>>*Despite this I was making very "good" kefir. It was growing fast and well and according to Dom's site I thought that indicated healthy bacteria.*<<
Perhaps your kefir was *good*, and perhaps not... If you read the article, *Gut bacteria are what we eat* you would know why.
When we eat junk, or take pharmaceuticals, including Antibiotics , our microflora changes form and\or function. While some my be *killed* off, most are not... the change in form and function made it *appear* to Science in the past that the *bugs* were killed off, when they were not; they just changed form and\or function.
The quality of the milk, and whether it was pasteurized and\or homogenized, would dictate the types, form, and function of the critters you were culturing.
>>*I grow my own veg organically so I certainly get my hands dirty! I don't think excess hygiene is an issue. I was bought up on a farm with many animals.*<<
That is a good thing :-)
>>*I have a completely different take to the parasite thing. I am really bothered by the studies you refer to that encourage people to introduce parasites/worms to their bodies when I (for 1!) have had such health benefit from removing parasites. It flies in the face of my personal experience.*<<
If you understand the gist of the article(s), I do not think anyone is suggesting that you should intentionally *introduce* parasites. Likewise, you should not be afraid of them, but see them, when they are *expressing* badly and becoming noticable, as a sign that your *terrain* (body) is not healthy.
As an example... predatory insects, parasites, and microflora will devour a sick plant... while leaving a healthy plant alone... the healthy plant would attract beneficial\commensal insects, parasites, and microflora to help protect it from the predators.
The same is likely true with all life... healthy attracts good, sickly attracts bad. And that is why we see such success with many of the methods employed for ridding ourselves of parasites... However, also note, that many of the natural methods employ herbs, spices and certain superfoods.
Let me give you an example... lactoferrin (in raw milk - NOTE quality matters... poor quality may not work, and could make things worse), and raw colostrum, are both known to be beneficial in terms of ridding the digestive tract and body of any pathogenic microflora and parasites in children (one very compelling reason that breast feeding is best)... HOWEVER, they also *transfer* beneficial immuniological transfer factors, and beneficial microflora to the SAME digestive tract. How is it able to do both? Think about that... Likewise, oregano, like other herbs seems to have the ability to change the *terrain* and thus, change microflora form and function... and discourage bad parasites.
This is WHY herbal formulations are likely the preferred method... these formulas *change* the terrain quickly... and profoundly if the herbs are of highest quality.
The reason people get confused is that *most* classify microflora and\or parasites into one *catagory*... *bad*. They are not all *bad*... in fact, most are likely good and bad dependent upon the *terrain*... and in a given situation, such as a poor, polluted *terrain* one microflora or parasite may express badly... after all their primary *function* is to clean up diseased and pathogenic tissues... and the same microflora or parasite will express good in a clean, healthy terrain.
>>*I wonder if one parasite/worm is eating another and that is the reason for the good results.*<<
I think it has more to do with the health of the host and the *expression* of said parasite... these things only live where there is food for them to eat... a healthy, clean terrain (person) would not provide them with much food... and they would leave the host. However, we are constantly replacing and renewing our cellular structure so there is always a bit to eat... and clean up... and we WANT this, as it is beneficial to us... but NOT to the point that our cells are dying off faster than they are being replaced by healthy new cells... this is when parasites and *bad* microflora express themselves strongly, reproduce, and become noticeable to us.
They are performing a needed and functional service to us...
>>*There is definitely a correlation between allergies and parasites but mine have improved since doing parasite cleanses. It's a complicated business and you can only feel your way by your own experience.*<<
There is also a correlation between the health of the host and allergies\parasites. What did you do for parasite cleanses? Did you use herbal formulations? If so, you changed your *terrain* and their pathogenic functions changed if they could tolerate the change, or they left outright... I rest my case. :-)
If you used pharmaceuticals... you also changed your terrain, HOWEVER, you likely did little to make permanent changes in the terrain, and the chances for reinfection went up, UNLESS you also changed your eating and living habits in order to change your terrain for the better.