During the manufacture of cheese, milk is curdled by means of rennet. The milk coagulates and a hard part (casein) and a liquid part (whey, also called lactoserum) appear. Whey is therefore the liquid that escapes from the curd when it is left to drain. It is transparent, yellowish-green in colour, and possesses a slightly tart flavour that is fairly pleasant.
The History of Whey
In 1749 a patient in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, who the medical treatments of the time were unable to cure and to whom the doctors were giving little time left to live, journeyed to the mountain village of Gais (in the canton of Appenzell) and was healed of his disease by drinking whey on a daily basis.
Was this patient aware of the past success of treatments based on drinking whey, the liquid known to the Greek doctors of Antiquity as “healing water”, or had he heard the peasants of this mountainous region talk about whey's healing properties?
We don't know but news of this patient, who had survived despite his doctor's terrible diagnosis, soon spread and numerous disease-sufferers flooded to Gais to benefit in turn from the miraculous healing properties of whey. A health spa was soon created in this tiny village. It was followed by the opening of more than 160 others in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. These spas were most active in the middle of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century. The renowned benefits of the whey cure brought emperors, princes, and aristocrats from all of Europe to take the cure in these spas, to be healed of their ailments or simply to improve their general health.
What is most amazing about whey is that its healing properties have been recognized since antiquity and modern scientific research has only confirmed the knowledge of the ancients. The whey cure is used today just as it was twenty-four centuries ago. Few remedies or cures can boast of such a long history and such unanimous agreement about its virtues.
Hippocrates (466-377 BCE), the father of medicine, recommended whey to his patients. Following him, Galen (131-299 CE), another founding father of medicine, advised his patients about the whey cure. For a time he even directed a treatment centre sponsored by the famous school of Salerno at the foot of the “milk mountain” in Italy, between Sorrento and Naples.
The healing Properties of Whey
Whey has numerous healing properties. Contrary to other remedies or foods that act only on a single organ or in a single manner, whey's healing action works in multiple fashions. It acts on the intestines, liver, and kidneys, while encouraging assimilatory and eliminatory functions.