Kombucha. Oh, mother…

by newlyVEG

Don’t get scared of the name (:

Kombucha is fermented tea.
It’s light, refreshing, with crispy acidity, slightly & pleasantly fizzy, addictive…and extremely healthy! (:

It’s been made for centuries all around the world. However, when you first stumble upon that name it might not ring a bell… It has so many names! But the essence is one and only: fermentation of tea.

We had been planning on trying Kombucha for a long time, but as soon as we did, we regretted that we hadn’t tried it earlier! (:

So…what are its benefits?
And why should Vegans drink it?

Being vegans we all try to find the source of vitamins and minerals we might lack on a plant-based diet. Thus, one of them is B-group. You can start reading and researching on B-vitamins and all they tell you is that the main source is meat..
Good news! All fermented foods have all the Bs.
Kombucha is not an exception (:
and by the B-content they all can actually beat any meat-source! (;

So, from B-group we get:
Vitamin B1
Vitamin B2
Vitamin B3
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12

But that’s not all yet. Kombucha is a magic drink and it provides us with Enzymes, Antioxidants and Organic Acids:

EGCG or Gallic Acid
Folic Acid
Gluconic Acid
Glucuronic Acid
L(+) Lactic Acid
Acetic Acid
Carbonic Acid
Usinic Acid

You must be asking “how exactly will it help me?”
So, not expecting any health organization, big company or institution to do a study on health benefits of Kombucha (big pharmaceutical companies e.g. are hardly interested in that, are they?) the Kombucha Guy Dave has been conducting a survey for more than 5 years through his web-site and posted some results that you might like. Among the health benefits that people notice drinking Kombucha on a regular basis there are the following:

– it alkalizes your body (despite its acidic taste)
– it improves your digestion
– it (thus) helps you lose weight
– it elevates your mood (due to serotonin increase)
– it energize you
– it boosts your immune system
– it relives constipation
– it cleanses your liver
– it helps with hangovers
– it benefits your skin
– it strengthens and restores your hair

Not bad, huh? (:

However, on the American Cancer Society website you can find a disclaimer that “No human studies have been published in the available scientific literature that support any of the health claims made for Kombucha tea” and even stumble upon examples of lethal outcomes -allegedly- from Kombucha culture..

It’s very useful to inform yourself about that but should not be discouraging.
Some people report allergic reaction (which can happen to any food or drugs),
Others – acidosis..
After all, over drinking / over smoking / over dosing / over doing of -anything- might kill.
But eventually, the rule of the thumb should be “everything within reasonable limits”. Anything new that we try, we never try in bulk, right? So, same here (;
Try little by little.

We named the post “oh, mother” as Kombucha drink is made through the process of fermentation of sweet tea by Kombucha Mother.
Essentially, Kombucha Mother is referred to SCOBY – symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Their activity products actually enrich the fermented tea with so many beneficial properties.

The Kombucha culture vary and may incude:
Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium gluconicum, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium katogenum, Pichia fermentans, Candida stellata, and Torula species, among others.
Even if you see among others Candida – beware that it’s C.stellata and not that notorious albicans (;
(Taken from American Cancer Society)

Alcohol concern.
Of course, many of you realize that there should be some amount of alcohol in any product of natural fermentation. You are absolutely right. However, the alcohol content is extremely small. According to the American Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Kombucha should be labeled as alcoholic drink because. it contains on average 0.5% alcohol.
This amount though is not sufficient neither to make you drunk nor to even prevent the vitamins from absorption. In this case the beneficial properties of the drink offset the alcohol-related concerns. So it should not be too much of worries (:

We would definitely recommend trying it! You could just buy a bottle of Kombucha in any health food store. And iIf you really really like it (and just for your health) you could start brewing your own Kombucha like we do. It’s sooo easy (;

Remember: Start little by little.
Quoting the same Kombucha Guy Dave “it’s like preparing for a marathon. You always start by Jogging” (;

To learn more, here are some great sources:

* The Kombucha Guy Dave

* Harald Tietze “Kombucha: the miracle fungus”

Thanks for reading!
S & H