By M.L. Duke
See References at the end of this article



  I've gone through roughly 400 messages from the group, and it's very encouraging to see that Kombucha is spreading around the U.S. and the world even more rapidly than I thought it might.

By way of introduction, I've been involved with the study of holistic healing for about 20 years. When we received our culture from a friend, it came with some rather poor instructions and documentation, so I read some books/articles and wrote the following paper that has since been circulating.

I know the information is available elsewhere, but a good number of people have made multiple copies to give away with their culture gifts. To those who can use it, feel free. I ran this paper past Mr. Frank, and he was kind enough to read it and make two corrections. One was about sugar content strip testing, and the other had to do with the fact that I put "Kombuacha" in my automatic text generator and consequently had it misspelled 27 times. He found that a bit curious.

Best to you all.

M.L. Duke



Beginning with a monumental understatement, Kombucha Tea promotes good health. The reasons why are fascinating: When you place your bacteria and yeast culture in a solution of black tea and refined white sugar, the purpose is to provide nutrition for the culture itself, and the mild to sharp tasting and sometimes sparkling carbonated drink you ultimately consume bears little resemblance to the solution you started with: After a normal fermentation period of 14 days, only 3 grams of simple sugars per 100 grams of Kombucha remain in the drink according to Guenther Frank, and a study presented by Harald Tietze reflects less than one gram.

The Kombucha Culture feeds on (assimilates) the nutrient solution and produces products that include lactic acid and glucuronic acid, the latter of which is a component of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, mucoitinsulfuric acid and heparin. (Rosina Fasching)

Note: The latest testing conducted in 1996 by Michael Roussin's Kombucha Research Group did not find any Glucuronic acid present in over 1000 ferments tested. See Mike's results at http://www.geocities.com/mikeroussin/

Pure Greek, right? Greek or not, however, lactic acid is a ferment of the friendly bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus (Tom Valentine): If you walk into a health food store, you can buy a bottle of acidophilus capsules. The specific purpose would be to promote the growth of flora in the intestinal tract, flora that is destroyed by such things as alcohol, street drugs and a wide variety of pharmaceutical drugs to include antibiotics. Without that flora, your digestive system is incapable of absorbing nutrients through the walls of the intestines, because it is the flora that "grabs" those nutrients and passes them through the cellular walls. This is why people can come down with all sorts of afflictions when they appear to be eating well: They are eating and starving to death at the same time. Any competent Naturopath, Nutritional Consultant or Physician who practices holistic medicine will have the substance lactobacillus acidophilus or something similar very high on their priority list in terms of making sure the patient in question has sufficient intestinal flora. It follows that any identified illness condition that can result from starvation can result from a severe lack of the intestinal flora.

The foregoing paragraph has been mostly "right off the top of the head" due to previously accumulated knowledge from many years of personal reading, and a minor bit of research revealed that lactobacillus acidophilus has been used to treat acne Rosacea, colon cancer, Candidiasis, thrush, excessive gas, bloating, intestinal and systemic toxicity, constipation, high cholesterol, nausea, allergic reactions, cirrhosis of the liver and chronic hepatitis. (Jonathan Wright and James/Phyllis Balch)

It is common that people suffering from any chronic metabolic disease are lacking in intestinal flora to one degree or another, and restoring that flora is obviously a giant step forward to improved health that is provided by the Kombucha Tea.

Glucuronic acid is produced by the liver. It binds with toxins in the body and renders those toxins water soluble so they can be eliminated in the urine (Fasching). There are many weakened livers around whose production of glucuronic acid is inadequate, and for those who might still think the topics of lactic and glucuronic acid to be unimportant, consider the following from Rosina Fasching, pages 27 and 29:

As Dr. Sklenar was able to note in decades of medical practice, every chronic disease including cancer is preceded by a general ailment of the organism, resulting mainly from metabolic malfunction. This triggers an increasing accumulation of waste material in the body and creates the ideal environment where a virus can develop... In light of these facts it is not surprising, as a common saying goes, that "no cancer patient has a healthy digestive tract."

Healthy intestinal bacteria dissolve toxins which the liver can no longer handle. Thus liver and intestines are in constant interaction. 70 to 80% of all defense cells (immune organs) are located in the intestinal wall. In order to function properly against viruses they need contact with healthy intestinal bacteria.

Dysbacterium is defined as the degeneration of the intestinal bacteria, which results in physical disturbances of all kinds. The toxins emanating from degenerated intestinal bacteria cause digestive ailments, afflictions in the liver-gall area, migraine, halitosis, rheumatic disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, eczema and cancer, to name just the most important ones.

For the above reasons Kombucha Tea is life giving, and there is more, reference the strange sounding and largely unpronounceable words in paragraph two: hyaluronic acid is a basic component of our connective tissues, chondroitin sulfate is a basic component of our cartilage and mucoitinsulfuric acid is a component of the gastric mucous membranes and vitreous body of the eye: This means Kombucha is helpful to our connective tissues, the foundation of our digestive systems and our eyesight. The tea also contains a balance of the B vitamins, and we are not quite through yet.

The pH level of Kombucha Tea is in the neighborhood of 3.0. pH is a measurement of the acidity of a liquid where 7 is neutral, lower numbers are more acidic and higher numbers are more alkaline. The critical point is that when a person is young, the pH level of human blood is to the acid side and in later years progresses to the alkaline side. As reported by Fasching, a pH of 7.56 sets the stage for development of tumors. In other words, people with cancer have alkaline pH levels and healthy people have acidic pH levels. Kombucha Tea promotes and contributes to the maintenance of acidic blood, and this point is of monumental importance when we consider that neither disease tissue nor virus can thrive in a body with acidic pH levels of the blood.

(Ed. The statement above on acidic blood pH is in question by other researchers. See this reference.)

Fasching presents 121 short letters from patients who consumed the Kombucha Tea and were helped with conditions to include Arthrosis, bronchitis, high/low blood pressure, high cholesterol, dialysis, inflammation, colds, joint/vertebrae pain, gout, glaucoma, skin disorders, cancer, leukemia, stomach disorders, migraine, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney disorders, varicose ulcer, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, thyroid, arthritic pain, vertigo and concentration difficulty among other conditions.

Frank presents eighteen more comprehensive letters of success stories that deal with the conditions of rheumatic pain, stomach pain, excessive phlegm and near complete restoration of a deformed thumbnail as previously destroyed by a hand drill: These people also talk about help with corns, susceptibility to infection, migraine, menstruation difficulty, chronic stomach/bowl trouble, high blood pressure, cystitis, bronchitis, athlete's foot, multiple sclerosis and unbearable pain from bone cancer.

In our own personal experience we have observed remarkably improved digestive systems, the elimination of acute arthritic pain in the knuckles and near miraculous reversal of a blinded vision/severe headache and simultaneous nausea condition. We have observed the replacement of hardened rough skin at the elbows with new baby smooth skin in a woman's case and the remarkable disappearing act on the part of an ugly scar in a man's case. More recently, we have seen a marked improvement with lifelong chronic back pain in the case of a good friend, and an acquaintance told us about her father's improved arthritic condition to the point that he no longer needs nor takes his prescribed medication.

There is disagreement on the subject of diabetes: Frank's research indicates that diabetics can indeed be helped by well fermented Kombucha Tea, and it is conclusive that drinking Kombucha of the short fermentation period variety leaves a greater amount of residual sugar in the brew. Fasching says that Kombucha is not appropriate for the diabetic, and she presents 12 letters from those suffering from diabetes: One is positive and the rest are largely--but not completely--negative. Some of the letter writers made obvious mistakes in tea preparation, and there is only one writer who refers to fermentation time--the positive one.

Help with all the above afflictions and more are completely consistent with the adequate consumption of lactic acid, glucuronic acid and a balance of the B vitamins as well as the reversal of alkaline pH blood levels. It is therefore completely reasonable to believe the stories that are told of the historic use of Kombucha Tea over many years, such as the one that tells about Kombucha being used as a medicinal treatment during the Chinese Tsin Dynasty in 221 B.C.

It is then reported to have spread from China to Korea, Japan, India, Russia and Italy, with the Russian stories being most intriguing, because the Kombucha Tea was investigated for its cancer preventative effects by members of the Russian medical establishment: It was found that the Kombucha Tea drinking districts of Ssolikamsk and Beresnikihad in the region of Perm on the Kama in the central western Urals had very low or zero rates of cancer while the rest of Russia had cancer rates that were among the highest in the world. Further, it was discovered that those few who did have cancer were identified as people who had recently moved to one of the districts from somewhere else.

This writer was just as impressed, however, with Frank's list of 86 names for the Kombucha Tea that have been adopted over the years by residents of Latvia, Russia, Georgia, Italy, Romania, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Java, Armenia and Holland among others not identified by country.

There is obviously something positive going on, and we deal now with the issue of a detoxification crisis. Fasching presents 18 letters under the label of "side effects," and among these are periodic flatulence, hardened lymph glands in neck and groin, abdominal pain, weight gain, skin rash, diarrhea, gastritis and itchy/burning skin.

Says Max Gerson, writing many years ago: "The ideal task of cancer therapy is to restore the function of the oxidizing systems in the entire body. This, of course, is difficult to accomplish. It involves the following: 1) detoxification of the whole body..." Then talking about the liver itself: "Animal proteins should be reduced to a minimum, as the liver has lost to a great extent, if not entirely, its detoxifying function." And yet another disease: "Pneumonia healed in former times after the body had produced a detoxification process with abundant perspiration, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Then healing set in." Then finishing strong: "The strongest detoxification... is in cancer the condition sine qua non for the start of the healing. A poisoned body is anergic and cannot react to the favorable side. The detoxified body can."

"Side effects" are frequently--but not necessarily always--nothing more than what is referred to as a cleansing crisis. If a healing crisis is in progress, which simply means that the body is throwing off toxins faster than the individual in question can handle it, the solution is to reduce the dosage, say one ounce three times daily instead of four, wait for the symptoms to subside and gradually increase the amount.

Refers to the state of being so immunologically suppressed that one is unable to produce cutaneous
delayed type hypersensitivity reaction (DTH). Such patients will usually not test positive for TB on a PPD
(mantoux) test.



  There is much incomplete, misleading and even downright inaccurate information circulating. We have done a bit of reading and have done our following best to eliminate these problems.  
  1) Wash your hands. If you discontinue the tea/culture production process to do anything else, wash your hands again before resuming. Treat Kombucha like any other food product.  
  2) Bring three quarts of preferably distilled or good well water to a boil in an enameled, glass or stainless steel container. When it boils, add one cup of white refined sugar and let the mixture continue boiling for five minutes.  
  3) When the five minutes has elapsed, remove your solution from its heat source and add five individual cup size bags of black tea, first removing any *staples if present, and a family size tea bag can be substituted for the individual ones. Let the tea steep for fifteen minutes and remove the tea bags. [On the specific subject of tea, some recommend black and others green, including Mr. Guenther. We have used both, and it is very difficult to say that one produces better results than the other, although the green is definitely milder. Dr. Sklenar uses the black tea for his cancer patients, however, and thus far we are sticking with black ourselves.]

( *  Ed: Staple removal is not necessary)
  4) Let the tea/sugar mixture cool to to 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit--about room temperature--as a culture placed in too hot a solution will die, and now is mushroom time. Pour the solution into a glass, china or glazed earthenware container. Glass is best, and while high quality synthetic plastic material of the polyolefin group are acceptable, low quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polystyrene containers are to be avoided. The container should obviously hold at least 4 or 4 1/2 quarts, it should provide for a fairly large surface area, and the distance between the lip and the surface of the liquid should be minimal in order to provide an adequate oxygen supply for the culture. We personally use one gallon capacity fish bowls that produce a 9 1/2" mushroom. They work great, and ten of them cost less than $40. [We've also used a 19" diameter Tupperware container: Yes it produced a 19" diameter culture, and the tea was delicious.]  
  5) Place the mushroom in the mixture, and let it ferment for seven to fourteen days in a warm dark place no lower than 68 nor higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit, with 74-80 being the ideal. This should not be in the kitchen because of air borne cooking grease particles, nor should it coexist where there are a lot of plants due to the potential for greater exposure to molds. Cover the container with tight woven cloth or anything clean that allows the culture to breathe, securing the cover with a rubber band to prevent the entry of unwanted guests, such as fruit flies.  
  6) At the end of the fermentation period you will have two mushrooms, sometimes three. Wash your hands as in (1) above and remove the mushrooms from the mixture. Separate and wash them off with running water, placing each on a clean glass plate with a bit of tea and cover them until you are ready to start more. A cup of tea from a previous batch should be added to new ones in order to improve the fermentation process but, lacking tea from a previous batch, add a teaspoon or two of vinegar. [Cultures fermented for 13/14 days will have almost or completely separated naturally. Short term fermentations will usually produce cultures that you will have to separate for yourself.]  
  7) Some have recommended straining the fermented mixture through double coffee filters. Frank does not recommend straining, saying instead to pour the mixture through a sieve into a clean bottle or bottles, filled to the brim and capped off. A sieve lets good yeast through while a filter will trap them, and a cloudy like mixture for drinking is normal. Let stand in the refrigerator for five days before drinking, and drink your first daily dose of four ounces in the morning on an empty stomach. Take a second, third or fourth dose or more in accordance with the therapeutic effect you are after. There is a story about a well known Hollywood figure who drank a quart per day and rid himself of colon cancer. There is good reason to believe this was President Regan, see The Dictator and The President in the complete booklet. [We use a small mesh metal sieve for straining. We put our bulk tea in gallon jars, and cover the top with saran wrap before putting on the metal lids. They are hardly ever "filled to the brim," because we constantly pour from the large jars into our more convenient decanters. As the tea sits in the refrigerator it continues to "work," producing what my wife calls "*hangy dangys," and so we also frequently strain our tea again as we pour it into individual glasses.

( * Ed. Usually called 'Ooglies' on the Kombucha list.)
  8) The above is the ideal. Many ferment for seven days and start drinking the brew immediately, which we have done with good effects along with others. We have fermented for seven, ten, fourteen and even fifteen/sixteen days plus five days standing with continuing good results. Our friend Jim fermented a batch for eighteen days and said the tea was fine but strong.  
  Some cultures will float and others will sink, neither of which is a concern. Superimposed layers of a well developed culture can be peeled off to start yet more cultures, and the cultures grow normally from the top down. Thus bottom layers are oldest, and as the culture ages, the bottom most layers turn dark brown and these can be peeled off and discarded. When the entire culture starts to turn dark brown it has reached the end of its span and should be discarded.

Many say get a culture, brew some tea, produce a second culture and give it away. If you do, you are likely going to run out of tea. It took almost six weeks for us to match our production rate with out consumption rate, such that we always have tea available that has fermented fourteen days and stood in the refrigerator for an additional five.

What you can do which is not widely known: Take your newly grown culture and cut it into four quarters, give one or more away and start two or more new batches for yourself. The smaller divided culture will produce a full sized one equal to the size of your fermentation container. You will not become enthusiastic about Kombucha until you experience significant results, and it doesn't help you much to run out of tea. When you have plenty of tea and cultures in abundance, you can give them away at will to many people and spread the wonder of improved health--and you will be inclined to do so because you know it works.

During the fermentation process, you should detect a vinegar smell in the vicinity. If you do not, fermentation is not taking place or your smeller is deficient, in which case recruit help. This happened in a case where a Kombucha grower's child often opened a window at night, which we think lowered the temperature below necessary levels. This grower was advised to and did dispose of all and start over.

The Kombucha protects itself from the growth of mold when normal fermentation is taking place, and it possesses particular skill in the killing of dangerous ones. Nonetheless, mold growth does sometimes occur. You could wash the culture with vinegar and start over, but to be absolutely safe, we suggest you dispose of everything and start over completely.


  While there have been many historical reports that Kombucha Tea is effective in the elimination of Cancer, and more recent positive testimonials on the part of cancer patients all over the United States, those of us who have been looking at the topic of cancer and alternative therapies for a long time have been motivated to wonder if the people under discussion applied other therapies as well. This is indeed the case.

When people give a culture away, for example, they frequently pass along copied information indicating that Dr. Sklenar uses the tea to cure his cancer patients. While Rosina Fasching indeed says this is so in her book, she also points out that the good doctor prescribes up to a liter of Kombucha Tea per day and that he also uses 15 drops of Kombucha Concentrate in a glass of water three times daily and one capsule of Mutaflor one hour before breakfast during days one through 5 of therapy and two capsules thereafter. He also prescribes 10 to 15 drops of Gelum Oral-Rd in a glass of water 3 times daily and 1 Colibiogen ampule 2 or 3 times weekly--and the therapy is prescribed for two years.

Many people fail to note these little details in the literature they pass on--and yours truly has been guilty of it as well--which leads some people to believe they can treat themselves with the tea alone. While I personally believe that Kombucha Tea can prevent cancer in a healthy person and even perhaps get rid of it in the early stages, this is by no means saying that I necessarily believe it should be relied upon to cure advanced cases.

The truth is that people have been helped to help themselves be cured of cancer for well over fifty years: There are so many proven effective cancer therapies that it is more than a small job to list them all. No matter the particular therapy, however, almost every healing professional with a history of helping people to heal themselves of cancer have one particular thing in common with the others.

That common thread is diet, and I would challenge the reader to find even one effective alternative medicine practitioner who does not strongly endorse the complete elimination of smoking, alcohol, coffee, red meat, refined flour and refined sugar--just for openers.

All of these things consume bodily resources that the body could otherwise be using to fight the cancer itself, and so to rely on one or even two or more proven effective therapies and continue with an improper diet--which is exactly the nature of the common American one--is foolhardy at best and life threatening at worst.

Books could be and have been written on these topics, and it would also be foolhardy to attempt to convey useful information in depth to the person with cancer by means of a short paper. Instead, we invite the afflicted to do the research for themselves. The information is readily available, and it has been proven to us time and again over the years that those who do their own research stand a much better chance of long term survival: Those who are led by hand to the water of life have frequently been observed to refuse to drink.

(Ed. The offers may no longer be available, you will have to check.)

The number one book on a cancer patients reading list should be World Without Cancer by G. Edward Griffin. While the book centers on the laetrile story, it is in my opinion the best available for teaching the cancer patient why effective therapies have not been adopted by conventional medicine. Mr. Griffin can be contacted at 805-496-1649 or 805-497-1308. If he has none available, I have a new copies for $10 each, call 208-461-9293.

Strongly recommended is the book Options, The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book by Richard Walters. It is available through many local outlets such as health food stores. I have it for $13.95, and it is also available from the "For the People Bookstore" for $13.95 plus $4 shipping and handling, call 1-800-888-9999 to place a credit card order.

The book covers Antineoplaston, Revici, Burton's Immuno-Augmentative, Livingston, Issels' Whole Body, Hoxsey, Wheatgrass, Gerson, Laetrile, Oxygen, DMSO, Chelation, Live-Cell and Bioelectric Therapies, and this is just a partial listing. Nearly every one if not all of these plus a great deal more have been used alone in the successful treatment of advanced cancer, but it is more common that a practitioner will use two, three or a whole host of them.

Strongly recommended for a diet guideline and much more is the book A Cancer Therapy by Max Gerson, see the references.

Albert Schweitzer said of Max Gerson: "I see in Gerson one of the most eminent geniuses in medical history" It is Max Gerson who, in the 1940's, gave testimony on proper diet before congress--only to be called a quack by his peers--but many of the "diet guidelines" now recommended by government and other agencies read very suspiciously like the very testimony Gerson gave. They of course give him no credit, but his daughter Charlotte has been saving lives at the Gerson Institute with his therapy for many years. The book provides the reader guidelines that range from general do's and don'ts of eating to very detailed daily menu planning and how to prepare the foods as well. Be forewarned it is hard work.

In Alaska we are more fortunate than most Americans for the reason that we have a freedom of choice in medicine law. As a result, there are more alternative medical practitioners per capita in our state than any other in the union. Here are three that practice diet, chelation and/or oxygen therapies among others: Dr. Russell Manuel @ 562-7070, Dr. Sandra Denton @ 563-6200 and Dr. Robert Rowen @ 344-7775.

Some last notes: There are people about who do not like to see other people heal themselves on their own without the wisdom of those practicing "acceptable" medicine, and these are the folks who issue "dire warnings" about "contamination" and "mold" and such.

Mold is much talked about, and here is how to grow some: Take your culture and place it in a hot or too warm a tea solution. The culture will start to die or die completely, and naturally will not ferment. At best you will get the messy looking beginnings of a new culture, and mold will form as on any other unprotected food stuff. We made this mistake once and I'm glad we did: It taught us how ridiculously easy both blue and yellow mold is to spot on the Kombucha, and we threw out everything but the containers. Note that during a normal fermentation process, the Kombucha naturally protects itself from mold as the result of its very nature.

You can stop fermentation and grow mold by allowing too low a temperature, and we also grew a tiny bit of blue mold when the cloth covering dropped down to cover a spot on the developing culture: We once managed the same by accidentally cutting off a culture's air supply. Naturally, we drank the tea and ate the cultures.

Metal is warned against for the reason that the acids in the fermenting mixture can react with the metal during the fermentation process and result in contaminated tea. This is a valid concern for some metals, in particular the porous aluminum and cast iron, but stainless steel has been used by many as a vessel for culture fermentation. We use glass nonetheless, but the metals warnings have been carried to ridiculous extremes, such as remove your rings and use cloth strainers. We have been making our tea in stainless and coated cooking vessels since about day two: When you pour tea through a strainer, the time of tea/metal contact is far too short for a reaction to take place, and the same is true for touching a culture with a ring you happen to be wearing.

This paper is but a brief overview: A comprehensive paper is in the almost daily process of expansion for the reason that I have read the books above and those that follow in the reference section, and it is my experience that each of them contains more and/or becomes technical to a point that most people don't want to read that much. The more comprehensive paper will contain much more on cancer and at least turn into a printed booklet that will hopefully be shorter and easier to read while still containing the necessary information.

We are gathering local Kombucha Tea stories for the purpose of presenting personal testimonials that are not anonymous, negative or positive. We ask that those who read this paper and use the tea to call us and tell of your experiences.



Kombucha Healthy beverage and natural remedy from the Far East Its correct preparation and use by Guenther W. Frank Publishing House Ennsthaler, printed in Austria. Available from Valentine Communications for $27 by calling 813-353-9688 or directly from the author for $27, Fax 01149-7231-485046

Tea Fungus Kombucha The Natural Remedy and its Significance in Cases of Cancer and other Metabolic Diseases by Rosina Fasching Publishing House Ennsthaler Also available from Valentine Communications for $17, both books for $35.

Kombucha, The Miracle Fungus by Harald Tietze Gateway Books, The Hollies, Wellow Bath, BA2 8QJ U.K. I got this one by ordering from a local book store.

A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases and The Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy by Max Gerson, M.D. available $14.95 by calling 208-461-9293 or $14.95 plus shipping from the Gerson Institute and Cancer Curing Society, call 619-267-1150.

Dr. Wright's Guide To Healing With Nutrition by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. Keats Publishing, New Canaan, Connecticut Available for $14.95 plus shipping by calling the Tahoma Clinic Hotline at 1-800-825-8924

Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. Avery Publishing Group, Garden City Park, New York

Kombucha: The Naturally Fermented Drink That Prevents Chronic Disease by Tom Valentine .

Or, just use your communication server and search tool for Kombucha: Be prepared for more than you probably want to know; Subscribe to the mailing list and you'll get a mail box full every day.


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