Tea is a beverage that is common around the world as it has proven health benefits. Its aromatic smell is enticing once touched by hot water. Perhaps you are familiar with the different six types of tea–green tea, black tea, white tea, dark tea, yellow tea, and oolong tea; but have you ever heard of tea mushroom? Tea mushroom is better known as kombucha.
Learn about the benefits of kombucha here!
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a sweet and sour, slightly alcoholic, drink made with black or green tea. It undergoes the process of fermentation by combining the basic ingredients sugar, yeast, and black tea. Although it is sometimes referred to as tea mushroom, kombucha is not a tea made out of mushroom. It is a colony of bacteria and yeast. When the mixture is ready, it is set aside for a week or more. It is during this time that the mix form bacteria, acid, and a small amount of alcohol. The fermentation process is similar to fermenting cabbage that turns into kimchi or milk into yogurt.
This drink was famous for its acclaimed health benefits and cure from hair loss to cancer which is according to an article is not backed up by science.
Kombucha might be around for 2000 years but its exact origin is unknown. It was reported to be first brewed in China, transported in Japan and was later consumed in Russia. Its popularity reached Europe in the early 20th century, then the United States heard of its health benefits. Kombucha then became a popular drink to the area; preparing it at home or commercializing it in the market.
What are the benefits of kombucha?
Some research says that kombucha helps with digestion, boosting energy, getting rid of toxins in the body, and strengthen the immune system; however, these claims have little scientific evidence to be proven true. On the other hand, the sugar, caffeine, probiotics, and B vitamins contents of the beverage is evidently helpful for the body.
An experimental study shows that kombucha causes low cholesterol and blood sugar level in animals, yet this same effect is not proven if it will manifest in humans as the study only uses rats as their specimen.
It was 2000 when a scientific review was done. The summary of the research contains the benefits of kombucha which claims to cure asthma, rheumatism, insomnia, cataracts, diarrhea, diabetes, gout, and herpes. It professes to reverse gray hair, remove wrinkles, shrink prostate, expand libido, lower hypertension, and even prevents cancer. It is the same year that the beverage is believed to stimulate the immune system and becomes popular among HIV positives.
But is kombucha really good for you?
However, a systematic review was released in 2003 which says that it should not be recommended for therapeutic use as the claims did not outweigh the unknown risk of the drink.
One of the risks of drinking kombucha lies upon its preparation, says some of the research. Remember that making kombucha involves growing bacteria—the good one. But what if the bacteria grown in the liquid are the harmful ones? The adverse effect, including fatalities, may occur to the consumer if it’s not properly prepared.
Because of the little evidence of kombucha’s benefits as well as the risk of contamination, a non-profit product research group advise against drinking the said beverage. However, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves of drinking tea mushroom and advise its safety as long as it is properly prepared. They advise that if you are making one at home, keep everything sanitary including utensils and hands. It is also recommended to use plastic, glass, and stainless steel containers.
There was a vast confusion in total if kombucha is really beneficial or not; as the drink has no scientific proof for its therapeutic claims. But quite frankly, the product has a small quantity of research that might be because of the small profit that the market doesn’t get upon commercializing it. After all, why advertise something that can be home-made? Nevertheless, the tradition was already set and some belief of the positive effects of drinking the product.
Listed below are the believed positive effects of drinking Kombucha.
- Kombucha may help the body detoxify. Detoxification is one of the health benefits that tea mushroom offers. The process produces healthy liver and prevents cancer. Kombucha is rich in enzyme and acids that are used to detox the system of the body, thus having a clean liver and pancreas. Kombucha also contains a high amount of glutaric acids which according to a recent study, prevent cancer. There is a testimony of two people, having cancer, who did not undergo chemotherapy; instead fought it through the process of detoxification. This is through the regular drink of kombucha as well as going hundred percent eating organic food and changing their diet by eating 80% raw or fermented food. The deceased Russian, Nobel-prized author, Alexander Solzhenitsyn also testify of being cured of stomach cancer through the same drink.
- Kombucha may fortify the body’s defenses. It may boost the immune system which fights and protects the body against harmful substances that try to invade and infect the system.
- Kombucha is a good source of probiotics. Because kombucha is naturally fermented, it is a probiotic beverage—with the experts’ reminder for proper preparation. Many benefits such as proper digestion, mental clarity, mood stability, and fighting candida overgrowth are some of the beneficial factors that it has. It is also well-noted to reduce depression, anxiety, stress, etc.
- Kombucha may help relieve joint problems. If a person has a problem with joints—feeling it stiff due to arthritis or other joint diseases, kombucha is a good remedy for it. Research says that it is a strong preventive and treatment of arthritis in all forms.
Notions from traditions or not, it is still best to consult experts and doctors when a specific pain or illness are felt in the body. It is not wrong to try herbal medicines, but oftentimes, the risk health factors of an unproven product are still high and dangerous. Prevention is better than cure, the cliché stated. However, care is still vital to one’s improvement of health.