Kombucha tea is a sugared infusion prepared by fermentation and is consumed for therapeutic purposes. Apart from the original sweet flavor of tea, natural kombucha possesses an essence that is similar to any tart and vinegar. In fact, findings of several scientific researches have established that kombucha tea possesses anti-microbial and antioxidant properties as well as has hepatoprotective (ability to prevent liver damage) attributes.
This tea is available commercially at different health food stores as well as the organic division of a number of grocery stores. Kombucha tea is easy to prepare at home and the presence of vitamins, healthy acids as well as amino acids in kombucha tea is responsible for the health benefits we get from it. Consumption of kombucha tea offers numerous health benefits, such as augmenting the health of skin and hair, curing chronic diseases and also managing stress and tension.
People all over the world have high esteem for kombucha tea for the various therapeutic benefits offered by it. In fact, kombucha tea is prepared with a solid kombucha culture or mushroom, which is available with most health food stores. The kombucha culture comprises of a blend of symbiotically cultivated bacteria and yeast that cause the tea to ferment. In fact, apart from the fermentation part, preparing kombucha tea is very akin to preparing any herbal tea, whether black or green, and in this case also, you use sugar along with the culture. Consumption of kombucha tea helps to clean the system as well as fortify the immune system. These attributes of kombucha tea make it extraordinary and a very sought after herbal drink.
Health advantages of kombucha tea
It is very likely that people who are in the habit of consuming herbal tea for health benefits are already familiar with kombucha tea as well as the various advantages it offers to our body. Precisely speaking, the health benefits offered by this fermented tea are attributed to vitamin B, ethyl alcohol, amino acid, acetic acid, lactic acid, glucuronic acid, malic acid and many other edible acids enclosed by it. Euphoria or an inebriated feeling may somewhat grip an individual soon after he/ she had taken kombucha tea. However, one should not be worried over such a sensation, since it is quite common after drinking kombucha tea. As mentioned earlier, kombucha tea offers numerous health benefits, and some of the more prominent health advantages of drinking this tea are discussed in brief below.
First and foremost, drinking kombucha tea fortifies the immune system of the body and, in doing so it generally diminishes the risks of developing any kind of infections as well as contagious ailments. Another major benefit of drinking this fermented tea is facilitating the detoxification process of the body. In other words, kombucha tea not only helps to eliminate the wastes and toxic substances from the body, but also protects the liver, enabling this vital organ to function normally. By strengthening the immune system, kombucha tea also helps to quicken the therapeutic process when anyone develops common health complaints, such as headaches, nasal congestion, common cold, heat rashes, respiratory problems and symptoms similar to those of asthma. It also strengthens the other organs that detoxify the body, such as the skin. It may be especially mentioned that drinking kombucha tea is highly beneficial for the skin. It keeps the skin pores clear and cures any type of flaking of the skin making it appear fresh and more youthful. In order to attain the benefits offered by kombucha tea for the skin, it needs to be used as a poultice on the affected skin areas.
Drinking kombucha tea also helps to soothe the nervous system. In effect, the immediate consequences of drinking this fermented tea can be compared to the after-effects of having a gentle, stimulating wine. The other health benefits offered by this fermented tea including regulating arthritis pain and blood pressure. In fact, people enduring low blood pressure would be highly benefitted if they drink a cup of kombucha tea every day regularly. On the other hand, it is advisable that people suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension ought to drink two cups of this fermented tea daily until their blood pressure returns to normal. It may be mentioned that there are very few medications that are effective in regulating blood pressures both low and high.
All said and done, it has been established scientifically that kombucha tea is a stimulant for good health. This fermented tea heightens the level of vigour, enhances verve and also steadies the metabolic process. In brief, drinking kombucha tea makes sure that every system of our body functions normally. Besides, the different edible acids enclosed by kombucha tea help to change the microbes in the gastrointestinal system and augment secretion of acids in the stomach, which eventually perks up the digestive process. In addition, drinking kombucha tea also helps to dissolve gallbladder stones. This is indeed a major health benefit offered by this fermented tea, as it helps people to avoid surgery to remove stones from this organ. However, in order to attain this benefit of kombucha tea it is essential to drink this fermented tea on a daily basis as per the recommendations of a qualified and competent naturopath.
The other health benefits of drinking kombucha tea include healthy and dense hair growth. In fact, this fermented tea facilitates rapid hair growth and perks up the hair texture. However, one needs to drink this tea regularly to get this health benefit. As aforementioned, preparation of kombucha tea involves blending it with preferred amounts of herbal teas, either green or black depending on what one likes, and these herbal teas are known to enclose high levels of antioxidants. Being a rich source of antioxidants, kombucha tea also helps in keeping off grave and life-threatening diseases like cancer.
Before wrapping up the discussion on the health benefits offered by kombucha tea, it may be mentioned that advocators of this fermented tea are of the view that it also helps to enhance the life span of people who drink it regularly. Nevertheless, this particular claim regarding the health benefit of drinking kombucha tea is yet to be proved scientifically.
Several researches have scientifically established many of the above mentioned health benefits of kombucha tea, mainly those pertaining to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. In addition, the aptitude of kombucha tea to protect the liver too has been proven scientifically. On the other hand, as far as the side effects of drinking kombucha tea are concerned, it has been established that this tea or culture does not pose any serious health hazards and is safe for consumption provided the appropriate methods are followed and all the necessary caution is exercised while brewing the tea. However, it has been found that on very rare occasions drinking kombucha tea may result in allergic reactions, especially people who have a lengthy history of allergy to yeast may suffer from this condition. People who generally have allergic reactions after drinking the fermented kombucha tea are likely to experience symptoms like nausea and skin hives. It is advisable that in case any individual notices any of these symptoms soon after drinking this tea, they ought to seek immediate medical help.
It is also advisable that people taking any medicaments to treat any conditions should consult their physician before drinking this fermented tea. It is better if they drink kombucha tea for the first time under some kind of medical supervision. In addition, people who have been diagnosed of suffering from any health condition should essentially talk to their doctor prior to drinking kombucha tea.
Brewing kombucha tea
The normal way of preparing kombucha tea is to place a kombucha culture or mushroom in a solution of sweetened tea and sugar. Usually most people prefer using black tea, but one may also use green tea or a blend of the two teas. In addition to the black and green teas, you may also use certain herbal teas provided they do not contain any flavour or added elements. While preparing kombucha tea, it is essential to wrap the container with a piece of porous cloth so as to avoid the tea being infested by insects or polluted with dust and/ or any alien object while enabling the transfer of gas or the ‘breathing’ of the mushroom.
Following a couple of weeks brewing the kombucha mushroom, it is time to collect the liquid. However, the entire liquid is not tapped, but some of it left behind with a view to keep the pH level of the kombucha culture low and avoid its pollution. One of the advantages of this type of fermentation is that it can be done again and again, more precisely for an indefinite period. According to the terminology followed in such fermentation process, the ‘mother’ or original culture will produce a ‘daughter’ or subsequent culture every time or in every ‘batch’. The ‘daughter’ culture can easily be detached from the ‘mother’ culture, as you do to separate two pancakes, and placed in a different container. When this is done, the yeast present in the liquid tapped from the ‘mother’ culture would continue to stay alive. If you retain this for a period of approximately another week, it is able to produce further carbonation (absorption of carbon dioxide).
If the kombucha culture or mushroom is left completely undisturbed it takes several months for production, during which the ‘daughter’ culture condenses very much producing a cider that is further acidic as well as vinegar dominated. When this is done, you can tap the liquid from the kombucha culture at any point of time and add it to the tea of your preference. In the meantime, the liquid from the earlier batch will retain some amount of the culture or mushroom.
These days, a number of tea makers have evolved a new method to help people drink kombucha tea without having to go through the brewing process. They are commercially offering a dehydrated form of kombucha which can be blended with tea leaves. This easily dissolves in steaming water enabling people to have a ‘pre-prepared’ kombucha tea. However, this is still a very exceptional method and not available everywhere.
Safety and contamination
It is very important to take addition care and exercise caution while preparing, processing as well as storing any cultured food as they may get contaminated very easily. Therefore, it is not surprising that the primary concern of most brewers who ferment kombucha culture at home is to keep it safe as well as free from any kind of contamination. The main factors for keeping such food, especially fermenting kombucha at home, safe and free from contamination takes into account a hygienic situation, appropriate temperature as well as the right acidic pH. In case a kombucha culture or mushroom is infested, in most cases it will appear like or can be distinguished as a common fungal growth, which may generally vary in color, for instance black, green or blue.
There are many occasions when greenhorn brewers may confuse the brownish yeast chains or the development of air bubbles beneath the culture for molds when they see it through the surface of a slender and newly developing culture. It may be noted that if such a contaminated mold develops, it will be on the top or exterior of the kombucha culture or ‘mushroom’ or on the exterior of the tea solution prepared freshly all the time and never on the underside of the culture. Like one does with any kind of contaminated or spoiled food, you need to throw away the contaminated kombucha culture as well as the tea when such a contaminated mold does develop and begin afresh with a new kombucha culture. Here is something the home brewers should always keep in mind. One of the major reasons for the contamination of kombucha culture by formation of common molds is that the brewer has not been able to lower the pH level to a level that is adequately safe to prevent the development of such undesired molds, pathogens and bacteria.