Kefir 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 wellbeing. 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.