Kombucha is a naturally sparkling fermented tea full of probiotics, beneficial enzymes and antioxidants, and is known as a health tonic which when consumed regularly helps the body to come into balance and heal itself. It has a distinctive taste both sweet and tart with a refreshing lingering fizz. Often drinkers experience a slight natural high – which might be due to the fact it has a high probiotic content.
The origins of the tonic are mysterious, with several different accounts depending on whom you ask. It is commonly believed that it was consumed in China over 2,000 years ago and referred to as the ‘Tea of Immortality” during the Tsin dynasty. Transported west by travellers; it spread across Russia and on to Europe and North America.
Health benefits of kombucha
As I cover the reported health benefits of kombucha, I think it is important to state that everyone’s experience is different and where one person will feel reborn, another may notice no changes. Common reported health benefits include:
Detoxification – Kombucha is known to be a great liver detoxifier – with one study showing a liver cell maintaining its physiology despite being exposed to a toxin, researchers believe this is due to the high antioxidant activity. Kombucha also cleanses the body of heavy metals by absorbing them and processing them through the body. This is one of the reasons it is important to brew it in high quality vessels such as glass.
Joint Care – Kombucha can assist in healing and preventing joint damage. This could be due to the presence of an analgesic (pain reliever) and an anti-arthritic compound
Digestion and Gut Health – High levels of probiotics and enzymes strengthen the gut and ease the digestion process. In extensive tests to treat stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome - kombucha is said to be as effective as many of the prescription drugs on the market.
Strengthened Immune system – The probiotics, beneficial bacteria and enzymes contained in kombucha actively balance and heal the gut flora directly contributing to the health of the immune system.
I personally feel passionately that it has vastly improved my wellbeing, by helping with symptoms of anxiety, IBS, fewer colds, my sinuses have cleared and I genuinely feel energetic and level tempered….most of the time (!)
Other accounts I have heard regaling the positive effects include the following:
- A friend of mine from Sydney, Australia says her dad has always kept several brews going in the garage as he claims it rids him of liver spots.
- President Reagon famously used kombucha to prevent the spread of his stomach cancer in 1987, dying only in 2004 of natural causes.
- GT Dave, the largest kombucha brewer in the states, started brewing to help his mother through chemotherapy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now fully recovered it and credits her recovery to the tea.
- In the aftermath of Chernobyl in the 1980’s, a clutch of older ladies were found seemingly resistant to the effects of radiation, when examined by doctors and scientists the recurrent theme was that they all consumed kombucha daily.
Kombucha is now vastly popular is the US, Canada, New Zealand Australia and in Germany, both commercially and with home brewers. There is a wealth of information online and a huge following despite limited medical research on the health benefits.
In a world where we are continually exposed to pollution and heavy metals, our immune systems weakened by antibiotics and oral contraception such as the pill – it seems a good idea to turn towards natural cures such as fermented foods like kombucha to assist our bodies where we can. Even without the believed health benefits, I believe that kombucha is a wholly delicious drink in its own right acting as a natural energy boost at any time of day.
For delicious fermented tea recipes take a look at Louise Avery's new book Kombucha.