Using Herbal Teas, Flavored Teas and or Wild-Crafted Plants – A Quick Word
Traditionally, brewing and maintaining kombucha mushroom culture required black tea and a sugar source. There are reasons for using black tea that aid in the longevity of the cultures vitality by working as a nutrient solution.
When using herbal teas or plants to brew kombucha tea mushroom cultures the concern lays is the amount of volatile oils contained within the plant in question. Using herbs, plants, or flavored traditional teas with high amounts of volatile oils may affect the growth of the Kombucha culture. An example of a tea not to use would be peppermint tea. Also, avoid herbal or flavored teas that contain high amount of bitters. The benefits of using medicinal herbs when preparing kombucha tea can greatly enhance the beneficial properties of the kombucha tea tonic.
A great old time Kombucha recipe, from Russia, is an alternative to traditional black tea is dried rose hips, dried elderberries, and a sugar source. This is a very old traditional recipe as both ingredients could be gathered in most areas with very low cost, if any, compared to imported tea, which only the wealthy could afford.
Teas NOT recommended for brewing kombucha tea, include but are not limited to: Sage, peppermint, St. John’s Wort, chamomile flower, ginger root, or plants
within the pepper family.
Herbs Safe to Use for Brewing: Aniseed, young blackberry or raspberry leaf and berry, chicory root, club moss, dandelion, elder flowers and berries, fennel, hibiscus flower, nettle leaf, oat straw. In addition, Rooibos tea (red bush tea), plantain leaf, rose hips common, yerba maté leaf, and valerian root.
NOTES on Fresh Plant/Herbs: First, use low oil teas, Google herbal sites for complete listing. One draw back to using herbal tea is that they contain more wild yeast spores over green or black tea. This may contaminate the kombucha cultures; on the other hand, the wild yeast may assist in producing a fizzier beverage. This happens by introducing more yeast into the brewing vessel. The draw back is that you have no control over what type of yeast you introduce. In short, there may be a higher chance of contaminating your kombucha mushroom cultures by using herbal teas or plants. Use a backup culture for experiments! To prevent contamination, make sure your pH readings are within the proper range.
Kombucha Tip For the Week… As requested again… Kombucha Tea Fast Brew Method V02:
Our fast brew method can save a bit of time and the tea/sugar solution is ready to inoculate with the kombucha cultures and start tea.
KT Classic Recipe… is as follows: – 1 gallon water, bring to boil – Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon – Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir – Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture – Brew 7 to 14 days
KT Fast Brew Method: – ½ gallon of water, bring to boil – Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon – Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir to dissolve – Add ½ gallon of cold water, mix – Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture – Brew 7 to 14 days The difference is that the fast brew method will require less time to cool the raw tea/sugar solution, thus, getting the round brewing faster. The basic difference is cutting the water in your recipe by half and then adding the other half of the water (cold) at the very end. This cools the solution faster, to get the batch started and help to prevent mold.
Kefir Grains – Live vs. Dried – Which One is the Best Buy For You ?
Today someone searching to buy kefir grains on the web will find many sites selling ‘living’ kefir or dried/dehydrated kefir grains. For someone new to food culturing there are many questions…, What is the best source to buy kefir? What type of grains do I need? Where to get the best grains?
There are two types of kefir that one can buy, Milk kefir grains, which are a naturally occurring organism originating in the Caucasus or water kefir grains from Meso-America. Of the two, the live fresh active grains are the best buy for your money and time. However, both types offer benefits unique each to itself.
The fresh kefir grains re-balance quickly and begin producing drinkable pro-biotic kefir within just a few days of arriving after shipment. This is an excellent option if you live within the USA and are able to attend to them immediately.
If you are either a) not located within the U.S. or b) not able to attend to the fresh grains immediately upon arrival, then dried kefir grains are the best option for you.
These will take longer to activate – about a week or so to ‘wake up’ and adjust the balance to where they are producing a drinkable kefir beverage. This is a great option if the grains will be in transit internationally, since they are in a dormant stage and will not degrade or less likely to be damaged over the fresh grains. This also gives you the option to stick the dried grains in your cupboard or refrigerator if you receive them, but, are not ready to use them (or want to hang onto them as a backup source or a gift to give). Water kefir grains are known to sometimes be difficult to revive from a dried state (or just takes a long time) in some cases. Usually it’s hard to put the blame on any one thing, they just tend to be more fragile and pickier than milk kefir grains.
Below are a list of companies and websites that sell different kefir grain starters. Below is information from the company’s website pages on kefir:
From their website…“These kefir grains are real grains maintained on organic milk. Unlike the pre-packaged kefir starters, such as Cultures for Health, Helios, or Body Ecology, that you may find on other sites or selling in retail stores, these are the real living grains of the kefir culture. Our kefir grains are ready for use out of the packet, no failed productions or waiting several rounds for the kefir grains (milk or water types) to become ‘active’ again. You will not find our strains of kefir grains in any store! These grains will last a lifetime with proper care. Our Kefir Cultures are Always Live & Fresh…Never Dried & Dehydrated.”
Benefits: Five different kefir types to choose from, plus many other food cultures. Fresh, active culture starters, organic grown, kefir is ready to use from the package and a first batch of kefir is ready within 24 to 48 hours. A 100% replacement guarantee, if the cultures are not viable. Drawbacks: Not able to ship to international destinations (but for Canada) due to fresh raw nature of culture starters.
From their website…”Contains 6 packets that can be used an average of 7 times each. Six tablespoons of previous batch will ferment 1 quart of liquid.”
Benefits: Convenience and great for short time usage, Drawbacks: Isolated lab grown cultures, repurchase required, limited usage. Invest in real kefir grains for long term usage.
From their website…”Yogourmet kefir starter is prepared from selected strains of dairy cultures and yeast as well as kefir grains, so that each batch you make produces excellent quality kefir. Yogourmet kefir starter does not require the use of a yogurt maker, since the milk is incubated at room temperature for about 24 hours. Each box contains 3 envelopes of 2 X 5 grams and each envelope makes 2 liters of kefir”.
Benefits: Convenience and great for short time usage, Drawbacks: Isolated lab grown cultures, repurchase required, limited usage. Invest in real kefir grains for long term use.
Lifeway Helios Kefir & Other Ready to Drink Kefirs
From their website…”Putting a bottle of Lifeway Kefir in your hand just makes so much sense. It allows you to be proactive about your health, filling your digestive system with friendly bacteria. Lifeway Kefir is also loaded with nutritious ingredients.” Benefits: Convenience in a ready to go drink and great for short time usage or when traveling, Drawbacks: High price, isolated lab grown cultures, extra packaging, and limited pro-biotic content.
Cultures For Health
From their website…”Our milk kefir grains are shipped in a dehydrated state in a barrier-sealed packet. Upon receipt, the dairy grains can be rehydrated in fresh milk (this process usually takes 5 to 7 days) and then used to make kefir by adding the grains to fresh milk, stirring, covering, and leaving at room temperature until the desired consistency is reached.” Benefits: Cultures are cheap to buy, due to mass production. Great for shipping to countries outside the USA.
Drawbacks: No moneyback or return policy. Small packet of lab produced and dried starter culture, leaving little room for error. Must rehydrate the grains before use, wasting milk and time. Dehydrated grains may not reactivat depending on the shelflife.
Each type of starter has it’s own benefits depending on what and how the cultures are to be shipped or transported. This is a final note on food cultures…”Buying or obtaining the freshest kefir or other starter cultures, one can, will assist in producing the best cultured and viable product. I suggest fresh culture over dried/dehydrated if possible.”, Nirinjan Singh, Director – Organic-cultures.com
“Hi, I’m new to making Kombucha and I have a concern about bottling KT after the second ferment. I have read on many sites that there’s a chance the bottle can explode from carbonation buildup and that …I should be very careful. So how do I be very careful? Moreover, is that really a concern? I see on your site that you do not mention it when explaining how to bottle KT. Is that only a concern after the second ferment?”
To Answer Your Question…
Bottling is the best way to extend the shelf life of the kombucha beverage. There is a concern with excessive buildup of carbonation when bottling. Below are some steps to follow when doing the secondary fermentation:
1. Do NOT add extra sugar or juice when bottling. This adds raw sugar source which the yeasts will turn into carbonation & alcohol)
2. Use quality bottles such as Grolsch style beer bottle (Grolsch or standard beer bottles are designed to hold extra pressure)
3. Leave a 5% head space when filling each bottle and the pH is below 4.5
(In the beverage industry, this amount is required by the FDA)
4. Just to make sure all is safe, keep your bottles in a cardboard or plastic box to keep glass and liquid from going every where Following these easy steps will assist you in your secondary bottling process. Please comment below with any other questions or a tip you may have to share.
Kombucha tea fast brew method… Our fast brew method can save a bit of time and the tea/sugar solution is ready to inoculate with the kombucha cultures and start tea.
KT classic recipe is as follows:
– 1 gallon water, bring to boil
– Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon
– Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir to dissolve
– Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture
– Brew 7 to 14 days
Kombucha Tea Culture Fast Brew Method: – ½ gallon of water, bring to boil
– Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon
– Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir to dissolve
– Add ½ gallon of cold water, mix
– Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture
– Brew 7 to 14 days
The difference is that the fast brew method will require less time to cool the raw solution, thus, getting the round brewing faster. The basic difference is cutting the water in your recipe by half and then adding the other half of the water (cold) at the very end.
Question of the Week…
My Kombucha Culture is Producing a Flat Beverage, What Can I do to Make More Fizz?
This happens to many KT brewers from time to time. First of all, use best quality ingredients you can afford, we suggest organic ingredients. Are you using city water? Then stop! Try changing the type of tea your using and use no teas high in oil content, like peppermint or Earl Grey.
Some people will tell you to just add more sugar, however, just as in beer and saké making, adding to much sugar can make the yeast even more sluggish.
I believe temperature plays a bigger role in producing fizz in the KT, which is the carbon dioxide (CO2), produced from the yeast breaking down the sugars. My suggestion is to make sure the temp (of the liquid, not the ambient temp) is at least 80 deg F for the first 3 or 4 days, then drop the temp down to 70-75 Deg F for the rest of the brewing cycle. If you feel that you need more sugar then add it by ‘addition’ over the first 3 days of brewing.
Another trick is to make sure the raw tea/sugar solution is aerated. Do this by pouring the cooled tea between two vessels several times. One last tip, the SCOBY culture helps to trap in the CO2 so make sure your culture doesn’t have a lot of holes in it and that the new culture forms and seals the top of the liquid.
By following a few simple measures one can keep the culture strong and contamination free. There are many types of unwanted air-born or surface contaminations; however, by keeping the cultures covered as much as possible we can greatly reduce the amount of wild yeasts and unwanted molds. By reducing the amount of foreign and unwanted invaders,
the kombucha strains stay strong, healthy, and viable. Through either neglect, improper environmental conditions, or the wrong nutrients the mushroom culture can become weak and susceptible to contamination. By following the steps below, your kombucha
culture should last a lifetime and more.
Steps For Preventing Mold and Contamination on Kombucha Mushroom
and Tips For Keeping Your Culture Starter Happy & Healthy !
1. KEEP CULTURES COVERED AT ALL TIMES Keep the culture jars or brewing containers covered with a clean section of cloth or breathable material and secured tightly with rubber bands or string. .
2. NO SMOKING Do NOT smoke cigarettes and tobacco around the kombucha fermenting area or even better not to smoke in the same house. Smoke molecules may kill or weaken the cultures. The constitutes within the tobacco smoke are not to the kombucha bacteria and yeast and will be directly affected by this action.
3. USE QUALITY INGREDIENTS Though at first this may not seem to be a step in preventing mold contamination,
however, by feeding your culture (and yourself) the highest quality ingredients you provide the best range of nutrients
and less chemicals and preservatives.
4. SELECTING A PROPER BREWING SPACE Selecting a proper area for the kombucha tea to sit and brew can make all the difference in the world between a healthy culture and a weak one. The kombucha mushroom requires a nice warm place, out of direct sunlight, to ferment the tea solution. The closer to 80 deg F the better the cultures will grow. The faster the cultures can grow out within the tea/sugar solution the less chance of contamination by mold. Keep the kombucha out of the kitchen area. Although this is the most convenient place for most people to store and brew, it is also the worst! Smoke from cooking, burning fats, and other particles are again not to the liking of the mushroom culture. Out of all areas in your house, including the bathroom, the kitchen area has the most wild yeast, molds, and germs. Not only do dirty surfaces, sink drains, and leftover food particles in the kitchen provide a breeding ground for unwanted molds and bacteria. The kitchen area also provides other abundant sources of molds and wild yeast
through the washing and prepping of fruits and vegetables. Do not worry though, if kept at the p
roper pH, the acidic nature of the kombucha culture mushroom will protect its self from contamination.
5. KEEPING PROPER TEMPERATURE This may not seem to have much to do with contamination, but, by maintaining the proper temperature range of 75 to 85 degrees F the kombucha will ferment the tea solution much faster. The faster the kombucha yeast and bacteria strains can culture out the tea solution the less chance of contamination by invaders.
Finding the correct place within your home can make a big difference on the temperature of the brewing tea.
6. CORRECT pH This, by far, is the most important factor and the key to keeping your kombucha and other traditional food cultures healthy and viable! Why? Because if the pH of any solution ormixture is below 4.5 pH, on the pH scale, it is almost impossible for micro-bacteria to grow. By keeping the pH low, the likely hood of mold ever growing on the surface of your SCOBY is very unlikely. This is also the easiest tip to follow. We keep the pH of kombucha low by adding what is called ‘starter tea’ to every new batch of tea. Keep the pH of the culture below 4.5, as most molds can only grow in a higher pH solution. Do this by using a good amount (about 10%) of fermented ‘starter tea from your last batch to lower the pH of the new batch of fresh tea/sugar solution. Testing a new batch of tea, using pH test strips with a narrow range of 0-6 pH, will tell you the acid content of the tea. It is recommended to keep adding starter tea until the pH is lowered to the correct range. However, do not lower the pH factor to much or the Kombucha culture cannot complete the brewing cycle properly. Purchase pH test strips here.
7. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS AND LAST TIPS Keep the cultures away from plants, as the soil contains millions of spores and microbes in the soil, keep plants in a different room if possible. Do not neglect your culture! Allowing the top of the kombucha SCOBY to dry out is the number one cause of contamination. Lastly, use common sense and good hygiene when brewing your own tea. Clean any glassware and utensils before each use and wash hands before handling the cultures. DO NOT use anti-bacterial soaps. Remember, properly fermented tea always has a slight vinegar smell not a musty or moldy smell.
Of course, if there is mold on the kombucha culture then discard the tea cultures and never try to ‘save’ a culture once it has
been overgrown with something unknown that could be dangerous to your health or life.
By Following a Few Simple Tips Your Kombucha Will be Happy & Mold Free!
Having not brewed kombucha tea before, many people ask us what the kombucha mushroom looks like as it is brewing, with many of the questions pertaining to misidentification of mold. In the photos below are signs to look for to know if the kombucha is viable and growing correctly.
The following photos, we hope, will assist you in brewing your first batch of this wonderful pro-biotic cultured health tonic. The cultures used in the photos are grown with organic sugar and tea, and are kept at an average of 80 degrees F. Correct temperature plays one of the biggest role in successful Kombu Cha brewing! Below are step-by-step photos:
Kombucha at 2-3 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
When cultured at 80 deg F, we see signs of growth on the second to third day. Signs of a thin translucent film or jelly-like layer appear on top of the tea solution. An important reason not to disturb the growing mushroom cultures.
Kombucha at 3-5 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
By the end of the third day and
the next few days the kombucha mushroom will start to thicken and turn from translucent to a cream coloured mass. Notice in the photo how parts of the culture are thicker in spots than in others.
Kombucha Tea at 5-8 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
As the brewing cycle passes the half way point, the mushroom culture continues to thicken.
Notice the carbonic acid bubbles forming under the culture or S.C.O.B.Y. – symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast
Kombucha Tea at 7 to 14 Days Click on any photo to enlarge
The kombucha tea brewing cycle is completed. The culture has formed completely and the tea is now ready to test for drinking and bottling. Low temperature may increase brewing time The pH should read
very close to 3.0 pH
Close-up of Gases Build Up Click on any photo to enlarge
Here is a close-up of gases and CO2 production. This is a good sign early on that conditions are prime for the kombucha. With just a few days growth we have a nice layer forming and the gases indicate that the yeast and actively converting sugars.
Mushroom Brewing Complete Click on any photo to enlarge
A side view of the kombucha culture growing in a gallon size container. The mushroom is 1/4 inch thick and is very nice cream colour. This tea brewed at a slower yeast conversion rate meaning less bubbles and a more uniform mushroom. Notice the writing on the side, always date each batch of tea.
A kombucha brewing cycle on average takes from 7 to 14 days, however, it can take up to 30 days if the temperature is low. In the colder months, a external heating source may be needed to keep the proper temperature. IN the colder months keeping the pH balance correct will help prevent mold growth. For more information on home food culturing, recipes, and finding the starter cultures you need visit our main site or store Next week we’ll be talking about kombucha mushroom and pH balance. Happy Culturing!
We are excited to introduce our newest web site dedicated to nothing but food culturer starters. We still provide the best kombucha cultures and fresh live kefir grain but now we have many other food cultures such as koji and tempeh spores. At Organic Cultures.Com, we provide fresh traditional raw food cultures, including kefir grains, from different regional sources from around the world. All cultures are maintained with certified organic ingredients. From dairy kefir and 5 different water kefir grains, kombucha tea starter, tempeh spores, and amasaké koji, we provide many cultures for the home food culturist. Bringing these traditional foods cultures back into your life nourishes you and your family with healthy pro-biotics, real living foods, and a bit of ‘culture’, too!
This Blog will give the latest information on cultured foods, news articles, and thoughts on again creating living food just as we did from the start of civilization.
Probiotics are microflora that live all around us. Common types of microflora are bacteria, yeast and molds. Some of these like, dairy kefir and water kefir grains, are beneficial to the human body we call these probiotics. These probiotic microscopic organisms (microflora) help the body build long-lasting immunity to a host of illnesses and diseases, including allergies, irritable bowels, viruses, bacterial infections, and yes, cancer! No vaccination or prescription medicine in the world could ever come close to this safe and beneficial way of balancing the body’s billions of microbes. Probiotics not only help create this balance but also helps maintain it for years and years, hence the name probiotic, which means “for life.”
This all natural way of supplementing your defense system is vital in today’s frightening, non-nutritional jungle of toxic food and medicine. Many people, especially in the United States, are surrounded by bad influences, through our food, environment, and lifestyle.
Probiotic Cultures, Like Kefir Grains Helps Prevent Damage Before it Occurs…
Probiotic cultures not only prevent damage from being done to our cells, they strengthen our immune system and beat down cancer cells before they ever have a chance of multiplying. Probiotics weaken mutagenic activity, so your good cells keep winning the battles, and most importantly, the DNA war. Adding probiotic to your body isn’t hard, just eat! Culturing your own or buying ‘living’ raw foods is the best and cheapest way to get probiotic into your body.
The majorities of microbes in the intestine are not harmful, but rather play an important role in normal growth and development, but when the pH balance is off, especially in the intestines, major problems begin doing “structural” damage to our system, and reinforcement is often needed, above and beyond a healthy diet. Also, probiotics can be used to counter the over-consumption of antibiotics so typical in the average American diet, which is often chocked full of non-organic meats and dairy products that come from animals shot up with varying forms of antibiotics. Antibiotics and trace chemicals are also prominent in municipal drinking water, because it’s “too expensive” for cities to filter them out.
Eliminate Fear and Learn about
Your Inner Ecosystem
Just as Earth and Mother Nature have a delicate balance which needs to be maintained, our bodies have their own “inner ecosystem,” which is like having a rainforest in your digestive track. When your ecosystem is balanced, your intestines are teeming with beneficial bacteria and micro flora to keep your immune system strong.
However, in the USA, we are told that bacteria and yeast means sickness or disease and are marketed anti-bacterial products for cleaning and washing the hands. The fact is just the opposite in that we would die without a healthy intestinal flora.
Consuming traditional probiotics, like yogurt, ones native to the human digestive tract encourages the production of antibodies, which in turn protects the system from allergies, infections (viral, fungal and bacterial), IBS, and sometimes cancer. In fact, probiotics build defense against disease by enabling your body to build a natural defense, unlike vaccinations. Vaccines are now often crossbred viruses, bacterial strands, mixed up with aluminum and formaldehyde, which shock the system into a panic type of reaction, which is a form of “wild guess” methodology for establishing only short term immunity at best.
Populating your “gut” with beneficial micro flora may help to improve your skin, maintain a healthy weight, and provide energy and overall well-being. Many people who have never heard of probiotics or don’t understand their function may be “turned off” to the concept if educated improperly at first.
Benefits of a Healthy Gut
The second someone reads a typical probiotic label or description reading something like, “Over 6 billion bacteria in each tablet,” it seems overwhelming, and some consumers might set the product back on the shelf, but at that point, they are selling themselves short of a healthy gut.
Start incorporating healthy beneficial bacteria and yeast into you diet and see the difference. We have many traditional food starter cultures to choose from. We have many dairy type cultures including kefir grains and vegan cultures, too! Not into milk based food, try our water grains or make your own ginger brew. You can see more about each culture type on our main web site or go to our secure store and order at anytime.
Drinking Kombucha promotes good health and helps millions of people with its excellent detoxifying and immune-enhancing qualities. There are no known negative reactions from drinking kombu tea, except for improper brewing methods. Its origins are lost in history, but in the earliest records two thousand years ago it was known as ‘the elixir of long life’.
Kombucha is not just a health tonic; it is a complete therapy.
Kombucha has proved itself to be a quite remarkable therapeutic drink, made from sweetened tea into which a Kombucha culture (a symbiosis of bacteria and yeasts) is placed. It can taste similar to apple cider or a refreshing light wine, depending on the fermentation time and type of tea used.
There are at least six million Kombucha brewers world-wide.
Doctors, consultants, and practitioners are now recommending Kombucha to their patients.
The Western World is becoming Malnourished! It is well recognized that a high percentage of the Western population is getting insufficient nourishment from modern diets and, as a consequence, our health, and that of society as a whole, is suffering. Kombucha is a food rich in vitamins and minerals which are essential to good health. Many doctors believe that supplementary
vitamins and minerals are unnecessary, saying that we get sufficient of these in a balanced diet. While that may be true in theory, who gets a really balanced diet now? Much of the food that we purchase, even so-called fresh food, has been grown with chemicals – herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. After this, they are sprayed with even more chemicals to preserve their colour and shelf life.
Many of the fast foods that we eat are processed to the point where most of the beneficial nutrients have disappeared altogether, leaving the meal virtually barren. The nitrogen fertilizers used in commercial agriculture stimulate plant growth too rapidly for the uptake of the trace elements and minerals essential for our bodies, resulting in the food lacking nutritional value. British government studies show that our intake of essential minerals and vitamins has fallen greatly since 1936, before the chemical revolution. The truth is that in the Western world we are malnourished!
As Hazel Courtenay tells: “Over 50,000 chemicals are either being sprayed on fruits, vegetables and grains, or added to our food. Many of these chemicals have now entered the food chain and we are reaping a bitter harvest. Our fruits and vegetables contain substantially less vitamins and minerals than they did 50 years ago, sperm counts are dropping, overuse of antibiotics is causing new resistant strains of bacteria which trigger food poisoning. What is happening today, with the tidal wave of illnesses from heart disease, diabetes, Candida and high blood pressure to asthma and arthritis, is that our bodies are telling us they have had enough. It is imperative that we wake up and educate ourselves and others in ways of protecting ourselves and our planet.” Many people, including doctors and scientists, don’t realize how much our immune systems are vulnerable to the effects of sophisticated forms of pollution. Blood – Brings Life to the whole Body
When blood gets too alkaline calcium tends to crystallize out of the blood solution. These crystals are deposited near the joints, causing joint tenderness, arthritis, rheumatism and allergies. Older people’s blood becomes more alkaline, which can affect their circulation, oxygenation and energy. An acidic blood condition can lead to diabetes where fat and protein wastes are not being discharged. Another acidic condition results in adrenal depletion and general exhaustion. Conventionally, blood is thought to be sterile. But through his dark-field microscope research, Professor Gunther Enderlein has shown that it is teeming with microbiological life. Normally these micro-organisms are in a mutually beneficial symbiotic state of balance but, for example, the lowering of the oxygen content of the blood, nutritional deficiency and toxicity may lead to the development of pathogenic microbial flora which can result in disease in other organs of the body. These micro-organisms can travel freely between the blood plasma which surrounds the blood cells, and the interstitial fluid which surrounds the fixed tissue cells of the body.6 Kombucha is known to have a balancing effect of the pH of the blood which is likely to make it less hospitable to pathogenic bacteria.
Contamination and Toxicity It is important to remember that Kombucha has a home-brewing safety track record of two millennia. Contamination of the culture by moulds is not a problem if normal standards of kitchen hygiene are observed and if the ambient temperature of the fermentation is adequate. If it occurs, the culture and brew are disposed of, just as one would a moldy tomato paste. Kombucha tea has its own protection against pathogens, as it contains an antibiotic and, containing acetic acid (vinegar) it is self-protecting. Those who mention toxicity in connection with Kombucha misunderstand the nature of what is called a ‘healing crisis’ – the discomfort experienced with rapid detoxification of the liver. Kombucha is a powerful detoxifier and we always recommend anyone who begins taking Kombucha starts with a small amount to avoid any discomfort, gradually building up to the normal dose of 150 mls (one wineglass) three times a day.
There are also the chemicals added to our food (both in farming and in food processing) that are supposed to make us enjoy them more. These are not friendly chemicals; they destroy the body’s functioning, cause allergic reactions, digestive disorders and pollute our blood – they are poisoning us! In the worst cases, of the common prescribing of powerful drugs like antibiotics, cortisone and steroids, the homeostatic balance of the body is disrupted. Some people who were suffering from the side effects of these drugs believe that Kombucha therapy was in great measure responsible for restoring their metabolic balance and health.
Encouraging Self-Empowerment Kombucha has helped with a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions. Some of the most enthusiastic responses we have had to Kombucha have come from those people with difficult long-term illnesses such as arthritis, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, poor circulation, high cholesterol and cancer, and from older people, many of whom doctors have been unable to help. In addition, alarming numbers of young people are developing illnesses resulting from poorly functioning immune systems, such as eczema, acne, allergies, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME), etc.
When Kombucha was widely publicized by the media a few years ago as a trendy new health craze, of the thousands who started to brew many gave up because they were not getting their ‘quick fix’, were not able to make a pleasant tasting drink, or because their culture failed. It is also very helpful to know of the dozens of other applications of Kombucha. For example, Kombucha tea is excellent applied topically, as a compress, or added to the bath, and made into an effective cream that can help to heal leg ulcers and fungal nail infections. Kombucha can also be used in food recipes, with animals, in gardens & around the home. Kombucha tea was known in the East, and found its way across Russia in the 1800s, becoming widely established as an effective folk medicine in many rural communities. In the 1950s, it surfaced dramatically when Soviet doctors discovered whole communities which had apparently been protected from dangerous environmental pollution by a nutritious drink called ‘tea-kwass’ or Kombucha tea. There are some over-sensational claims for Kombucha’s benefits as a panacea for all ills, to is not. It is difficult, in a symptom-based medical system, for
people not to expect a cure for their specific illness, rather than seek an understanding of the underlying causes of that illness or imbalance. The human body constantly seeks health and balance, but when it has been abused for many years, this balance is compromised. Once brought back to strength through detoxification, improved functioning and an enhanced immune system, the body can initiate its own natural mechanisms for healing.
How Does Kombucha Work? Kombucha is an effective metabolic balancer (helping the various organs work together), probiotic (supporting the beneficial bacteria), adaptogen (balancing processes that get out of kilter) and detoxifier. The probiotic case for Kombucha is that it encourages healthier intestinal flora by introducing lactic acid-producing bacteria. These work in a similar way to acidophilus bacteria, the active ingredient in live yogurt. An old saying, ‘healthy gut, healthy body,’ puts it simply. The acidity level of the gut is all-important, as is the health of its microbial flora which play a crucial role in the functioning of the whole body.
Bacteroides and Bifidobacteria
The bacteria in the intestines can be divided into two main types;1 the less acid-forming bacteroides are responsible for the decaying matter in the colon; elderly people tend to have more gastric disorders; these stem from a low hydrochloric acid production in the stomach, creating more room for fungi and parasites to take hold; bacteroides are encouraged by a diet high in fats and proteins. The more acidic ones, called bifidobacteria, are more beneficial because they produce essential organic acids, such as acetic, lactic and folic acids, which raise the acidity of the intestines, preventing invading pathogens from taking hold. In addition, by keeping down the bacteroides population, they discourage the putrefaction from becoming toxic. The bifidobacteria are favoured by a diet high in carbohydrate, fiber and lactose-vegetarian food and are more common in individuals who were breast-fed as babies. They are also assisted by drinking Kombucha tea.
Kombucha – a Nutritious Food The Kombucha beverage should be regarded principally as a food unusually rich in nutritive properties, rather than just a health drink. As in yogurt, the bacteria are a great source of nutrition, but in addition Kombucha has a wide range of organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that give it its extraordinary value. It contains the range of B vitamins, particularly B1, B2, B6 and B12, that provide the body with energy, help to
process fats and proteins, and which are vital for the normal functioning of the nervous system. There is also vitamin C which is a potent detoxifier, immune booster and enhancer of vitality.
Tea and Sugar’s Role in Kombucha
Tea (Camilla sinesis) is very nutritious, especially in its unfermented green form. It is high in fluorides and has anti-carcinogenic properties; it provides nitrogen, minerals, vitamins, and other substances essential for nutrition, and promotes the growth of the micro-organisms and the cellular construction of the Kombucha culture. Green tea is also high in vitamin C. Sugar plays an essential part in Kombucha’s brewing process, providing a nutrient solution for the culture, assisting in the feeding and respiration of the micro-organisms, and activating the yeasts. It also gets the fermentation process going. The yeast cells make certain organic acids, vitamins and supplementary yeasts, while the bacteria produce carbonation, ethanol and other organic acids. The bacteria break down the sugars into acetic acid and carbon dioxide.
Kombucha culture has a wide range of organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that give it its extraordinary value. It contains the range of B vitamins, particularly B1, B2, B6 and B12, that provide the body with energy, help to process fats and proteins, and which are vital for the normal functioning of the nervous system. There is also vitamin C which is a potent detoxifier, immune booster and enhancer of vitality Probiotic Organic Acids
There are two organic acids produced by Kombucha culture which encourage the activity of the resident bifidobacteria, thus restoring a healthy
balance with the bacteroides: Lactic acid which is essential for healthy digestive action (through its derivative lactobacilli) and for energy production by the liver, and is not
found in the tissues of people with cancer. Acetic acid which is an antiseptic and inhibitor of pathogenic bacteria. Kombucha’s Vital Organic Acids
Other valuable organic acids produced by the Kombucha culture, some of which have a more direct effect on other organs include: Glucuronic acid, normally produced by a healthy liver, is a powerful detoxifier and can readily be converted into glucosamines,
the foundations of our skeletal system. Usnic acid has selective antibiotic qualities which can partly deactivate viruses. Citric acid is an antiascorbic. Oxalic acid encourages the intercellular production of energy, and is a preservative. Malic acid also helps the liver to detoxify. Gluconic acid is a sugar product which can break down to caprylic acid to work symbiotically with — Butyric acid (produced by the yeast) protects human cellular membranes, and combined with Gluconic acid which is produced bythe bacteria,strengthens the walls of the gut in order to combat yeast infections such as Candida. Nucleic acids, like RNA and DNA, transmit information to the cells on how to perform correctly and regenerate.
A product of the oxidation process of glucose – glucuronic acid – is one of the more significant constituents of Kombucha culture. As a detoxifying agent, it has come into its own today in our highly polluted world. It is one of the few agents that can cope with the pollutive products of the petroleum industry, including all the plastics, herbicides, pesticides and resins. It ‘kidnaps’ the phenols in the liver which are
then eliminated easily by the kidneys. Another byproduct of glucuronic acid are the glucosamines, the structures associated with cartilage, collagen and the fluids which lubricate the joints. Collagen reduces wrinkles, while arthritis sufferers have their deficient cartilage and joint fluids replenished. Amino acids, which are constituents of proteins, produce important enzymes, such as glutathione a powerful antioxidant which provides protection from alcohol and pollution, and which is depleted by drug regimes.
Sugar, Yeast and Tea When Kombucha tea is made correctly, all the sugars are fully converted into organic acids during fermentation, enabling Kombucha tea culture to be is safely drunk by diabetics and Candida sufferers. Also the yeasts found in the Kombucha culture do not stimulate the Candida yeasts as they are of a different type; Candida sufferers have therefore often found considerable relief in taking Kombucha. Black or green tea may be used as a nutrient for the culture, but as green tea has anti-carcinogenic properties, is beneficial to the heart and blood circulation and is particularly nutritious, it is preferable to use.
Balancing the Body Metabolic balancing is perhaps the most important function of Kombucha. This is one reason why it is not symptom specific – why it does not always help a specific immune-related illness, but rather seems to go to a person’s own weakness or personal imbalance. Such a substance which has no specific harmful effect is called an adaptogen. Kombucha’s adaptogen effect is seen mostly through its influence on the liver, the blood and the digestive system, where it normalizes the acidity or pH.
The Acidity Factor Human metabolism depends on the acid-alkaline balance which is constantly responding to the food that we eat, the air that we breathe, and to our emotional state. The body has a remarkable balancing system that maintains the different organs at the pH level each requires for health. A cell’s pH balance is disturbed by toxins, which create more acidity. The body gets rid of toxic acids by various means. One is through breathing
– that is why deep breathing is so therapeutic – it makes the blood more alkaline. Another is by flushing out – one of Kombucha’s roles is to flush out the toxins through the kidneys.
The Liver Filters Toxins The liver is vital to life; it has the ability to restore itself and has many functions – to assist digestion, to store important vitamins and minerals, to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates to provide energy for the body, to recycle red blood cells, and remove toxins from the body. Because of its role in pH regulation and of its detoxifying acids, Kombucha is a valuable restorative of liver function.
Research on Kombucha’s Benefits There is an extensive literature (some 300 books and research papers) dealing with the analysis of Kombucha Tea and its therapeutic effects. The independent medical research has been conducted principally in Russia and in Germany over the whole of the present century. Among early reports were those listing the benefits of Kombucha for stomach, digestive and intestinal disorders. One of the most famous of the later
researchers was Dr. Rudolf Sklenar of Oberhessen who recognized the detoxifying properties of glucuronic acid in Kombucha for removing waste matter such as cholesterol and toxic deposits. He developed a biological cancer therapy based on Kombucha, and it is his recipe which is still generally used today and for the production of the commercially bottled brew. He became a champion for the remedy, which he found helped invigorate the entire glandular system and the metabolism. He successfully treated arthritis, constipation, obesity, arteriosclerosis, impotence, kidney stones, rheumatism, gout and significantly, cancer, especially in its early stages.
The Importance of Polysaccharides in Cancer and Digestive Disorders
Sugars also play a part as polysaccharides, which form the fundamental connective tissue of all human organs. Their ability to cope with metabolic waste products is a crucial part of a healthy body. The Japanese have conducted interesting research with these substances within the area of immune-therapeutics, very much the domain of Kombucha therapy. These tests focus on the role of polysaccharides which are found in Kombucha and their positive effect on macrophages and T-cells. One trial showed that the survival rate in cancer sufferers given polysaccharides was twice that of patients undergoing conventional treatment. A German naturopathic clinic in Gaggenau, Germany, did trials which showed the curative effects of polysaccharides on gastro-intestinal ailments as well as cancers.
By obtaining your own kombucha culture or kombucha tea you can start your own detoxifying program or simply use it as a daily health tonic. Other pro-biotic cultures such as kefir will assist, however, for detox we reconmend kombucha tea culture starter Traditional, kombucha is used for aiding the body in detoxifying the body, maintaining metabolic balance, but it is said to also promote overall wellbeing throughout the body. People from all parts of the world use it as a general daily health tonic. You can order your own kombucha culture at our store and
start making this tea beverage today !