Crazy for Kombucha

Hey, have you tried Kombucha yet?

It’s an exotic, ancient effervescent drink that some call “mushroom tea” although there are no mushrooms in it.  Actually, Kombucha is a sparkling tea drink made from tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast.  This mix is then fermented to create a bacterial colony or “mother” and this colony—a slimy, sludgy looking thing—is then brewed with sugar and tea, allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting bubbly beverage tastes a bit vinegary, and contains B vitamins and other nutritional compounds.

Many claim that Kombucha tea promotes an array of amazing health benefits such as strengthening and boosting the immune system, preventing the formation of cancerous tumors, lowering harmful cholesterol, relieving PMS, enhancing overall digestion and liver function, and even promoting hair growth.  In fact, Kombucha’s recent ascent to the heights of health-nut popularity is part of a larger trend in foods that contain live bacteria or probiotics, which are known to benefit digestion and naturally boost the immune system.   Probiotics are those living organisms that feed off the “bad bacteria” in our bodies.  So, yes, this is basically good stuff.

But, as with everything good, some points need to be acknowledged and taken into consideration.  For example, even though Kombucha and/or some variation of fermented tea has been prized as a health tonic in China for over 2,000 years, fermented tea is actually a very acidic drink and should be taken strictly in moderation.  Many well-respected health experts have published warnings regarding the excessive use of Kombucha and the possibility of resulting complications such as hyperacidity and the typical side effects seen during detox or “healing crisis” such as skin rashes, headaches and loose stools.  And honestly, none of us should take lightly the fact that no real scientific studies have been done to establish that Kombucha does indeed live up to all of its health claims, even though it has been respected as a natural remedy for centuries.  So, the best advice is to enjoy the drink in moderation and judge for yourself whether or not it is working for you.  At most, enjoy 4 oz. of Kombucha daily, and increase your intake gradually as your body adjusts to the live probiotics.

Here at Morphe, we do occasionally brew a bit of the sparkling refreshment.  Many of my clients claim that it really does give them increased energy, and more than one has mentioned that the tea has helped tremendously with their digestion.

Today, the hippest of foodies and health enthusiasts are cultivating their own “mothers,” and selling or giving away the “daughters” or “kombucha babies” as starter kits for enthusiastic wannabe Kombucha brewers.  And many of these new starter kits have also added additional healthful ingredients such as Spirulina and Vitamin C.  So if you’re looking to start brewing your own Kombucha, you should have no trouble getting a hold of a good “mother” to help you get started.   Just remember that moderation is key with this wonder drink.