Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha

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by Jocelin Higgins

Have you savored any kombucha lately? It is getting so tasty these days as it increases in popularity with a wider variety of flavors being available to you for consumption. Plus, it has many reported health benefits from its connoisseurs and drinkers.

So, what exactly is kombucha and why is it supposedly good for you? Let’s explore…

What is it?

 Kombucha

Humm’s Strawberry Lemonade kombucha

Kombucha is a tangy fermented tea made with either black, oolong or green tea. It was once called mushroom tea because of the SCOBY, which is an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that resembles a mushroom or a pancake. This mushroom forms during the process of the tea’s creation. By slicing the “mushroom” and transporting it to another jar, you can also create another batch of this fermented wonder. It’s current name comes from a Korean physician named, Kombu who treated the Emperor, Inyko with the tea and then “cha” at the end of the word for tea.

Where did it come from?

When did it all begin? It’s a bit unclear, but according to the organization, Seeds of Health in the UK,  it dates back some 2,200 years ago to China during the Tsin dynasty about 212 BC. They drank it because of a belief in it causing immortality due to increased health, longevity and well-being amongst their populations. News of its purported health benefits spread along trade routes to India and Russia and in Japan it became the drink of samurais, an elixir of life!

So, what are these so called “health benefits”? Let’s look at a few from drinking the raw version of the liquid, which has more of the live cultures in it.

Kombucha Health benefit #1 (It calms you down):

Well, first of all, I must say from my experience that I love the way it calms me down and eases my nerves. I tend to be a bit on the anxious side and I find that after drinking a glass of this effervescence concoction, I feel so much more relaxed. Plus, I even get a little buzz from it. It may partially be due to the slight amount of alcohol (from 0.05-1%) or perhaps its other properties-who knows! Nonetheless, as well as its tonic effect it is refreshing and an ice cold cup after a stressful situation is great to quench your thirst as well.

Kombucha Health Benefit #2 (It detoxifies the body)

Detoxification is a process of removing toxic substances from your system so that your body reaches a state of homeostasis (balance). Because of our exposure to so many toxins (from pollution in our cities to preservatives in our food) it is necessary to flush these out of our blood stream. Kombucha allows us to do this, which in turn builds up our immune systems so that you will experience fewer colds, have more energy and just feel better all around! All of the incredible organic acids that comprise kombucha also aid in reducing candidiasis and other yeast infections like thrush.

Kombucha Health Benefit #3 (May prevent cancer)

It is full of antioxidants which are known to reduce free radicals(activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells) that occur in our bodies. These can break down your immune system, which could lead to the formation of cancer. Studies from Germany and Russia have concluded that it has a higher amount of antioxidants than green tea alone.

Kombucha Health Benefit #4 (It improves digestion and weight loss)

It addition to being active and getting enough exercise, drinking kombucha can also assist you in losing weight by improving your digestion. It is considered a pro-biotic, like other fermented foods such as yogurt, that allow healthy flora to reside in your digestive tract, which in turn allows for a better processing of foods and getting rid of waste quicker. It also contains many B vitamins which aid in your metabolism, thus probably allowing you to lose weight.

Although, much of the above claims are debatable and lacking in much-needed scientific research here in the United States, the fact that many people drink kombucha and share their stories of its healing properties is definitely worth a mention. Some people have reported side effects, but these appear minimal. Do contact your health care provider if you are concerned or have an adverse reacting to drinking the beverage.

Now, here are a few lists of my favorite makers of kombucha and a couple of  interesting books: one from the creator of WonderDrink Stephen Lee and the other from authors Eric and Jessica Childs, owners of Kombucha Brooklyn. They contain some recipes for home brewing which can be very inexpensive.

1) Kombucha Revolution: 75 Recipes for Homemade Brews, Fixers, Elixirs, and Mixers

[amazonjs asin=”1583335315″ locale=”US” title=”Kombucha!: The Amazing Probiotic Tea that Cleanses, Heals, Energizes, and Detoxifies”]

2) A wonderful new brewer here in Portland is SOMA and they are creating some really yummy kombucha these days. I’ve been filling up my growler at my local Green Zebra store!

3) Another excellent local Portland, Oregon choice as well isTownsend’s Tea Company

brewdrkombucha.com/

4) We also have bought our kombucha from Garden Home Growler and  The Portand Fruit Stand West that sell my favorite new fantabulous kombucha maker called Humm and they are out of Bend, Oregon.

**Check out the incredible variety of flavors…oh la la! (The Strawberry Lemonade is featured in the above photo)**

So, take some time and sample and explore this delicious and good for you beverage and let me know what you think!

Does it make you feel better? We want to know because we strive to be a wonderful source of all things that aid in your happiness and well-being.

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References:

Michaelis, K. (n.d.). Kombucha Health Benefits. Retrieved from    http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/

Unknown. (n.d.). The Kombucha Culture. Retrieved September 20, 2014, from  http://www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/fermenting/kombucha.shtml

Unknown. (n.d.). Hand Crafted, Organic, Raw Kombucha|9 flavors on tap and bottle. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://hummkombucha.com/