In line with the growing awareness and focus on personal health in recent years, Kombucha tea, a fermented tea, has seen a strong rise in popularity for its proposed health benefits. Some of the benefits attributed to Kombucha include that it contains a substantial level of probiotics, antioxidants, and that it kills harmful bacteria. Furthermore, it is said to help with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, rheumatism, cancer, and more, leading some to call it “the tea of immortality”.
Kombucha tea is thought to have originated in Manchuria over two thousand years ago, and by way of Japan spread further across the globe. It is believed that the name ‘Kombucha’ originated from the British who mistakenly took then name from a different Japanese drink, that was actually kelp tea.
The tea is made by adding a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) and sugar to black or green tea and letting it ferment for a period of 7-30 days. Kombucha tea is also know as mushroom tea because the fermentation process creates a mushroom-like layer on top. A SCOBY can be bought or grown from a precious batch of Kombucha.
While the biological activities of Kombucha might point in a certain direction, and claims continue to be made about its health benefits, it is important to keep in mind that there haven’t been any controlled studies on the health effects of Kombucha on human beings. This doesn’t mean that drinking Kambucha is harmful (although it can when not prepared properly) or doesn’t hold any positive health benefits outside of drinking normal green tea, the fact is we just don’t know for certain how it affects humans.