Whether you are new here in UB or been here for a while, you may have heard here and there certain things about the fatty parts of the sheep’s tail. It’s amazing some of the benefits that this little fat can bring, although it could be unthinkable at first, you’ll see how Mongolians have used this part of the animal for centuries and still do today.
We all have heard about the benefits of coconut oil. It’s basically in every beauty article, video, blog and recipes. Much like coconut oil, sheep tail fat has its own numerous benefits. But i’m sure animal rights activists, vegetarians and vegans would beg to differ using animal fats for daily human uses. There have also been numerous debates about the need for such outdated traditions, as we are no longer nomads and now have access to information and better consumer products.
Take it from a skeptic on such things, I have personally seen all the benefits of this. You don’t have to be on board here. This is an old Mongolian tradition, which like all traditional folklore remedies, it has not been scientifically tested, and is very controversial.
You chop and fry the fat just enough that it’s a light brown color. Strain out the fat bits so that you’re left with just the oil. Drain the oil into desired container. Here’s mine:
Once the oil is cooled, just the heat from your fingers is enough to melt it, much like coconut oil. Doesn’t smell pleasant though, but not revolting.
Some generic uses for the oil:
- For newborns and babies (To prevent and heal diaper rashes, skin eczema…for me this really did work! Instead of using so many different types of baby products, something for the face, the body, all the folds, diaper area I just used sheep’s tail fat)
- Moisturizer for really dry skin
- Healing external wounds, like minor cuts and scratches (like vaseline)
- Replacement for vegetable oil – for cooking (no unsaturated fats floating around here)
- Massage oil (massage therapies – stomach ache )
- Chest rub (during colds, instead of VapoRub)
To make sheep’s fat pacifiers you cut the tail in finger shapes, boil it only half-way so that the elasticity of raw fat is still intact. You don’t want bits of the tail to choke the baby while they suck on it.
OK, I know what some of you are thinking….EWWWWW right? Yep. It is sort of ewww but A LOT of Mongolians today still use sheep tail’s fat for their babies, especially newborns. Here are some reasons behind this “absurd yet popular” tradition:
- Prepares baby for solid food by stabilizing bowel movement
- Develops baby’s digestive immunity against certain food allergens
- Just because our parents told us to…
In recent times, there have been more and more negative opinions about this, and there are some fairly good points too, like:
- EXTREMELY unsanitary. It’s a half-cooked piece of animal body part.
- CHOKING hazard. No one can fully be sure if any part will come off when baby’s suck on it. There’s no safety guarantee at all.
- OUTDATED. What century are we living in? We as in we living in the city.
Let’s all just step back and think back to the time where all we knew was the nomadic lifestyle. We didn’t have access to cool, trendy pacifiers nor was there a smooth weaning method for introduction to solid food for babies. The sheep’s fat was used to wean babies and prepare their tiny bellies for all the meat heavy foods they would soon consume.
Anyways, our ancestors have perfected this method of which i’m sure was from a lot of trial and error but it is a part of an ancient line of nomadic culture that we can’t just neglect its existence. If you talk with any generation before the millennial they can surely give more benefits and the PROPER method of using sheep’s tail fat than this article. BUT let’s just leave it at this, we need to respect and know about our past, and the traditions of our culture, no matter how bizzare but also understand that we are a part of a rapidly developing urban community.
I’ve been told I had been given sheep’s fat to suck on when I was a baby…doing OK so far…
Comments from my 85 year old grandma:
“In my time as a child and young adult in the countryside, we didn’t have access to a lot of things, of which pacifiers were not even heard of. Sheep’s tail fat isn’t like other parts of fat from the sheep. It has a lot of healthy unsaturated fatty acids. In nomadic lifestyle during my time there wasn’t much to fear from half-cooked animal body parts because there wasn’t a lot of livestock diseases that can seriously harm a human as they are today. As a doctor, I believe that the sheep’s tail fat might not have the hospitable environment for a lot of bacterial growth unlike other parts of an animal. However, I think that in today’s economic circumstance and the settlement lifestyle of the people now, this ancient tradition should be limited or at least somewhat improved. The environment is not as clean and unpolluted with people and their waste as it was in my times, disease and sickness has become a norm and there isn’t enough turnaround period for nature to cleanse itself anymore.”
Modernizing sheep’s tail fat
Although controversial in its uses, it is undeniable the benefits of this fat, which is why a lot of local brands have developed the ingredient in ways in which it can be used daily by the modern consumer. They have taken out the unpleasant smell, all the hassle of dealing with the cooking and straining as well as sanitary concerns.
Take a look at some of these cute products (click on the photos to see more product details and more on the brands):