Quick! what does SCOBY stand for? Ok, just checking that you read up on your terms from part 1 of our kombucha brewing instructions mini course
What Is Kombucha?
Today we will discuss What Is Kombucha and answer the questions What Is Kombucha Tea Good For and What Are Some Uses of Kombucha. We will also go into a little later in the course what kombucha is made of, but first let’s get into a little kombucha history.
What is the History of the Kombucha Mushroom Culture?
So how did this wonderful ugly looking jelly type pancake thing-a-magij come to be?
Kombucha Story Time – An old country doctor from the Alexandrov district near Moscow noticed his peasant patients had no cancer. The doctor, wondering about this, started looking around… and discovered this: That to save money on tea the muzhiks of that locality brewed not tea, but chaga, otherwise known as the birch-tree mushroom.
Actually, it’s not even a birch-tree mushroom, but a birch-tree cancer … a sort of ugly growth on old birch trees. (confused yet?).
It is dome-shaped, black on the outside and dark brown inside. It occurred to doctor Maslennikov that this tea made from the birch tree mushroom could be the magic remedy the Russian peasants, without realizing it, had been using to cure themselves of cancer for hundreds of years.
“So it started in Russia, great let’s move on”… well not so fast!
You see Chaga is not Kombucha! It is just to point out that peeps have been fermenting stuff and enjoying almost miraculous benefits for years, and in many different forms (think sour kraut, pickles, or even the ginger you get at your favorite sushi spot).
How Long Has Kombucha Been Around?
Often it is said, that the Kombucha fungus had already been used 2000 years ago in China. It is also said to have existed for a long time now in Japan and Korea. Particularly in China it was the Grandmother who kept a jar of it on hand at all times and was responsible for the preparation of the tea.
When a daughter in the family got married and moved out to live with her husband (remember there were nucleus families back then where everyone lived together till they got married, and even then they might have continued to live together… side note: don’t tell my mom about that or she’ll expect the same of me!).
The Kombucha culture was passed down to the granddaughter to provide health and longevity to her family. Sort of like a family heir loom. Ha can you imagine getting that instead of a diamond ring?!
What is Kombucha Tea Made Of?
Below is a complete breakdown of what is found in Kombucha tea and a quick associated beneficial function of that ingredient. Kombucha Benefits will be discussed in depth in our course tomorrow.
Remember this is the finished product of the kombucha tea that has been fermented with a kombucha culture for about 10 days, and not just the kombucha culture itself.
We will do another class in the future to discuss what is a kombucha culture make of.
This is a truer representation, as usually it is the kombucha tea that is consumed by the individual and not the SCOBY (though some do ingest the SCOBY, it is rare and requires a special technique that we can also talk about later, as I know many people have asked me what is the kombucha mushroom good for).
- LACTIC ACID: Found in Kombucha in its most potent form L-lactic(+). Lactic acid is essential for the digestive system.
- ACETIC ACID: Its main function is to inhibit harmful bacteria. Acetic acid is used as a preservative because of this action. It is also what gives Kombucha that ‘kick’ to its smell and taste.
- MALIC ACID: Is also used in the body’s detoxification process.
- OXALIC ACID: Encourages the cellular production of energy and is a natural preservative.
- GLUCONIC ACID: Is effective against many yeast infections such as Candida and thrush.
- BUTYRIC ACID: Is produced by the yeasts and when working with gluconic acid, might help combat yeast infections such as Candida.
- NUCLEIC ACID: Work with the body aiding healthy cell regeneration.
- AMINO ACID: A group of acids which are the building blocks of protein. Your muscular system is made of proteins.
- ENZYMES: Are proteins that act as catalysts, speeding the rate at which biochemical reactions proceed.
Kombucha also contains Vitamin Groups B and C, Beneficial Yeasts and LIVING Bacteria (you know like the stuff in yogurt).
What Is Kombucha Good For?
It is said that kombucha is good for many ailments and to support proper digestion functions. We have created a whole survey on actual drinkers of kombucha to ask them what is kombucha tea good for? To see those results check out our Kombucha Benefits.
Though our Kombuhcha Benefits page answers what are the top REAL benefits of drining kombucha tea, here are the actual components or characteristics of kombucha along with how it might be used to help your body.
- Kombucha is a Probiotic.
This means that kombucha is good for restoring healthy bacteria in your body. In this case, kombucha is used to offset people who have taken anti-biotics in the past.
By introducing living probiotics into the body, many people have experienced an increase in digestive flora. This increase in flora helps with digestion and detox.
- Kombucha Alkalizes The Body.
Although kombucha is externally acidic, it is considered a weak acid. This means that once ingested it will bind to minerals and the overall effect will be alkaline to the body.
This is very similar to lemons and apple cider vinegar. A balanced internal pH has been reported to increase our immune system. This means kombucha is good for increasing your immune system.
- Kombucha (usually) Contains Tea.
Though it is not completely necessary, the majority of kombucha is made using the leaves of the camililias senensis plant (that’s fancy talk for tea leaves.. as opposed to other herbs).
There has been a tremendous amount of research on the benefits of tea (different types of tea have different charecteristics, ex: green, white, oolong, black, etc) – however all tea contains EGCG and other polyphenols and amino acids, vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and theanine.
This means, when consuming kombucha that has been brewed with tea, kombucha is good for weight loss, increased mood, energy, and high blood pressure.
- Kombucha Converts Sugar Into Organic Acids.
As we discussed earlier, kombucha contains several different types of organic acids. A major one is gluconic and glucoronic acids which may have specifically detox the liver.
Many people who cleanse their liver report a noticeable difference in their skin, hair, eyes, and finger nails (they will grow like crazy!)
- Kombucha is a much healthier and lower calorie and sugar alternative to soda.
This one is personally my favorite and usually the often over looked answer to why so many people experience such a drastic difference in mood, weight, appearance and digestion almost immediately. Kombucha is good for (no, strike that GREAT for), a replacement for your other beverages.
It shares many of the similar characteristics of your favorite soda; it’s astringent, it’s sour (has a little bite to it), it’s fizzy, it tastes great ! But unlike soda, it has very little calories and sugar once properly fermented.
People ask all the time how much, and it will vary by recipe and fermentation environments, but it is almost always 430% less sugar and calories as a soda.
Plus it is not just what it doesn’t have, it is what is found in kombucha too — don’t know.. well just scroll up and re-read today’s class silly!
Okey dokey class. We are finished with today’s what is kombucha class. We are leaving off at a good place, b/c tomorrow we will go into the Real Benefits of drinking Kombucha as experience by our readers/brewers/kombuchaholics.
There is a top 10 List included. It will be awesome.
Till then –
- Smile at a random person,
- Make sure your hair is combed
- and Share your newly gained kombucha knowledge with a friend. (you can do so with the fancy facebook buttons, and such).
And in that order, because no friend will listen to you about a subject they never heard before if your hair’s a mess.
PS: Remember, by now you are probably going into some shock about how much fun it is to discover kombucha. I know I went crazy when I found out you can make kombucha at home for pennies… in fact that’s why I started this site and itty bitty (yet moderately awesome) kombucha company. It’s all about sharing the love! I hope you are enjoying these classes as much as I enjoy writing them (for reals!).
PPS: If you have not signed up for our Free Kombucha Mini Course and Kombucha Vids, you can do so now and not miss out on any of kombucha tips!