as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the
Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional food.
It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for
initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After
being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar,
b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY”
(symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made
with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green tea too.
You can make kombucha yourself at home or buy it for $3–$5 a bottle at most health food stores and some coffee shops.
An article published in the journal Food Microbiology established that the following probiotics make up this health elixir:
this cocktail of good bacteria interact together in a unique way to
produce some unbelievable health benefits for those who drink it.
research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014, researchers
from the University of Latvia say the following about the health
benefits of kombucha:
It is shown that [kombucha] can
efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main
properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and
promotion of boosting immunity.
We agree! In fact, according to research there are five main health benefits of kombucha.
The detoxifying capacity of kombucha is immense. A perfect example is in its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity.
one study, the liver cells were protected from oxidative injury and
actually maintained their normal physiology, in spite of being exposed
to a toxin! According to researchers, this was “probably due to its
antioxidant activity and could be beneficial against liver diseases,
where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”
Naturally, the antioxidant
prowess of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create
mayhem in the digestive system. However, the greatest reason kombucha
supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics and enzymes.
Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers.
No surprise to us, in some instances it’s even proven to be as
effective as drugs like Prilosec, which are commonly prescribed for
heartburn, GERD and ulcers.
Kombucha can also help heal candida
yeast from overpopulating within the gut because it helps restore
balance to the digestive system. Kombucha is a great way to
fight candida because it contains live probiotic cultures that help the
gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida
yeast. Kombucha does have bacteria, but these are not harmful pathogen
bacteria, instead they are the beneficial kind (called “apathogens”)
that compete with “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive
One thing to mention here is that candida or other
digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix and
symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. This doesn’t
mean that kombucha isn’t effective or is exacerbating the problem, just
that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times
some patience or trial and error is needed.
Kombucha’s ability to invigorate people is credited to the formation of iron that
is released from the black tea during the fermentation process. It also
contains some caffeine (although in very small amounts) and b-vitamins,
which can energize the body.
Through a special process known as chelation,
the iron released helps boost blood hemoglobin, improving oxygen supply
to tissues and stimulating the energy-producing process at the cellular
level. In other words, by helping the body create more energy (ATP),
the ancient tea can help those who regularly drink it stay energized.
4. Immune Health
The overall effect that kombucha has to modulate the immune system is best seen in its ability to control free radicals through antioxidant measures.
Clinically proven to decrease oxidative stress and related immuno-suppression, a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) was discovered during the kombucha fermentation process that’s not found in black tea alone.
Scientists suspect that DSL and the vitamin C
present in kombucha are its main secrets in protecting against cell
damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the
immune system. Also, we know the probiotics found in kombucha support
the immune system.
5. Joint Care
Kombucha can help heal, repair and prevent joint damage
in a number of ways. Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines, which
increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. This supports the
preservation of collagen and prevents arthritic pain.
In the same way it supports joint collagen, it also supports collagen
of the entire body and reduces the appearance of wrinkles on the skin.
6. Cancer Prevention
Kombucha is also beneficial for cancer
prevention and recovery. A study published in Cancer Letters found that
consuming glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in
President Reagan even reportedly drank kombucha daily as part of his regimen to battle stomach cancer.
7. Weight Loss
from a study in 2005 showed evidence that kombucha improves metabolism
and limits fat accumulation. Though we need to see more studies before
we can confirm these results, it makes sense that kombucha supports
weight loss since it’s high in acetic acid (just like apple cider
vinegar is) and polyphenols, which are proven to help increase weight loss.
is simple to make yourself, and because it can be a bit costly to buy
bottled kombucha almost every day, we recommend you give it a shot.
is a simple recipe for making your own kombucha at home. This recipe
makes about eight cups of kombucha, but you can also double the recipe
to make more and you still only need one SCOBY disk.
Yields: 8 cups
Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling,
remove from the heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the
2. Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.
Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes
about one hour). Once it’s cooled, add your tea mixture to your big
jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.
Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel, and try to
keep the cloth in plate by using a rubber hand or some sort of tie. You
want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place,
but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.
5. Allow the
kombucha to sit for 7–10 days depending on the flavor you’re looking
for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a
longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment even longer and develop
more taste. Some people have reported fermenting kombucha for up to a
month with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days
to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation you’re
the warmer your home is, the less time the kombucha needs to ferment.
Once you’re happy with the taste, put your kombucha into smaller glass
bottles (or whatever type of bottle fits in your refrigerator), and
refrigerate the kombucha for at least 24 hours to allow it to cool and
finish carbonating. Once it’s cooled, you are ready to drink your
*Note that as the fermentation process happens,
you will notice that the SCOBY disk “grows” a second SCOBY disk. Many
people call the SCOBY that you purchased and used to make the kombucha
the “mother” SCOBY and the second SCOBY that grows the “baby.” The
mother SCOBY is located on top of the baby.
You can actually use
the newly formed baby SCOBY to create a whole new batch of kombucha, so
you don’t want to throw out the baby disk. Store the baby SCOBY in a bit
of already-made kombucha in a glass jar while not using it, so you have
it on hand to start a new batch when you want it. It will “active” for
several weeks when it’s stored in some kombucha at room temperature on a
counter top. While some people prefer to keep the mother scoby disk
attached to the baby, others prefer to throw away the mother SCOBY once
the kombucha is finished fermenting.
It seems to work well both
ways and keeping the mother disk hasn’t caused any reported problems or
contamination. According to some sources, the mother disk can keep
fermenting new kombucha batches for about another month after its first
use, but then will become inactive and should be thrown away.
recipe above is for a basic, unflavored kombucha. You can try adding
unique flavors like fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice; ginger root “juice” made by blending ginger and water, blended berries, fresh-squeezed orange, pomegranate or cranberry juices; or many other natural and low-sugar flavors.
recommend doing this after the kombucha has fermented and is ready to
drink, although some people to prefer to add flavor-enhancers to the
kombucha a day or two before it’s done so the flavor can intensify.
Either way to seems to work well, but keep in mind that berries and
other perishable fruits will not last as long as the kombucha itself, so
those will limit the time you have to store it.
Another thing to
keep in mind is that flavored, bottled kombucha tends to have more sugar
than the plain kind. Some brands add very low-sugar flavors like lemon,
lime, or ginger juice which won’t jack up the sugar content, but look
out for kinds that are high in added sugar and aggravate health
people experience great benefits drinking kombucha and have no negative
side effects. However, there are possible interactions and side effect
symptoms to be aware of, mostly in populations that already have
weakened immune systems and digestive problems. Side effects seem to be
more of a risk when making homemade kombucha because contamination is
possible and the SCOBY disk and finished products both aren’t tested for
quality control, like they are when larger manufacturers produce them.
If you’re going to brew your own, pay careful attention to using sterile
equipment, clean working spaces and high-quality ingredients.
small percentage of people have experienced stomach upset, infections
and allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. Because kombucha has a
high level of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for
people with digestive problems like stomach ulcers, heartburn, or any
sensitivity to very acidic foods.
It’s a good idea to start with a
small amount in moderation and gradually work your way up to drinking
more in order to see if you have any negative reaction to it. Stick to
about 8 ounces per day, especially in the beginning. To limit your risk,
buy pre-made kombucha that’s been tested for bacterial contamination.
groups that might want to limit their kombucha consumption include:
people with leaky gut syndrome, those with very poor immune systems and
pregnant women. More information can be found below about risks related
to those groups:
Use caution if you have a weakened immune system
who have compromised immunity due to certain viruses like HIV/AIDS need
to be careful about consuming kombucha, since there is always a
possibility that the yeast can grow harmful bacteria that can cause
illness. This is especially true of homemade kombucha, where
contamination is more likely to happen if it’s brewed in an unsanitary
Women who are pregnant or nursing
While kombucha hasn’t been studied much at all in pregnant women, there is always concern that pregnant women
shouldn’t consume alcohol or caffeine, both of which are present in
kombucha in small amounts. Before more formal research is conducted
showing that it’s completely safe, pregnant women are advised to err on
the safe side and avoid kombucha, or at least to enjoy it in small
Those who cannot tolerate even low levels of sugar, caffeine or alcohol
is brewed using black tea and sugar, which when fermented turn into
alcohol is very small amounts (only about 1 percent of kombucha is
believed to be alcohol). For people with existing diabetes,
kombucha likely won’t cause much of a problem considering it’s very low
in sugar (about 2 grams per 8 ounce), but it’s worth being careful and
monitoring blood sugar levels and related symptoms. For those with
digestive problems like IBS
or anxiety disorders, the low level of caffeine in kombucha is also
something to be conscious of, since caffeine can sometimes aggravate
As you can see, kombucha boasts many health
benefits, and you can even make it yourself for a very low cost so you
always have some kombucha within arm’s reach! So drink up for your
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