It’s Kombucha Time

The kombucha craze is rapidly spreading throughout the world. More and more bottles of this popular fizzy substance are popping up in grocery stores in all variations of flavours and colours. But what is it really? And why should we drink it?

Here is everything you need to know about kombucha, from its ancient history to the magic it performs in your body …

First of all, what is Kombucha?

It is essentially a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the kombucha culture. The origin of kombucha is unknown, but there are multiple theories. One being that it was invented in the Qin Dynasty (220 BC) for the emperor Qinshi Huangdi. The Chinese are notorious for their knowledge and practice at brewing longevity elixirs, the tea was called “Tea of Immortality”. The named shifted to “Stomach Treasurer” (which seems to match the studies done on how fermented drinks and food are hugely beneficial for maintaining a healthy gut flora.)

Image taken from Everything Mushrooms

What’s in a name? Kombu is actually a type of seaweed, but it is also said that a Korean doctor called Dr. Kombu brought kombucha to treat the Japanese Emperor Inyko in 414 AD. Hence the name ‘Kombu’ and ‘cha’ which means tea. Japanese samurais were known to carry kombucha in there wine skins for extra energy during battle.

Kombucha then made its way to Europe via the silk trade route. It became a very popular drink in Russia and Ukraine in the late 19th century going by the name of ‘Tea Kvass’. During the time of World War II, due to rationed ingredients, the practice stopped and was only available to elites groups.

The Chemistry

We all love to drink kombucha, and the process of making it isn’t very complicated or difficult. But what really happens inside our kombucha jug when we leave all the ingredients to sit?

The SCOBY. Images taken from Ditch the Wheat

So first we must understand what goes into making kombucha. It is brewed sweetened tea with what’s called a scoby floating on the surface of the tea. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. The yeast living in the scoby ferments the sugar and this process is what makes the alcohol, then the alcohol is used by the bacteria to turn it into vinegar. There is usually only under 0.5 present alcohol and vinegar in the kombucha. The longer you leave the kombucha to ferment the less sugar will be left in your final product. There are many different kinds of bacteria in the scoby and the bacteria can vary a lot depending on the climate, geography and local bacteria. In some cases scientist have even found antibiotic bacteria living in the mushroom. There have also been toxic bacteria discovered. It is good to be cautious when you make the kombucha to not let any unwanted particles contaminate the fermentation process.

For the Body

Kombucha is a well-known probiotic. It also aids the digestive process by fighting harmful yeast overgrowth, which helps create mental and mood stability. Having a good gut health also helps to fight depression and anxiety, as well as aid weight lose and increase your energy.

Kombucha contains Glucosamines, which prevent and help to treat all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increases synovial hyaluronic acids, which is known to sooth arthritis pain, prevents cartilage fracture and enables the connective tissue to bind and kept flexible. This super drink also has detoxification abilities thanks to the thousands of enzymes and bacteria that help it cleanse the liver.

Last of all kombucha contains something called Glucaric acid that helps to prevent cancer.

Image taken from Pinterest

Cool fact —

During the Chernobyl meltdown of the 1980’s, Doctors and scientists noticed a group of people seemingly resistant to the effects, many of whom were elderly women. When traced back, the common thread turned out to be that they all consumed Kombucha regularly, this caused them to be less receptive to the effects of radiation.