In the last few years, Kombucha has taken the world by storm. It has grown from being a New England drink brewed from fermentation of sugar cane, to a trendy drink that millions of people across the world are making at home.

Kombucha is a beverage made by fermenting a sweetened tea or juice with a yeast culture, usually originating from the fermentation of black or green tea. It is claimed to be beneficial for the health of the human body.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that’s been enjoyed for centuries, and is now a modern staple drink. Kombucha, also known as “drink of health” or “yogurt in a bottle”, is a fermented beverage made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to tea and sugar.

Hey, folks, do you know what I could use right now? A murky liquid containing an unappealing brown and mushy mushroom. Mmmmm.

Let me tell you about kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha).

Kombucha mushroom and beverage

Kombucha is a fermented tea made from the kombucha fungus.

What exactly is kombucha and where did it originate?

Kombucha didn’t appear out of nowhere in a mystical jungle. Rather, about 220 BC, the kombucha culture was created, either by design or by accident. Because the kombucha brew’s liquid basis is tea, scientists believe it originated in China.

The term “kombucha” is believed to be derived from the Japanese word “kombu,” which means “seaweed.” Others claim that the drink was created by a man called Dr. Kombu.

Despite the fact that kombucha has been around for millennia, it did not become popular until the early 1900s. Josef Stalin, the Soviet leader, embarked on a quest to prevent cancer, which led him to kombucha. As a result, the drink’s appeal has risen. (It’s difficult to picture Stalin as a fascinating spokesman in 2009, although he may be less irritating than Vince the ShamWow guy.)

Kombucha is made by fermenting tea and sugar with bacteria and yeasts, resulting in a “tea fungus.” While green tea may be utilized, black tea with white sugar seems to be the most effective.

Here’s a quick rundown of how kombucha is made:

  1. The tea has been steeped.
  2. After adding sugar to hot tea, it is cooled.
  3. Vinegar or a kombucha brew that has already been made is added.
  4. Tea fungus is added to the tea.
  5. The tea mixture is placed in a jar and sealed.
  6. Incubated for 7-10 days at room temperature (it can ferment for longer than 10 days, but acid levels must be regulated)
  7. The beverage is collected after passing it through a cheesecloth.
  8. The flavor varies throughout fermentation, and it’s frequently likened to carbonated apple cider.

Everything you need to know about kombucha

The kombucha culture is a cellulose-encased collection of yeast and bacteria. When touched, it has the form of a big pancake and is slick and flexible. Kombucha is a live, growing organism that is quite similar to the cultures that activate yogurt and make sauerkraut from cabbage.

Bacteria and yeast

Let’s speak about our fermentation pals, yeast and bacteria.

Yeasts are little fungus with just one cell. To replicate, kombucha yeasts will “bud” rather than disperse spores. Vitamins, minerals, sterols, and proteins are all found in yeast.

Yeast may be found almost wherever carbohydrates are available. The more carbohydrates there are, the faster they proliferate.

Yeasts produce CO2 when they consume carbohydrates, which causes bread to rise and kombucha to fizz. They may also assist with grain fermentation. You’ve probably heard of beer (typically made from barley) and sake (from rice).

What yeasts start in kombucha, bacteria finish. When yeasts decompose sugar in kombucha, they produce ethanol, B vitamins, CO2, and acids, which the bacteria need.

Bacteria consume ethanol and produce acids, similar to how vinegar is made (albeit vinegar does not typically include yeast). Fermentation bacteria also like sugar and B vitamins, as well as ethanol, making them ideal for digesting yeast waste.

Beneficial bacteria’s function

Bacteria aren’t necessarily harmful, despite what disinfectant manufacturers would want us to think. Consider the following example:

  • Many different kinds of wine are made using this one-two yeast-bacteria fermentation method.
  • Bacteria may be found in fermented tempeh, soy sauce, cheese, yogurt, and vinegar.
  • Bacteria may also turn your compost pile into a mound of organic material that can be used to produce fresh vegetables.
  • And you’re basically a container for zillions of friendly microorganisms all throughout your body and in your gut.

There’s a lot of evidence that eating bacterially fermented foods — or even just straight-up friendly bacteria, like a probiotic pill — is beneficial to our health.

However, we don’t know for sure if kombucha belongs in this category of “healthy for humans.”

Fermentation

If yeast and bacteria are left to their own devices with nothing to eat, they will starve. The process starts when you provide them with food, such as black tea and sugar.

The following are the key ingredients in the finished brew:

Ethanol

Approximately 0.5 percent. Regular beer, on the other hand, typically contains around 5%.

Antimicrobial activity of ethanol and acetic acid against pathogenic bacteria has been observed, which may offer protection against kombucha brew contamination.

After bottling, the alcohol level of raw kombucha brew may rise. It may sometimes reach a percentage of 2 to 5%.

CO2 / CO2 / CO2 / CO2 / CO2

This makes the kombucha brew bubbly by carbonating it.

Sugar

Added as a food source for yeasts and bacteria.

Vitamins

When yeasts break down carbohydrates, vitamins like B and C are left behind.

Acetic acid is a kind of acetic acid that

Although this substance is considered healthful, it may react with alcohol and produce acetates if left sitting for too long. Those should not be eaten. You should avoid drinking kombucha if it smells like acetone. Vinegar also contains acetic acid.

Lactic acid is a kind of lactic acid.

The fermentation process produces this as a byproduct. It’s possible that it has a laxative effect.

Lactase & invertase

Enzymes that aid in the digestion of carbohydrates.

Acids are a kind of chemical that may be (including amino, gluconic, glucuronic, usnic, others)

Gluconic acid is a preservative that is believed to serve as a detoxifying agent in the liver.

Usnic acid has been shown to inhibit the replication of some viruses, however the presence of usnic acid in kombucha has yet to be determined.

Toxins may be bound and eliminated with the assistance of glucuronic acid. According to some research, kombucha brew may not include glucuronic acid at all, but rather 2-keto-gluconic acid.

Duh. It’s an easy error to make.

Caffeine

Tea provides a little quantity.

Cellulose

It’s most likely pieces of cellulose if you notice little particles in your kombucha brew.

Most kombucha drinks will have flavorings added to them. Herbs, ginger, and fruit juice are all popular ingredients.

It’s important to remember that kombucha is made from tea. Tea’s health advantages have been extensively researched. See What You Should Know About Tea for additional information about tea.

What is the significance of kombucha?

Kombucha costs about $3 per bottle, and yearly sales may soon surpass $100 million.

kombucha-bottled

Various studies from the mid-nineteenth century suggested that kombucha intake had health benefits, although the methodology is unknown. Kombucha’s image was tarnished in the 1950s when it was suggested that it could cause cancer.

As more individuals explored alternate methods to illness prevention in the late 1900s, kombucha resurfaced.

Supposed advantages

The health benefits of kombucha are mainly dependent on consumer testimonials and the businesses who sell it.

You may be wondering when “bigger paycheck,” “increased attractiveness,” and “ability to levitate” will be added to the list after reading it.

Testimonials claim that kombucha brew can:

  • Detoxification is a process through which the body is cleansed of toxins.
  • Lower your cholesterol levels.
  • Reduce the risk of atherosclerosis
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Reducing inflammatory issues
  • Reduce the symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism, and gout.
  • Improve the health of your liver.
  • Hemorrhoids may be cured by restoring normal digestive function and balancing intestinal flora.
  • Obesity can be reduced, appetite can be controlled, and metabolism may be improved.
  • Reduce kidney calcification and prevent/heal bladder infection
  • The glandular system should be stimulated.
  • Defend yourself against diabetes
  • Increase cancer resistance and age-related issues
  • Bacteria, viruses, and yeasts are all susceptible to antibiotics.
  • Boost your immune system
  • Asthma and bronchitis relief
  • Menstrual irregularities and menopausal hot flashes may be reduced.
  • Improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails
  • Reduce your desire for alcohol.
  • Reduce tension and nervousness, as well as headaches and sleeplessness.
  • Enhance your vision

This is a very amazing list. And it’s virtually completely unsupported by clinical evidence.

Toxicity and side effects

Kombucha isn’t all fun and games.

Stomach discomfort, allergic responses, renal difficulties, liver toxicity, skin disease, and metabolic acidosis have all been reported.

There is a very real risk of pathogenic bacteria and yeast infection while making kombucha at home. When kombucha is made in a non-glass container, hazardous materials such as lead may leak into the finished product. This isn’t good.

Producers of kombucha claim that keeping it raw in a business environment is safe, and that pasteurization should be avoided since it destroys beneficial microorganisms. True, but pasteurization also eliminates harmful germs. Both raw and pasteurized kombucha products retain other beneficial components.

How much?

Starting with modest quantities of kombucha brew, no more than 4 ounces per day, is suggested. The maximum daily consumption would be no more than 16 ounces.

Conclusions and suggestions

Kombucha tea has no well-documented applications. It’s possible that the advantages are related to greater tea drinking.

If you start drinking kombucha, be cautious since the danger to benefit ratio is pretty equal. Drinking modest quantities of kombucha (4 to 8 ounces) from reliable wholesalers seems to be safe. Still, research is scarce, so proceed with care.

The healthiest beverage choices seem to be water, water with lemon, and normal tea.

Bonus points

Concerns have been raised by the FDA regarding the potential of fungus, such as Aspergillus and Candida sp., contaminating kombucha and causing illness in susceptible people.

Anthrax has been linked to the use of kombucha topically in one instance.

Kombucha may cause allergic reactions in certain people.

Sauerkraut, pickles, soy sauce, beer, yogurt, and cheese are all examples of fermented foods.

Kombucha has been dubbed the “remedy for eternal life.”

Kombucha brew has been shown to decrease discomfort and enhance sleep in rats.

The toxicity of kombucha seems to differ with species.

Regarding my kombucha research:

A search for “kombucha” on Pubmed, a clinical research database, produced 38 results. The number fell to 15 when I turned on the “human only” restriction option. Let me tell you, nothing in the article titles seemed promising.

Keep in mind your previous statistics. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data,” according to a professor’s adage.

References

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

The book of kombucha, by Petro BA. 1996, Ulysses Press.

Dufresne C & Farnworth E. Tea, kombucha, and health: a review. Food Res Int 2000;33:409-421.

Medicinal and therapeutic potentialities of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) – A review, by A. B. Sharangi. Food Research International 42:529-535, 2009.

Subacute (90 days) oral toxicity study of kombucha tea. Vijayaraghavan R, et al. Biomed Environ Sci 13:293-299 in 2000.

Kombucha fermentation and antibacterial activity, Sreeramulu G, et al. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48:2589-2594.

Studies on the toxicity, anti-stress, and hepato-protective effects of kombucha tea. Pauline T, et al. Biomed Environ Sci 14:207-213, 2001.

Iowa, 1995 – Unexplained Severe Illness Possibly Associated with Kombucha Tea Consumption

A case of kombucha tea toxicity, Sunghee A, et al. J Inten Care Med 2009;24:205-207.

Symbiosis between microorganisms from kombucha and kefir: possible relevance for kombucha function improvement, Yang Z, et al. 23 Sep 2008, Appl Biochem Biotechnol (epub).

Cutaneous anthrax linked to the Kombucha “mushroom” in Iran [letter]. Sadjadi J. JAMA, vol. 280, no. 15, pp. 1567–1568, 1998.

www.naturaldatabase.com is a website dedicated to natural medicine.

Yeast ecology of kombucha fermentation, Teoh AL, et al. International Journal of Food Microbiology, vol. 95, no. 1, pp. 119-126, 2004.

Kombucha brewing a health drink revolution, Roth S. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is a newspaper published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kombucha, the fermented tea: Microbiology, content, and purported health benefits. Greenwalt CJ, et al. 63:976-981 in Journal of Food Protection, 2000.

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Kombucha tea is being touted as a healthy alternative to soda, and for good reason. It is a fermented tea that is packed with probiotics and antioxidants. Since it is fermented, its naturally acidic and can help balance your pH and improve digestion.. Read more about kombucha dangers benefits and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of drinking Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been shown to have many health benefits. It is believed to help with digestion, reduce inflammation, and improve immune function.

What should I know about kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been around for thousands of years, and its believed to have originated in China. It is made by fermenting sweetened black or green tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

What does kombucha do to your stomach?

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been shown to have many health benefits. It can be used as a probiotic, help with digestion, and even lower cholesterol.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • kombucha
  • kombucha drink
  • what is kombucha good for
  • what is kombucha
  • kombucha tea
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