Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has been gaining popularity recently due to many claims about its health-promoting properties.
This fizzy, slightly alcoholic drink owes its unique taste and texture to the “kombucha mother”, a mat of live microorganisms that is also known as a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (or SCOBY) which is vital to the creation of the beverage. If you believe everything you read, you may be under the impression that kombucha can cure everything from radiation poisoning to tonsillitis.
While some of its healing properties may be overstated in the media, there is scientific evidence to prove that kombucha has some health-promoting activities – specifically that it’s great as preventative medicine for a number of conditions, and has hepatoprotective qualities (that means it’s good at preventing damage to the liver.)
Here’s how to brew your own kombucha safely at home.
Homemade Kombucha Tea Recipe
- 1 organic kombucha SCOBY – you can buy these online or at health food stores
- 16 cups water
- 8-10 bags of black tea (with caffeine)
- 1 cup sugar (the good bacteria will feed on it)
- 1 gallon glass jar
- 1 piece of paper or fabric (to seal the top of the jar)
- 1 rubber band
In a large pot, heat eight cups of water over high heat. Add the tea bags, letting them steep for a good amount of time – between half an hour and an hour. Once the tea has steeped, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved completely. Mix in the remaining water, and pour the whole thing into the gallon jar. Add the SCOBY, then cover the jar with cloth or paper and seal it with an elastic band. You can allow the kombucha to ferment for anywhere between 8 to 30 days, depending on your preference and how strong you like it.
How It Works
“Consumption of kombucha fermented tea (KT) has always been associated with different health benefits,” one review states(1). “Many personal experiences and testimonials of KT drinkers are available throughout the world on the ability of KT to protect against a vast number of metabolic and infectious diseases, but little scientific evidence is available that validates the beneficial effects of KT.”
Despite the existing research being thin, the review concludes that “The recent experimental studies on the consumption of KT suggest that it is suitable for prevention against broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders. This makes KT attractive as a fermented functional beverage for health prophylaxis.”
Another study found that kombucha tea has hepatoprotective and curative properties against carbon tetrachloride-induced toxicity(2). Kombucha is also known for its probiotic properties, which help promote healthy gut bacteria(3).