Chuckling goats’ kefir for eczema

chuckling goatsMany moons ago on a Turkish boat I tried something which I was told was like yogurt. It was kefir and I thought it was vile. All these years later I have come across kefir in a completely different way. You may have heard Shann Jones on BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright Show. She is American, married to a Welsh farmer, and because her son had eczema they decided to get a goat and ensure that he had goat’s milk products instead of cow’s milk which can exacerbate the condition.

Out of the goat’s milk Shann decided to make soap and skin cream which cleared her son’s eczema. They also found out how to make the live culture kefir which is quite prevalent in Eastern Europe. It is a natural probiotic which has very strong powers to heal the gut and repopulate it with healthy bacteria. It still tastes vile but it’s incredibly effective.

Rich, Shann’s husband, went into hospital for a major operation and when he returned home he had a large incision that was infected with MRSA. Shann used essential oils and Manuka honey on the wound and completely cleared the infection.

Now they have 55 goats and a thriving online business where you can buy a 21 day supply of Kefir, special soaps containing essential oils and a kefir cream to put on the skin. And they have lots of success stories, some of which will appear on this website soon. It’s not just skin conditions that can be helped. As so many health issues come from an unhealthy gut, people have found that it can be helpful for psoriasis, acne, eczema, IBS, and osteoarthritis, etc.

Shann says of eczema, ‘Steroid creams alone never resolve the problem, because it’s not a skin condition, it’s a gut disorder.’ She has had many people writing in with photos – like these ones here of eczema that has healed after a course of kefir.

Research is currently going on into the healing powers of kefir.

Natural cosmetics

LoveLula picWhen you put something on your face, you want to feel confident that it’s not going to cause harm and give you skin problems. However, harsh chemicals in cosmetics are causing a huge rise in skin allergies, as highlighted last year by the BBC programme Watchdog.

Other problems with cosmetics have been exposed too – tiny plastic microbeads are added to facial and body scrubs, toothpastes, and shower gels instead of natural alternatives. These microbeads are ending up in the seas and getting into the food chain through fish, so not only are they going on our skin, we’re eating them too.  To be fair after the Independent on Sunday highlighted this problem they have had assurances from leading companies including Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Boots, Marks & Spencer, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Reckitt Benckiser, Clarins, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Superdrug, that they will phase them out.

Dr Ian White, a leading dermatologist at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, was reported as saying that more and more of us are suffering from skin allergies, including eczema, and that two chemicals used in cosmetics and toiletries as preservatives are being linked to increased numbers of people suffering from eczema.  The chemicals are  methychloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone (often referred to as MI).

The  answer is to go for genuinely natural skin care products, and that means reading labels very carefully or going to shops and websites who only sell certified natural skin care. To add to the problem many toiletries are labelled ‘organic’ when only 5 to 20 per cent of their ingredients are actually organic.  We recommend going to LoveLula who only sell truly natural cosmetics and make up.  Try Love Lula.

Kim Allan, director of Botanical Brands, a company that stocks only natural and organic skin care products, says, ‘The inclusion of plastic microbeads in skin care products is of real concern, not only to the environment but to our health as well.  Increased consumer awareness for the negatives surrounding the use of plastic microbeads is therefore extremely important.’

She recommends that people need to be educated in the health benefits of using natural ingredients as alternatives, such as ground apricot kernels or the natural exfoliating action of clays or honey.   ‘As well as being natural, safe and environmentally friendly, natural exfoliators are good for the skin and the health of our body too,’  Kim continues. ‘Our customers can be reassured that Botanical Brands only stocks natural and organic skin care products that do not contain plastic microbeads.’
For information about The Good Scrub Guide visit and to find out more about Botanical Brands Limited go to


How many people do you know who have hay fever, eczema, asthma or who can’t eat certain foods?

It is claimed that one third of the British population – around 20 million people – suffer from an allergy. There are only 33 NHS allergy specialists in the UK and waiting lists run up to nine months.

There are far too few allergy specialists in the UK, and only a handful of allergy clinics available to patients. Allergic reactions can be caused by a variety of allergens:

• Pollen (hayfever)
• House dust mites (asthma)
• Wasps or bees
• Foods – particularly dairy and wheat
• Chemicals in household cleaning products, cosmetics and toiletries
• Pesticides sprayed on foods

And allergies are on the rise with over 6,000 people a year being admitted to hospital. One quarter of these are as a result of anaphylaxis which is a very severe reaction to certain substances – often nuts – and can be life-threatening. An anaphylactic reaction can induce:

• Swelling of the lips and face
• Breathing problems

Many people are frustrated by the lack of knowledge GPs have and may find it difficult to be referred to a special allergy clinic as there are around 12 full time clinics in the whole country and about the same part-time, whereas there should be one at every hospital.

Food intolerances

Choosing to go on a food elimination diet can often help to improve health enormously. In a trial carried out by the Centre of Health Economics at the University of York and commissioned by Allergy UK it was found out of 5,286 people suffering from various health conditions that:

75.8 per cent improved after identifying food allergies
38 per cent had gastro-intestinal problems
13.7 per cent had skin problems
10.7 per cent had nerve problems
10.1 per cent were respiratory conditions
9.4 per cent were psychological
6.2 per cent were musculo-skeletal – aches and pains

According to YorkTest three foods that many people are intolerant to are:

Chilli peppers – found in curry and eaten by millions shows up in 9 per cent of YorkTest’s food intolerance tests
Kiwi fruit

What you can do

Often diet has much to do with allergic reactions and visiting a nutritionist can prove to be the answer, or visiting a complementary therapist in any of the following:

• Homeopathy
• Naturopathy
• Acupuncture
• Herbal medicine
• Chirokinetics
• Nutrition
• Electronic Gem Therapy
• Chinese Herbal Medicine
• Ayurvedic Medicine


Christine Boothman woke every morning at 2 a.m with a terrible headache which lasted until 11 o’clock each morning. By this time she felt incredibly tired which was made especially difficult as she works as a nursery nurse with noisy children. The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with her, but when she went to YorkTest and had a food intolerance test she found she was intolerant to beef, eggs, dairy and wheat. She cut them in October 2007 and hasn’t had a headache since.

Natalie Tadman, 32, is an art teacher who has had eczema since she was a child when she had patches on her face and hands. Whatever treatment she was given did not help but after taking a food intolerance test she found that she needed to cut out bread, dates and wine. She is now in control of her eczema more than she has ever been.

Go to our Therapies A-Z page to find out more.


The Allergy Bible by Linda Gamlin. Click on the Amazon ad.