We read already in the Bible (Ruth 2:14) that the land-owner Boas invited the Moabite Ruth, who later became his wife, during her gleaning of grains: Come over here and eat some bread and dip your morsel into the vinegar-drink! And she sat down beside the reapers; and he reached her parched corn and she ate and was sufficed and left." This biblical report from around 1000 B.C. not only gives us a hint of their exemplary nutritional habits, although they were modest by our perspective, we see from it also that, even at that time, people prepared beverages with microorganisms of lactic acid and how they served the people for strength and refreshment during the hard work of harvesting.
During the fermentation and oxidation processes, the mushroom effects diverse complicated reactions In the tea-setting, either one after the other or side by side (these are assimilation-and dissimulation- processes). The tea-mushroom feeds on the sugar And, in exchange, produces other valuable substances which change into the drink: glucuron-acid, lactic acid, vitamins, amino acids, antibiotic substances, and other products. The tea-mushroom is, therefore, a real, tiny biochemical factory.
Numerous doctors and scientists have concerned themselves with the effects of the Kombucha-beverage as a home remedy. Many scientific works are at hand concerning Kombucha. They speak of its therapeutic effectiveness abased on glucon-acid, glucuron-acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, as well as the life-supporting vitamins C and the B-group. As has been proven especially by Russian researchers, many of its components have antibiotic and detoxifying characteristics, and they playa decisive role for the biochemical processes in the body.
In contrast to the many pharmaca with unpleasant side effects, the active substances of the Kombucha address themselves to the whole body system; through its friendly metabolistic properties, it can reestablish a normal condition in the cellular membranes without any side-effects and thus promote one swell-being. Let us use these natural powers for maintaining our vitality, activity, as well as our mental and physical capacities!
Professor S. Bazarewski brought forth a report in the "Correspondence for the Association of Nature Researchers in Riga, 1915, that among the Latvian population of the Baltic Russian Provinces of Livland and Kurland, they had a folk-remedy by name of "Brinum-Ssene" Verbally translated, it means "Wonder-mushroom". The Latvian population ascribed to this mushroom "a wonderful healing power for many diseases", according to Bazarewski. Some people asked by Bazarewski insisted that it helps fore head aches, but others assured him that "this mushroom is useful for all diseases.
Privy Councilor Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kobert(1917-18) recollects that an "unfailing remedy against joint rheumatism" was made with this mushroom.
Also Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Henneberg(1926) reports that a drink made with tea- mushroom was prepared, called "Teakwass" in Russia, being used in all those areas as a "remedy against all sorts of diseases, especially against constipation. "
According to Dr. Madaus in the "Biologic Healing Arts" (1927), the mushroom, and its metabolic products, has excellent influence on the regeneration of the cellular walls and is, therefore, an excellent remedy for arteriosclerosis.
Prof. Br. Lakowitz (1928) confirms Waldeck's statement that digestive disturbances are quickly removed by the mushroom-tea. Strong headaches and nervous disturbances also are removed experientially. Lakowitz comes to the conclusion: "An extensive spreading of the mushroom-tea for the production of such Tee-Kwasses, as a remedy against digestive disturbances is desirable for all types of people."
In the "White Flag" (1928) is reported: 'The refreshing taste of this tea-beverage is generally pleasing, and its effect is ... a very good one. The taste of the fermented tea is very pleasant, being reminiscent of light, sparkling wine or sweet Most (pear juice). The effect of the tea usually shows up very fast. Most of all, it works blood-cleansing and detoxifying and is said ... to give excellent services for facial skin rashes. Further, according to doctor's orders and evaluations, it is very effective for constant headaches, pain in the limbs, gout, rheumatism, and other aging problems. 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, which may be connected with the mushroom's high vitamin and hormone effect, which are also emphasized by doctors.
Further, the mushroom stimulates the metabolism ... excellently and, thereby, helps in clearing out the body, i.e. the elimination of all types of disease toxins.
Dr. Siegwart Hermann (1929) describes experiments with cats who had been poisoned with Vigantol (an anti-rickets Vitamin B-preparation). He noted a positive influence in their cholesterol level when the animals received Kombucha extracts. This is interesting because in cases of human arteriosclerosis there is also a raised cholesterol level. Hermann's resume based on these experiments is: "The observations by doctors at the sickbed, as also the animal experiments, showed that folk-wisdom quoted effects have been observed in general."
In 1961, Dr. med. Valentin Koehler stimulated a discussion on the therapeutic usage of Glucuronic acid through his article titled, "Glucuronic Acid Gives Courage to Cancer-Patients in the periodical "Medical Practice". Glucuronic acid is one of the products that are produced during the fermentation process in the Kombucha-tea. Dr. Koehler reported at that time about encouraging results in treating cancer patients with Glucuronic acid. The maximally long effect of Glucuronic acid is able to bring about an increase in the body's own defenses and, possibly, also of the Interferon-production.
The detoxifying function of Glucuronic acid goes hand-in-hand with an improvement in the general condition and in the oxidative metabolism.
Dr. Koehler also noted surprising successes in the treatment of sick trees. Various Institutions were doing scientific tests for resolving the problem of dying trees. By combining nutritious substances, trace- elements, and heavy metals ions a building process was activated or accelerated. The capacity of the Glucuronic acid to enter into combination with both foreign and endogenic toxic substances, effects protection for the plant cell. Over 200 substances can be made harmless by this way, including those which are contained in acidic and radioactive rain, as well as sulfur dioxide, nitrites, ozone.
According to Dr. Koehler's research, the protective activity connected with Glucuronic acid preserves also the genetics of the plant from growth disturbances or promotes their restoration in the further course of its growth. The insights arising from Dr. Koehler's examinations can be transferred onto all human cells. When the processes of growth and decomposition in the human metabolism are maintained on an optimal level through adding small dosages of Glucuronic acid, as contained in the Kombucha beverage, it presents a combination of scientific data and a product of nature which is currently still much preferred by the laity. Here is a possible aid for a humanity that is more and more threatened through toxic environmental substances. By Glucronic acid, the "disturbance products in the human body are disintegrated into end- products, eliminated and, thereby, made harmless. This detoxifying function of Glucuronic acid benefits the variety of cellular functions.
This shows up as increased endogenic capacity towards the toxic and environmental stresses batting us from many sides, as a revival. of damaged bodycells, and a restoration and firming upon our well-being. When many peoples say that they use Kombucha not to necessarily heal a particular disease, but they drink it as a beverage for supporting their well-being, we have in this a contact point where scientific insights and folk-wisdom can go hand in hand.
Dr. E. Arauner (1929) reports of diverse medical reports and evaluations and reaches the following conclusion:" In summary, one can say that the Kombucha mushroom or its extract, has proven itself as excellently prophylactic against diabetes, but especially against aging problems, such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure with its consequences such as dizziness, gout, hemorrhoids; for the very least it is a pleasant laxative." Dr. Arauner reports that in his home-country the tea- mushroom has been in usage for centuries by Asian people because of its surprising healing successes, being a most effective, natural home-remedy for tiredness, fatigue, nervousness, beginning aging problems, arteriosclerosis, intestinal lassitude, gout and rheumatism, hemorrhoids, and diabetes.
Arauner adds to this, that not only professors, doctors and biologists have confirmed the surprising healing successes but also those who have imbibed the mushroom-tea report about "entirely excellent effects on the general body functions.'
The med. doctor, Dr. Rudolf Sklenar of Lich, Oberhessen, reported in 1964 in the periodical "Experiential Healing Science" about his methods of diagnosis and therapy successes: "An outstanding natural remedy is the mushroom beverage named Combucha, which acts detoxifying in every regard and which dissolves microorganisms as well as cholesterol." Dr. Sklenar had developed a biologic cancer therapy in which Combucha, as well as other biologic remedies such as Coli-preparations, held an important place for the sanitization of the intestinal flora.
In a small publication of 8 pages, titled "Cancer Diagnosis Based on Blood and the Treatment of Cancer, Pre-cancerous Conditions, and other Metabolic Diseases with Kombucha and Coli-Preparations", Dr. Sklenar reports that vitamins, lactic acids and glucuronic acid are (viruses, bacteria, fungi)and to the dissolution of waste matter and toxic deposits (uric acid, cholesterol, etc.)". Kombucha effects "an outstanding detoxification of the organism". Through enjoying this beverage there is, additionally, a "noticeable invigoration of the entire glandular system and enhancement of the metabolism."
Dr. Sklenar reports that he was able to treat successfully with the mushroom-tea: gout, rheum, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, dysbacteria, constipation, impotence, nonspecific draining, obesity, furunculosis, kidney stones, cholesterol, cancer and especially its early stages, etc.
The Natural Healing specialist A.J.Lodewijkx of Ermelo, Netherlands, writes about Kombucha in his very recommendable book "Life Without Cancer" (obtainable in the Dutch and German languages): "The Kombucha mushroom has strongly antiseptic properties. The tea purifies the glandular system and promotes elimination; uric acid is neutralized and eliminated through Kombucha tea. Therefore, this tea is an excellent remedy against gout, rheum, arthritis, kidney stones, intestinal dysbacteria, but especially cancer and its early stages because the Kombucha mushroom exerts a mighty influence on the disease-causing endobionts. As we have seen, it is these endobionts which eliminate the red corpuscles when the pH changes unfavorably. In all metabolic diseases and cancer, Kombucha is a unique beverage for the detoxification of the body. Kombucha removes the metabolic dross and normalizes thereby the blood pH."
Gottfried Mueller, founder of the world-wide "Salem Children's and Youth Villages" praises the Kombucha tea-mushroom this way: "A gift from heaven, especially for health emergencies" (in "Salem-Help" 15, Nr. 3, August 1987, page 2).
Some of the health-promoting properties ascribed to Kombucha-tea require further research. However, other active mechanisms are entirely proven both by scientific testing and experientially, such as: regulation of the intestinal flora, cellular strengthening, detoxification and dross elimination, metabolic harmonization, antibiotic effect, facilitating pH- balance.
Nowadays, there are occasional warnings - mostly coming from ignorance or economic interests - not to make the Kombucha beverage by oneself. Such a warning is justified in so far as the know-how about the precise method, wherewith, and why, etc. had often been lost and people wrongly experimented instead of abiding with proven recipes.
However, when one works clean and abides by proven directions, then there is no hesitation in making the Kombucha drink, as in many generations past. Whoever has the necessary knowledge can deal successfully with the tea-mushroom - just as one deals with other "open" foodstuffs in one's household. When abiding by proven instructions, one can produce an impeccable, tasty, wholesome and effective Kombucha beverage. The mushroom will increase and accompany its owner lifelong and serve him or her well.
The Russian researcher I.N. Konovalow mentions in his report of 1959, that the intensive growth of the tea-mushroom leven and bacteria distinctly suppresses the spreading of other yeast and bacterial varieties.
Also the Russian Professor G.F. Barbancik(1958) reports In his book about the tea-mushroom based on laboratory tests which showed that the tea- mushroom bacteria drive out all other microbes energetically (antagonism).
In contrast to other reports. this mushroom is easy to multiply and part. Because It grows cheerfully and is parted willingly, all friends and acquaintances can soon benefit. It is a good custom to pass on the Kombucha mushroom to other people as a sign of friendship and mutual helpfulness.
Source: Guenther W. Frank, "Kombucha, Healthy beverage and Natural Remedy from Far East" Publishing House W. Ennsthaler, Steyr, Austria, 9th revised edition 1995
1.- Make tea in the ordinary way. Per litre (quart ) of water, infuse 2 teaspoonfuls (about 5 g = 0.2 oz) of black or green tea in freshly boiled water. You may also use tea bags. Let the tea leaves "soak" for 15 minutes. Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea and is distinguished from it principally by the way it is processed: it is not fermented. Japanese doctors found out that green tea prevents cancer growth. I would suggest to use green tea for the Kombucha beverage. If you don't want to use black or green tea you can also use herbal teas.
2 - Strain off the tea leaves through a sieve, or remove the tea bags from the water, as the case may be.
3 - Add about 70 - 100 g (2+ - 3 oz) of white sugar per litre (quart) of water into the filtered infusion before it has cooled. Stir the tea so that the sugar dissolves totally. 1 tablespoon of sugar is about 20 g (0.7 oz).
4 - Let the sugared tea cool down to a temperature not higher than 20 - 25 degrees Centigrade = about 68 - 77 degrees Fahrenheit (lukewarm). The culture dies when it has been placed in a hot nutrient solution.
5 - When the tea has cooled to room temperature, pour the solution into a glass, china, glazed earthenware or stainless steel container. Glass is best. Metal containers of other types than stainless steel are unsatisfactory and should never be used because the acids formed may react with the metal. You could also use a high-grade synthetic material of the polylefine group, e.g. polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene. Wine or cider is also kept in containers made of this food-grade material. However, you should avoid containers made of polyvinylchloride (PVC) or polystyrene.
6 - If you prepare your first Kombucha drink, add the liquid that you got with the culture. On all later batches, always keep enough Kombucha drink to add about one tenth (10%) of the quantity to your new batch as a "starter liquid".
7 - Place the live Kombucha culture in the liquid.
8 - Cover the mouth of the fermentation container with a cheesecloth, a tea towel, paper towel or similar light cloth to keep out fruit flies, dust, plant spores and other pollutants. Tie it down with a large rubber band to ensure that fruit flies can't get in. The cloth must be porous enough to allow air to circulate so the culture can breathe, but not so porous that tiny fruit flies can get in to lay their eggs.
9 - The fermentation should proceed for 8 - 12 days, depending on the temperature. The higher the room temperature, the faster the fermentation. The period of 8 - 12 days is given merely as a guide. The Kombucha culture needs a warm and quiet place and should on no account be moved. The temperature of the tea should not fall below 68 degrees F (= 20 degrees Centigrade) and not rise above 86 degrees F (=30 degrees Centigrade). The ideal temperature is about 74 to - 80 degrees F (=23 - 27 degrees C). Light is not necessary. The culture also works in darkness. The culture may be damaged by exposure to bright sunlight. Half shade is better. During the process of fermentation the sugar is broken down by the yeast and converted into a gas (CO2) and various organic acids and other compounds. It is the combination of these processes which gives the Kombucha beverage its characteristic flavor. The infusion is at first sweet but this sweetness disappears as the sugar is broken down. At the same time an acid flavor begins to develop as a result of the activities of the bacterium, so there is a transition from sweetness to sourness. If a slightly sweet drink is preferred, the fermentation has to be stopped earlier. For a dry or slightly acid flavor it has to be continued longer.
10 - When the tea has attained the right acid degree (pH 2,7 - 3,2), depending on individual taste, remove the culture with clean hands. Clean the culture under cold or lukewarm water. Fill new tea into the jar and add the culture immediately. Respect the right temperature of the tea. Pour the beverage into bottles, which should be filled to the brim. Keep about one tenth (10%) as starter for the next batch. Stopper the bottles securely. I don't think it necessary to strain the fermented beverage through a cloth. A certain amount of sediment is normal. It is due to the growth of yeasts, which produced the gas which aerates the beverage. The yeasts are said to have some desirable positive effects on the human organism.
12 - The drink has an agreeable taste. It is sparkling, slightly sour and refreshing. One normally drinks three glasses a day, one glass (4 to 6 ounces or more) on an empty stomach in the morning, the second glass after a meal in the course of the day, and the last glass a short time before going to bed.
13 - When you start a new fermentation process, never forget to add to the new tea at least 10 % of the liquid from a cultivation which has already fermented.
The Kombucha culture grows and covers the surface of the tea completely. While growing on the surface of the tea the culture thickens considerably. The thickened culture will be composed of easily separable superimposed layers. The layers can be peeled off one from another and each can be used as independent units for the production of Kombucha beverage.
If the culture should sink to the bottom of the vessel, a new culture will form on the surface of the tea. In this way each culture will continue to propagate itself until it gradually begins to turn a dark brown color. When it is dark and dirty brown discard it and replace it with one of its offspring. Thus this unique culture can provide you and your family with an ongoing supply of Kombucha tea at very low cost.
I would appreciate any exchange of information, experience and research results.
Gunther W. Frank Genossensch. -Str. 10
75217 Birkenfeld, Germany Fax (+49) 7231-485046
The book: "Kombucha - Healthy Beverage and Natural Remedy from the Far East"
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