What is Kombucha Tea?
Kombucha is a beverage that results from fermenting tea and sugar with a bacteria culture (also referred to as ‘scoby’, ‘the mother’ or ‘mushroom’). The flavor is refreshing, tasting like something between an apple cider and champagne. Every kombucha tastes different depending on the tea and bacteria culture you use.
Kombucha Meaning & Origin
Now you know what this beverage is all about, you might wonder where this name originates from. For this we’ve to look back into the history of this beverage. The production of Kombucha can be traced back all the way to the Qin Dynasty (AD 414) in China, where it was made by doctors to threat the emperor health issues related to digestion.
However, in Chinese Kombucha is pronounced as ‘Hong Cha Jun’, literally meaning ‘red tea bacteria’. Hong Cha Jun is a completely different term from Kombucha, which isn’t strange because the beverage never hit the mainstream in China. In the 19th century an Asian business men introduced the beverage in Russia, and it got some popularity in the 90s in Japan. It was the Korean physician called Kombu, who treated the Emperor Inyko with this fermented tea. Later on the name ‘Kombu’ was combined with ‘cha’ meaning tea in Chinese and the term ‘Kombucha’ was born.
What is Raw Kombucha?
You’ve raw or pasteurized kombucha. The latter meaning that it has been heated to kill harmful bacteria. Pasteurization happens with lots of beverages including milk. It’s normally a good thing, but there’s many beneficial bacteria in kombucha, called probiotics, than can be good for you.
Kombucha Benefits: Is Kombucha Really Good For You?
We’ve just mentioned that kombucha tea contains healthy bacteria known as probiotics. So is kombucha really good for you? Because this fermented tea got mainstream just in the recent years, scientists still have to catch up when it comes to confirming its health benefits. Luckily, we do know that probiotics is also found in other fermented foods such as yogurt and are beneficial for one’s digestion and immune system. And the good news is that Kombucha contains a high amount of probiotics in every serving.
Kombucha Science: Diabetes, Heart Diseases & Skin
Recently a publication in the journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that the kombucha drink has the ability to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. This makes it a potentially an excellent drink to treat diabetes as well as heart diseases. We do have our own question marks on this, as kombucha still contains a little bit of sugar, though it’s just about a third of soft drinks.
At last we often hear about claims that kombucha might also be good for your skin. Unfortunately, we haven’t found any scientific article yet that backs this claim.
Kombucha Side Effects: Is Kombucha Safe?
When talking about health benefits of any food, you might wonder if there are also side effects. Kombucha is most likely safe for most people. But keep these side effects in mind:
- Kombucha contains alcohol, though in a small amount.
- Kombucha contains caffeine, though this can be beneficial during the day, you might want to avoid it in the evening. If you suffer from diarrhea, you might also want to stay away from it.
- This fermented drink can affect blood glucose levels, and this might affect blood glucose control during and after a surgery. Therefore, avoid drinking this fermented tea 1 month before any planned surgery.
- Don’t drink kombucha drinks when you’ve a weekend immune system. In such case, it might support growth of bacteria and cause serious infections.
What’s really important is that you buy kombucha from a reliable source. You might also want to make it at home. In such case get quality raw materials and make sure you produce in a sanitary environment.
Is Kombucha gluten free?
Yes, it is! At least, until now we haven’t seen a kombucha that contains any gluten. However, you might want to be on the safe side and ask the seller to make sure.
When to Drink Kombucha & How much Kombucha Should You Drink?
There’s not much scientific suggestion on the optimal amount of probiotics that one should consume. Even if there is such number, we don’t really believe that such number is the best advice for anyone. Like with drinking pure tea, the right amount that is good for you is actually very personal.
Our advice is to start with just a cup per day and increase the amount of cups over time, while you keep an eye on how you feel.
When should you drink kombucha? There’s not much doctor’s advice from that either. However, it’s given that it contains a small amount of caffeine, so drink less in the evening.
Kombucha Alcohol: Is Kombucha Alcoholic?
Do keep in mind that kombucha contains a slight amount of alcohol due to the fermentation process. The amount is minimal, but you might want to keep it away from children under 12.
Now you know about what this beverage is all about you might want to have some fun and make your own kombucha at home!