In my September Goals, I purposed to write a few posts on this lovely drink called Kombucha. The first post covered the basics of Kombucha and how it helps one to have a healthy immune system. The second post covered other helpful information regarding this beneficial drink. Today, my friend Jo Smith, from Strathdon, Scotland, has offered some final interesting information regarding this drink that might convince you it is worth a shot. We will finish off the series with instructions for how to make kombucha. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, and she/I will do our best to answer your questions.

Part three:

On the other side of the court are critics who dispute the ‘magic mushroom’ health claims, arguing that a cult mentality is at work here. Some say the Kombucha craze has a real potential for harm from bacterial contamination or serious mycotoxins and could result in illness, even death. Although no reports of adverse reactions have been received so far, the US. Food and Drug Administration investigators are keeping a watchful eye on the whole situation.

Doctors and herbalists are divided.  “We have pretty good evidence that the Kombucha has good antibacterial properties” says Dr. Jeffrey Gates DHSC, a research associate in nutrition studies at Cornell University. Gates is a member of the China Health Group, an organisation that studies the diets of peasants  in various parts of China to learn the relationship of food to disease, explains the that the 18-20 foot long small intestine contains 400 to 500  different kinds of bacteria and counts on friendly “policemen” bacteria to keep the rowdier bugs in control. “Since the condition of the gastrointestinal tract is one of the biggest overall determiners of health, the Kombucha’s potential antibiotic nature may help to straighten out flora, “says Gates.  “It also has the benefit of increasing stomach acidity, important in some elderly who have a more alkaline condition which affects absorption of certain nutrients. By helping to create a proper balance, the acidity aids the absorption of Vitamin B12.”

KOMBUCHA THEORIES ABOUT KOMBUCHA’S CLOUT

Biochemists attribute many of Kombucha’s therapeutic effects to its substantial antibiotic and acid contents (primarily L-lactic acid, also found in foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut), and glucuronic acid.   Glucuronic acid plays a role in the detoxification functions of the liver, binding to metabolic environmental poisons, facilitating their excretion from the body, the reason some believe Kombucha is useful in gout, arthritis, arteriosclerosis and other conditions involving an excess of cholesterol, uric acid, or other metabolic products.   Glucuronic Acid is also a building block of a group of important mucopolysaccarides – large complex molecules of sugars attached to amino acids that form the liquid, intercellular “cement” of the body that cushions and holds organs together and lubricates joints.

Kombucha’s low pH level of 3 is also considered important in improving digestive efficiency and absorption of some vitamins and food nutrients, which in turn improve mental and physical health and fitness. Some have postulated that this characteristic may play a role in any anti-tumour activity demonstrated by the tea. Regular sipping of this acidic beverage is said to aid in oral health. All of this is subject to controversy, however, and with the varying opinions, more research is obviously needed.

In the “White Flag” (1928) is reported: ‘The refreshing taste of this tea-beverage is generally pleasing, and its effect is a very good one.  The taste of the fermented tea is very pleasant, being reminiscent of light, sparkling wine.  The effect of the tea usually shows up very fast.  Most of all, it works in blood-cleansing and detoxifying and is said to give excellent services for facial skin rashes.  Further, according to doctor’s orders and evaluations, it is very effective for constant headaches, pain in the limbs, gout, rheumatism, and other ageing problems.  The general effect of the mushroom-tea shows already in a few weeks through an improved general condition and in one’s raised performance capacity, which may be connected with the mushroom’s high vitamin and hormone effect, which are also emphasised by doctors.    Further, the mushroom stimulates the metabolism … excellently and, thereby, helps in clearing out the body, i.e. the elimination of all types of disease toxins’.

JUDGING FOR ONESELF

In both the literary reports and also in the many personal experiences reported during focusing on Kombucha, the broad palette of complaints relieved by it is conspicuous. This is explainable on the basis that Kombucha does not target a specific body organ but, rather, it influences the entire organism positively by effecting a stabilisation of the metabolic situation and through the detoxifying effect of its glucuronic acid.    This leads, in many people, to a heightened endogenic defence capacity against those toxic influences and environmental stresses which inundate us from many sides, resulting in the invigoration of a damaged cellular metabolism, and the restoration of one’s well-being.

Some of the health-promoting properties ascribed to Kombucha tea require further research. However, other active mechanisms are entirely proven both by scientific testing and experientially, such as: regulation of the intestinal flora, cellular strengthening, detoxification and dross elimination, metabolic harmonisation, antibiotic effect, facilitating blood pH-balance.

KOMBUCHA TREATS MANY DISEASES

One of the main reasons why Kombucha seems to be efficacious against such a wide spectrum of diseases is that it does not have any specific action on particular illnesses, but rather its systemic detoxification of the whole body has an overall beneficial effect that invigorates the entire person. When all the toxins have been successfully eliminated, the body is much more able to heal itself.

COMPOSITION OF KOMBUCHA FUNGUS

Scientific exploration of the fungus commenced in the 1950s with the Moscow Bacteriological Institute (as part of their research project on the investigation of cancer throughout the country). They discovered that it was not, as initially thought, a single organism but a symbiotic colony of several bacteria and yeasts with highly complex and sophisticated metabolic pathways.

They isolated the following organisms: Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium gluconicum, Saccharomyces ludwigii, Saccharomyces apiculatus varieties, Schizosaccaromyces pombe, Acetobacter ketogenum, Torula varieties, Pichia fermantans and other yeasts. This group of organisms shows a distinct antibiotic effect through the presence of usnic acid which is present in some lichens. There is also evidence that usnic acid may deactivate certain groups of viruses.

The analysed contents of Kombucha are:    (French results, European Strains)

Acetic Acid           0.5%

Lactic Acid           0.7%

Gluconic Acid       1.9%

Caffeine                3.42 mg/100ml

Fructose                 0.68%

Sucrose                  0.27%

Glucose                  3.25%

Alcohol                  <.5%

Niacin                    (B3)

Cobalamin            (B12)

Pyridoxine             (B6)

Riboflavin             (B2)

Usnic Acid

Carbonic Acid

Most ferments contain an analgesic, an anti-arthritic compound, an anti-spasmodic compound, hematinic and counteractions for hepatotoxins, some anti-fungal, and several anti-microbial /anti-bacterial compounds. They also contain enzyme inhibitors of glucuronidase, heparinase, hyaluronidase, and monoamine oxidase.    But what is in a ferment is not universal – except for gluconic acid, fructose, and acetic acid.

In Michael Roussin’s “Analyses of Kombucha Ferments,” he reports “The typical isolations of micro-organisms found in the Kombucha samples we examined are:

Acetobacter xylinum,

Acetobacter xylinoides,

Acetobacter Ketogenum,

Saccharomycodes ludwigii,

Saccharomycodes apiculatus,

Schizosaccharomyces pombe,

Zygosaccharomyes,

Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Nutrition Facts: Amount per Serving :  4 fl oz (120ml)

Calories                                 40

Calories from fat                 0

Total Fat                               0g

Sodium                                  0mg

Total Carbohydrate             .8g

Sugar                                       .8g

Protein                                   0g

Vitamin C                             .1153mg

Niacinamide                         .6420mg

Folic Acid                              .2794mg

Riboflavin                             1.1594mg

Sugars found in 1 fluid ounce after 10 days ferment: 1.65 g (Sucrose:  0.22g      Glucose: 0.78g    Fructose:  0.65g)

whew! That was a lot, are you convinced it is worth trying?! I hope so, check back in for another post on how to make this drink in your home!

Thanks for reading!

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