What is Kefir?
Kefir (alternately kefīrs, keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros), purportedly from either the Turkish “keyif” (joy/pleasure) or “köpür” ((milk) froth, foam)is a unique fermented milk drink, more correctly healthy food, used for generations in Asia and revered for its health promoting properties. Real kefir can be produced only by traditional methods at home and only from original grains. These original grains, slightly yellowish “cauliflower” like things, are cca 5000 years old bacterial culture originating either from the Caucasian Mountains or monasteries in Tibet. These real kefir grains are complex symbiotic colony containing more than 35 probiotic bacteria proven highly beneficial to humans.
In the Caucasian Mountains is a legend Mohammed gave kefir grains to the Orthodox people. The “Grains of the Prophet” were guarded jealously since it was believed that they would lose their strength if the grains were given non-believers. Kefir grains were regarded as part of the family and tribe’s wealth and they were passed on from generation to generation as a well-guarded secret. For millennia, the people of the Caucasus enjoyed this healthy drink without sharing it with anyone else they met. Some other people from the West occasionally going to the Caucasus region heard strange tales of this unusual fermented beverage, which was said to have ‘magical’ properties on well being. Even Marco Polo mentioned kefir in the chronicles of his travels. However, kefir was unknown outside the Caucasus for all the time until the end of nineteen century when news spread of its successful use for the treatment of tuberculosis, intestinal and chronic diseases. At this time Caucasus region was under control of Russia and the Russian doctors working there had first hand experienced that kefir was greatly beneficial to human health. Professor Dr. Kanschlikow devoted a large part of his life to kefir research and in 1893 published first scientific study of the healthy effects of kefir. Although Russian working in Caucasus were able to occasionally drink kefir, kefir grains were impossible to get.
However, the members of the All-Russian Physician’s Society were determined to obtain kefir grains in order to make kefir available to their patients, and developed plan to get kefir grains. One young and beautiful girl, Irina Sakharova, was given this mission. She was sent to Kisslovods and then to the court of a local prince, Bek-Mirza Barchorov. She was instructed to charm the prince and persuade him to give her some of the best kefir grains kept in their ruling family for centuries. Unfortunately, it didn’t go according to plan. The prince, fearing retribution for violating religious law, had no intention to give away any “Grains of the Prophet”. However, he was very taken by the beauty of young Irina and didn’t want to lose her either. After some adventures and dangers, Irina succeeded and in September 1908, she returned to Moscow with a cup of real kefir grains. Today, most of the real kefir grains around the globe, are babies of Irina’s original cup of grains. Smaller kefir grains originate in Tibet and are common among kefir lovers too.
Kefir is considered a nutritious drink suitable for inclusion in special diets and in the therapy of gastrointestinal disorders. Kefir is very similar to cultured buttermilk, yogurt and any other fermented milk. The gross composition and caloric value are very similar to that of milk, except that about one-quarter of the 5 percent lactose will have been converted to lactic acid. This will be of benefit to lactose-intolerant persons. Furthermore, the bacteria contained in the kefir will provide lactase, the enzyme in short supply in lactose-intolerant individuals. In addition, kefir contains 0.01 to 0.1 percent ethanol and 1 percent titratable acidity.
Wherever available in the world, kefir is considered an aid in the therapy of gastro-intestinal disorders. Evidence of success in such treatment is largely based on centuries of anecdotal observations. Kefir organisms have not been widely studied, and controlled studies with kefir and consumers have not been conducted. The organisms that have received the most attention by health scientists are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. These organisms appear to have several effects including: better lactose digestion, control of pathogenic or otherwise undesirable intestinal microorganisms, reduction in blood serum cholesterol, reduction in colon carcinogens, and immune system stimulation to resist infections. (M. Susan Brewer)
Wonder Healing Benefits:
From experience of generations, here are some of the properties possessed by the real Kefir.
* Regulates the body’s immune system and improves resistance to diseases.
* Regulates the blood pressure, blood sugar and cures diabetes.
* Heals the lungs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma, allergies and migraine.
* Has a positive influence on the heart and blood, heals circulatory conditions.
* Heals various eczema, all skin disorders and leads to cure of acne.
* Heals the kidneys, the urinary tract and protects prostate.
* Has a positive influence on cholesterol, osteoporosis and rheumatism.
* Supports enzymes production and heals the pancreas.
* Improves the liver and gallbladder, regulates bile production, influences positively hepatitis.
* Regulates metabolism, digestion and heals diseases of the colon.
* Heals colitis, diarrhea, catarrh, reflux, leaky gut syndrome, candidasis and more.
* Rebalance the intestinal flora and stomach acid, heals duodenum and cures ulcers.
* Produces its own antibiotics, eliminates unfriendly bacteria, cures internal and external inflammations.
* Heals lactose intolerance and provides full digestibility of milk based products.
* Produces own anti-cancer compounds, prevents metastasis, and leads to cure.
* Slows the aging process, smoothes and improves skin, hair and muscle tonus.
* Reduces anxiety, depression, increases energy and feeling of well being.
* Produces all necessary vitamins and beneficial bacteria needed for our healthy daily life.
For generations, the people from Caucasus give kefir to newborns as a substitute or addition to mother’s milk, they also drink pure glacial water; breath unpolluted air, eats living foods and thickened kefir as bread or dessert. Their verified life span in a full physical and mental acuity, lies between 110 – 140 years (the last is not a rare occurrence), they have no cavities, they are free of diabetes, prostate, tuberculosis, digestive disorders, cancers and other common diseases of our highly evolved society. Clearly, prevention and living food is the best thing for health and longevity.