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Native Natural Remedies » Other Home Remedies » Kombucha Tea: An Ancient Probiotic

Kombucha Tea: An Ancient Probiotic

A Kombucha colony is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts (S.C.O.B.Y.) that produces a mildly frothy, cider-like liquid when it is allowed to ferment in a solution of sugar and green or black tea. The fermented liquid is called Kombucha Tea. The colony is sometimes called a Manchurian Mushroom, although its origins are unclear.

There are numerous legendary stories of how the “Manchurian Mushroom,” (although it is not a mushroom at all) made its way to to the western world. None can be verified, but it is known that the Kombucha first seemed to come to a more public awareness in the late 19th century in eastern Russia.

The brewing and drinking of Kombucha Tea is surrounded by an air of mystery. It has been called an “Elixir of Life,” by some who claim it has life-extending properties. And, there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the drinking of this tea can produce seemingly miraculous health benefits. There are reports of tumors shrinking, grey hair returning to its youthful color, an improvement in vision, an extension of the years of female fertility, and relief from arthritis, just to name a few.

Nearly everyone who brews and drinks Kombucha tea agrees that it imparts a warm, comforting feeling similar to that experienced from drinking a glass of beer.

Noting the reputed health benefits of the Kombucha, some ambitious scientists have tried to isolate beneficial constituents, particularly the antibiotic ones, from the colony in hopes of being able to patent them for commercial purposes. But, the symbiotic colony has made it impossible to do so, since one part of the colony cannot live without the other.

Because of the varying nature of the colony and its subsequent brew, it has been very difficult to test Kombucha Tea in a laboratory because no two brews seem to contain the same balance of constituents.

Kombucha is believed to have a pro-biotic effect, which means that it produces beneficial bacteria. This beneficial bacteria is believed to destroy hostile bacteria, although the exact cause of this action is unclear.

In a 2000 study published in the “Nutrition and Food Research Journal of Agricricultural and Food Chemistry,” Kombucha tea was evaluated for its action against a variety of pathogens and was found to have an “inhibitory effect,” against, “Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella sonnei, Escherichia coli, Aeromonas hydrophila, Yersinia enterolitica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae, Staphylococcus epidermis, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhimurium, Bacillus cereus, Helicobacter pylori, and Listeria monocytogenes…,” as well as “E. coli, Sh. sonnei, Sal. typhimurium, Sal. enteritidis, and Cm. jejuni… (Sreeramulu 2589–2594)”

Kombucha is also known to contain vital B-vitamins, essential amino acids and hyaluronic acid among other nutrients.

B-vitamins are wonderful therapy for people who under stress. Drinking Kombucha may help people suffering from stress or anxiety by calming their nerves and replenishing their vital supplies of this vitamin that are lost when the body and mind are under abnormal stress.

Amino acids are necessary for strong muscles and Kombucha tea is sometimes used by bodybuilders to stimulate muscle growth. Kombucha also has a reputation helping people to lose or gain weight. Drinking Kombucha before a meal is said to help people lose weight, conversely drinking Kombucha after a meal is said to help people gain weight.

Kombucha’s hyaluronic acid may account for some of the effects ascribed to connective tissue healing such as the relief of arthritis and the disappearance of wrinkles. It is found in the connective tissues of the joints and the eyes. Hyaluronic acid and collagen are depleted as we age. These substances hold moisture in our skin, so there may be a scientific basis for consuming Kombucha for its anti-aging properties.

Many people enjoy the process of brewing Kombucha Tea, which is something of an art. The recipe is simple. About a gallon of pure water is brought to a boil. Five or six tea bags or teaspoons of loose tea are steeped in the water for around 15 minutes to make a tea. A cup of sugar is added and dissolved.

When the tea cools, it is poured into a glass jar and the Kombucha colony is added along with a few drops of white vinegar to retard the growth of unwholesome mold. It is kept tightly covered with a coffee filter and out of direct sunlight until it ferments and begins to produce visible CO2 – like soda pop. This process takes around 7 to 10 days, but can vary widely due to the outside temperature and the condition of the Kombucha colony.

Many people find it is a viable alternative to soda and beers. Some have claimed that drinking  Kombucha mitigates the effects of drinking alcohol and will actually reduce the desire for it.

Like anything else, Kombucha Tea is not for everyone. Some people may not enjoy the flavor and it may not have healthful effects on everyone who drinks it. Never drink the tea if it smells spoiled or has a growth of blue-green mold on it.

Otherwise, enjoy your sparkling, healthy Kombucha Tea.

References: Sreeramulu, Guttapadu, Yang Zhu, and Wieger Knol, “Kombucha Fermentation and Its Antimicrobial Activity,” Department of Applied Microbiology and Gene Technology, TNO Nutrition and Food Research Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2000, 48 (6), pp 2589–2594. DOI: 10.1021/jf991333m Publication Date (Web): May 17, 2000 Copyright © 2000 American Chemical Society

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