My sister suffered with an irritable bowel for 6 years. She changed her diet, took probiotics, listened to hypnosis tapes, read every article she could that addressed possible causes and solutions. Then she tried the solutions. Nothing worked. She became so nervous about getting too far from a bathroom that she had to take anti-anxiety medication to take her first graders on field trips. She couldn’t go boating or bike riding with me when she came to visit. It ruled her life. Until she tried my new passion this past summer…3 days and she was a very happy camper and a six year health nightmare disappeared.
Our son came home from a year in Korea with the Air Force with a messed up gut, constipation, difficulty sleeping…the list was long. It took less than a week to know we were solving the problems.
I hesitate to use the word “Miracle” but this one might come pretty close. And it is incredibly simple.
It is considered an ancient remedy and goes by the name of Kombucha. It has an extensive history through China and Russia. Research the “Russian Story” for some interesting details.
A simplistic explanation of Kombucha is that it is a fermented liquid that removes toxins from your body, shifts your body to an alkaline pH and corrects the balance of gut bacteria to a healthy ratio of good to bad. This leads to a healing of the intestinal tract. Cultures that consume fermented products on a daily basis have much fewer health challenges.
When the intestines are working as designed, food is broken down appropriately, more nutrients are more absorbable so you get more from the food you eat, microscopic holes that form in the intestines and lead to allergic type reactions to foods are repaired, your immune system balances and strengthens itself. Irritable bowel, constipation, gas, bloating, poor sleep, painful joints, muscle pain, fatigue…begin to diminish with time. Kombucha doesn’t heal…it helps create an environment in which the body’s ability to heal itself is strengthened. The Russian Story implies that it inhibits cancer and can shrink tumors. I suppose if you ate a good helping of sauerkraut everyday, you might experience some of the same results! My family finds it much easier and more pleasant to drink a couple of glasses of Kombucha every day!
The best news about this is that you can easily and inexpensively make your own!
Kombucha is a mix of sweet tea (gallon of filtered water, organic black, green or oolong tea and cane sugar) and a SCOBY in a gallon glass jar, covered with a cloth so the fermenting gasses can escape. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. It is a whitish, rubbery, round gelatinous mass sometimes referred to as a “mushroom”. SCOBYS make “baby” SCOBYS as they process the sweet tea into Kombucha. You can give the babies away to friends to start their own Kombucha. Or you can order a SCOBY and starter Kombucha online. As it ferments it takes on a carbonated sweet vinegar taste. At 70 degrees it will take 9-14 days to process. At 80 degrees it might only take 7-9 days.
When I first started making it, the final product was very inconsistent. Sometimes it was quite vinegary, sometimes it was fizzy, sometimes it was flat…but it was all effective! When I let it get too vinegary to drink, I simply used it as vinegar for dressings, a hair rinse and as a foot soak. At that point I simply made some new sweet tea, mixed in a cup or two of the vinegary Kombucha and added the SCOBY back into the gallon jar.
Because there are three of us who drink about 8-12 ounces per day I have adopted a “continuous” brew system. I bought a 2.5 gallon lead free crock (lead free is important) with a spigot. I make 2 gallons of sweet tea, cool it to no more than 80 degrees, add 2 cups of held over Kombucha and then slip my SCOBY into the top. As soon as it is ready, I’ll drain off 36-48 ounces into reusable beer bottles. I then add the same volume of sweet tea back into the crock. Depending on the air temperature (between 70 and 80 degrees) the tea will be ready to draw again the next day. Every 2 or 3 weeks I will bottle the entire crock, wash it, rinse the SCOBY and clean her up (I call her Emma!) and start a fresh batch. At that point we drink the bottled Kombucha while waiting for the new batch to ferment. As she makes babies, I help my friends get started on their own “improved health journey”.
There is much information online. I used www.getkombucha.com and www.happyherbalist.com to get started. But the most useful resource I found was the book Kombucha Revolution by Stephen Lee (of Stash and Tazo Tea fame). He gives recipes for making different flavored Kombucha, taught me how to hold over my SCOBY when we were going on vacation, and answered questions I didn’t know I had. He doesn’t cover the continuous brew system but if you start more than one jar and keep them going in rotation, you’ll have a continuous supply.
When medical care is not readily available we will all need solutions that encompass broad categories. Kombucha may be an ideal habit to enhance current and future health and set yourself up to require fewer doctor visits in the future.
To a mass embracing of a healthier future!
Jennifer and “Emma”