Kombucha or Boocha is a fermented tea, which is made by adding a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to a combination of sugar and black or green tea. The prepared drink contains a high concentration of various acids, such as lactic, acetic and gluconic acids, carbon dioxide, a small percentage of ethanol and different health-promoting contents. It is known to be originated from northeastern China and popularly consumed in China, Russia, and eastern Europe. It is usually brewed at home, but some companies sell it commercially as well. It is believed that Kombucha benefits our health in numerous ways such as it can help in diseases like asthma, diarrhea, gout, herpes, candida, and diabetes. And also it can boost your immune system and promotes in a healthy mental state.
Kombucha is brewed by adding bacterial colony in it and thus has a probiotic effect. It is well known to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and thus promotes good health.
Moving ahead in this article, we will understand Kombucha benefits in detail and how to make Kombucha at home.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented green or black tea added with sugar, jaggery or honey in it. Fermentation is carried out by adding SCOBY, which is a mixture of a colony of bacteria and yeast, in it. It an excellent probiotic to boost your immune system and help you in many other ways too. The solution is kept preferably in dark glass bottle and is left to brew for one week.
After fermentation Kombucha becomes carbonated and gets filled with vinegar, vitamin B, acid, and probiotics. The bacteria added to the brew are cellulose producing bacteria that means they form cellulose fibers which protect the cell from damage (1).
This drink is preferred by many as a substitute for fizzy drinks. It can be found either in the natural remedy stores or mostly it is brewed at home only.
Other Kombucha benefits are discovered in apparel and merchandising industry. Over a period, a gel-like film grows because of the symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast feeding on vinegar and sugar solution. This film is the byproduct of Kombucha, and when dried and harvested, it can be the suitable material for making shoes, handbag and clothing.
Kombucha nutritional value
For those who are health conscious, it is essential to tell about the complete nutrition package of Kombucha. So here is the value of various nutrition facts present in the 16-ounce bottle of organic Kombucha (2).
- 60 calories
- 4 grams sugar
- 20 milligrams sodium ion
- 14 grams carbohydrate
- 100 micrograms of folate
- 34 grams vitamin B2
- 2 micrograms vitamin B12
- 4 milligrams niacin
- 3 milligrams of vitamin B1
Yes, you heard it right, Kombucha can be alcoholic. It is not precisely made so, but the way it is fermented leads to the formation of alcohol in the drink. Though the content of alcohol is less than 0.5 percent, it can also get raised when fermented for a longer time.
According to federal law if alcohol content exceeds 0.5%, then it is considered as an alcoholic beverage and must be mentioned on the label. So it is advised to be very particular while choosing a kombucha drink.
Kombucha benefits on health
Kombucha was such a favorite drink in the ancient time and probably in the current times as well. Let’s discuss Kombucha benefits in detail.
1. Promotes healthy gut
Usually, people drink Kombucha because of its beneficiary action on the intestine. It has antioxidant properties and the ability to protect the gastric mucin, which plays a significant role in the protection of the gastrointestinal tract from acid, pathogenic microorganisms, proteases, etc.
Also, it is rich in enzymes, amino acids, and other beneficial acids. In a study (3), Kombucha benefits were seen in the healing of stomach ulcers. It prevents any infection in the gut by creating a proper balance between good and bad bacteria.
The good bacteria fight with the bad one and limit their growth in the stomach thus promoting health. It improves digestion since it is full of probiotics. In a sequence-based analysis (4), data related to microbial populations were established.
Gluconacetobacter was present more than 85 percent in most samples with trace population of Acetobacter as less than 2 percent. Lactobacillus was found around 30 percent in some samples, and Zygosaccharomyces was at 95 percent.
2. Might be healthy for lungs
A study (5) was performed on rats silicosis model, where Chinese herbal Kombucha was sprayed. Later it was observed that the free silica levels of rats treated with Chinese herbal Kombucha were lower than any other silica exposed group of rats.
Chinese herbal Kombucha inhalation could prove to be useful in the treatment of silicosis and other lung-related diseases.
3. Might elevate diabetes symptoms
Kombucha tea benefits diabetic patients if they consume the less sugar-laden version. Antioxidant properties of Kombucha can help in alleviating diabetes symptoms such as increased oxidative stress.
In a study (6), effects of fermented black tea (Kombucha) and un-fermented black tea were observed on diabetic rats. Final results showed the antidiabetic potential of Kombucha tea as it restored ALX-induced pathophysiological changes.
4. Maintains a healthy heart
Heart health is promoted by healthy diet, healthy lifestyle and low cholesterol level. Drinking Kombucha benefits in lowering blood cholesterol level by increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and reducing bad cholesterol (LDL).
It also reduces the triglycerides level in blood. Thus, it promotes proper blood flow and also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (plaque formation) (7).
5. It is full of nutritious components
It is highly nutritious drink and also an excellent alternative to soda. Kombucha tea is naturally carbonated with lots of added vitamins. It also provides probiotics for good digestive health. Its nutritious value is responsible for its use from so many decades.
6. Helps prevent various diseases
In a review of National Center for Biotechnology Information (8), it is mentioned that drinking Kombucha benefits in different health prophylaxis due to its properties such as detoxification, energizing potencies, immunity from depression and antioxidation.
The antioxidant property helps fight against free radicals and protects from cancer tissues formation. It reduces inflammation and limits the infection to a particular region and does not allows it to spread.
All these antioxidants which are formed in Kombucha by fermentation are not present in black tea or green tea before getting brewed.
7. Good for mental health
Kombucha contains almost all B vitamins such as B12, B6, B1 (thiamine). All of these vitamins are helpful in boosting energy and promoting psychological well-being by fighting depression, stabilizing mood and improving concentration.
It also contains vitamin C, which suppresses the release of cortisol, one of the stress hormones. And lastly, it maintains a healthy gut which can prevent or minimizes the effect of anxiety and depression. This is helpful prominently for those who are in extra work pressure.
8. Boosts immune system
It supports the body in its natural immune process. There is no broad science it is just because of a unique component present in it. Kombucha contains a compound called D saccharic acid – 1,4 lactone that has impressive antioxidant property.
It has been specially identified as beneficial for cellular detoxification. This is only found in brewed tea, while it is absent in unfermented tea.
9. Supports joint health
Kombucha is a natural source of compound glucosamines, which are often recommended for proper joint health and to reduce joint pain. They are known to increase hyaluronic acid in the body and helps lubricate the joints. In a few studies, it has been found to provide relief as painkillers.
Kombucha home recipe
You can receive Kombucha benefits right at home by making it on your own. Kombucha recipe is simple and only requires a few things which are commonly available at home and nearest health store.
- A large metal vessel (for boiling and mixing the content)
- A dark bottle or jar with a wide opening (for storage)
- 4 cups of filtered water
- 1/2 cup sugar or
- 4-5 green or black tea bags
- 1 cups starter liquid (pre-made Kombucha)
- 1 SCOBY disk for fermentation.
Flavoring agents (Optional)
- 1 Bowl chopped fruit
- 1 cup fruit juice
- Flavored tea
- One tablespoon honey
- Fresh herbs
- Tea base – Take a large vessel and add around 3.5 quarts of water. Bring the water to a boil and then remove it from the heat. Add 1 cup of sugar and tea bags in it. Stir the mixture for a few seconds till the sugar dissolve completely. Now let this tea mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Add SCOBY & starter liquid – After the water has cooled down, transfer it to the jar with a wide opening. Add SCOBY gently in the pot and add a cup of pre-made Kombucha as starter liquid. You can get this from the nearest health store or look for some friend’s help. Make sure to leave 1 to ½ inch breathing room from the top of the jar.
- Cover – Close the mouth of the jar using cloth or coffee filter. Secure it with the help of rubber band or an ordinary string. Let the material ferment for minimum one week.
- Taste it – After one week check the taste. If you can taste a proper balance of sweetness and tartness, then the fermented drink is ready. Otherwise, you may have to leave it for some more time before it is complete in all respects. If you are living in a hot region, then fermentation time would be less compared to a colder area.
- Storage – After the batch is ready, tightly seal the jar and keep it refrigerated. You can add juices and fruit extract to add up your favorite flavor to the drink.
How much should you intake?
We cannot deny about many Kombucha benefits on our health. But you should be very cautious about how much to drink and when to drink.
You can have 8 ounces of this drink every day. But don’t exceed the limit as there are other potential side effects if taken in a significant amount. Also, take care to start with a lesser dose and gradually increase it.
Let your body gets acquainted with the fermented drink and if you see any reaction then stop the consumption completely.
Potential Kombucha side effects
Yes, of course, it is a fantastic drink to have, and it has been a favorite healthy drink since ages. But apart from different Kombucha benefits, there are some potential side effects in certain scenarios.
Some drug interaction and some medical condition are there that need to take care while consuming Kombucha.
- Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should consult a physician before use of Kombucha since it contains caffeine and sugar which are restricted to such people.
- For those suffering from any gut infection and are on medication should consult before taking Kombucha as it is rich in probiotics, which can affect gut flora.
- When brewed at home, Kombucha should be kept in the clean place to avoid any infection or harmful fungal growth. That’s why commercial preparation is preferred over homemade solution as they are carried out in a contained environment. Although, retail version of this drink goes through pasteurization which kills good bacteria along with harmful bacteria.
- It can affect oral hard tissues due to its high acid content. So, it is advised not to drink it all the day and whenever you drink it rinse your mouth with plain water.
- People who have severely compromised immunity and are suffering from AIDS should take care while consuming such drink. Remember, infected version of this fermented drink could be dangerous as the immunity is already compromised.
Final thought on Kombucha benefits
Kombucha benefits are not unknown to people. This health elixir is known to have probiotics which help in healing gastrointestinal issues. It promotes the growth of good flora in the gut to improve health.
It helps you to manage diabetes, elevates mood, good for joint health and mental health as well. And to get all these benefits, you need to take kombucha every day but within limits.
For those who are suffering from ill health or are on some medication should refer to the precautions before use of Kombucha tea. If in doubt, you can consult your respective physician.
Do not forget to rinse your mouth with clean water after you drink Kombucha tea for maintaining good oral health. Replace sugar-laden fizzy drinks with Kombucha today.