The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

kumiss cures

Kumiss cures (according to Baedeker)

In 1858, Dr. Nestor Postnikov established the first "kumiss healing establishment" (кумысолечебное заведение) in Russia. Postnikov chose a location high up on the bank of the Volga and built a number of cottages. Anyone seeking the cure could come and rent a cottage for 100 rubles per month, including the cost of the daily kumiss delivery.

At this point you might find yourself asking, "What is kumiss, what does it cure, and what does this cure involve?"
Kumiss (again, relying only on Baedeker, pages 358-359):

also known as Milk Wine, is prepared by fermentation from mare's milk, and is said to be easily digestible and very nourishing. The process of fermentation produces lactic acid, carbonic acid, and alcohol, the first two of which aid digestion, while the latter imparts a slightly stimulating quality. The patient generally begins with one or two bottles daily and gradually raises the number to five.

Baedeker leaves the matter there, which is awfully frustrating if you are desperate to learn more about kumiss.

But perhaps it is just enough to prompt lots of good questions about how it came to pass that a Russian doctor began administering a regimen of fermented mare's milk - a product of the Central Asian steppe in general and, the area of Samara, of the local Bashkirs - to elite members of European society? 

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