Health benefits of kombucha tea range from aiding digestion, facilitating detoxification, reducing arthritis pain, to lowering cholesterol levels. It also aids in restoring bowel movements and providing relief from gastric ulcers. Antioxidant-rich kombucha possesses anti-microbial properties and assists in curing conditions such as cancer and diabetes and contributes productively to maintaining cellular health and strong immune defense of the body.
Kombucha is a type of fermented, effervescent and sweetened black or green tea. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, to which sugar is added. Kombucha is a beverage that can be easily made at home – it only requires tea, sugar, and an active starter culture of bacteria and yeast. The culture, known as the “mother culture,” is combined with tea—usually black or green—and sits for roughly 10 days. During this time, a thin colony of bacteria forms on top. After the fermentation process is complete, the new culture can be scooped out and used to start other brews, while the pungent beverage below is ready for drinking.
Unpasteurized, organic kombucha around 60 calories and about 20 milligrams of sodium. Kombucha contains around 0.5% of ethanol, while, by comparison, beer has around 5%. The alcohol content in raw kombucha brew can increase after bottling. Sometimes it can reach levels of 2 to 5%. Kombucha also contains Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and compounds such as thianin and niacin. Enzymes such as lactase and invertase which break down the sugars are also present in kombucha.
Kombucha has been used over the years to help in efficient detoxification of the body. Kombucha contains a powerful detoxifier glucuronic acid which binds the toxins by entering the liver and eliminates them out of the body via kidneys. This helps in reducing the burden on the pancreas and keeps the liver healthy. Furthermore, it prevents the harmful effects of pollution caused by the petroleum products along with plastics, pesticides, resins, and heavy metals.
Research has shown that kombucha has brilliant hepato-protective effects. It helps in restoring the levels of glutathione and is remarkably effective in reducing the induced hepatotoxicity. A comparative study with black tea has shown that kombucha is superior and more efficient as compared to black tea in its hepatic protection qualities, due to its higher antioxidant power.
Kombucha is rich in organic acids such as glucuronic acid, as well as other powerful antioxidants which help protect the body from oxidative damage. The antioxidants present in kombucha look out for the oxygen free radicals and neutralize their effects thereby, repairing and protecting the body from diseases and inflammations.
Kombucha works wonderfully in restraining the growth of cancer. Studies have shown that glucaric acid present in it is quite effective in the prevention of various types of cancer including pancreatic and breast cancer. Additionally, the detoxification qualities of the kombucha drink also contribute profitably to the prevention and treatment of different cancers.
Kombucha has long been used due to its effectiveness in helping control diabetes. Kombucha is a natural therapeutic agent which helps in suppressing the factors implicated in diabetic conditions. Kombucha is able to effectively control blood glucose levels in people suffering from diabetes, thus helping treat the disease. Additionally, kombucha also exerts healing action on the pancreas of the diabetic individuals and helps in guarding their liver and kidney functions by reducing the concentration of urea and other unfavorable activities occurring in the plasma membrane.
Kombucha tea has anti-microbial properties which are effective against a variety of pathogens. Apart from acetic acid, kombucha contains other anti-microbial components which even at neutral values of pH provide protection against a range of microorganisms including Staphylococcus aureaus, Staphylococcus epidermis, Escherichia Coli, Salmonella enteriditis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Listeria monocytogens, and Helicobacter pylori.
Kombucha contains glucosamines which are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of all types of arthritis. Glucosamine present in it stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid which helps in the maintenance of cartilage structure and provides relief from the pain associated with arthritis. Hyaluronic acid aids in reducing the free radical damage, lubrication, and elasticity of the joints by empowering the connective tissue to bind the moisture.
Kombucha has been used over the years to help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the body. Kombucha has anti-lipidemic properties which help in reducing the absorption of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, and subsequently elevate the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the body.
Kombucha helps provide relief from discomfort caused by gastric ulcerations. Antioxidants and phenols present in kombucha help in protecting the mucin content in the gastric tissues and decrease the secretion of excess gastric acids. Studies have shown that the efficacy of kombucha tea in healing gastric ulcers is at par with the commercially available drug, omeprazole.
Kombucha promotes healthy digestion. Attributing to the process of fermentation with a live colony of bacteria and yeast, it works as a probiotic by helping in sustaining the gut health and provides relief from various abdominal disorders including chronic constipation and diarrhea symptoms. The digestive enzymes present in it enhance the effects of glucuronic acid and aid in the breakdown of proteins and saccharides thereby, making the digestive system more efficient.
Kombucha helps in maintaining cellular health which is vital for the healthy functioning of the body. Kombucha has protective effects against induced cytotoxicity, and is also capable of reducing various cellular toxins in the body.
Kombucha is rich in numerous antioxidants that strengthen the immune defense and boost the energy levels of the body. The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of kombucha help in fighting various bacterial and viral infections. Regular consumption of kombucha is very helpful in keeping the body’s immune system strong and healthy.
There has been a lot of evidence that consuming bacterially fermented foods is actually good for the body, and kombucha certainly has a lot of use and health benefits. Due to the fermentation process involved in creating kombucha, it contains a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics, which help boost the immune system and help fight illness and infections. Daily consumption of kombucha can help in detoxification of the liver, as well as increase the body’s natural metabolism. Kombucha can not only be consumed as a beverage, but it can also be applied topically to heal skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. Kombucha has also been proved to help lower blood sugar levels, thus being extremely beneficial to patients suffering from diabetes.
Kombucha tea has certain side effects, especially if consumed in large quantities. Excess consumption of kombucha tea can cause acidosis which is a life-threatening condition caused by an abnormally high amount of acid in the body. Liver damage is another side-effect associated with drinking kombucha. Although complete liver failure resulting in death is rare, it is not impossible. Lead poisoning is another risk of kombucha consumption, because of the way the tea is often made. If the tea is brewed in a pot containing ceramic, lead crystal or paint, the acidic tea will absorb toxic lead from the pot.
It’s thought that the name “kombucha” came from the Japanese word for seaweed – kombu. It is thought to have originated in the Far East, probably China, and has been consumed there for at least two thousand years. The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty, where it was known as 'The Tea of Immortality'. While the brew has been around for centuries, kombucha didn’t gain popularity until the early 1900s. Soviet leader Josef Stalin went on a quest to avoid cancer, which led him to kombucha. This consequently increased the attractiveness of the drink. From Russia it spread to Prussia, Poland, Germany and Denmark, and in the following years, all over the world. In the 1960’s, Swiss research confirmed the health benefits of drinking kombucha, providing another boost to its popularity. Over the last few decades, Kombucha has enjoyed a revival in Europe and has become popular in both Australia and the United States, especially since 2000.