Healing Ingredients: What Is Kombucha?

February 26, 2014

kombucha, vegan, health, nutrition

My husband and I stopped at our local Safeway in search of something tasty to quench our thirst. I, of course, wandered over to the “healthy beverage” section to look for some tea or something. My husband picked up a bottle with the label stating that the murky liquid inside was “Kombucha.” He turned to me and asked, “Well, what is it?” (because I know everything about food apparently.) “I dunno,” I replied, “You should try it though.” Needless to say he tried it, was disgusted and handed the bottle to me. I, on the other hand, had a sip and felt that I had found liquid gold. After doing some research, I realized that this weird little drink is actually liquid gold for health.

So, what exactly is kombucha?

Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented with a bacterial culture called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). Any type of non-herbal tea can be used, such as black, green, oolong, and white. You can find kombucha in most grocery stores in the health food section. At about $4 a bottle, many people opt to make it at home, since a DIY kit starts around $30 and promises a whole lot of kombucha bang for your buck. This does come with some caution though: If you do choose to make it at home, make sure to do your research and that you do it properly. Home brewed kombucha that is made incorrectly can be really dangerous to your health.

What does it taste like?

Kombucha is a little effervescent and has a vinegary sweet and sour taste. It tastes like nothing I have ever had before so trying to describe it is rather difficult. I was a little put off by the slimy floaties but I decided to put on my big girl pants and try it anyway. The slimy floaties are pieces of the “Mother” and are a sign that your kombucha is alive and well. I drank about half the bottle since there are 2 servings in a bottle and within a half hour, I immediately noticed a difference in my energy. I am a caffeine drinker normally but this stuff gave me so much energy without giving me any jitters. It felt like I had drank a tiny army of bacterial janitors that went to work sweeping out my digestive system. (Mind you, I tried this without reading anything about it or really knowing what it was, so this is not a placebo effect).

Where did it come from?

Kombucha has been around for at least 2,000 years or longer. The first documented use was in China circa 221 BC in the Tsin Dynasty where the tea was known as the “Tea of Immorality.” It spread throughout Asia and Eastern Europe, and it eventually found its way to Germany where it seems to have died out for a bit during World War II. In recent years, health foodies have brought it out from obscurity to tout its awesome benefits.

What are the benefits of drinking kombucha?

People in the know use kombucha to help with:

Baldness
Insomnia
Intestinal disorders
Arthritis
Chronic fatigue
Cancer
Aging

During the fermentation process, kombucha produces all types of B vitamins as well as probiotics and antioxidants. Drinking it will help detox and repair the body to bring it back into balance. Unfortunately, there are no scientific data to verify the effects of drinking kombucha, and most evidence is anecdotal. Make sure you get raw kombucha to reap all of these amazing benefits. Any type of pasteurization kills the good bacteria and enzymes that make this a powerful healing elixir.

Have you tried kombucha? What are your thoughts?

Also by Krystle: Is Soy Safe? 5 Things You Should Know About Soy

5 Amazing Reasons You Should Eat More Cinnamon

Related: Benefits of Fermented Foods- Plus, How to Make DIY Pickles

 

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Photo: K. Troia-Alvarado

 

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Krystle is the vegan blogger of The House of Snuggles. She currently resides in the desert with her furry family and when she’s not writing she’s baking, cooking, and exploring the possibilities life has to offer.

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