Benefits of Kombucha

The fermented tea drink has been around for centuries but has recently became popular because of its health benefits.

Often referred to as mushroom tea, kombucha is made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to sugar and black or green tea and allowing the brew to ferment.

Kombucha is highly acidic, contains sugar, B vitamins and antioxidants, as well as some alcohol that results from the fermentation process.

Kombucha is rich in probiotics, good gut bacteria (like those in yogurt) that have been shown to boost immunity and overall health.

Research has shown that kombucha can efficiently act in health prophylaxis and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, antioxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of depressed immunity.

Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers.

Kombucha can also prevent candida yeast from overpopulating within the gut because it helps restore balance to the digestive system.

Kombucha's benefits are not limited to the gut.

It has been shown to support liver function. Kombucha is rich in antioxidants and acids, the most important one being glucaric acid. Recent studies show that glucaric acid aids the liver and reduces the burden on the pancreas and kidneys, making the detox process run more efficiently. It can remove fat and bad cholesterol from the blood and remedy oxidative damage to cells.

Glucuronic acid in kombucha is also shown to improve joint health. Kombucha contains glucosamines, which are vital for the treatment and prevention of arthritis.

Kombucha has the ability to keep the immune system functioning at its best by controlling free radicals. Researchers have discovered a very potent antioxidant, D-saccharic acid – 1,4-lactone (DSL) in the fermented beverage. Scientists suspect that DSL and the vitamin C present in kombucha are its main secrets in protecting against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the immune system. Also, we know the probiotics found in kombucha support the immune system.

Kombucha boosts energy – The fermentation process causes iron to be released from the black tea. Iron increases hemoglobin levels through chelation. Oxygen molecules are then transported to cells and tissues. Also, there is a bit of caffeine and some B vitamins which also boost energy.

Kombucha is also beneficial for cancer prevention and recovery. A study published in Cancer Letters found that consuming glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in humans.

Kombucha recipe

1 kombucha SCOBY
100ml of starter liquid (kombucha from previous batch)
1/2 cup of good quality sugar (I use raw sugar but you could use organic rapadura sugar)
2 litre of filtered water
4 organic black tea teabags (or loose leaf equivalent)
A large glass or ceramic jar


Pour boiled water into jug and add teabags or loose leaf tea and allow the tea to steep for five minutes and then remove the tea.

When the brew has cooled slightly, add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

Cool the tea to room temperature and then pour the whole brew into a glass jar.

Add the kombucha SCOBY and starter liquid to the jar and cover the jar with a cloth and an elastic band. Do not use a air tight lid as the SCOBY needs to breath.

Allow the tea to ferment at room temperature for up to 7 to 10 days for a new SCOBY to form (in hot weather, it ferments faster). The kombucha tea should taste pleasantly sour and faintly sweet. The longer you leave fermentation, the more sugar ferments outs and the more sour/tart the brew becomes.

When the kombucha tea has reached a taste you like and a new scoby has formed, remove the newly formed SCOBY and 100ml of the kombucha tea to start a new batch and repeat the process.

You can drink the remaining kombucha tea straight away or refrigerate.

If you want a fizzier kombucha pour the kombucha into a glass bottle and place a lid tightly on and leave at room temperature. After 1 to 2 days, you can drink or refrigerate.

Larger quantities of kombucha may be prepared increasing the ingredients proportionately.

If the newly formed SCOBY is stuck on top of an older SCOBY simply tear off the new SCOBY to use with the new batch.

Drink up to one glass per day for health benefits.

The kombucha SCOBY can be kept refrigerated (for up to two week in fridge or up to two years in freezer) when you are not fermenting. The kombucha tea can be kept in refrigerator for up to two weeks

A new SCOBY [clear film on the surface of the brew] will form as a byproduct of fermentation, usually after 5 days of fermentation. The growth of the new SCOBY may vary. It is not unusual to see rounded opaque patches and or brown jellyfish-like tentacles forming underneath the SCOBY. These rounded patches are not mould if no green fuzzy growth that mould produce is seen. If any mould is seen, discard the brew and commence with a fresh starter.

Mould can form on the culture if the brew is not acidic enough - usually because insufficient starter was used. It can also form because of poor hygiene. If there is any mould on your culture throw it away and do not risk drinking it. Other factors which can spoil a culture include insufficient air, or water with no minerals in it (distilled or reverse osmosis filtered). Kombucha can become spoiled with a variety of other microorganisms, depending on the environment and conditions under which it is brewed. The acidity of kombucha will normally protect against harmful microorganisms, when spoiled, it will smell or taste unpleasant.