Author unknown - pulled off the net
DO YOU WANT TO Bolster your immune system? Lower cholesterol? Drop your blood pressure? Soften hardened arteries and veins? Fight cateracts by improving eyesight? Improve liver function? Reduce hot flashes? Restore your bair color or smooth wrinkles? Lose weight?
We've had many members ask us what we know about Mo-Gu, Manchurian mushroom and Kombucba. We know they're all different names for the same thing and that in 414 B.C. it was called The Divine Tsche by the Koreans. We also know that thousands of people the world over drink it daily and make fantastic claims for it. For simplicity's sake, lets just call it Kombucha. And it's either an enzyme or a lichen they're still arguing about that. The important thing is that it can be grown at home, as a culture, and is used to make a pleasant tasting tea with a plethora of benefits.
The first mention of Kombucha seems to have been in ancient Korea but it showed up in China in 221 B.C. during the Tsin Dynasty. From there it went to Japan, Russia and India where it is now consumed daily by huge numbers of people.
The reason is simple - people who drink it seem to be a heck of a lot healthier than the rest of us. A good example of this is the Russian investigation, right after WW II, of why cancer appeared to be on the increase in their country. During their research they found that two particular areas of the country stood out like neon signs because they were almost cancer free! (The few cases of cancer they did find in those areas were from newcomers who had just settled there.)
Shortening a long story, Kombucha (or Tea Kvass, as the Russians called it) was the reason. Not only were the people healthier but they all seemed to live longer! As if that weren't enough, the Russlans clained that alcohol and tobacco consumpton was much higher in the area, yet had less of an adverse effect than else- where. They reported that the men of the region were used to drinking large quantities of thc Kombucha tea before their drinking bouts which, they claim, resulted in far fewer auto accidents. The intense Soviet investigation, coupled with other large bodies of evidence indicate that the Kombucha tea is, indeed, a dramatic immune system booster and body detoxificr.
The mushroom actually consists of a gelatinoid membrane in the form of a flat disk. It lives in a nutrient solution of tea and sugar, in which at the right temperature, it constantly multiplies. The fungal disk first spreads over the entire surface of the tea and then it thickens. It doesn't build spores, as yeast normally does, but multiplies by a process of branching. The yeast culture transforms the tea into enzymes useful to the body. The fermented mixture contains 0.5-1% alcohol, glucuronic acid, lactic acid, carbonic acid, oaxaloic acid, usnic acid vitamins B & C, amino acids, substances with antibiotic, antiseptic, detoxifying characteristics & other products.
The active substances of Kombucha address themselves to the whole body system. It can reestablish a normal condi- tion in the cellular membranes without any side-effects and thus promote one's well-being in a natural, nontoxic manner. Toxins in the body are made water-soluble and kidney-manageable through their conjugation with the glucuronic acid and thus eliminated through the urine. The tea purifies the glandular system. The Kombucha does not target specific body organs but, rather, influences the entire organism positively through metabolic stabilization. Scientific testing and extensive experience show its effectiveness in regulating intesti- nal flora, strengtbening cells, detoxification (Urine tests after 1st drink of Kombucha contained traces of environmental toxins such as lead mercury.), blood cleansing, metabolic harmonization, antibiotic effect, strenthening of resistance to disease and facilitation of pH balance. (According to one study. organisms free of cancer show pH levels.under 7.5.) Other health-promoting properties require further research.
[Based on anecdotal data]
The general effect of the mushroom tea shows already in a few weeks through an improved general condition and in one's raised performance capacity.
Glucuronic acid (GA) binds toxins in the liver which are then sent to the urine. Toxins bound by GA cannot be reabsorbed by the intestines or the urinary system GA is a building block for connective tissue, cartilage, stomach lining, vitreous humor of the eye and heparin. Antibiotic activity occurs on and after 7th or 8th day. The antibiotic component, usnic acid, can partly inactiveate viruses. Prevalence of these substances is dependent upon the size (larger/more) of the skin and develop optimallY at 25-30 deg. C. Degree of acidiy (pH) between.2.5 and 5 indicates largest amount of therapeutically active substances, kills growth of putrefactive bacteria and prevents infequent mold growth. Mold is more likely to form where people smoke in the same room. If mold does form, start with a new culture. Sediment is mostly pure yeast culture, good for speedy start of new batch. For greater carbonlc acid and less "tang let sediment stay and pour tea off sooner. Kombucha produces its own preservatives - acetic acid, lactic acid, oxalic acid and alcohol.
Upper layer is the newest. Periodically remove the bottom layer to rejuenate culture. Culture gets browner with use.
Let mushroom fall or force it to the bottom to start a new, clean, unconnected culture on top surface.
When culture is dying off, liquid has neutral or alkaline pH, tastes sour and smells foul. Mold or non-washable, brown, wrinkled patches may appear that tear easily.
Large surface areas and shallow liquid speed propagation and acidification.
For temporary suspension of production (3 weeks to several months), leave culture in larger amount of tea and keep as cool as possible. Do not cover tightly.
May be kept in the fridge in a ziplock bag with a small amount of tea. Takes longer to get started going again.
Can be frozen - but keep unsealed until frozen oherwise carbonation released before freezing may cause bursting. Freeze as rapidly as possible so forming ice crystals cannot become large enough to damage cells. Thaw out in fresh tea.
Carbonic acid bubbles can push up portions of culture and/or make foamy bubbles that look like, but are not mold.
Dead celLs slough off and create brownish "streamers" or slimy pieces which can be washed off and filtered out of liquid.
Can use pieces or crush pleces of a few bits of skin around sides of container at surface level to start new culture.
To lose: ferment beverage for 15-days; take 3x/day before meals. When-desired weight is reached: ferment 6-10 days, take 3x/day after meals. FOR ILLNESS (From Brazil). Ferment 8-10 days; take 3/day before meals. Massage tea in for cellulite. Let dry. (From Brazil)
To make the tea is is necessary to first have a "starter" in the form of a pancake-like "mushroom". This starter isn't really a "mushroom" though but rather a fermented yeast-like patty. Distilled water is boiled with sugar and black tea is added. After cooling, the"mushroom" is inserted into the liquid and allowed to stand for a week or two. During this time a new "mushroom" is formed on top of the liquid while the tea undergoes therapeutic changes. The new "mushroom" is removed (now you have two "mushrooms" ready to make more tea) and the remaining tea is refrigerated for use. (You drink 4 oz. per day).
Now, as to exactly what the "mushroom" consists of, the Soviet microbiologists decided that the "tea funus mushroom" was not a "fungus, but lichen." However, even though one of the products of the fermentatlon is a "lichen-like antibiotic", European experts disagree, saying, A lichen is a symbiosis of algae and fungus and requires light as a source of energy in order to build chlorophyll by photosynthesis a typical feature of algae. Kombucha, on the other hand flourishes even in the dark precisely because it contains no algae components.
Since Kombucha is often' called a "mushroom" by many people and a "fungus" by others, and since it is a "yeast" as well as a bacterial ferment, there are those who will automatically warn all candida albicans victims - those with chronic candiasis - to stay away from Kombucha.
"Not so!" say the experts. They argue that the Saccharomycodes is a yeast that does not have spores and is therefore not in the family of candida, so it can be actually antagonistic to the troublesome yeast that infects so many people.
They go on to say, "Whereas most of the ascomycetes such as penicillin, ergot, bread mold, mildew, thrush (candida) and others reproduce by means of spores, most of the yeasts, reproduce vegetatively by means of budding. In addition there is the combination of budding and fission. The fission yeasts reproduce by means of fission like bacteria, they don't bud nor have spores. The Pombe fission yeast of the Kombucha culture belongs to this type.
As you can see, because the culture is a living process which "grows" with each batch of tea made, you double the number of cultures you have with every batch you make. In other words, every 7 to 14 days the culture duplicates itself providing you with two "mushrooms"; the one you started with plus a second one floating on top of the tea pot. If you were to continue in this manner you would have four cultures in another 2 weeks and 8 cultures 2 weeks after that, etc. Before long you can be almost overrun with Kombucha cultures -- you may even run out of friends and relatives to give them to!
The tea you make to start this whole process originally was supposed to be only black-tea (which you can still get in health food stores if you wish). However, it has been discovered that 'Oolong' tea or ordinary Lipton Orange Pekoe tea (which also contains black tea) can be used equally well. (The Kombucha culture does not do well with fruit teas or in teas that have essential oils).
For those concerned about using refined sugar in this process the experts say, "You shou1d take into account that after a normal fermentation perid of 14 days only 3 grams of simple sugars (monosaccharides) per 100 grams of Kombucha tea remain in the drink."
Making this tea is very easy to do, despite the fact that some versions of the instructions get rather picky. Some say, for example, that you must only use bown sugar - though white sugar actually works best. Another version says to use only glass pots and containers but research has shown that stainless steel works just as well. Everyone agrees though that you should NOT-use aluminum anywhere in the process!
The taste of the tea can range anywhere from sweet to tart, depending upon the amount of sugar and the length of fermen- tation. The tart is more acidic and some people prefer it. Making a large batch (2-3 quarts) at a time can effect the taste though, because the fermentation continues even after the beverage is bottled and placed in the refrigerator.
Virginia at Auburn Nutrition, is well versed in Kombucha and she tells us that contrary other information now circulat- ing, you can drink as much of the tea as you like, without any ill side effects. She also said that if the tea is kept in a warm place it will grow faster.
According to Virginia, 7-8 days makes the basic tea. On the 10th day lt begins to ferment and gives the tea, what she describes as "a little zing. 14-15 days is the best timing for those who wish to use the tea for welght loss as most of the sugar has disappeared by then. After 17 days the tea will turn to vinegar, with a very tart taste which some folks prefer.
Virginia also mentioned that she uses unbleached muslin to cover her growing tea because it prevents tiny fruit flies better than cheese cloth.
Most of this info was sent to us by a reader. However, since the post office mangled the original envelope, we have no idea who sent it. Included in the letter was an article from the "Search For Health" newsletter along with a starter mushroom. The starter mushroom we received looks like its still healthy and we're presently trying to propagate another. If we're successtul we'll try to acquire enough to send to interested members.
Search For Health carries the only two English books we know of, dealing
with Kombucha and how to make it. One is by Guenther Frank and sells for $27 ppd and the other by Rosana Fasching,
is $17 ppd. You can order both books for $35 by writing "Search For Health, Box 11089, Naples Fla, 33941.
(Florida residents please add 6% sales tax). Their phone number is 1-813-263-4101.
This page is maintained by Bob Williams, Kombucha Center Home Page