What is Kombucha Tea?
Kombucha has been described as a mushroom due to the fact that the colony of bacteria and yeast that is used to make Kombucha tea resembles a mushroom. Kombucha tea is a tea made from a colony of bacteria and yeast that is then added to sugar and either black or green tea. The mix will then begin to ferment to make the Kombucha tea. This tea is becoming very popular in the United States due to its suspected health benefits. A taste that many say is acquired; it may not be ‘love at first sip’.
Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea
First of all, know that all of the claims associated with Kombucha tea are personal claims, as there has been no direct evidence to support claims. A few of the health benefits attributed to Kombucha tea include stimulating immune function, preventing cancer, improving digestion, and improving liver function. Other claims include: aids cancer recovery, increases energy, sharpens eyesight, aids joint recovery, improves skin elasticity, and aids digestion. Again, none of this has been proven and no human clinical trials have been done which results in no information being published in medical journals.
Concerns Associated with Kombucha Tea
Since Kombucha tea is often brewed in homes under non-sterile conditions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fears that the risk of various contaminants may be high. There have been reports of adverse affects such as digestive upset and allergic response. The biggest controversy surrounding Kombucha tea right now is related to its raw version. The sugar in this drink can continue to ferment, producing an alcohol content, which has led to a marketing controversy. Concern is that it may need to be marketed as an alcoholic drink because some brands are speculated to have about 2 to 3 percent alcohol. Beer averages about 4 to 5 percent alcohol. The investigation and testing is being handled by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and they are not sure how long this may take.
Be advised, that all risks should be taken into account prior to believing all the hype of the supposed health benefits. Many natural and holistic remedies have not been proven by the ‘medical field’, but the risk is that what’s good for one person may not be good for another. Many considerations, such as medicine that one is taking, should be considered.
Bauer, Brent A. “Kombucha Tea: What are the health benefits?” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kombucha-tea/AN01658 10 August 2010.
Fredrix, Emily. “Fermented tea Kombucha vanishes on alcohol worries.” Atlanta Journal Constitution http://www.ajc.com/business/fermented-tea-kombucha-vanishes-570266.html 14 July 2010. 10 August 2010.