You might not be aware with the roots of kombucha, whether you’ve been drinking it for years or are just getting started. While its popularity in the United States and Australia inspired its appeal in the United Kingdom, kombucha has a considerably longer history, so where did it all begin? Here, we look at the history of kombucha, how it got started, and how the trend is still growing.
The origins of kombucha are shrouded in obscurity and widely discussed, but the common view is that it originated in ancient China during the Qin Dynasty over 2000 years ago (220BC). It was dubbed the “Elixir of Life” by the Chinese, and with the excellent healing powers that kombucha is known for, it’s no surprise that people drank it to stay well and defend their immune systems!
“Tea of Immortality” and “Wonder Tea” are two more Kombucha buzzwords you might hear. Kombucha was a kitchen staple in many Chinese families in the 1960s, and it was commonly called to as “weibao” or “weipao” (stomach treasure).
Others claim that Kombucha originated in Japan, and that samurai warriors carried it in their belts and drank it before battle because it provided them with an essential source of energy! Other tales claim that it was used to treat Japanese Emperor Inyoko in 414 CE by a Korean doctor known as “Komu-ha” or “Dr. Kombu.”
Kombucha tea is a tea-based fermented beverage containing bacteria, yeast, and sugar. Although it’s occasionally called kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is a bacterium and yeast colony, not a mushroom. Kombucha tea is created by combining the colony with sugar and tea, then fermenting the mixture. Vinegar, B vitamins, and a variety of other chemical components are found in the resultant liquid.
Yeast, sugar, and black tea are the main constituents in kombucha. For a week or more, the mixture is placed away. Bacteria, acids, and a little quantity of alcohol form in the liquid during this time. Fermentation is the term for this process, which is analogous to how cabbage is kept as sauerkraut or kimchi, or milk is transformed into yogurt.
And to make it, you use a SCOBY which is a film formed by bacteria and acids on top of a liquid (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). A SCOBY can be used to ferment more kombucha. Lactic-acid bacteria, which can act as a probiotic, are found in kombucha microorganisms. Kombucha also has a good amount of B vitamins.
It is said to aid digestion, remove toxins from the body, and increase energy levels. It’s also supposed to strengthen your immune system, promote weight loss, prevent high blood pressure and heart disease, and fight cancer. However, there isn’t much data to back up these statements.
Kombucha tea’s proponents claim it can help prevent and control significant health problems including high blood pressure and cancer. These assertions are unsupported by science. According to limited research, kombucha tea may have similar advantages as probiotic pills, such as fostering a healthy immune system and avoiding constipation. Valid medical studies on kombucha tea’s role in human health are currently scarce and there are risks to be aware of.
There have been instances of kombucha tea consumers experiencing side effects such as stomach trouble, infections, and allergic responses. Because kombucha tea is frequently produced in non-sterile circumstances at home, contamination is a possibility. Lead poisoning has happened when inadequately produced ceramic pots were used for brewing because the acids in the tea can leach lead from the ceramic glaze. But in short the jury is still out.
My take on this is to try it if you like but as always, in moderation.
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