Kombucha Mary-Beth Charno, RN, BSN, HNB-BC, OCN
What is it? • In Russia, Kombucha is a traditional kvass known as teekvass. • In Asia, considered the Elixer of Life (Tsing Dynasty, China 250 BC). • In America, as SCOBY=symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. • A lacto-fermented drink that requires a particular yeast colony as its starter. This culture is called “the mother”. • A pro-biotic: pro=in favor of; biotic=of life. • Made from a large, flat, pancake-shaped fungus-like growth. Technically, it is not a mushroom, nor is it purely a fungus. Rather it is part lichen, part bacterium xylinum, and part natural yeast culture.
History of Kombucha • No documented ‘mushroom’ made in a laboratory. Apparently, every kombucha mother currently circulating originated from one great mother of them all! • Can be traced back 2,000 years to China, Russia, Japan and Korea. • Russian scientists studied the fungus during the 1050’s-70’s. According to the Moscow Central Bacteriacidal Institute,the tea contains large amounts of substances important for good health. It has a refreshing taste, said to greatly increase energy, cleanses the liver and promotes a general feeling of well-being.
Kombucha promotes health! • The tea contains: • Gluconic acid: impedes the progression of viral infections; can dissolve gallstones. • Hyaluronic acid: a component of connective tissue. • Chondroitin sulfate: a component of cartilage. • Mucoitin-sulruic acid: a component of the stomach lining. • B1 (thiamine); B2 (riboflavin); B3 (niacin); B6 (pyroxidine); B12 (folic acid); lactic acid • Usnic acid: a substance with strong anitbacterial and antiviral properties. • Several probiotic strains.
A potent immune booster • Can be an important part of treatment for disorders from acne and digestive issues to cancer and chronic fatigue. • The fermented tea, is between 3.2 and 2.8 pH = acid. When digested the pH rises to slightly alkaline of 7+. The pH of blood is 7.4. Ideal pH of the fermented tea is said to be at or close to 3.0.
Recipe • In a large non-aluminum pot, bring to a simmer 3 quarts filtered water. Boiling reduces oxygen and carbon necessary for proper fermentation. • Add 5-7 teabags. Tea is the herb that it feeds on. Use common, low grade tea. Black or green. Caffeinated?? Steep 15 minutes. • Add 1 cup organic cane sugar. White sugar is essential to its survival and no substitution should be made. Stir with wooden spoon only. No metal. Allow to cool to room temperature. Keep covered to avoid contamination. • Pour cooled liquid into fermenting container. Glass is best. No plastic. • Add kombucha. Add 2 cups of previously fermented starter. (if none, use ¼ cup white distilled vinegar- to reduce the pH and protect against pathogens. Do not use un-pasteurized non-distilled apple cider vinegar). • Cover with a clean cloth. Set aside in a quiet, undisturbed spot to ferment for 6-8 days at 75-80F constant temperature (8-14 days if lower. 60F is not recommended). First time may take longer. You should notice an apple cider aroma when finished. • Russian researchers have concluded that the antibiotic activity is at its highest level on the 7th and 8th days. If left to brew too long, for over a month, the tea will turn to vinegar.
Additionals • In addition to your brew, a new baby will have formed. The baby will form on the surface even if the mother has sunk. Sometimes they are inseparable. Either can be used for the next batch. Give to friends! • To bottle, choose a glass container in which you will consume the entire amount within 1-2 days, otherwise you’ll risk having the tea turn flat. You may choose to filter the tea over cheesecloth. While this may filter possible contaminants it also reduces some beneficial bacteria and the taste becomes lighter. I do not filter my liquid, rather drink the • The bottled tea may be left on the counter at room temperature to allow for additional fermentation 2-3 days. Refrigerate the final brew. • For images and a more in depth approach see http://www.happyherbalist.com/gallery.htm. • ENJOY!