Kombucha: all you need to know about a unique fermented drink
Direct from China to the best bars: kombucha is a fermented drink produced using a culture of bacteria and yeasts and with a lot of beneficial effects on the body. Today Wilden.herbals reveals to you the origins, the history and the properties of this sparkling elisir that deserves to be discovered.
Kombucha is a fermented drink with tea (or herbals infusions) and sugar. You can produce it with a SCOBY (it stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) commonly known as “mother” or “mushroom”. This culture of bacteria and yeast presents itself as a thick gelatinous mass floating on the surface of the tea and transforms the sugar mixture into real kombucha. When it ferments it consumes most of the sugars and it turns into a sparkling, refreshing drink with a light sweet taste.
Kombucha is a fermented food like yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut: high in probiotics, it provides good bacteria to the intestines and it promotes digestion; it’s also useful to reduce bloating and all types of bowel disorders. This functional drink is also rich in antioxidants which help fight free radicals. It also has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties that fight those infections causing Candidiasis.
What is the origin of kombucha?
A lot of myths and stories are behind the origin of kombucha; the best known records say that it originated around 220 BC in northeastern China, an area which is historically referred to as Manchuria, and it was initially appreciated for its healing properties. Legend has it that its name derives from Dr. Kombu, a Korean doctor who donated “the elixir of life” to the Japanese emperor Inyoko during his travels. The emperor was so impressed with the fermented drink that he named it in honor of the doctor. The term “cha” (the Japanese term for “tea”) was added after people discovered its uplifting properties.
Kombucha has reached other Asian countries, Russia and Ukraine along the Silk Road and it has become renowned. The expansion of trade routes at the beginning of the twentieth century allowed this drink to reach Europe and to become popular especially in Germany. The first industrial productions of kombucha, considered a universal remedy for all disease, started from 1990 in Europe and the United States.
Where can I find kombucha?
The growing level of interest and attention towards well-being, in particular towards healthy products helping our intestinal bacteria, has allowed kombucha to grow on the market, to cross geographical boundaries and to innovate constantly. Kombucha fermentation isn’t over with tea and sugar; in fact, many companies and “DIY fermenters” sell kombucha along with fruit juices and herbal infusions or they try alternative fermentations by using other sources of glucose such as honey, agave or sugar beet. Whether it’s sold by your favorite bar or handmade by a friend who wants to experiment, kombucha is the next big thing in drinks. Take note.
Kombucha is not only an innovative drink: in 2011 the designer Suzanne Lee used the SCOBY to create a fabric used for an entire line of clothes for the first time. Using the fermentation process Lee obtained cellulose nanofibers which turned into a fiber used to sew garments. In conclusion: kombucha is a good and sustainable drink that is worth exploring.
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