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What is Kombucha?
Kombucha Tea is a fermented beverage that has been brewed and consumed by many for thousands of years. It starts as an ordinary tea that later infuses with bacteria and yeast along with some sugar. Then after a few days or a month depending on the taste preference of the drinker, you get a slightly sweet and tart tea called Kombucha.
Some people consume and enjoy this fermented tea for its unique taste others use it for its many health benefits; think of it as a probiotic form of soda with healthy microbes that benefit your digestive system.
What Is The Origin Kombucha?
Kombucha originated in Northeast China around 220 B.C and quickly became famous for its medicinal and healing properties. It is believed that the Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was the first to invent and drink Kombucha known as the ‘The Tea of Immortality’ and ‘The Elixir of Life.’ It was believed that he drank this tea to keep himself healthy and youthful.
Later, during World War I, this fermented tea began to reach new countries rapidly through Russian and Germany’s prisoners of war. In 1995, GT Dave established the first and largest kombucha brand in the industry after discovering its effect on cancer during his mother’s cancer treatment.
Today, the kombucha industry is thriving more than ever because more and more people are choosing a natural, nutritious lifestyle.
How to Make Kombucha?
If you’re not acquainted, kombucha could be a strong and sugary tea usually created with a black or green tea leaf. It’s for the most part classified as a useful nutrient that means that it’s a non-alcoholic drink that contains vitamins, amino acids, or alternative nutrients related to boost immunity and overall health.
The method of making kombucha varies; however it typically involves a double fermentation procedure where a SCOBY (a round-shaped culture of bacterium and yeast) is placed in a very sugary tea mixture and left to ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. The mix is again left for a few more days in an airtight container with some extra sugar. If you enjoy fizzier kombucha, then leave it a bit longer. At this point, you can add flavorings such as spices or fruits in the mixture according to your desired taste.
You can easily start making your own Kombucha with the Kombucha Starter Kit.
What are the Benefits and Risks of Kombucha?
All fermented foods contain live microorganisms like yogurts and kefir, and kombucha is the product of fermentation, so several probiotic bacteria are found in it as well. Probiotic bacteria can help to balance the gut and improve digestion. However, the health benefits of drinking kombucha are mostly based on consumer’s testimony or the corporations promoting it. Small amounts of vitamins, including vitamins C and B and minerals, are also present in Kombucha that is produced when the yeast breaks down the sugars.
Kombucha also claimed to help improve several conditions involving digestion, weight loss, bone health, and inflammation. According to testimonials, Kombucha brew can:
- Cleanse or detoxify the body
- Provide relieve from inflammatory disease like rheumatism and gouty arthritis symptoms
- Prevent bladder infection
- Increase resistance to cancer, counteract aging issues
- Act as an antibiotic against bacterium and viruses
- Help in relieving respiratory disorder and bronchial asthma
- Mend hair, skin, and nail health issues.
- Reduce stress headaches, and insomnia
However, there is almost no clinical evidence available to prove these claims. Moreover, it’s not confirmed whether the beneficial bacteria that are probiotics can even survive in the acidic environment of the stomach to create a meaningful impact on overall health.
Risks, Side effects, and Toxicity
It’s not all fun, bubbly benefits when it comes to Kombucha. Many have reported dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, urinary organ issues, skin conditions, and liver toxicity. Besides, it’s not advisable for pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, or those with compromised immunity to consume Kombucha. People who are prone to having severe allergic reactions should also avoid it.
Also, when Kombucha is ready, there’s a real possibility of contamination with undesirable fungi and overproduction of yeast, if it’s brewed and fermented in a non-glass container like lead or clay vessels. Prolonged fermentation should be avoided because of the buildup of organic acids that might be harmful if taken directly. If it smells off, don’t drink it.
Can You Drink Too Much Kombucha?
Anything excessive is never good for your health. If you are planning to start drinking Kombucha, then it’s advisable to start with a small amount, not more than four ounces per day. Once you get the hang of it, you can drink one to three times per day, that means no more than twelve ounces should be consumed during a day. The average bottle of Kombucha that is sold commercially is usually 16 ounces per single serving, which is higher than the suggested amount.
Since there is not enough research done on the benefits and risks of using too many probiotics, it is recommended that such beverages should not be consumed excessively.
There are not many well-documented uses for Kombucha tea, and the results might be enhanced by the companies to increase their consumption, which means higher revenue chances for them. If you have decided on taking up the Kombucha challenge, use it with caution. Four to eight ounces of Kombucha from a reliable brand seems enough for a day since there are no conclusive analysis on the benefits is being done.
So enjoy it but with caution. Besides, warm lemon water and green tea seem better and healthier choices with lesser side effects.
Results may vary. Information and statements made are for general purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Her Own Health does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Her Own Health are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.