Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why Kombucha Tea?

So, a friend of mine asked me to find a recipe for brewing kombucha tea, which I did. You can find a definitive how-to here. She bought me a bottle, which was pretty pricey, and I thought it tasted alot like sour, carbonated, rotten vinegar - and that was the "strawberry serenity" flavor, so before you get all crazy and start brewing it, it might be a good idea to try some. My friend says it gives her a lift, a sense of euphoria and makes her slightly giddy. I did not have that experience. An ice cold beer on a hot day is more my speed.


However, if you're curious, here is some information found:

You may have heard you should drink fewer soft drinks and ingest more tea. While investigating teas, you’ve probably heard of the many claims of incredible health benefits of kombucha tea. However, there is a great deal of controversy over this unusual tea, ranging from testimony that the tea prevents cancer and helps with AIDS symptoms to accusations that the tea has caused allergic reactions and even death.

What is Kombucha Tea?
Kombucha drinks are different than traditional teas. Kombucha is a cake-like colony of bacteria and yeast, often referred to as a mushroom. It is prepared by adding sugar, water and tea (usually green or black tea) to create a sweet (yet sour) fermented beverage that resembles both wine and tea simultaneously. Sometimes kombucha is powdered and added to green or black tea in tea bags and steeped like traditional tea.

Kombucha Health Benefits
Kombucha advocates claim the tea can produce such health benefits as extending your life span, improving digestion, detoxifying the body, thickening the hair and dissolving gall stones. It is taken for a large range of reasons – to calm the nervous system, to ward off colds and to deal with chronic headaches.

Most people who drink any sort of kombucha drink report feeling slightly intoxicated, calm and euphoric. However, when scientists put kombucha to the test, they found little to support many of the health claims associated with the tea. The most obvious health benefits can be attributed to the presence of a significant amount of B vitamins, amino acids and to the fact that the fermented beverage does indeed work much like a glass of wine to calm the nervous system and promote a general sense of well being. The teas used to prepare these drinks provide significant amounts of antioxidants, which can prevent cancer.

Kombucha Health Risks
Many people have reported allergic reactions to Kombucha, including nausea and hives. The fermentation process of Kombucha also creates a type of vinegar and acid which may be responsible for leaching metals from certain drinking utensils, making it important to use drinking and fermentation vessels that will not leach lead into the beverage. It is recommended that you limit your intake of kombucha, especially when first trying the drink, to two to four ounces of fermented kombucha per day, just to make sure it agrees with you.

You can buy kombucha online from kombucha dealers, or you can ferment and brew the tea at home. Just be sure you have the proper equipment and take proper precautions. If you want to try kombucha without the hassle of home brewing, buy bottled kombucha or try a pre-made kombucha tea bag concoction.

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