Kombucha benefits make it a master health elixir!
By now you’ve probably heard of kombucha, the probiotic-rich tea that’s available in all shapes, sizes, and flavors at your local health food store.
Kombucha gained popularity as an exotic and enjoyable way to consume probiotics, which support the invaluable community of microorganisms within the body known as your microbiome.
This is one health fad that’s worth applauding—microbiologists are continually discovering new reasons why taking good care of your body’s beneficial bacteria is absolutely essential to maintaining optimal health.
Kombucha isn’t a new creation, though. It boasts a 2,000-year history as a renowned arthritis soother, cancer fighter, and immune booster—the ancient Chinese even called it “the Immortal Health Elixir.”
As it spread from Asia to Europe and Russia, then finally into the Western health food mainstream, the body of evidence and stories touting its amazing benefits grew significantly.
Excellent (and delicious) support for your gut flora
For starters, kombucha is one product that delivers what it promises. It’s literally fermented with a SCOBY (which stands for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast”), so it feeds your microbiome generously.
Many people report that it improves digestion, fights candida and other harmful stomach bugs, and even promotes mental clarity (thus supporting what an increasing number of scientists are calling the “gut-brain connection”).
A holistic immune booster
Kombucha is chock-full of antioxidants, which offer full-spectrum support to your immune system.
And because healthy gut flora play a vital role in immune function, kombucha provides an extra disease-resistance boost. Some experts even go so far as to say that your immune system’s main fighting power resides in the microbes of your intestinal tract (1).
Kombucha is fortifying on such a deep level that an Indian study even demonstrated that it protects DNA from being damaged (2).
A detoxifying elixir
The enzymes and bacterial acids in kombucha are powerful facilitators of detoxification. They reduce the burden placed on your pancreas and liver, so that your body can more effectively flush toxins.
Kombucha even contains a compound called glucaric acid, which has been the subject of numerous cancer studies. Because of its profoundly detoxifying qualities, glucaric acid is a highly effective cancer preventative (3).
Time-tested arthritis support
Kombucha contains glucosamines, which you may recognize as an ingredient in many joint support formulas. Glucosamines increase production of synovial hyaluronic acid, which helps lubricate joints and protect joints from damge.
Long before the days of arthritis supplements and fancy chemical names, kombucha was lauded for its ability to prevent and treat all types of joint pain and stiffness.
Want more kombucha in your life?
If you’re intrigued by all these health benefits and have some DIY spirit, you can make it at home for as little as 50 cents a gallon (and it’s quite an experience watching the “mother culture” grow in your home setup).
If you’ve decided to make your first kombucha recipe, you’ll need to purchase or grow your own SCOBY, which stands for “symbiotoic colony of bacteria and yeast.” For those familiar with the basic kombucha recipe, the SCOBY is often referred to as the “mother” or “mushroom”.
THe SCOBY jumpstarts fermentation in your kombucha recipe and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the liquid. Once you make your first kombucha, the old SCOBY will leave behind a baby SCOBY, so to speak, which can be used in the next batch. It’s a cyclical process of giving “birth” to SCOBY babies from one batch to the next, and it all starts with the first! You can either borrow SCOBY from a friend’s recent batch or purchase one online.
Easy Homemade Kombucha Recipe
Makes 1 gallon
- 1 organic kombucha SCOBY (other sources: Organic Kombucha Brewing Kit)
- 16 cups of water
- 8-10 black tea bags (must be caffeinated)
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 gallon glass jar
- 1 piece of fabric or paper towel to seal the top of the jar
- 1 rubber band
Directions: Heat eight cups of water in a large pot over high heat. Add the tea bags and let them steep for a half hour. Once steeped, stir in the turbinado until it is completely dissolved. Mix in the remaining water and remove the pot from the stove.
Once the sweetened tea reaches room temperature, pour it into the glass jar along with the SCOBY. Place the fabric over the opening of the jar and seal with a rubber band. Place the jar in a dark room with controlled temperature and no direct sunlight. Let it stay there for two weeks — the longer the kombucha recipe sits, the more healthy probiotics it will grow. For the last three to four days, take a taste of the mixture until it suits your preferences.
When done remove from kombucha from its place and store in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process. Pour out the SCOBY and “baby” SCOBY that were formed and store them with a bit of the kombucha in a lightly sealed jar in the fridge until you want to make a new batch.
If you prefer the convenience of manufactured kombucha, just make sure you stick to brands that don’t use bucketloads of sugar (kombucha cultures are already fed with sugar to make them grow, so the sugar levels in commercial drinks can very easily become excessive).
The benefits of kombucha accumulate over time, so find your favorite recipes and make this ancient elixir a part of your regular health routine.