by Barbora Simek
At OMB, we’ve been drinking Kombucha for years finding it helps increase energy, and awareness and balance moods. We wanted to find out what the real deal was behind the drink that many Bikram Yoga practitioners are hooked on, and here is what we found…
No one really knows where Kombucha came from. Reports of the fermented drink go back thousands of years, the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and Russians all created versions of Kombucha although no one has conclusively identified the roots of the drink.
The process of making it….
It all starts with a beige rubbery pancake-like culture called ‘SCOBY’ (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). The SCOBY is added to sweetened green or black tea and left to ferment for approximately two weeks. As the ‘SCOBY’ feeds on the sugar in the tea, it releases a cocktail of organic acids, enzymes and amino acids.
The end result…
After two weeks (or longer if you want a fizzy drink), the ‘SCOBY’ is removed, along with its ‘daughter’ (a smaller version that forms and can be grown into a Kombucha culture.) Flavors are added to create the drink you consume off your store shelves.
Does actually it work?
What the skeptics say….
Few medical studies have been done into the health benefits of Kombucha, no randomized case-controlled studies have been done on humans, however in mice it has been shown to increase the size of the liver and spleen. Some worry that Kombucha has negative effects on the body such as causing toxification of the liver, headaches and allergic reactions. Many of these reactions are caused by bad batches of home-brew, or by over consumption of the drink. Find out more about ways to prevent Kombucha dangers here.
Scientists that have done tests have found it difficult to isolate all the beneficial acids and ingredients that Kombucha claims to have. For example, in lab tests while Kombucha has caused an increase of Glucuronic Acid in consumers of the drink, scientists have failed to find it in the beverage itself.
Kombucha has existed for thousands of years, and has been used medically by many cultures with vast histories in alternative healing. The organisms and biochemical reactions of Kombucha are similar to that of vinegar, which has been used medically for centuries to help with liver, gallbladder function and to help fight scurvy.
In testimonials, people have claimed that Kombucha helps with everything from cancer, to depression, arthritis, anorexia and more.
So is it really a miracle cure-all? What do I trust?
Dr.Thomas L. Stone, Medical Director of the Center for Biological Medicine in Rolling Meadows, Illinois wrote the following about Kombucha…
“The tea is known to contain small but probably significant amounts of important nutrients such as the B vitamins, essential amino acids, etc. and could very well have been seen as a miracle food in the past by those who were unknowingly trying to compensate for a very limited diet.”
Ultimately, you chose. Modern medical science is a powerful tool and some brilliant scientists have studied the drink with unimpressive results. However, it is important to stay objective and remember that research is fueled by money and it is unwise to trust studies without fully understanding the bias of those who commission and carry out the studies.
What is claimed to be in Kombucha…
Even though it is fermented, Kombucha contains less than 1% of alcohol.
- Probiotics (Lactobacillus Bacterium and S. Boulardii) – Probiotics are healthy microorganisms that help in the process of digestion and help to support your immune system.
- Live active enzymes Usually found in food that has not been cooked or processed these enxymes revitalize cells.
- Lactic Acid – Helps to regulate and maintain healthy digestion and is good for the liver.
- Acetic Acid -A preservative and natural antiseptic that helps to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria
- Glucuronic Acid – This powerful detoxifying acid is produced by a healthy liver. When toxins enter the liver it is glucuronic acid that binds to them and flushes them into the kidneys. When consumed in Kombucha it helps to detoxify the body of harmful chemicals that leach out of plastics, petroleum products herbicides and pesticides. Gluronic Acid is also easily converted into glocosomines which are the foundation of the skeletal system and help to lubricate joints and are found in cartilage and collagen.
- Usinic Acid – An acid with antibiotic qualities that can help to deactivate viruses.
- Oxalic Acid- Which helps to encourage the intercellular production of energy.
- Malic Acid – Another liver detoxifier.
- Butyric Acid – Helps to fights against yeast infections like Candida by strengthening the walls of the gut, and also helps to protect human cell membranes
- Restores hair color
- Thickens hair
- Dissolves gallstones Increases energy
- Lengthens lifespan
- Arterioscrosis/softens veins
- Speeds healing
- Lowers cholesterol
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases blood circulation
- Eliminates wrinkles/skin humectant
- Improves menopausal symptoms
- Strengthens leg muscles
- Chickenpox /herpes zoster remedy
- Colitis/improves digestion/ nervous stomach
- Poultice for wounds/ulcers
- Cleanses gallbladder
- Lessens anxiety
- Levels glucose
- Protects teeth from cavities
- Activates glandular system
- Prostrate/bladder disorders
- Dysentery in Infants
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stronger fingernails
- Kidney disorders
- Pain in limbs
- Liver problems
- Candita albicans
- Obesity/burns fat Impotence
- Pernicious anemia
- Vision acuity
- Chronic colds
- Sweaty feet
- Back pain
- Chronic headaches
- Cystic fibroid disease
- Epstein-Barr (Chronic Fatigue Syndome)
- Neurasthenic stomach-liver-kidney disorders