by Lisa Batson, CNP
Kombucha has sprung up on the shelves of every big and small health food store over night. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, and it always calms my nerves a little bit and I know it’s good for my digestion. But at $4 a bottle at most retailers it’s an expensive daily habit. And like goji berries and noni juice and tons of other overnight heath food sensations, I’m often left wondering if it really IS all that good for me? So I started to do some research, and this is what I found.
Kombucha is a ‘living’ health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the kombucha culture. It is thought to have originated from China and has been used for thousands of years, and was referred to as the ‘tea of immortality.’ It seems that this super-tea has been around and healing since the Tsin Dynasty in 221 BC.
Very impressive history but what health benefits can Kombucha actually offer? The Kombucha culture is a mushroom, often called a ‘scoby’ that stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’. The culture is placed in black or green tea and turns the sweet tea into a delicious and bubbly beverage packed-with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and health-promoting organic acids.
As the Kombucha culture digests the sugar it produces a range of organic acids including glucuronic acid and lactic acid. It also produces vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamin C; as well as amino acids and enzymes. And the scoby itself is filled with a plethora of health-supporting probiotic microorganisms to support body systems.
In terms of health benefits, although research has not been extensively done to support its positive effects, thousands of years of experiential use support a wide range of health benefits for all body systems. Kombucha is well known for it’s detoxifying effect, which is caused by the all-mighty glucuronic acid produced in the fermentation process. This is the body’s most important detoxifier and helps the kidneys flush all the nasty things we put into our bodies. Kombucha is known to have antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties which help our immune systems fight off foreign invaders.
Some of the most common acknowledged benefits include increased energy levels, decreases digestive problems & candidiasis, and is thought to improve hypertension, allergies, cancer, HIV, chronic fatigue and especially arthritis.
Lastly, and most exciting to me, is that I recently found out how that I can make kombucha for myself at home in approximately two weeks of beautiful fermenting! So, I do plan to continue drinking kombucha as often as possible – but to spare myself the sticker shock, I am definitely going to start brewing at home.
If you want to give it a go, check out http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Kombucha-Tea for step by step info on how to make it along with a video.