One of the most wonderful surprises many people learn AFTER they have started brewing Kombucha is how many other useful ways Kombucha and Kombucha SCOBYs can be employed around the house.
Our post Top 5 Other Uses for Kombucha SCOBYs explained how to use SCOBYs right on your face and skin as a beauty technique, feeding Kombucha to your pets, trying SCOBY sushi and using them in the garden. A few even stranger uses for SCOBYs? How about drying them out to use as dog treats (smear with peanut butter for the most entertaining results), using a SCOBY as a drum head or even clothes made out of SCOBYs!?!?
It’s true, Kombucha SCOBYs are amazing things. However, in my opinion, the most exciting potential use for the Kombucha SCOBY is its application to medicine.
SCOBY as Medicine?
We have mentioned before in regards to BASYC, or BActeria SYnthesized Cellulose, that the Kombucha culture has somewhat unexplained microbial properties, but that essentially the “bacteria send out microfibrils which are filament strands that link up with those of other bacteria creating a nano-structure that thickens over time.” Via this action, the SCOBY helps the skin or other tissue actually rebuild much more effectively and quickly.
BASYC is one example of these “biofilm” advances, but other similar developments such as Biofill and Gengiflex have also emerged. Experiments have focused on growing brand new heart valves and other similarly small and delicate parts of the anatomy out of living material.
Amazing right? That same technology is available right at home with your Kombucha SCOBYs. The action of helping to rebuild skin and other tissue works just as well when you cut, scrape or burn yourself.
Simply wrap a small piece of SCOBY onto the affected area and hold in place with a band-aid or small bandage wrap (or bandanna) until it dries out. Return the SCOBY to its own jar with mature Kombucha to use again later. (Don’t mix topical SCOBYs with brewing ones!)
SCOBY Home Remedies
For more chronic conditions, the SCOBY can be effective as well. One of the most dramatic examples I have come across is my friend Laurie Neverman’s experience curing Cradle Cap on her son just by using SCOBYs!
Laurie is a wife & mom with a background in engineering and a passion for natural healing, homesteading and gardening. She blends old & new ideas at her insightful blog, Common Sense Homesteading. She posted her son’s experience previously and was kind enough to allow us to feature her here.
The SCOBY Cradle Cap Cure
by Laurie Neverman
About this time last year, my eldest son was coping with a bad case of cradle cap, i.e., thick, waxy dandruff on his head.
He’s always had very sensitive skin, and I suspect weekly swimming lessons took their toll on his scalp.
I did a bit of research, trying to find out what causes cradle cap. Mayo Clinic says:
Though the exact cause of cradle cap isn’t known, one contributing factor may be hormones that pass from the mother to the baby before birth. These hormones cause an abnormal production of oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles.
Another factor may be a yeast (fungus) known as malassezia that grows in the sebum along with bacteria. Antifungal treatments, such as ketoconazole, are often effective, supporting the idea that yeast is a contributing factor.
Given that he was 12 at the time, I’m pretty sure the birth hormones weren’t playing a big factor at this point. They go on to recommend the following treatments:
Cradle cap usually doesn’t require medical treatment. It clears up on its own within a few months. In the meantime, wash your baby’s hair once a day with mild baby shampoo and brush the scalp lightly with a soft brush to loosen the scales.
If frequent shampooing doesn’t help, consult your baby’s doctor. He or she may recommend a stronger shampoo — such as an adult dandruff shampoo containing tar, 2 percent ketoconazole or 1 percent selenium — to help dissolve the scales. Hydrocortisone cream applied daily or every other day is sometimes helpful to reduce redness and inflammation.
Traditional Home Remedies First
We did try treating the cradle cap with emu oil (AMZ) and coconut oil (THRIVE, AMZ), and even tried adult dandruff shampoos. I’d clear up the deposits, but they’d keep coming back, and his skin was raw and itchy. Something was just not right.
Finally, I went back and reread the information about underlying causes.
What if the natural balance of microbes on his head had been thrown out of whack by frequent exposure to the chlorinated pool?
How could I restore a population of healthy, non-irritating microbes to his head? I had seen passing mentions of using Kombucha to treat skin problems, but I had never tried it myself.
Enter the SCOBY…
A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, also called a “Kombucha mother” or “Kombucha mushroom.” It’s used, along with sweetened tea, to brew Kombucha.
Since I had been brewing Kombucha for some time at this point, I had plenty of extra SCOBYs around. As any Kombucha loving mommy would do, I decided to slap a scoby on my kid’s head and see what would happen.
I had him put on one old, grubby t-shirt, and then used another t-shirt to wrap around his head and secure the SCOBY in place. (SCOBYs are mostly liquid – if you dehydrate one they will form a very thin sheet of leather-like material – so it dripped quite a bit.)
I left the SCOBY on for around 15 minutes. We repeated the process two more times over the course of a week. The second and thirds times we did it in the evening not long before he showered, so he didn’t have to spend much time smelling like vinegar.
By the next week, his cradle cap cleared up completely.
He did get a little bit of mild dandruff this past winter when it was very cold and dry, but nothing like last winter.
I’m convinced that the kombucha SCOBY cured his cradle cap.
Have you experienced healing relief from applying a SCOBY topically?
Here is what some of the members of the KommUnity had to say:
“My tweenage daughter had an infected pimple and we put a tiny bit of SCOBY on it, put a band-aid on, and left it for a day. She did say it stung a bit, but stopped after a while. A couple of hours later when we took it off it was whitish. But then the red/angry/swollenness disappeared and it did not require any other treatment.”
~ Lizz Griff
“The skin of my hands was inflamed and itchy with a lot of little bumps caused by eczema. So I put KT directly over them. It burned a little bit first but when dried, the skin feel fresher. And I did this four time, once each hour. The itchiness stopped after the first time. Now the inflammation is greatly reduced (at least 70%).”
“I work out in my yard a lot. This time I had to clear a fence row from brush. To my shock I found 3 SPIDER bites ~ 1 on my leg that was very swollen & black on the top, it had little red runners coming from it & was painful & extremely itchy. The other 2 were on my waist line, one had a black head ~ they itched & hurt a lot.
My first thought was to go to my Rx Hotel & get a few odd strips of SCOBYS from there. (Nice thing to hang on to odd pieces for an emergency in a designated Medical Hotel.) I put them on the bites & covered with band-aids. Immediately the itching & pain stopped.
A day later I removed the SCOBY & the black tops fell off the bites. They immediately started itching again so a second round with new pieces of SCOBY.
Two days later and I can be without band aids & SCOBY. Skin is pink & healing. My nurse friend told me to get to the doctor when she saw them prior to SCOBY treatment. Now she is a believer!”
~ Faithful to Jesus
TessaSeptember 4, 2022 at 10:52 am
I’ve been battling scalp psoriasis for years. It is driving me crazy! My neighbor has gotten me started on brewing kombucha. I fed the 1st scoby to my worms (my worm bin to make dirt for my garden) and they Loved it. But after reading this I want too try putting it on my scalp. I’m not quite sure how to do it though because I have patches, large and small all over my scalp.
Any ideas would be very helpful.
Also I read somewhere that kombucha is too acidic to apply to the scalp. Do I need to rinse the scoby 1st before applying?
Anthea TayagSeptember 6, 2022 at 5:09 pm
Hi Tessa, thank you for reaching out! Rinsing the SCOBY is not recommended, as it may wash away the healthy microbes living on its surface. It is best to first try small amount on a small patch of skin to test your reaction to the SCOBY. Here are other ways to use Kombucha for beauty and home -> https://www.kombuchakamp.com/top-5-uses-for-kombucha-vinegar
NickiJanuary 31, 2021 at 4:21 pm
Wow! Scobys really are amazing! Thanks for sharing all the stories. I’m fairly new to the whole home brewing thing, it’s been about 4months now, and I’m hooked! My husband has this nasty ugly toenail that he’s been trying to cure for years! After reading these stories, I thought what has he got to lose by trying this…I had him sit outside with his foot up on a bench and I put pieces on his toenails and then carefully put an old sock on. I will let you know how it goes!
Shara MooreMarch 22, 2019 at 7:07 am
I have a yeast overload so I can’t drink any kombucha for a while. How can I get rid of it?
Hannah CrumApril 14, 2019 at 7:30 am
There are several ways to help curb candida – we are not experts – you might try coconut water kefir, cutting out obvious sources of sugar and consuming other types of fermented foods. Milk kefir is another one of our faves to add diversity to the gut.
Celine Lee M FooJuly 29, 2018 at 7:36 am
I had two patches on ezcema on my hands. One of my friends told abt scoby kombucha would be a natural source of healing. So I brewed and grew my own Scoby. I hv been faithfully applying Scoby on these 2 patches and after 2 months or so, the ezcema on these 2 spots are finally gone. Now I am trying to cure a patch at the back of my neck below my hairline which is a little tougher. Hope Scoby will work for this time round again.
DalyceJuly 4, 2015 at 9:14 am
How does one cut the scoby into strips? I tried cutting a slightly unhealthy looking scoby with a plastic knife, but it was really tough. Should I use scissors? I know they shouldn’t be touched with metal.
Hannah CrumJuly 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm
Not being touched by metal is an old wives tale. Use your scissors – it will be much easier and go faster.
MilagroSeptember 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm
I am so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that
needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.
jesse pryorOctober 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm
i was tattooed with ink i was allergic to. sometimes different inks react that way. the tattoo was swollen and itched horribly! i started putting strips of kombucha scoby on it, twice a day for usually 30 min. at a time. a lot of days i would forget, but i perservered. it took about a month, but now my tattoo looks and feels normal. it also took a lot of the color out of it!
hannahOctober 11, 2011 at 7:41 am
Wow! I’m glad it helped your skin feel better. The removal of the ink is a testament to how powerful of a detoxifyer KT is. It pulled poison oak out of my body through my skin and that was 2 years after I had contracted it!
Kelly Jenkins Villarreal via FacebookSeptember 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm
My daughter used it on an infected bump and overnight the redness was gone and the swelling went down!