Kombucha has been consumed for thousands of years and is a fermented probiotic drink that originated from China but oftentimes is credited to be originated from Russia. It is is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the SCOBY culture. The result can taste like something between sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use. It’s not what you’d imagine fermented tea to taste like.
The origins of Kombucha have become lost in the mists of time. It is thought to have originated in the Far East, probably China, and has been consumed there for at least two thousand years. The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty. It was known as “The Tea of Immortality”. It has been used in Eastern Europe, Russia and Japan for several centuries. It’s from Japan in 415 AD that the name kombucha is said to have come. A Korean physician called Kombu or Kambu treated the Emperor Inyko with the tea and it took his name, “Kombu” and “cha” meaning tea. Russia has a long tradition of using a healing drink called “Tea Kvass” made from a “Japanese Mushroom”.
From Russia it spread to Prussia, Poland, Germany and Denmark but it seems to have died out during World War Two. After the war Dr Rudolph Skelnar created renewed interest in kombucha in Germany when he used it in his practice to treat cancer patients, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The Kombucha Culture
The Kombucha culture looks like a beige or white rubbery pancake. It’s often called a ‘scoby’ which stands for ‘ Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts. The culture is placed in sweetened black or green tea and turns a bowl full of sweet tea into a bowl full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and health-giving organic acids.
As the Kombucha culture digests the sugar it produces a range of organic acids like glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, malic acid and usnic acid; vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamin C; as well as amino acids, enzymes. And of course there are all the benefits of the probiotic microorganisms themselves. The Kombucha culture is a biochemical powerhouse in your kitchen.
You might wonder if fermenting tea with yeasts would produce an alcoholic beverage. It’s a good question. The yeasts do produce alcohol but the bacteria in the culture turn the alcohol to organic acids. Only minute quantities of alcohol, typically 1% by volume remains in the kombucha brew.
With every brew you make the kombucha forms a new layer or scoby on the surface of the liquid. These can be left to thicken the scoby or can be divided, giving you spare cultures that you can store in some sweet tea in the fridge in case something should happen to your active culture.
WHY IS KOMBUCHA SO HEALTHY FOR YOU?
Kombucha around the world is considered a healing drink and it has some amazing health benefits.
It should be noted the kombucha can not heal, it just brings your body into balance to allow your body to heal naturally!
Here is a list of healing properties from drinking kombucha.
- Probiotics – healthy bacteria
- Alkalize the body – balances internal pH
- Detoxify the liver – happy liver = happy mood
- Increase metabolism – rev your internal engine
- Improve digestion – keep your system moving
- Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
- Cancer prevention
- Alleviate constipation
- Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue
- Reduce blood pressure
- Relieve headaches & migraines
- Reduce kidney stones
- High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer
- High in polyphenols
- Improve eyesight
- Heal excema – can be applied topically to soften the skin
- Prevent artheriosclerosis
- Speed healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
- Help clear up candida & yeast infections
- Aid healthy cell regeneration
- Reduce gray hair
- Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating
- Lactic Acid
Essential for the digestive system. Assist blood circulation, helps prevent bowel decay and constipation. Aids in balancing acids and alkaline in the body and believed to help in the prevention of cancer by helping to regulate blood pH levels.Acetic Acid
A powerful preservative and it inhibits harmful bacteria.
A natural antibiotic that can be effective against many viruses.
An effective preservative and encourages the intercellular production of energy.
Helps detoxify the liver.
Produced by the bacteria, it can break down to caprylic acid is of great benefit to sufferers of candidiasis and other yeast infections such as thrush.
Produced by the yeast, protects human cellular membranes and combined with Gluconic acid strengthens the walls of the gut to combat yeast infections like candida.