Kombucha, also known as tea mushroom, received its name not because it was made of mushrooms. Rather because of its distinctive mushroom shape.
Kombucha was first created to what is now as Manchuria, or the majority of the North Eastern Asia around 220 BCE, and was originally used in that region, Eastern Europe, and Russia. Some say that it was brought to Japan by a physician named Kombu in 414 AD. Thus, the named Kombucha. (1)
Kombucha has been traditionally known as an herbal medicine by different societies, however, no clinical tests have been conducted on humans yet. The following health benefits would be based on the components and ingredients of Kombucha and not Kombucha as a whole. (2)
1. Probiotics In Kombucha Can Help Improve Your Digestive System
In the journal Food Microbiology by Elsevier, it was noted that there are at least 4 probiotic bacteria present in the Kombucha drink. Some of this probiotics are Gluconacetobacter, Acetobacter, Zygosaccharomyces, and the famous Lactobacillus.
Lactobacillus is a strong probiotic known to have dozens of ways that can help the body function better. Some of this reduce the growth of bad bacteria in the digestive tract, help the stomach break down the sugar in the milk, treat diarrhea, and much more. (3)
The other three probiotics are known to help the stomach with overall digestion and nutrients absorption and fight other diseases that primarily attack our digestive system. Zygosaccharomyces alone has powerful enzymes that can kill harmful bacteria in our stomach.
Key Takeaway: Kombucha drinks contain a lot of probiotics due to the process it undergoes during fermentation. Mainly, lactobacillus will significantly improve your overall gut function with its powerful enzymes and antioxidants.
2. Kombucha Contains The Benefits Of Green Tea
One of the primary components of Kombucha is the presence of either green tea or black tea as its base substance. Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks in the world, it is famous for its antioxidant properties and high fiber properties.
Green teas are known to improve brain function, memory has fat burning components, lowers your chance of contracting different types of cancer, improves dental health, lowers the risk of infection, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and much, much more. (4)
Green tea in Kombucha comes from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, a plant with high antioxidant properties that battle diseases and help keep our body healthy. The process of creating green tea originated in China way back in 600 AD. (5)
Drinking Kombucha can also give you the same benefits of drinking green tea because the processing that Kombucha undergoes do not breakdown the particles that make green tea very healthful and detoxifying.
Key Takeaway: Drinking Kombucha can give you the same benefits of drinking green tea. However, Kombucha shows more benefits due to other products that added to it such as the probiotics and more.
3. Drinking Kombucha Can Reinvigorate You With More Energy
In today’s world, everyone everywhere is always busy doing things that force them to spend more energy than their body has. So much stress is being given to the present labor force that they tend to get tired in just the middle of the day.
It has increased the popularity of synthetic sources of energy such as energy drinks and energy bars. However, these alternatives are more often than not filled with dangerous side effects if taken in the long term. (6)
Just like energy drinks, Kombucha can also give you enough energy to go throughout the day. However, unlike energy drinks, it has been naturally prepared thus lessening or even completely removing the negative side effects associated with energy drinks.
The energy source from Kombucha comes from the iron that is produced during its fermentation process. The body uses iron to hold on oxygen molecules in our blood. It is also used by our cells as fuel for them to function properly. (7)
Key Takeaway: If you need a sudden energy boost without compromising your health, the iron from Kombucha is sure to give you all you need. It is free from side effects that you could get from drinking manufactured energy drinks!
4. Kombucha Drink Contains Tons Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that help our body fight off free radicals. Free Radicals are uncharged molecules in our body that can damage our cells. They are naturally created by our body to attack virus and bacteria. (12)
However, there are times that unwanted free radicals are produced by the body due to environmental factors such as radiation, pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides, or even herbicides.
Antioxidants, on the other hand, are molecules that destroy free radicals by donating one of their electrons to stop the free radicals from stealing electrons from other more important molecules of cells.
Kombucha, most especially when brewed with green tea, are shown to have powerful antioxidant properties on the liver. Multiple studies have been conducted on the ability of Kombucha drinks to eliminate toxins and free radicals in the liver. (13)
Human test subjects are yet to be used for the same test, but nevertheless, scientists admit that Kombucha tea has a high potential when it comes to body detoxification.
Key Takeaway: Drinking Kombucha drinks made with green tea is a powerful and effective way to cleanse our livers and body of free radicals that may damage our cells in the future.
5. Kombucha Can Kill Bad Bacteria In Your Stomach
When fermenting drinks and foods, one of the most common substances that are produced during the process of fermentation is vinegar or acetic acid. Vinegar is created when acetic acid bacteria, or Acetobacteraceae, breaks down ethanol molecules. (14)
Researches have shown that vinegar has a strong antibacterial property. Vinegar from Kombucha has also been proven to prevent infections when our body is under attack by bacteria. Vinegar has also been used to disinfect laboratory equipment due to its nontoxic property. (15)
One study was even able to prove that highly concentrated vinegar can even kill deadly diseases such as tuberculosis, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and much more. Another study done on chickens found that Kombucha had powerful antimicrobial effects and some similar growth-inducing effects as pharmaceutical antibiotics (16)
The same researchers are looking into the possibility of applying the same test to human subjects. They believe that due to Kombucha’s natural components, the same effects would be seen in the human subjects.
Key Takeaway: Evidences suggest that drinking Kombucha can kill bad bacteria in our stomach, what is even better is that it would replace these bacteria with good ones such as probiotics.
6. Researchers Suggest The Kombucha Can Reduce Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the deadliest and leading causes of death worldwide. According to statistics, 31 percent of deaths are linked to cardiovascular diseases. In 2011 alone, 375,000 people in the United States died due to heart diseases. (17)
This means that a person dies due to heart diseases every 43 seconds. Studies have shown that the known leading cause of heart disease is the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries due to an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and being overweight.
A study on animal subjects back in 2015, has successfully shown that antioxidants present in Kombucha tea have the ability to mediate the excess cholesterol in our blood stream. Thus, showing its potential to lessen the possibility of heart diseases in Kombucha tea drinkers. (18)
Kombucha tea was able to increase the High Density Lipoproteins (good cholesterol) in the body of the subject while at the same time decrease its Low Density Lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) levels.
Green tea, on the other hand, an important ingredient in the production of Kombucha tea has been known to decrease a person’s risk of heart disease by as much as 31 percent. (19)
Key Takeaway: Kombucha tea is perfect for people who have a history of heart disease in their family background. Even those without such background are recommended to drink Kombucha tea to further decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
7. Kombucha Can Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes threatens the lives of over 300 million people worldwide. It is a more common form than its relative, the Type-1 Diabetes. In 2012, diabetes alarmingly caused the death of 1.5 million people. (20)
Diabetes is a lifelong disease characterized by your body’s inability to handle glucose from your bloodstream. Unlike, Type 1 Diabetes patients, people with Type-2 Diabetes can produce insulin but their body’s cells are unable to use it properly.
A study done on rats with diabetes in 2012, had promising results regarding the relationship of drinking Kombucha tea and the body’s digestion of sugar and carbohydrates. The researchers found that the subjects that drank Kombucha had a slower digestion of carbohydrates than those that didn’t.
The Kombucha reduced the subject’s blood sugar levels thus aiding the body in getting rid of excess in glucose. Kombucha also surprisingly improved their liver and kidney functions. The researchers believe that this was due to the green tea present in Kombucha. (21)
Key Takeaway: If you or someone you knew has Type 2 Diabetes, tell them that drinking Kombucha tea can help their body deal with excess glucose in their bloodstream. This can help lengthen or even improve their lives.
8. Drinking Kombucha Can Help Protect You Against Cancer
Cancer is ranked highly in the causes of death worldwide. Worldwide statistics show that the number 2 cause of death around the world is cancer. What is worse is that the changing environment we live in increases the possibility of us contracting cancer.
In 2012 alone, the World Health Organization recorded at least 14 million new cancer cases. In 2015 8.8 million individuals died due to cancer. The World Health Organization also expect these numbers to increase by 70 percent over the next two decades. (22)
Cancer is the uncontrollable reproduction of damaged cells in the body. This is often caused by external factors such as the environment, pollution, smoking, stress, radiation, and much more. Once it starts, the treatment always involves invasive and incredibly expensive procedures.
This is why the best thing we can do against cancer is to prevent it first. Laboratory experiments have shown that tea polyphenols and antioxidants present in Kombucha are able to combat the mutation and growth of cancer cells. (23)
Key Takeaway: Tea polyphenols coming from Kombucha can be a potent preventive measure against the growth of cancer cells in the body.
9. Drinking Kombucha Can Protect You From Joint Diseases
Joint diseases are common among old aged people. It causes them a great deal of pain and lessens their quality of life due to their mobility being impeded. The three most common causes of joint diseases and pain are Osteoporosis, old age, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The World Health Organization estimates that 16% of people aged above 60 years old have Osteoporosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. 50 percent of which say that they are no longer able to hold full-time jobs, or enjoy their lives to the fullest. (24)
Kombucha tea is loaded with glucosamine. Glucosamine is amino acids that are prominent precursors in the synthesis of glycosylation among proteins and lipids. Glucosamine can be naturally found in the human body. (25)
Glucosamine can specifically found between around our joints. However, as we get older, the wear and tear due to our movements destroy this protective layer. (26)
Kombucha can replenish these “used up” protective layers to prevent us from getting joint related diseases or problems.
Key Takeaway: Glucosamine can be absorbed by our body by drinking Kombucha drink. It can prevent us from experiencing the painful world of joint disease and degeneration.
10. Drinking Kombucha Will Improve Your Immune System
A low immunity will result to our body defenseless against various diseases from our environment. It puts us in danger of having our bodily functions hampered due to disabling diseases that have become more prevalent due to modernization.
A lot of these diseases that we can get exposed to can certainly lead to our death. Our immunity may be weakened by various factors such as stress, lack of sleep, the environment, genetical disorders, and much more.
The most recommended way for us to boost our immune system is to eat enough foods, or drinks that are high in vitamin c or ascorbic acid. Another way would be to purchase and take in ready-made pharmaceutical vitamin c tablets.
According to research taking in Vitamin C increases our immunity because it is used primarily by t-cells and phagocytes in battling bacteria and other contaminants in our body. Kombucha is a good source of Vitamin C due to the green tea and the fermentation process it has. (27)
Key Takeaway: Our doctors always say that we should always drink our vitamin C to keep away from diseases, Kombucha can be a healthy and delicious way to do this.
10. Green Tea In Kombucha Can Fight Depression
Depression is one of the most common and serious mental disorders. It affects how a person feels, think, and do daily activities, such as eating, working, and even sleeping. A person who has been experiencing the symptoms for more than two weeks are those deemed to have depression. (28)
Depression is really common among teenagers. According to statistics, between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers are bound to experience depression. It is so severe that the World Health Organization has deemed it as the leading cause of disability worldwide! (29)
L- Theanine is a widely used and powerful amino acid that can be naturally found in tea leaves. It helps relieve stress among patients by inducing a relaxed state without the side effect of drowsiness and is thought to help increase our immunity.
Green tea leaves, a major component of Kombucha Tea, has been known to contain large amounts of L- Theanine. 200 mL of green tea is known to contain 7.9 mg of these relaxing drug. Even better, if you choose to use black tea instead, 200 mL of black tea contains 24.2 mg, or at least three times. (30)
12. Green Tea In Kombucha Can Protect Your Oral Health
Green tea is also known to contain catechin. Catechin is a natural form of phenol and antioxidant that can kill bacteria and viruses that can cause dental caries, throat infections, and other dental conditions. (31)
Nobody wants their teeth and gums rotting if they can prevent it by just drinking a simple drink that they can brew on their own.
Research has shown that this antioxidant and phenol Catechin can even aid in improving our metabolism and overall health. A study has shown that tea-derived catechin has the ability to reduce a person’s body fat and help them lose weight. (32)
Kombucha can literally protect and nurture your body from head to toe. Drinking it every day will keep you far away from mouth disease that if not prevented can actually turn to more serious and life-threatening diseases.
Key Takeaway: Protecting our oral health is more than just about our physical and aesthetic appearance. It is important for the overall health of our body. Kombucha drinks can help you maintain your perfect teeth and mouth with the help of its green tea component Catechin!
7 Recipes for Kombucha
The taste of a jar of plain Kombucha drink is often described as awful, and unpalatable. The smell of it, however, is no better. It is often compared to vinegar, maybe because of the fermentation it undergoes and the acetic acid it contains.
However, nobody really drinks Kombucha for its taste. We all drink it for its dozens of benefits and the miracles it can do to our health. You’re probably asking how we were able to withstand the awful taste and smell of Kombucha. Well, we have a secret.
We never drink it plain! Due to its flexible and versatile components, you can easily add some ingredients to Kombucha to make it taste better with removing the health benefits that come with it.
If you’re a first timer or a newbie in the Kombucha industry, then here are various recipes to make Kombucha not only bearable but delicious!
1. Plain Kombucha
Of course, before you get into the delicious recipes below, you need to first learn how to make the original, unflavored Kombucha:
1 pack of SCOBY or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast
8 pieces of green tea bags
1 cup of organic sugar
1 gallon of clean water
1 gallon sized Mason jar
1 clean cloth large enough to cover the mouth of the mason jar
Boil 64 or 8 cups of clean water in a medium pot.
Drop the 8 green tea bags and allow them to soak for 20 minutes.
Remove the tea bags from the pot.
Stir in a cup of organic sugar until the sugar granules dissolve.
Let the tea cool down to room temperature, then pour it into the Mason jar.
Add 8 cups more water into the jar and place the SCOBY inside the jar.
Cover the lid of the jar with a clean piece of cloth and secure it with rubber bands.
Let the Kombucha tea ferment for 7-14 days in a dark place like a cabinet. Make sure that insects or other pests can’t reach it.
Fermentation time depends on the weather and temperature you live in.
You will know if the Kombucha is ready when you can no longer taste the sugar in it.
Enjoy a long and Healthy life!
2. Ginger-Mango Homemade Kombucha Tea
Now that you have prepared your plain Kombucha tea, it is time for you to flavor the recipe to make it more delectable and fragrant.
1 cup of fresh mango
1 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger
Pre-made Kombucha tea
Using a blender or food processor, puree the mango and ginger together.
Transfer the puree into an ice cube tray using a clean spoon. Freeze overnight.
After you have prepared and fully fermented your unflavored homemade Kombucha, transfer it to a 32 ounce mason jar. For every 32 oz. plain Kombucha, add two cubes of ginger-mango puree.
Tightly close the lid of the jar and let it ferment for 2-3 more days.
Keep the extra cubes frozen for your next batch.
Enjoy your betters tasting Kombucha!
3. Blueberry-Raspberry Homemade Kombucha Tea
This berry filled flavored Kombucha is sure to attract even the hardest critics of Kombucha. What’s more, combined with healthy berries, nothing is more worthy than this!
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup of frozen raspberries
Release the berries’ juices by heating them in a small saucepan for 5-7 minutes.
Puree them in a blender for 3-4 minutes or until you can hardly see chunks.
Transfer the puree into an ice cube tray using a clean spoon. Freeze them for overnight.
After you have prepared and fully fermented your unflavored homemade Kombucha, transfer it to a 32 ounce mason jar.
For every 32 oz. plain Kombucha, add two cubes of ginger-mango puree or more depending on your taste.
Tightly close the lid of the jar and let it ferment for 2-3 more days.
Keep the extra cubes frozen for your next batch.
Enjoy your betters tasting Kombucha!
4. Kombucha Jello
This compact and delicious jello recipe will surely be a hit among both adults and children. You can even pack them as yummy treats for school!
Your pre-made Kombucha Tea
2-3 Tablespoons of powdered gelatin
Add 1 cup of Kombucha to medium saucepan and set the remainder aside. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of gelatin over Kombucha in pan and stir continuously to combine.
Heat the mixture on low fire until the gelatin dissolves, make sure to stir continuously. Do this for only 5 to 7 minutes.
Avoid overheating the mixture because too much heat will kill the healthy probiotics in the Kombucha.
Combine heated gelatin mixture into the remaining Kombucha Tea you have. Using a spoon gently scrape the foam created by the transfer.
Pour into a rectangular pan, make sure that the liquid is about 1 inch deep and refrigerate.
Cut into desired size and shapes using pre-made cookie cutters or with just a knife.
5. Kombucha Berry Sorbet
This cool and delicious treat is perfect for a hot and sweaty summer. It also contains the energy you need to enjoy your summer well!
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup of frozen strawberries
1 cup of your pre-made plain Kombucha
Using a blender, puree the frozen berries.
Combine the berry puree and Kombucha.
Further blend the mixture for 3 minutes on low and blend for another 2 minutes on high setting.
Make sure to evenly blend the mixture to evenly spread out the taste and nutrients.
Blend for 1 more minute or until well blended.
Freeze the mixture overnight.
6. Strawberry, Honey and Beet Kombucha Gelatin
A new easy and funky way to enjoy the benefits of the Kombucha Tea! Your kids will surely never get enough of these delicious treats!
1 ¼ cup of you pre-made Kombucha
¾ cup of frozen strawberries
1 piece of medium beet, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoon of raw honey
6 Tablespoon of gelatin
Combine ½ cup of the Kombucha, the strawberries, and beet in a blender, and puree for 5 minutes.
Using the other half cup of Kombucha, dissolve the gelatin by stirring them together.
Using a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the Kombucha left over low heat until it becomes warm to touch.
Only heat enough to melt the gelatin powder, do not overheat or you will kill the probiotics in the Kombucha.
Combine the warm Kombucha and gelatin powder infused Kombucha and stir in the honey to combine all three ingredients.
Add in the Kombucha with fruit puree and stir well until fully combined.
Pour the entire mixture into silicon molds that you desire or onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper in a 1/4 inch thick layer
Place the Kombucha mixture into the refrigerator for about 45 minutes to set.
Cut the Kombucha fruit gelatins into desired shapes and sizes with either cookie cutters or with a knife.
Enjoy with your kids!
7. Watermelon Berry Kombucha Sangria
Who says you can’t combine health and elegance? This carbonated Kombucha is sure to refresh you during the summer heat and nourish you with tons of its antioxidants!
4 cups of cold watermelon cubes
750 ml of chilled vegan red or white wine
3 cups carbonated water, chilled
2 cups or your pre-made Kombucha
1 cup frozen berries (I used a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
1 thinly sliced lime for garnish
Organic sugar (to taste)
Combine the red or white wine, various berries, carbonated water, Kombucha tea, and organic sugar in a pitcher.
Mix everything and crush some of the berries if you wish to do so.
Taste and add more sugar if you wish to. You can substitute the sugar with honey for a healthier option. I recommend adding 3 tablespoons of honey if you wish to.
Add the watermelon into the drink.
Pour the watermelon berry Kombucha into a wine glass and garnish with the slice of lime.
Enjoy this refreshing drink under the sun!
Wrapping It Up
Kombucha Tea has been around hundreds of years before the first pharmaceutical medicine has even been invented. With its multitudes of health benefits, it has gained popularity among the rich and poor, and young and old.
Even though further research on the health benefits of Kombucha is yet to be done, clinical trials on animals have already been proven the potential of Kombucha Tea in improving the lives of people. It has potential benefits for our hearts, liver, bones, joints, skin, and much more.
Even the ingredients in brewing Kombucha, such as green or black tea are already established to be healthy themselves! The only thing that caution is advised on is how you will brew it. Always remember to only use sanitized and clean materials and equipment.
Kombucha, on its own, does not have a taste to look forward to. However, with a little bit of creativity and ingredients, you can make this healthy drink into a family superstar!
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.