The earliest possible consumption of probiotics was through the intake of fermented dairy and other food products. The people in ancient civilizations have made the habit of administration of the fermented food products due to the beneficial effects on their health. A good knowledge and thorough observation about their food was what made possible for such habits. The probiotic origin through dairy products can be traced back to the very beginning of the earliest civilizations. Their mention can be even found within the sacred books of Hindus and Christians. A large number of traditional fermented food products were routinely used by people all around the globe. Many of those foods were in use due to their potential therapeutic roles in humans even before the bacterial existence was discovered.
Probiotics in Ancient Times:
The great Greek physician Hippocrates had advocated the functional food concept a long time back through his theory, ‘let food be your medicine’. The historical association between Lactobacillus and fermented milk produces enough evidence that during that time the dairy product consumption was as good as the intake of probiotics. The preparation of dairy products through fermentation methods also presents one of the oldest methods of choice for preserving food for prolonged period of time. According to available literature the concept of fermented milk existed in Middle East a long time before the era of Phoenicia. During the early 7000 BC, the traditional foods of the Egyptians like Laban Khad and Rayeb were prepared through the fermentative action of bacteria what we now know as probiotics. They believe in traditional claims that even Abraham credited healthy habit of fermented milk consumption for his longevity.
Although the use of fermented milk products was initially practiced in the East and Middle parts of Asia, it was rapidly spread to Russia and Europe by the Mongols, Huns and Tartars when they raided these regions. Subsequently, a number of fermented milk products including kefir and yoghurt have found their origins in the Eastern Europe or Russia.