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What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage. It is made by adding a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to a solution of tea and sugar. During the course of the fermentation process, the cultures metabolize the sugar and tea components to render a naturally carbonated beverage, with a slightly sweet-tart flavor, full of healthy components like B vitamins, organic acids, antioxidants, and trace amounts of alcohol.

first part of the fermentation

During the first part of the fermentation process the yeasts - mainly Brettanomyces along with Saccharomyces and Zygosaccharomyces - consumes the sugars and leaves CO2 and Alcohol as metabolites. The bacteria in the SCOBY - Acetobacter, Lactobacillus and Gluconacetobacter are the main species - then consumes the alcohol and leaves a range of organic acids as metabolites.

This functional beverage has its origin in eastern Asia about 2,500 years ago. Kombucha originated in Northeast China (historically referred to as Manchuria) around 220 B.C. and was initially prized for its healing properties. Its name is reportedly derived from Dr. Kombu, a Korean physician who brought the fermented tea to Japan as a curative for Emperor Inkyo. Eventually the tea was brought to Europe as a result of trade route expansions in the early 20th century, most notably appearing in Russia (as "Kambucha") and Germany (as "Kombuchaschwamm").

It is a lifestyle

But, Kombucha is much more than just a fermented tea product. It is a lifestyle, or at least, a life choice that many people note as life changing on some level. Most people start drinking Kombucha because it makes them feel good and many experience an improvement in health; unfortunately formal research is scarce

The internet abounds with anecdotal reports of people who have reported having improved health attributed to Kombucha consumption but people lie so I cannot say what is and what is not true. I can however relate my own story. I had tried Kombucha before but it tasted like vinegar and wanted nothing to do with it. A while after my first experience, I bought some hard kombucha instead of beer to take to a party and actually enjoyed it more than beer. I also noticed that I did not feel as bloated and that I just felt good drinking it…

A few days later I was in the supermarket and decided to buy a variety of brands and flavors to really give Kombucha another try. I drank two 16 oz bottles a day and after 2 and a half days I noticed that my urine smelled quite strongly of something which I could not identify but judging from the nasty smell, I was happy to not have it in my body anymore!

I started reading about it and came to the conclusion that the kombucha was detoxifying me and that the nasty smell I was getting was all the pollution in my body that was now being flushed down the toilet… To that point in my life I did not even believe that detoxing was actually a real thing and had written it off as “hippy lore”. And maybe it is just that…. BUT one thing I could not dispute was that I felt better than I had felt in a long, long time.

From that day onward Kombucha has been an integral part of my life and I am enjoying better health now than I have probably done for most of my adult life. I used to weigh close to 300 lbs, on a good day, my blood pressure would be 135/90, my resting heart rate was in the 90’s and I was noticing symptoms of diabetes. Today, I’m still a little overweight but I’m 70 pounds less than I used to be, my BP is 110/65 with a resting heart rate in the mid 60’s and there is no sign of any blood sugar issues in my life.

I am not saying that all that happened only because I am drinking kombucha. I have made some lifestyle changes as well, but it all started when I felt so much better from the Kombucha that I could exercise again. I find that drinking Kombucha during my exercise gives me a boost that I have never felt from energy drinks which makes it easier to work out longer and harder.

Oh, one more thing. I used to have such bad acid that I could not go anywhere without Tums or Tagamet or Gas -X. I had antacids in my car, in my drawer at work, on my bedside table, literally anywhere I went, they went with me. Today, it’s literally been years since I last spent a dime on antacids!

I do not make any scientific claims and I would be surprised if any one experience mirrors mine exactly but I know that it changed my life and has been beneficial to many more of my personal friends. I invite you to give it a shot and see for yourself.

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