Disclaimer: Information is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice or attention of heath-care professionals. Full disclaimer here.
Kombucha has been consumed for over 2000 years the world over. It has been extensively studied and applied for several medical uses in Russia, Germany, China and many other places. It is naturally carbonated and is purported to have a host of healing properties that may include:
*Probiotics – healthy bacteria
*Alkalize the body – balances internal pH
*Detoxify the liver – happy liver = happy mood
*Increase metabolism – rev your internal engine
*Improve digestion – keep your system moving
*Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
*Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*Reduce blood pressure
*Relieve headaches & migraines
*Reduce kidney stones
*High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer
*High in polyphenols
*Heal excema – can be applied topically to soften the skin
*Speed healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
*Help clear up candida & yeast infections
*Aid healthy cell regeneration
*Reduce gray hair
*Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating
Simply put, Kombucha is an all natural health beverage chockfull of probiotics and other healthy amino acids. Probiotic literally means “for life”. Unlike antibiotics, which kill ALL of the bacteria in your body, even the good stuff, probiotics re-establish the natural ecology of the intestinal flora. Probiotics are said to boost immunity, enhance mood, fight allergies, detoxify the body and rid the body of disease. The Kombucha benefits you experience may vary.
However, Kombucha is NOT a panacea – it doesn’t cure ANYTHING! It brings the body back into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is able to do so much – because it works with your body’s natural immune system.
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Why drink Kombucha Tea?
Instead of hearing from me why you should drink Kombucha Tea, I’ll let the Kombucha drinkers out there answer the question. People have been consuming Kombucha for generations because they believe it works for them. The continued spread of Kombucha can only be attributed to people’s successful use of the beverage and the Kombucha benefits they perceive. According to Cajun Ernie, over 1000 Kombucha drinkers were surveyed and responded with the following reasons for drinking Kombucha:
- 28% cited preventative maintenance – they wanted to remain healthy
- 15% gave arthritis, lupus and related conditions as the reasons
- 11% had digestive disorders, ulcers, IBS, constipation Crohn’s disease etc
- 9% were seeking relief from hypertension/high blood pressure
- 7% suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromylagia
- 23% listed other reasons and conditions too numerous to list here
These same 1000 people reported an average of 6 benefits derived from drinking Kombucha. The most common Kombucha benefits were:
- 85% experienced constipation or digestive relief
- 83% reported a “feeling of well being”
- 51% claimed relief from arthritis type symptoms
- 32% report relief of ulcer pain & digestive problems
- 30% had better sleep patterns
- 28% experienced weight loss
- 24% reported improvement in skin conditions & tone
- 18% had better eyesight, less floaters & sharper vision
- 17% experienced reduced sugar cravings
- 17% reported relief from PMS symptoms
- 17% had lower blood pressure & lower cholesterol
- 16% enjoyed allergy relief
- 13% reported better concentration
How about a few testimonials from readers? These are unsolicited e-mails that people sent to express their gratitude for the Kombucha benefits they have realized in their lives by incorporating the beverage on a daily basis:
After drinking Kombucha every morning for a few months, I noticed that I didn’t need coffee anymore. I didn’t crave it, and I didn’t ‘need’ it to wake up in the morning. – Betty
The kombucha benefit which surprised me most was an increase in my sex drive. Without going into details, it’s enough to say that my husband was very, very happy and now he is a loyal supporter of the brew. Thank you, Kombucha! – M.S. Peterson
I used to dye my hair but quit because of the chemicals. In the past year my hair has been growing in as my natural dark brown where it was silver before. The only real difference has been the Kombucha I drink every morning and night, but it took almost a year of drinking it daily to notice the change, so I say people need to stick with it. It has to be a regular part of daily life to see results I think. – Hailey Brown
I started drinking Kombucha after two gout attacks and after taking 1000mg of Advil every 8 hours for 3 days just to kill the pain. I started slowly drinking about 8oz a day. When I ramped up to 4 times that amount, after about a week of the higher amounts I could feel the gout being “pulled out” of the infected big toe. Then I could feel, to a lesser degree my other big toe being cleaned out as well. I have never had another gout attack. – Barry Thurston Byrd
Again, results are particular to these people, but the benefits of Kombucha have been testified to by generations of drinkers. Even better, hear why Cajun Ernie himself started drinking Kombucha and the benefits he found:
[W]hen I first looked into Kombucha I was skeptical. I have Osteoarthritis in both knees and every time I stood up they popped and creaked. Stairs were difficult and I had to stop evening walks altogether. We have pecan trees in our yard and my son even bought me one of those wire basket pick up things so I wouldn’t have to stoop over. Only minor relief had been achieved with the other “miracle” products on the market. The price was right so I decided to give Kombucha a try. Three months after starting on Kombucha the popping and creaking had stopped and we were back up to walking a mile with no pain the next day. Two months later we were out shopping and came out to a dead car battery. It was a beautiful day so we walked the 2 ½ miles home. The only side effect the next day was the soles of my feet were tender. If in a hurry I now take the stairs two steps at a time. The arthritis relief alone was enough to make me a satisfied customer but improvements in other nagging conditions keep coming and coming. – Cajun Ernie
My friend (and respected Kombucha researcher) Michael Roussin reported something very similar when I spoke with him. He was a soccer referee and started having very sore, creaky knees. After drinking Kombucha for a few months, he noticed his knees were no longer sore after running the field for 2 hours. As he kept drinking the Kombucha every morning (just 4-8 ounces) he noticed even more movement returning to his joints. For 12 years, he faithfully brewed and consumed his Kombucha every morning. Then one day, when workers came to remodel, his Kombucha brewing operation was destroyed by accident. Michael let his habit lapse. He took for granted the Kombucha benefits and assumed he no longer needed Kombucha. A couple of years later, the soreness and creaking has returned to his knees. He had forgotten what Kombucha was doing for him until it was gone. Michael is brewing again and says he won’t let his habit lapse. It’s easy to forget just what Kombucha is doing for you, even when you’ve done the reasearch on it! The mind is powerful!
The Golden Rules
- …use a refrigerator stored SCOBY to make Kombucha.
- …use a dehydrated SCOBY to make Kombucha.
- …attempt to grow a SCOBY from a commercial bottle of Kombucha that:
- has been pasteurized
- has been flavored
- has been filtered or reformulated
- says anything less than “100% Kombucha” on the label
- …use a fresh, full-size Kombucha SCOBY to begin brewing.
- …store your SCOBYs in a SCOBY Hotel in a dry and dark place.
- …pass along healthy, fresh SCOBYs with at least 1-2 cups of mature Kombucha Tea and complete, clear instructions to ensure success. If you cannot, recommend a reputable source instead.
Kombucha Brewing Tips
- Never store Kombucha SCOBYs in the Refrigerator!
- Sanitize with hot water or vinegar – NO SOAP. It kills the kombucha culture.
- Airflow is key – find an open area for your Kombucha Tea.
- If you see mold, throw everything away. Kombucha Mushrooms are not salvagable when mold strikes.
- Keep a SCOBY Hotel for backups and extras.
- Kombucha is a LIVING organism. Many believe the energy in the room will directly influence your culture.
What’s the deal with Bacteria?
Aren’t they bad for us?
The fact of the matter is that while in the 19th century we were in dire need of sanitary practices, the negative attitude towards ALL bacteria has spiraled out of control. Bacteria outnumber our human cells 9 to 1! With all the hand sanitizers and constant antibiotic prescriptions, we have created a worse problem than we have realized. The bacterial cells tell our human cells what to do, how to behave, how to replicate. We NEED bacteria.
When you have an over population of “bad” bacteria – sugar loving bacteria – they send signals to your brain that you need to consume MORE sugar so they can reproduce. You may think you have a sweet tooth, but more likely you have an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria and unhealthy yeast like Candida. By incorporating “good” bacteria into your body – those found in ALL fermented foods – foods that humans have been consuming since they figured out how to use it for preservation (no fridge), you start to displace that “bad” bacteria. Your body’s pH returns to a more alkaline state. Your gut moves those sugar bugs out and your cravings decrease – in fact, you may find that our over-sugared food supply doesn’t taste good at all. Your body will regain its natural instincts and ability to “tell” you which foods are most nourishing.
This notion of “good” bacteria also extends to pasteurization (named for Louis Pasteur – who recanted his position on his deathbed). When we pasteurize food, we kill all of the bacteria present – good and bad. When it comes to a product like raw milk, that means that the bacteria that helps your body naturally digest the milk as well as the most nutritious enzymes are killed off. You are left with a dead product that provides no nutrition and causes phlegm and congestion (vehemently denied by the Dairy Board, of course!)
We NEED bacteria to help us deal with our natural environment. We NEED bacteria to help our bodies absorb nutrients and enzymes essential to our health. Most of the time, they want to pasteurize the milk because the conditions in which most dairy cattle are kept are downright disgusting. Drinking Kombucha, making Kombucha at home – or kefir, or sauerkraut, or sour dough bread, or …the list goes on and on, all contribute to recolonizing the body with the good stuff. So it can return to balance and allow your immune system to function as it should. It empowers you in a simple and inexpensive way to take control of your health!
Of course, I have to remind you that you should consult with your physician before starting any new dietary changes, especially if you are currently taking medications. Though I will also tell you that Kombucha has been consumed for thousands of years and not a single death has been attributed to drinking it. Can prescription drugs claim that? (no, they cannot.)