Kombucha Tea: What Is It And Why Is It Popular?

November 3, 2021

Kombucha tea is a fermented infusion made with tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Although sometimes called “kombucha mushroom tea,” kombucha is not a mushroom but a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the cologne to the sugar and tea, and allowing the mixture to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, vitamin B, and a number of other chemical compounds.

Kombucha tea is new to our tables, but not in Asia. This variety of tea dates back 2,000 years and was regularly consumed in ancient China.

It is produced by fermenting tea with a symbiotic colony of bacteria or yeast. The bacteria and yeasts in question can vary. Tea was well known as an ancient health drink that was consumed to combat inflammatory ailments such as arthritis, although its benefits are still being debated.

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Popularity

It is very popular in certain regions of northern China, as well as in the easternmost regions of Russia. Its origin is lost for millennia and it is not clear if it comes from China, Japan or Russia, but what it is is that the first references we find are from the Han dynasty, approximately 206 BC.

Celebrities and influencers have made kombucha fashionable. A few years ago it was very difficult to find, it could only be purchased in herbalists and specialized stores, but it has become popular and can now be found in restaurants and some supermarkets. The result is a drink that mixes sweet, sour and bitter flavors, but can be concentrated in different flavors such as lemon, green tea, pineapple or ginger.

How do you prepare?

Kombucha is made from the mixture of a tea (preferably green or black tea) and a symbiotic culture of yeasts and beneficial bacteria known as SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts) or kombucha mushroom, which is shaped like a cake gelatinous, and is capable of transforming the polyphenols in tea into other organic compounds that prevent other microorganisms from developing.

The culture jar, tea leaves, and sugar settle for a period of about 10 days, during which a colony of bacteria forms on top of the culture, leaving a pungent liquid. It is this same liquid that is consumed as kombucha tea. Keeping this drink in the pantry is correct, however you should avoid exposing the kombucha to direct sunlight, better that it is away from excessive heat or cold.

The formation of a cloudy white coating is a sign that the tea is fermenting properly. The brown particles that sometimes develop, are yeast particles and are harmless, a natural by-product of the fermentation process and do not affect the properties of the tea at all, if they bother you you can remove them.

Kombucha benefits

Beyond its flavor (very similar to apple cider), it is its supposed properties that have made kombucha a growing phenomenon. This is the case of a study published in 2014 in the journal  which refers to the properties and effects of kombucha tested in animal studies, and among which the following stand out:

  • It helps to detoxify the body, thanks to glucuronic acid, which adheres to toxic substances and eliminates them in the urine.
  • Reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol level.
  • Relief of the symptoms of arthritis and gout.
  • It helps to balance the intestinal flora and regulates its activity.
  • Ally against hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces the formation of kidney calcifications.
  • Helps in cases of asthma and bronchitis.
  • Minimize headaches.
  • Relieves menstrual disorders and hot flashes typical of menopause.
  • Improves the health of nails, hair and skin.
  • Helps fight aging.
  • It promotes the functions of the liver.
  • Among its components are vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E, K and folic acid.

Kombucha contains phytochemicals or phytonutrients that have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Animal studies have shown that these antioxidants can promote healthy liver and kidney function and reduce diabetic complications. Additionally, this tea is rich in B vitamins and folic acid, which is key to helping the body produce and maintain new cells.

Contraindications

Despite seeming to be a fairly safe drink, the consumption of kombucha has some contraindications. One of them is that it is a slightly alcoholic drink, since in the fermentation process the sugar ends up turning into ethyl substances.

The type of bacteria and fungi in kombucha can vary depending on the type of tea used, the fermentation time and even the microorganisms that are present in the kitchen when preparing the drink. This is because it is a living group and its composition changes according to the environment. Therefore, its preparation and the conservation of the colony require special hygienic precautions.

For this reason, and since this drink is not pasteurized, kombucha tea is not recommended for people who have any intestinal or immune system pathology, pregnant women who have not consumed this food before, lactating women and children under 5 years of age. In addition, it should be consumed in moderate quantities, since in excess it can cause digestive discomfort (diarrhea, flatulence …).

In short, there is not enough evidence that kombucha tea is as good for your health as some claim. Meanwhile, several cases of injury have been reported. Therefore, the wisest thing to do is to avoid kombucha tea until more robust information is available.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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