk for its healing properties and wanted to ensure a good supply. Certified dairies got a better price for their product. Around the turn of the century, many physicians relied on the use of certified raw milk for the treatment of diseases. No less than the prestigious Mayo clinic used raw certified milk with excellent results. Edema, psoriasis, heart failure, high blood pressure, prostate enlargement, tuberculosis and even obesity all responded to a diet of certified raw milk. The use of raw milk was advocated in medical textbooks of the time, and an 1884 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association recommends it as a treatment for diabetes, Bright’s disease, and gastric disturbances.
But raw milk from grain fed cattle is not adequate, only pasture feeding will provide the right nutrients. Milk from pasture fed cows provides more available calcium and phosphorous than either pasteurized milk of milk from cows confined in a barn. This is because heat treatment reduces the solubility of these minerals. Pasteurization also destroys 38 percent of B vitamins. Commercial pasteurized milk has as low as one quarter the vitamin C of fresh raw milk. Another benefit of raw milk is that it adds live enzymes to the diet. Enzymes are the chemical scissors that help us break down foods. The health benefits of raw milk include; lowered incidence of dental caries, health and weight gain in infants, longer life span in mice, and higher calcium content in bones.
But pasteurization also destroys elements that are not even in most doctors’ awareness. In the 1930s, Rosalind Wulzen discovered the Wulzen Factor, an ‘anti-stiffening’ agent. It protects from calcification of the joints, i.e. osteoarthritis. It also protected against hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland. Eating raw whole milk, raw cream, unheated molasses and raw sugar cane juice and green vegetables could reverse the syndrome. The active principles were isolated in raw cane juice and molasses, and raw cream, although not from green vegetables and it was determined that the Wulzen factor was not one of the known vitamins.
Americans no longer consume either raw milk – it is actually illegal in 16 states – or raw cane juice, and we eat far fewer vegetables than is good for us. Nor is the food industry likely to synthesize and add back in an element that has not been researched for 80 years. But Rosalind Wulzen’s research could have profound implications for those who suffer bone disorders, and why try to synthesize something when nature provides it for free? Raw milk is currently legal for sale in stores in 11 states including Connecticut and Maine. Several other states allow on-farm sales only, or one can search out a cow-share program. Websites that can help you locate raw milk include http://www.localharvest.com and http://www.realmilk.com.