What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a lightly effervescent and tartly sweet beverage served cold. It consists of a black tea and sugar (from various sources, including cane sugar, fruit or honey) brew which is fermented by a colony of specific strains of bacteria and yeast. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of organic acids (acetic, gluconic and lactic). It is consumed as a functional, probiotic food for health benefits. Many people find it a healthier substitute for sodas.

Health Benefits:

1. Helps prevent a wide variety of diseases
While a lot of health claims for kombucha focus on the way it heals the gut (which, in itself, contributes to boosted immunity), there is also a fairly well-confirmed body of evidence that it contains powerful antioxidants and can help to detoxify the body and protect against disease. Related to this disease-fighting power is the way these antioxidants help reduce inflammation. This inflammation-reducing, detoxing quality is probably one reason it might potentially decrease the risk for certain kinds of cancers.
One reason this happens is because antioxidants reduce oxidative stress that can damage cells, even down to DNA. Being exposed to a lot of processed foods and chemicals within your environment can lead to this stress, which in turn contributes to chronic inflammation.
While normal black tea does contain antioxidants, research shows that the fermentation process of kombucha creates antioxidants not present in black tea, like D-saccharic acid, also known as glucaric acid. Kombucha may specifically influence the activity of two important antioxidants known as glutathione peroxidase and catalase. It was also discovered to contain isorhamnetin, a metabolite of quercetin, in December 2016. Quercetin is associated with a long life span and massive anticancer properties.
Research from the University of Latvia in 2014 claims that drinking kombucha tea can be beneficial for many infections and diseases “due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.”
2. Supports a healthy gut
Naturally, the antioxidant prowess of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create mayhem in the digestive system. However, the greatest reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics, amino acids and enzymes. Some research has shown its ability to prevent and heal stomach ulcers. It can also help stop candida from overpopulating within the gut by restoring balance to the digestive system, with live probiotic cultures that help the gut repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast.
Although kombucha does contain bacteria, these are not harmful pathogen bacteria. Instead, they are the beneficial kind (called “apathogens“) that compete with “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive tract. Candida and other digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix, and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. If you feel like kombucha is exacerbating the problem, consider that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing, and at times you may need some patience or trial and error.
3. May help improve mental state
Kombucha doesn’t just help your digestion; it might be able to protect your mind, too. One way it can accomplish this is by the B vitamins it contains. B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, are known to increase energy levels and contribute to overall mental well-being. Its high vitamin B12 content is one reason supplements sometimes contain dry kombucha products.
The gut-repairing function also plays a role in mental health. Depression may be a major symptom of leaky gut, specifically due to the way that bad gut permeability contributes to inflammation. A 2012 study published in Biopolymers and Cell examined kombucha as a functional food product for long-term space exploration (yes, you read that right). Among other various features, kombucha’s ability to regulate the “communication of the gut-brain axis” suggested it would be useful in preventing or minimizing the effects of anxiety and depression, particularly for astronauts and others under extreme work conditions (like miners).
4. Beneficial for the lungs
A (probably) unexpected benefit of kombucha is its use as a potential treatment method for silicosis, a lung disease caused by repeated exposure to silica particles. Chinese scientists discovered that inhalation of kombucha could be a way to treat this and other diseases of the lungs caused by inhalation of dangerous material. That said, I would recommend you drink it, rather than inhaling it.
5. Powerful antibacterial agent
This one seems a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But it’s true — because of the type of bacteria found in kombucha, drinking the live cultures actually destroys bad bacteria responsible for infections.
In lab studies, kombucha has been found to have antibacterial effects against staph, E. coli, Sh. sonnei, two strains of salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni. The last of those is probably the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S. It can sometimes be followed by a condition called Guillian-Barré syndrome, where the immune system attacks the nervous system. Because of the immense dangers of food-borne infections and significant costs to treat, the FDA is very interested in potential treatment methods for C. jejuni.
6. Helpful in managing diabetes
Although some practitioners warn against kombucha for diabetics, it seems that some research suggests just the opposite. This is assuming, of course, that you consume kombucha without a high sugar load.
Particularly due to the functions of antioxidants in it, it seems to help alleviate diabetes symptoms in research studies using animal subjects — and more efficiently than the anti-diabetic black tea from which it’s fermented. This appears to be especially true in terms of liver and kidney functions, which are generally poor for those with diabetes.
7. Good for the cardiovascular system
Kombucha has been considered to be beneficial to the heart for some time, although research efforts in this area have been scarce. However, it seems clear that, in animal models, kombucha helps lower triglyceride levels, as well as regulate cholesterol naturally.
8. Helps maintain a healthy liver
Since the liver helps filter and convert harmful compounds, it’s a vital component in digestion and overall health. The antioxidants in kombucha may protect the liver from oxidative stress and damage induced by acetaminophen overdose.
– Courtesy Dr. Josh Axe

We have been brewing Kombucha at home for ourselves for around five years now. Two and a half years back we started brewing for our restaurant customers and started serving different variants of kombucha on tap. And since the last six months or so, we have been bottling our kombucha and selling it at our restaurant and a few other restaurants in the city. And now, we are offering our kombucha in handy one-serving glass bottles. Apart from restaurants, we will be reaching your favourite stores in Imphal soon. And in the near future, we intend to go places as well!

And by the bye, we would like to introduce our new brand of responsibly packed, natural, and healthful beverages and snacks – Forager’s.

(Adding more content soon…)