Sunday, February 7, 2010

LOVE of my Life

Okay, yes, James (my hubs) is the Love of my life BUT I do have quite the fondness for this little drink called KOMBUCHA!!!!!!! Being thats its "article Monday," I wanted to share why I love this little drink of goodness. FOOD RENEGADE recently wrote an AWESOME article that summerizes it all. Read, Enjoy, then Sip away!!



Have you heard of Kombucha, the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir?” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

Made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance), Kombucha didn’t gain prominence in the West until recently.

In the first half of the 20th century, extensive scientific research was done on Kombucha in Russia and Germany, mostly because of a push to find a cure for rising cancer rates. Russian scientists discovered that entire regions of their vast country were seemingly immune to cancer and hypothesized that the kombucha, called “tea kvass” there, was the cause. So, they began a series of experiments which not only verified the hypothesis, but began to pinpoint exactly what it is within kombucha which was so beneficial.

German scientists picked up on this research and continued it in their own direction. Then, with the onset of the Cold War, research and development started being diverted into other fields. It was only in the 1990s, when Kombucha first came to the U.S., that the West has done any studies on the effects of Kombucha, and those are quite few in number. As is typically the case in the U.S., no major medical studies are being done on Kombucha because no one in the drug industry stands to profit from researching a beverage that the average consumer can make for as little as 50 cents a gallon.

Thanks to it’s rising commercial popularity in the last decade, the older Russian and German research has been made available in English to Westerners, and a few wide-spread anecdotal surveys have been sponsored by Kombucha manufacturers, but that’s about it. While there are limited amounts of research done on the beverage, there has been lots of research done on many of the nutrients and acids it contains in large quantities (such as B-vitamins, antioxidants, and glucaric acids).

Regardless of the “lack” of scientific evidence, the fact remains that this beverage has 2,000 plus years of tradition behind it and an ardent and addicted following.

About the health benefits of Kombucha:

First, there’s all the benefits of detoxification, such as healthy livers and cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer. I know 2 people in my immediate circle of friends who have had cancer (pancreatic and breast) and fought it into remission without any chemo or radiation therapy. Instead, they warded it off by detoxing their lives (going 100% organic, removing chemical cleaners and agents in their home, changing their diet to be at least 80% raw or fermented, etc.) Central to the detoxification process was drinking Kombucha regularly. Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in soviet labor camps. (And because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987. You’ll note he didn’t die until 2004, and that was from old age, NOT cancer.)

Next, there’s all the benefits of the glucosamines it contains, such as preventing or treating all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.

Then, there’s all the benefits of the fact that it’s a probiotic beverage, such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, and the general health and well-being associated with this. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.

Plus, it’s extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.

Here are some articles about the health benefits:

http://www.kombu.de/val-gwf.htm
http://www.gaiaresearch.co.za/kombucha.html
http://www.acupuncture.com/herbs/kombucha1.htm
http://www.gokombucha.com/health_benefits.html

When I first read about the panacea of benefits, I was skeptical. How could one beverage do so many things? But then I realized that it’s not so much that the beverage does something to our bodies, like a medicine targeted at curing specific symptoms. It’s more that this beverage promotes health. It gives your body what it needs to heal itself by 1)aiding your liver in removing harmful substances, 2)promoting balance in your digestive system, and 3)being rich in health-promoting vitamins, enzymes, and acids.

The general consensus seems to be that with regular, daily consumption, you’ll notice improvement in immune system functioning and energy levels within about a week, the healing of more minor ailments within a month or so, and the healing of more radical illnesses within a year or so.

9 comments:

april said...

Wow that's some powerful stuff!! It stinks because my tummy can't handle the carbonation though :(

Karin said...

I love me some Kombucha too!

MM said...

I love Kombucha! All the information I've read recently suggests it really doesn't have probiotics. But the rest of the health benefits are awesome!

James and Lindsay Cotter said...

April, you should try drinking it on an empty stomach. Might help!

MM, really? I thought because it was fermented the bacteria acted like a probiotic. It sure feels like it, haha! Either way, its GOOD!
LC

ohonemorething said...

My dad loves that stuff. I've tried some flavors but have yet to really like one. Do you have a favorite flavor???

p.s. thanks for stopping by my blog!

swim_bre said...

April--- there is a flavour of the Yogi organic teas that is green tea Kombucha (I don't know if its the same as the other stuff...), but it's not carbonated so it might sit well with you. :)

Debbie said...

Really great post. Please let us know when you are passing through New York City and we will load you up with all the BAO Kombucha you can drink. BAO is brewed in Hell's Kitchen New York and keep an eye out for it in a store near you shortly. Many thanks for helping to inform everyone on the benefits of the drink!

James and Lindsay Cotter said...

Thanks Debbie! I will for sure keep my eye out for BAO kombucha!

Jamie (beautyandthebeef) said...

I may have to give in and try this stuff. I keep reading about it...it kind of scares me though!