Have you ever heard of a drink called Kombucha? It is rumored to be a new elixir of life capable of invigorating our body and giving us the right energy to face our days. Its historical roots tell us of benefits that have been handed down over the centuries. How about finding out more and knowing every detail of it?
So let's go back in time to the time of its birth to discover its origins and benefits together. Then we go back to our century to figure out how to use it in our homes and where we can buy it. But fear not: we will also talk about the contraindications and possible toxicities of this drink that is so intriguing. Ready to go? Follow us to discover Kombucha!
Kombucha, tea with very ancient origins?
It's called Kombucha and it comes from North East Asia. Back in 415 AD in Manchuria it was a doctor who used it for the first time for healing purposes to help the sick emperor. It is said that he was dying and on his deathbed the Kombu doctor (from which Kombucha later took its name) made him sip this unknown drink and he got back on his feet as if by magic. Miracle or remedy with regenerating properties?
Kombucha soon traveled around the world to arrive here: but questions about its real benefits or possible toxicities are quite frequent. Despite its widespread fame over time, there is still distrust around this drink unknown to many which in Eastern countries is even considered a sort of elixir of life.
Apparently it looks like a tea-based infusion but its properties suggest more of a remedy halfway between a healthy drink and a particularly natural cure.
But is calling it tea the most appropriate definition? Well the answer is No!
In fact, for its preparation the so-called "mother" is needed, that is to say a mix of yeasts and bacteria which, when in contact with oxygen, give rise to a phase of fermentation. Due to this characteristic, some associate it with drinks such as beer and wine, but I warn you that they only have the fermentation process in common.
So what does it taste like? You will certainly not feel the alcoholic taste typical of wine productions and forget about rediscovering the taste of tea. Instead you will discover that fizzy taste that certainly moves away from our perception of drinks to which we have been accustomed so far.
Because after all, Kombucha isn't really even a tea as we know it, but a tea-based drink that makes use of infusions and sugar for its preparation but reserves a decidedly unique flavor that depends on the ingredients used. Depending on whether you use black or green tea, you can already notice substantial differences. And then it is the fermentation that determines the more or less sparkling tone and the more or less evident degree of sweetish flavour.
Kombucha benefits for health and the organism
As a healthy drink, Kombucha brings many benefits to our body. Someone says it extends life, but that's another story! Now we want to focus on those properties that make it so widespread - first in Eastern countries but now also all over the world - so much so that it is considered a natural and special aid for many diseases.
We assume that it is detoxifying, antioxidant and energizing. Contains probiotics and helps us maintain a healthy lifestyle because it is capable of strengthening the body.
But where can we see its benefits? Here is the detail for what it is used most frequently:
Provides for the balance of the intestinal flora
Among the properties of Kombucha there are documented merits related to the balance of the intestinal flora. We have already mentioned that the drink contains bacteria. In fact, these are healthy bacteria that help the intestine find its normal balance and prevent disorders such as diarrhea and constipation.
It brings benefits for the digestive system
Even our digestive system benefits from using Kombucha at the right time. In fact, in many countries it is used to improve its functions especially when there are problems related to the liver, as occurs in the case of alcohol abuse.
Stimulates the metabolism and strengthens the immune system
When it comes to Kombucha, someone also associates it with metabolism. In fact, it seems that it is a panacea for accelerating metabolic functions. As a result it becomes an ally for too lose weight effortlessly. The immune system can only benefit from this process, strengthening itself and improving our lifestyle.
Promotes sleep and reduces stress
A glass of Kombucha if necessary and you can finally sleep well and say goodbye to insomnia. Its relaxing properties really seem to be the perfect remedy for improving sleep and reducing forms of stress and anxiety often linked to the inability to rest properly.
It also helps improve mood
What do you think if we tell you that Kombucha also has benefits concerning the emotional sphere? It seems to be perfect in fact also to improve your mood. After all, it is not difficult to believe: if it helps to feel better, to strengthen the body and its vital functions, to reduce stress, it is inevitable that after drinking it we feel all the merit of its benefits and we can only be more serene.
Many other benefits
But it's not over! The drink known for its fermentation also boasts beneficial properties to help in cases of heart problems, asthma, pressure-related disorders, rheumatism, migraines, inflammatory disorders, digestion, menstrual pain, colitis and acne.
Scoby: the special ingredient of a unique drink
In the preparation of Kombucha there is a special ingredient without which it would not be possible to have this drink with such a particular flavor in our homes.
It is the "Scoby", that is to say the mother yeast from which the fermentation process then starts. In fact, this ingredient with gelatinous features plays an indispensable role in the preparation of Kombucha, which otherwise would be a simple tea to be brewed in an infusion. To be precise, Scoby is a term that means Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, i.e. Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.
Someone still gets confused and thinks that Scoby is a mushroom. In reality, however, we know for sure that this is a wrong statement because we are talking about two different things. in fact, the gelatinous disk useful for making Kombucha is a mix of live micro-organisms capable of generating the transformation that starts from tea and sugar and ends up making the fizzy drink known as Kombucha.
Therefore, he is the real protagonist of this preparation and for this reason he must be treated with extreme care, both in the conservation phases and in those in which he becomes an active part of the fermentation.
Kombucha: where to buy it and how to prepare it
Now that you know its innumerable benefits for the body and its special ingredient, you are surely wondering where to find this tea-based drink. Don't worry: you don't have to travel abroad to enjoy Kombucha! Just look for it in the best online stores that deal with infusions and teas or in those that deal exclusively with Kombucha as a unique product. Especially in the latter cases you will be able to get to know the drink in all its assortment.
Over time, many variations and many different flavors have arisen to meet everyone's needs. You will be spoiled for choice to decide which Kombucha is more in line with your tastes.
But, if you prefer, you can also prepare it at home yourself. Also online, do-it-yourself packages are on sale that allow production for home use.
To begin with, you will find on sale the kit with everything needed for a perfect preparation. But it is good to pay attention to the steps to take to avoid making a few mistakes. We summarize them to avoid confusion:
- First, bring the water to the boil and infuse the tea (green or black) for 5 to 15 minutes depending on the type of tea.
- Then, add the sugar, which will feed the bacteria contained in our Scoby.
- Wait for the drink to cool down before moving on to the next step which will start the fermentation process.
- Finally, merge the scoby to start the fermentation process. We remind you that it must be stored with care because otherwise it will not produce the desired result.
- Wait at least a week before tasting it. It must be slightly fizzy and not too sweet before being considered ready to drink. It may take more time during the cold seasons, while in the summer the fermentation would be accelerated due to the heat.
- Store in the fridge at a temperature between 0 and 4 degrees in previously sterilized suitable containers.
Easy isn't it? But if you fear not being able to recreate the healthy drink that everyone is talking about, just buy it ready-made directly online. They also sell it on Amazon so it's not hard to find at all. Indeed, you can stock up on it in the pantry and enjoy it at any time of the day.
Kombucha: toxicity under study and remedies to avoid them
We talked a lot about the benefits of Kombucha. However, someone wonders if what is said about this drink is true, capable of helping so many physical ailments that it is almost miraculous. So will everything be true or is there hidden information that must make us wary of using Kombucha frequently?
Studies that question its benefits even speak of toxicity. Specifically, reference is made to presumed toxicities relating to the liver and kidneys.
But that's not all: toxicity can also derive from incorrect homemade preparation. It is known that fermentation is a delicate process and must be carried out with great care and attention to detail. The same certainly applies to Kombucha which, among other things, is a drink still unknown to many and which perhaps we are preparing to prepare for the first time on our own and without too much information on the correct procedure.
Some advice: to prevent the environment from becoming toxic for your tea-based drink, a few more precautions are necessary before proceeding.
- Pay attention to the material of the container that you will use to keep it in the fridge. Absolutely not to materials made with paint or lead because they are substances that could be absorbed by the infusion and then ingested. Always prefer glass, preferably bottles, and discard ceramic instead.
- Appropriate hygiene standards. The container to be used must be sterilized and washed carefully.
- Don't take initiatives. If there is an instruction manual you have to follow it step by step without changing anything. The result could be deleterious both in taste and in any toxicity.
- Use mechanically sealed bottles. In this way it will be easier to carry out checks to check the state of fermentation and to release the pressure, if necessary. This reduces any risk of bottle explosion.
If you follow these practical tips, you will be sure not to cause disasters that could harm your health, if these hypotheses of toxicity will one day find scientific confirmation in the various studies still in progress.
Kombucha contraindications: do they really exist?
After talking about the possible toxicities, we can only mention the contraindications.
Assuming that even on this point there are still no demonstrable scientific data and therefore it is only a matter of hypotheses, someone claims that Kombucha is not as healthy as one would like to believe.
The health risks that are associated with the consumption of this tea-based drink are widespread side effects that can create difficulties in the normal functions of our body.
There is also talk of skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and general gastro-intestinal problems.
We don't know if these contraindications really exist yet, but it is certainly true that due to its specific characteristics, Kombucha should be used with caution and without exceeding its consumption.
In fact, since it contains sugars, it is not suitable for people suffering from diabetes, for those who are on a strict diet and in general for all others who must use it in moderation anyway. But it is also true that sugar is not the main ingredient and consequently it is not found in such large quantities as to harm the body. However, if you don't want to give up Kombucha but you necessarily have to limit sugar, you can lengthen the fermentation times and you won't run any risk.
In any case, the ideal amount of Kombucha seems to be 240 ml per day, not a sip more.
Exceeding with Kombucha has another consequence: it could cause intestinal swelling due to the gases produced in the drink.
Someone speaks of allergic reactions, but these can be caused by home preparations that do not follow all the instructions, making some phases wrong and making fermentation unsuitable.
The debate on the amount of alcohol, however, is still open. Yet Kombucha has very minimal alcohol levels and are found exclusively in home preparations. Those who want to try this alcoholic drink should look for the so-called hard Kombucha, fermented at the right point to become the cocktail of the moment.
Finally, Kombucha is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Furthermore, if you are suffering from serious illnesses or tumors, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before buying it. He will be able to tell you if it's right for you, the correct use and the ideal daily amount.
In short, if on the one hand Kombucha is seen as an elixir with a thousand beneficial facets, on the other there are still many of its properties to be discovered.
What is certain is that you have to try it to be able to express your opinion and we are sure that you can't wait to buy it to be able to have your say.
Tastes and variations to be tried for a drink with an alternative flavour
We conclude with a few gems on Kombucha to summarize the tastes with which you can sip alone, with family or friends.
We already know that the basic flavor is always unique as it comes from several factors, including the type of tea used for steeping.
But there are also quite exceptional variations on the market that are worth trying at least once in your life.
Kombucha with berries is ideal for those who love fruity and sweet flavors. It also has enormous benefits on digestion and combines taste with health.
Instead, those who prefer more traditional tastes must absolutely try the ginger variant, also excellent for its healthy properties such as anti-inflammatory and indicated in the prevention of flu and colds.
On cool summer evenings, a nice glass of Kombucha made from coconut, pineapple and lavender will keep you company. Slightly sparkling, with a floral taste and above all very healthy because it is rich in vitamins.
These special preparations can be enjoyed alone or with meals. You need to know how to combine them with the right foods that enhance their flavor and make Kombucha truly irresistible even for the most demanding palates.
If you like to try different drinks and you fall in love with Kombucha then you absolutely have to try all its variations. So what are you waiting for? We are certain that the taste will win you over and you will no longer be able to do without it.