Editorial, June 2015 issue
“ Are you aware about Kambucha (or Kombucha) ? Ancient Chinese called it “Immortal Health Elixir”. It has a rich history of more than 2000 years as health beveragewhich involved in preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. Kombucha didn’t get much importance in the west until recently. In present article, I enlighten few points about Kambucha.
Kombucha is an ancient drink, made for centuries and celebrated for its many health benefits. Kombucha can be traced back to ancient China where it was worshipped as a remedy for immortality. According to lore, the beverage was introduced to Japan by a Korean physician named Dr. Kombu around 415 AD who gave the bacteria-laden liquid to a Japanese emperor as a healing tonic.
In the first half of the 20th century, extensive scientific research was done on Kombucha’s health benefits in Russia and Germany and later in early 1990s kambucha first time came in US. In the U.S., no major medical studies are being done on Kombucha because no one in the drug industry stands to profit from researching a beverage that the average consumer can make for as little as 50 cents a gallon. But it gained popularity commercially in last decade.
There are lack of scientific proof still the fact remains that this beverage has 2000 plus years of tradition behind.
Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in soviet labor camps. (And because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987. You’ll note he didn’t die until 2004, and that was from old age, NOT cancer.)
Detoxification produces healthy livers and aides cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer.
Kombucha contains glucosamines, useful in arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids.Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles. Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc. Kombucha is extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.
Kombucha gets its name from the microorganisms that mingle on top and form a flat, pancake-like structure that resembles a mushroom. The gelatinous, floating pancake is known as a SCOBY (for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Our immune system is in our gut. Most of us have grown up on antibiotics and other drugs that kill off our beneficial bacteria. Kombucha’s fermentation process encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Kombucha is made from fermented sweet that is usually consumed for its purported health properties, made from a mushroom, but kombucha tea starts with cultured colony of bacteria and yeast that resembles a wide, flat, rubbery fungus. In the kombucha brewing arena, this starter colony is known as "the mother." Adding sugar and green or black tea to the mother, and about a week later the fermented results in a clear, amber, slightly effervescent liquid with a large number of organic acids -- the American Cancer Society lists ethyl acetate, acetic acid, and lactate -- as well as some B vitamins and alcohol. Some of the positive impacts ascribed to kombucha include improved memory, reduced symptoms and signs of premenstrual syndrome, rheumatism, aging, anorexia, AIDS, cancer and hypertension, and improved T-cell counts, immune system and metabolism. Some of these purported improvements actually might be attributable to the tea that's used for fermentation of the culture, rather than properties of the "mother" itself.[1, 2]
Kombucha uses a combination of yeast and bacterial cultures to produce an end product that is only slightly alcoholic and mildly acidic. Because most of the alcohol is further fermented into acetic acid, kombucha is considered a non-alcoholic beverage. Many claims regarding kombucha's effect on mental and physical health have been made, although none have been proven scientifically. Many claims surround kombucha's effect on digestive health because of the bacterial and enzyme content. Every batch of kombucha will have a slightly different content, although most contain a variety of acids, enzymes, and B vitamins.[2,3]
I think in our country, we need to make it commercialize as home remedy and explore some research which should concentrate towards homely usefulness of Kambucha rather than studies of its efficacy.
1. Guttapadu S, Yang Z, Wieger K; Kombucha Fermentation and Its Antimicrobial Activity; Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; 2000; 48(6); 2589-2594.
2. Nguyen VT, Flanagan B, Gidley MJ, Dykes GA; Characterization of Cellulose Production by a Gluconacetobacter xylinus Strain from Kombucha; Current Microbiology; 2008; 57(5); 449-453.
3. Pal S; Kambucha – The Magical Drink; Science Reporter; 2014; 10; 11.
- Raaz Maheshwari