Shann Jones director of The Chuckling Goat, believes that goats milk kefir, an Eastern European probiotic drink made from live kefir grains, can help to alter the response of the immune system and reduce allergic inflammation for people suffering with the symptoms of eczema and atopic dermatitis.
“Kefir modulates the immune system,” says the Chuckling Goat website. “Certain compounds in kefir may play a role in regulating immune function, allergic response, and inflammation.”
The Chuckling Goat claims that a 21 day course of kefir will permanently repopulate your gut with the good bacteria that effectively helps the immune system work out who are the goodies and baddies when it comes to fighting off infections and foreign bodies.
So does kefir help eczema?
I gave it a try and, while it was no miracle cure for eczema, it did make a noticeable difference in the way my skin felt and reacted, so I decided to make my own and include it in my armoury of natural eczema remedies.
Here’s how I make live kefir probiotic for eczema:
Live kefir culture kit:
- Live kefir grains
- Kilner jar (use a plastic or glass container, some metals can damage the grains)
- Plastic Sieve and spoon (again use plastic as some metals can damage the grains)
- Muslin or kitchen paper and elastic band
Step 1. Find a source of live kefir grains
Happy Kombucha sells live kefir grains and delivers them in a little sealed pouch. You need to ‘reawaken’ them before you can start with your first proper brew. You can brew with any whole, full fat milk (the kefir grains need all that lovely lactose to eat to keep growing) but Happy Kombucha recommend that you use organic milk to ensure that there are no nasty antibiotics in there to kill off the bacteria. And I use organic, raw goats milk for the supposed anti-allergic benefits.
Step 2. Make sure everything is clean then add your kefir grains to your milk
First make sure everything is scrupulously clean – you want to avoid any cross-contamination with any other bacteria that might be growing on your kit. Add your kefir grains to around 250 ml of milk. Cover with a clean cloth or piece of kitchen paper and secure with an elastic band. The kefir grains need some air to breath so don’t seal with an airtight lid.
Step 3. Leave for 24-48 hours
(no longer or the kefir grains will run out of lactose to eat and will starve and eventually die)
Step 4. Pour your milk through a plastic sieve
Strain out the kefir grains, then repeat step 2.
Step 5. Discard your first couple of batches
I know this feels like a waste of time, but your first proper brew will really benefit. Your live kefir grains are waking up and getting ready to make your fantastic fizzy first brew.
Step 6. Time for your first real brew.
Pour your milk over your now awakened and enlivened kefir grains and wait for 24-48 hours.
Step 7. Strain your kefir grains
Strain your live kefir grains through your plastic sieve and pour your beautiful buzzing with good bacteria homemade kefir into a pot that you will be happy to keep in your fridge.
Step 8. Enjoy!
The Chuckling Goat say that the kefir will last for around 28 days in the fridge so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy it. You can also freeze it once you’ve made it and it wont come to any harm
What if I need to go on holiday and pause my live kefir brewing?
If you need to go on holiday you can place your kefir grains in around 250 mls milk and put it in the fridge. The kefir grains should stay alive for around 2 weeks – the colder temperature slows down the fermenting process.
Where did kefir come from?
Very little is known about the true origins of live kefir grains and even after many studies scientists are still unsure about how the bacteria forms and where it originated. There are some theories that they were discovered by accident in the inside sheep’s stomachs (yum) and some believe that they are in fact the mythical ‘manna from heaven.’
But what we do know is that the grains and their reproduction have been handed down for generations. There really is something quite magical in knowing that the live kefir we brew today is probably the product of same stuff they were brewing in the Caucasus Mountains many ancient moons ago.
Where can I buy ready-made kefir?
But if you can’t be bothered to do all of this yourself – and I don’t blame you, while it is easy-peasy there are some days it does feel like a bit of a hassle – you can buy some from the Chuckling Goat, a beautiful goat farm in West Wales, it’s the best commercially available stuff out there.