Monday, January 2, 2012

Kombucha: Benefits and Precautions.

With so many of my friends, and friends friends obtaining the miracle "mushroom"
(which is really a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria + Yeast or SCOBY) Kombucha, I wanted to share some of the information I have on the subject.

Implementing simple safety tips can prevent one from getting pretty ill as the Kombucha is
a powerful medicine and it can be very easy to be fooled by it's gentle appearance and
pleasant taste, after all, its tea right?

One of the largest health benefits to the Kombucha drink is its detoxifying properties. More specifically the detoxifying acids that work directly on the liver. The liver is the second largest organ in the body and has over 100 functions, including a filter for all the toxins we come into contact with and consume on a daily basis. The healing acidic properties of the Kombucha help us to release those toxins built up in the liver and can have a dramatic, positive effect on our health. From immune system strengthening to arthritis! But wait, if those toxins are being released...where are they going? Well, if we are hydrated enough (which, lets face it, most of us aren't) The toxins will be released into the urine and stool. If we are not hydrated they will be released directly into the blood stream.

1.Pregnant mommas who are not used to drinking the Kombucha beverage should refrain as there is an opportunity for the toxins to cross over the placenta and thus to baby.

2. Nursing mothers should use extreme caution when beginning the Kombucha drink and begin by consuming small amounts as a major detox could taint the milk.

3. Drinking more than 8 oz a day could actually cause one to feel poorly and is not recommended. This blog on one woman's experience with detox illness may help explain.

Brewing Precautions:
Of Oxygen and Moldy things.

Did you know, that if your lovely culture does not get enough oxygen while brewing you can
actually create ACETONE? "This toxic compound is grouped among molecules referred to as
ketone bodies and will harm the kidneys." (1)

That's right ladies, the same nasty stuff the nail salons use to remove your polish! And of course, it's poison to ingest. So, if you notice a very acrid sweet smell, like the kind you smell at the salon THROW IT OUT! And it's worth mentioning here that some of your manufactured bottled Kombucha drinks have been found to have these ketone bodies present
as they beverage was not kept chilled properly during transport. (Refrigerating the culture/beverage will suspend the fermenting process. Acetone is created when fermenting
occurs with out enough Oxygen.)I highly recommend an intimate relationship with your culture. Keep and eye and nose on it. Besides, the culture is a living entity and can be pretty cool to get to know!

See those yellow fuzzy looking bits? Or maybe they are black. Please be introduced to Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus niger. They just sound icky don't they? These molds can be extremely dangerous and even DEADLY! "These molds are normally found in soil, manure and composting vegetable matter and float freely in the air.To be safe you should not grow your culture in a room with potted plants, or near or downwind of compost piles. the screened window does NOT protect your brewery."(1)
If you see or suspect these icky dudes, throw out the brew, culture and all, and start again!

Metal in Music is fab, but mixing it in the brew can be a real drag!

By allowing metal to come into contact with the acidic brew for any longer than a very brief period can cause mineral salts from the metal to leach out into your brew and when ingested can run the risk of heavy metal poisoning. Nuff said.

So let's recap:
1. Pregnant and nursing mothers should do their homework and be extremely cautious with
Kombucha, although it can offer benefits in certain conditions.

2. Don't over do a good thing, it could lead you to detox illness.

3. Make certain your brewery is getting plenty of oxygen, or you could wind up with a salon
smelling, poisonous brew.

4. Keep the brewery away from potted plants and compost piles or you could be dancing with
some icky, deadly microscopic molds that even the screened window wont protect you from!

5. DO NOT allow ANY metal to come into contact with your acid brew!

Now, after all of these precautions I'd like to end this with some positive aspects of this ancient health drink.
Kombucha Benefits (1)
1. Improved metabolic rate.
2. Reduction cellulite. Some even water down their brew for a facial toner and topical application for skin disorders.
3. Regulation of the digestive system.
4. Adjustment of pH balance.
5. Strengthened ligaments and tendons.
6. Increased energy.
7. Fending off grey hair production
8. Improved allergy like symptoms such as phlegm and mucus production.
9. Improved Thyroid function.

All in all this miraculous mixture is well worth a few basic brewing and ingesting precautions and I've found the process to be pretty fun and entertaining! HAPPY BREWING!
(1)Kombucha How to and what its all about by Alana Pascal with Lynne Van der Kar.