Types of Kefir

Kefir, known in various names such as kephor, talai, mudu kekiya, kewra, and bulgaros, is a slowly-growing milk food product. Originally from the Caucasus region’s mountainous areas, its most basic form is grains fermented in milk. Kefir grains will ferment milk from various types of mammals, cattle is particular.

Fresh kefir grainsThe grains will continue to multiply and grow in the mammal’s milk. Some of the most common mammalian milk used for fermentation are cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and sheep’s milk. The nutritional and chemical composition of kefir will then vary according to a lot of factors, one of which is the type of mammalian milk used to ferment it. New methods of fermentation have sprung in recent years. People are finding out that kefir grains can be fermented in other liquids besides mammalian milk. Some of these liquids are soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, even fruit juice, coconut juice, and ginger beer.

Basically, kefir grains can be fermented and can grow anywhere if all the growth conditions and requirements are fulfilled by the liquid. Sugar in milk is not a requirement for the formation of the sugars in the kefir itself. Rice hydrolysate can be used as a good alternative for milk sugar. Soy milk shows a good fermentation environment for kefir grains. The proteins that could help in the synthesis of the nutrients affect how the kefir grains will grow in size and change in appearance. The yeast in kefir makes it an ideal component for sourdough bread too. It can be used as buttermilk substitute for baking. Kefir has become a staple ingredient in some dishes all over the former Soviet states. It can also be used as a milk substitute for cereal and granola.

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Top 5 Alternative Herbs for Today’s Natural Medicine Cabinet

There are a lot of herbs now that we know to have more to them than mere superstition. Using alternative medicine or herbs have been proven to have a lot of healing potential, and every home medical cabinet can benefit from having some of these natural substances.

Here are 5 of the very best to stock in your medicine cabinet, whether for crisis moments or merely for maintenance.

  1. Kratom – This legal sedative-stimulant herb is also an excellent analgesic, one that can kill pain with the best of them. The best part is that this herb doesn’t have the same depressive qualities that many opiate-based painkillers have: it’s all natural and it even gives the user a little perk-up, with its mildly euphoric qualities.
  2. Turmeric – Another excellent natural analgesic besides being a great spice if you love Indian food, turmeric is best used specifically for dealing with pains causing by inflammations, as it naturally relieves swelling of tissues. Arthritics, for instance, will find their pains relieved almost instantly from consumption of turmeric—and who says they have to take it straight? They could consume the herb through a delicious curry to make the treatment process much more enjoyable, after all. This is one of the things that my doctor recently told me about. Take note that there are some studies being carried out too that may link curcumin, a substance found in the spice, to reduction of Alzheimer’s Disease plaque in the brain.
  3. Andrographis – Andrographis paniculata is a plant native to India that just might be your natural solution to the common cold from now on. It has long been used as a medicinal herb in its native India, and now it has been proven to reduce the typical symptoms of the common cold, from fatigue to a runny nose. It is superb at fighting respiratory infections.
  4. Cinnamon – If anyone in your family suffers from high blood sugar or high cholesterol levels, it may be wise to keep cinnamon on hand. This lovely spice has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels as well.
  5. Rosemary – If you fry or grill food often, you should know that heterocyclic amines will likely be in abundance in your food. That is a concern since they are carcinogens. If you want to reduce their amounts, add rosemary to your food before cooking, as it has been proven to reduce heterocyclic amine levels.

Recent Studies: Kratom and the U-District

Mitragyna Speciosa also known as Kratom (as more popularly known in Thailand) is known to produce a morphine-like effect on people upon ingestion. According to a study conducted on kratom eaters in Thailand, the plant contains several alkaloids so that eaters experience a prevailing pleasant mood “with a strong desire to do manual work.” This is beneficial to users who are mostly known to be manual laborers and jungle hunters. However, the same study reveals that “withdrawal symptoms occur, and psychiatric problems arise after prolonged use.”

Kratom LeavesA study conducted by the Journal of Medical Toxicology argued that the use of kratom can cause seizures and withdrawal symptoms that include abdominal pain, cramping, sweating and diarrhea.

In a more recent study conducted in the U-District, a number of professors from the University of Washington revealed that more and more students have turned to using kratom. One of the students confessed that the South-East Asian plant “makes you feel relaxed and mellow,” which could “last about 45 minutes to an hour.”

In February this year, UW psychology professor Jaime Diaz observed that students find kratom attractive for the fact that it is placed on the DEA’s list of Drugs and Chemicals of Concern and that kratom consumption leads to addiction according to the DEA. The professor said, “The DEA doesn’t realize the psychology of making something even more glamorous. You never would tell (someone), ‘Don’t ever do this.’ It’s the first thing they’re going to do.”

In June, King 5 conducted an investigation on the negative and addictive effects of kratom. This, however, backfired as it only made the plant more popular among UW students.

Diaz believes organizations such as King 5 and the DEA should withhold making judgments until more research and studies are conducted on the kratom. “It’ll be controlled one way or the other,” Diaz said. “Until there is a bona fide clinical application, then you’ll have pharmacies that start to produce it.”

Future studies on kratom might just reveal that this natural drug can do more help than harm. An anonymous smoker in the U-District revealed that “kratom is natural” and therefore has little of the bad stuff that is found in other addictive drugs. It is now widely distributed in the U-District.

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