Kombucha is a tea fungus of Japanese origin, which has been commonly used Europe for hundreds of years.
Initially, it was consumed by kings only and was a well-kept Japanese secret for numerous years.
Thousands of years ago, the Japanese emperor invited the Chinese emperor and he planned to honor him with some special gift, so he revealed him the recipe for this tea. Afterward, he decided to share this miracle with all people.
The Japanese fungus was used as a healthy drink in Russia as well, and it was called “tea kvass”. From Russia, this recipe was spread to Poland, Prussia, Denmark, and Germany, but during the Second World war, it somehow disappeared.
After the war, this tea was again popularized due to Dr. Rudolph Skelnar, who used it in the cancer treatments, in the case of high blood pressure, metabolic disorders, and diabetes.
This mushroom tea is, in fact, a biochemical factory. The fermentation of the fungus stimulates numerous complex reactions. It feeds on the sugar in the tea and creates beneficial substances that are part of the kombucha liquid: vitamins, glycolic and lactic acid, amino acids, antibiotic ingredients …
Moreover, this fungus is higher in vitamin C than lemons, and it is also rich in enzymes, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, as well as milk – L acid, which in a liter of liquid can reach up to 3 ml.
Kombucha has been used for millennia in the treatments of diabetes, exhaustion, fatigue, constipation, nervousness, and as an anti-aging treatment, anti-narrowing of blood vessels, and to treat rheumatism.
In Russia, it is used in the treatment so all kinds of illnesses, and it is therefore known as a “Russian home remedy”.
It effectively treats diarrhea, sclerosis, high blood pressure, inflamed tonsils, diseases of internal organs, inflammation of the small intestine and colon, narrowing of blood vessels, and so on.
Studies have found that it has potent antibiotic and detoxification properties which are vital in the biochemical processes.
This tea will treat various intestinal problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids, it prevents acid reflux, helps digestion, treats issues with the urinary canals and the bile, as well as kidney stones.
Moreover, the kombucha and its metabolic products are able to regenerate cells and treat arteriosclerosis. It efficiently detoxifies the blood and stimulates the metabolism. It is extremely helpful in the case of joint pain, headaches, aging issues, rheumatism. What’s more, its effects are felt and noticed after a few days’ use.
Also, the Japanese doctor Dan Pon has treated numerous patients with kombucha and has shown that it is beneficial in the following cases:
- regulates acid-base balance
- helps in the case of joint rheumatism;
- strengthens the leg muscles;
- extends life span;
- improves breathing;
- treats nausea while driving;
- reduces body weight;
- improves the taste of dishes;
- strengthens the kidneys;
- lowers blood cholesterol;
- prevents wrinkles;
- alleviates arthrosis,
- purifies blood vessels, supports the regeneration of cell membranes and helps in case of cardiac infarction;
- treats liver disorders;
- prevents cancer;
- treats insomnia
- helps with pox and shingles;
- strengthens the hair and stimulates its growth;
- enriches the beneficial microflora in the intestines;
- relieves menopause symptoms;
- boosts immunity;
- softens, cleanses and dissolves gallstones;
- cures hemorrhoids;
- cures diseases of the hands and feet, back, gray barbell,
- treats diarrhea;
- improves potency;
- cleans the blood treated myoma on the skin.
Bear in mind that its high concentration of organic acids may lead to allergic reactions in the case of acid sensitivity.
It is completely safe for small children, but its use is not recommended in the case of children less than 1, as it has enzymes and bacteria which may be hard to be digested by their developing digestive system.
In order to prepare this tea, you will need a large transparent glass jar, for instance, of five liters. Add a hundred grams of sugar and a teaspoon of green or black tea per liter of water, boil, and leave it to cool.
Wash the kombucha in warm water, and add it to the tea. Cover with gauze, and leave it on some bright place for 8 days. Afterward, it is ready for consumption. You can wash the mushroom and use it again.
If it does not decant for long, it will convert into vinegar that can be used for pickling, and the “mushroom” will recover. If you do not plan to use it for a long time, you can dry it between two sheets of filter paper, and reuse it afterward.
Kombucha is inedible, in the form of a multi-layer membrane, and is gray in color. It is actually a combination of different organisms, including yeast, ringworm, and some bacteria (bacterium xylinum, gluconicum bacterium, acetobacterketogenum), as well as pichiafermentantsa.
Since it has glycolic acid, which is produced by the liver under normal metabolic conditions, you should sweeten the drink. Glycolic acid goes into the bloodstream, and protects the health.
Yet, its high amounts in the blood may cause an excessive acidification, which disrupts the balance of the system, and in severe cases, may lead to death.
To prepare it, you will need:
- 2 cups starter tea from the last batch of kombucha or store-bought kombucha (unpasteurized, neutral-flavored)
- 8 bags black tea, green tea, or a mix (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 quarts water
- 1 scoby per fermentation jar
- Optional flavoring extras for bottling: 2 to 3 cups fruit juice, 1/4 cup honey, 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs or spices, 1 to 2 cups chopped fruit, 1 to 2 tablespoons flavored tea
- 4- liter glass jar
- Tightly woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels
- Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids
- Small funnel
Note that you should avoid prolonged contact between kombucha and metal, as this may weaken the scoby and destroy its flavor.
Method of preparation:
Boil the water, and remove it from heat. Add the sugar to dissolve, stir, and add the tea. Leave it to steep until the water is cool. Then, remove the tea bags, or strain the tea.
Add the starter tea. It makes the liquid acidic, which prevents harmful bacteria from developing in the first days of fermentation. Next, pour it into jars and add the scoby. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar and gently slide the scoby into the jar.
Cover the jar with coffee filters, tightly-woven cloth, or paper towels, and secure it with a rubber band. Leave the jar at room temperature, on a place that will not get jostled, or that is not exposed to direct sunlight, in order to ferment. From time to time, check the scoby and the kombucha.
The scoby will float at the bottom, top, or sideways during this period, and you will notice the formation of a new cream-colored layer of scoby on the surface of the kombucha.
It may be attached to the old one, and you can separate them. You will also notice bubbles around the scoby, sediment accumulation, and brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, but these are all signs of a normal fermentation process.
After a week, you can pour a bit of the kombucha in a cup, remove the scoby, and prepare another pot of strong tea for the next kombucha batch. You should get the scoby with clean hands and take it out, placing it on a plate. If its bottom layer is too thick, you can remove it.
At this point, you can bottle your kombucha. Pour it into bottles with a small funnel, along with the flavorings you have decided to add. In the bottles, you should leave a half inch of head room.
Next, store the bottles at room temperature out of direct sunlight and leave them for 1-3 days, for it to carbonate. Use plastic bottles, if possible, in order to be able to control this process. When the bottles feel rock solid, it is carbonated.
Store the bottles in the fridge to prevent carbonation and fermentation. Use it for a month.
Moreover, you should clean the jar used for the fermentation in order to make a fresh kombucha batch. Use the fresh batch of sugary tea with the starter tea, pour it into the jar, and repeat the same procedure. Cover the jar, and secure with a rubber band, to prevent fruit flies or other insects.
You should maintain the following ration for a smaller size of the batch: 1 cup of sugar, 8 bags of tea, and 2 cups starter tea per gallon batch.
If you are planning to be out of home for 3 weeks or less, you should make a new batch. In the case of longer breaks, you should place the scoby in a fresh batch of the tea base with starter tea in the fridge. Also, make sure you change the tea for a fresh batch every 4-6 weeks.
Once more, do not ferment kombucha in metal containers, especially aluminum, s it will weaken the scoby and leave a metallic taste.
Furthermore, you can also use white tea, green tea. Oolong tea, or a mixture, to prepare an excellent type of kombucha. In order to ensure the proper supply of nutrients for the scoby, you should add a few bags of black tea in the mix. Do not use teas which include oils, such as flavored or earl gray teas.
The scoby is past expiration date if it is black, and it is infected if it develops black or green mold. In these cases, throw it away.
If your kombucha has a vinegar smell, it is good, but if it spreads an unpleasant, rotten, cheesy smell, you should not use it.