Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Merkaba

History has talked about the Mer-Ka-Ba mostly as the vehicle that allows

a person to ascend or descend into the higher or lower worlds. But

actually the Mer-Ka-Ba is much more than just a vehicle of ascension. It

can be, really, anything — since it is the primal pattern that created

all things and all universes, both visible and invisible (see The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, volumes I & II).





In the Bible there is reference to Ezekiel and the wheels by which Ezekiel ascended into heaven.[3] This was the Mer-ka-Ba.





In the Torah, there is reference to the Merkavah (as it is spelled in

Hebrew) which has two different meanings: One meaning is ''chariot,''

which is a vehicle; the other is the ''Throne of God.'' When the two

definitions are combined, the true meaning comes to life.





In Ancient Egypt, this primal pattern was called the Mer-Ka-Ba. It was actually three words, not one. Mer meant a kind of light that rotated within itself. Ka meant spirit, in this case referring to the human spirit. And Ba

meant the human body — though it also could mean the concept of Reality

that spirit holds. And so the entire word in ancient Egypt referred to a

rotating light that would take the spirit and the body from one world

into another.





I once spent a couple of hours with Credo Mutwa, the spiritual leader of

the Zulu tribe in Africa. He explained to me that Merkaba (one word)

was a Zulu word meaning a space/time/dimension vehicle. He told me that

according to Zulu legend his entire tribe had come from another

dimension here to Earth using the Merkaba.





In the modern world there are teachers worldwide — and I am one of them —

who are helping people remember the Mer-Ka-Ba. Thus begin a process in

consciousness that will eventually translate us from the

third-dimensional world into the next higher one through what is being

called ''ascension.''





Ascension involves a process where the human body is transformed into

light and translated by an incredible birth into a new world. It is

achieved through a meditation that requires the mind, heart, body, and

spirit to completely integrate in one pattern of light and transcend the

human limitations of this reality.





This concept of the Mer-Ka-Ba as an ascension vehicle is not new. It is very, very old.






mer-ka-ba







What actually is the Mer-Ka-Ba? Technically, it is an electro-magnetic

field sitting at about four degrees Kelvin, found primarily within the

microwave range — at least in the third dimension — that is entirely

geometric in nature. Specifically, the geometry used is called ''Sacred

Geometry,'' as this particular geometry is found in the creation

patterns of all things in Creation.





merkaba geometry



The Mer-Ka-Ba field is extremely complex, involving the five Platonic

solids and other sacred polyhedrons. It is believed to extend through

all possible dimensional and parallel universes, and can possibly change

its nature from electro-magnetic to whatever is appropriate.





The blueprint of the Mer-Ka-Ba is found throughout nature, such as in this photo of a galaxy.









One of the functions of the Mer-Ka-Ba, as we said, is to act as the

vehicle to take the spirit and the body into the next world. However,

this function — and most of the other possibilities — is impossible to

obtain until something changes within the person. Sombrero galaxyThe

Mer-Ka-Ba is situated around the human body like a three-dimensional

geometric web that is dormant and nonfunctional, waiting for the right

moment. When the spirit that inhabits the body remembers that it is

there and begins to change certain aspects of itself, an incredible

transformation begins to grow.





It was believed in ancient times, and even written about by the Hebrews,[2],

that the Merkavah could be turned on by certain principles in

meditation. This involves breathing changes, and mind, heart, and body

changes that alter the way a person perceives the Reality. From my

perspective, it is the beginning of ''Enlightenment.''





And yet it is clear that the Mer-Ka-Ba can also be ''activated,'' as the

New Agers say, by other methods beside the male-style instructions

using the breathing changes mentioned above. It can also become

functional through methods that are purely female. Through the true

living of qualities such as love, faith, trust, truth, and compassion,

the Mer-Ka-Ba can spontaneously become alive. In other words, very pure

human character can translate into a living Mer-Ka-Ba field around the

person, even if that person doesn't initially know it is there.





And yes, absolutely, the Mer-Ka-Ba is alive. It is a living field, not a

purely mechanical field of energy. Because it is a living field, it

responds to human thought and feeling, which is the way to connect to

the field. So the ''computer'' that guides the Mer-Ka-Ba is the human

mind and heart. The possibilities are endless.





At a certain and specific moment (not necessarily in this lifetime), a

person's Mer-Ka-Ba field can become alive. When this happens, an

electro-magnetic change occurs which results in a disc of energy that

comes out from a tiny place near the base of the spine and quickly

expands to about 27 to 30 feet in radius around the body. This disc can

easily be perceived by scientific means, and if the United States

Airforce is correct it can be put up on their computer screens via

satellite. In other words, the military can see people who activate

their Mer-Ka-Bas, and watch as they move around the surface of the

Earth.





Since the number of people who have done this is now in the millions, it

is a fairly common sight now. It is the enormous magnetic burst that

results from the disc expanding that brings attention to itself. This

can easily be made invisible by people who activate their Mer-ka-Bas, if

they so desire.





The knowledge of the Mer-Ka-Ba is well known by most of the more

powerful governments of the world. I am certain that our government used

the Mer-Ka-Ba in the 1943 Philadelphia Experiment and the 1983 Montoc

Experiments — in their mind-control experiments and dimensional

explorations, and in controlling weather. And I am equally certain that

Russia is using the Mer-Ka-Ba in their spy programs and defense systems.





But regardless of government experimentation, Mother Earth, the human

race, and we as individuals can profit from this understanding and

knowledge. The remembering of the Mer-Ka-Ba is unfolding all over the

world. From my point of view, this unfoldment is all part of the

evolving cosmic DNA. The Mer-Ka-Ba will be remembered now because this is the time to remember.





Yes, I believe, as did almost all the ancient civilizations, that there

are specific moments in the history of mankind where great jumps in

human understanding take place, as in the ancient Sumerian, Egyptian,

and Indus Valley civilizations.[3]





I truly feel that we have arrived at another one of these grand moments

of human history where brilliant light expands around the world, and

another huge leap in human consciousness appears. And, my friends, I

truly believe, from my own personal experience, that the Mer-Ka-Ba is a

doorway or a dimensional window into a higher level of consciousness

that could be the catalyst for this great change called ascension.





So, to close, I will say again: Your character is the key to your

ascension. Regardless of who you are at this moment, good or bad, you

can change your character. Like losing weight, it is completely within

your control if you focus.





In changing yourself, your Mer-Ka-Ba can become alive. And once it is alive, everything is possible.









Footnotes:





  1. .Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of

    the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness

    was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out

    of the midst of 1:16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was

    like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and

    their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a

    wheel. ...
    1:19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels

    went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the

    earth, the wheels were lifted up.
    1:20 Whithersoever the spirit

    was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels

    were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature

    was in the wheels.
    1:21 When those went, these went; and when

    those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth,

    the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the

    living creature was in the wheels. ...
    1:23 And under the

    firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one

    had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which

    covered on that side, their bodies.
    1:24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters...


  2. See, for example, The Dead Sea Scroll in English, Second

    Edition; G.Vermes; p. 211: "The Throne-Chariot [Merkavah] was a central

    subject of meditation in ancient as well as in medieval Jewish

    esotericism and mysticism"; and The Essential Talmud, Adin Steinsaltz p. 213: "The sources state that torat ha-sod (mysticism) was divided into two parts: Ma'aseh Bereshit (Act of Creation) and Ma'aseh Merkavah (Divine Chariot). The former was more theoretical and dealt with the creation of the world and the first divine revelations. Ma'aseh Merkavah,

    based on the prophet Ezekiel's description of the Divine Chariot, is a

    study of the prevailing relations between God and the world and

    apparently contained the seeds of what later came to be known as

    Kabbalah ma'asit (practical kabbalah)."


  3. See Zecharia Sitchin, The 12th Planet (The First Book of the Earth Chronicles)

    Reissue edition (December 1983) Avon; ISBN: 038039362X (paperback); or

    Reprint edition (June 1991) Bear & Co; ISBN: 0939680882 (hardcover).




Mer-Ka-Ba: A Vehicle of Ascension, by Drunvalo

Mer-Ka-Ba: A Vehicle of Ascension, by Drunvalo









History has talked about the Mer-Ka-Ba mostly as the vehicle that allows
a person to ascend or descend into the higher or lower worlds. But
actually the Mer-Ka-Ba is much more than just a vehicle of ascension. It
can be, really, anything — since it is the primal pattern that created
all things and all universes, both visible and invisible (see The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, volumes I & II).



In the Bible there is reference to Ezekiel and the wheels by which Ezekiel ascended into heaven.[3] This was the Mer-ka-Ba.



In the Torah, there is reference to the Merkavah (as it is spelled in
Hebrew) which has two different meanings: One meaning is ''chariot,''
which is a vehicle; the other is the ''Throne of God.'' When the two
definitions are combined, the true meaning comes to life.



In Ancient Egypt, this primal pattern was called the Mer-Ka-Ba. It was actually three words, not one. Mer meant a kind of light that rotated within itself. Ka meant spirit, in this case referring to the human spirit. And Ba
meant the human body — though it also could mean the concept of Reality
that spirit holds. And so the entire word in ancient Egypt referred to a
rotating light that would take the spirit and the body from one world
into another.



I once spent a couple of hours with Credo Mutwa, the spiritual leader of
the Zulu tribe in Africa. He explained to me that Merkaba (one word)
was a Zulu word meaning a space/time/dimension vehicle. He told me that
according to Zulu legend his entire tribe had come from another
dimension here to Earth using the Merkaba.



In the modern world there are teachers worldwide — and I am one of them —
who are helping people remember the Mer-Ka-Ba. Thus begin a process in
consciousness that will eventually translate us from the
third-dimensional world into the next higher one through what is being
called ''ascension.''



Ascension involves a process where the human body is transformed into
light and translated by an incredible birth into a new world. It is
achieved through a meditation that requires the mind, heart, body, and
spirit to completely integrate in one pattern of light and transcend the
human limitations of this reality.



This concept of the Mer-Ka-Ba as an ascension vehicle is not new. It is very, very old.


mer-ka-ba




What actually is the Mer-Ka-Ba? Technically, it is an electro-magnetic
field sitting at about four degrees Kelvin, found primarily within the
microwave range — at least in the third dimension — that is entirely
geometric in nature. Specifically, the geometry used is called ''Sacred
Geometry,'' as this particular geometry is found in the creation
patterns of all things in Creation.



merkaba geometry

The Mer-Ka-Ba field is extremely complex, involving the five Platonic
solids and other sacred polyhedrons. It is believed to extend through
all possible dimensional and parallel universes, and can possibly change
its nature from electro-magnetic to whatever is appropriate.



The blueprint of the Mer-Ka-Ba is found throughout nature, such as in this photo of a galaxy.





One of the functions of the Mer-Ka-Ba, as we said, is to act as the
vehicle to take the spirit and the body into the next world. However,
this function — and most of the other possibilities — is impossible to
obtain until something changes within the person. Sombrero galaxyThe
Mer-Ka-Ba is situated around the human body like a three-dimensional
geometric web that is dormant and nonfunctional, waiting for the right
moment. When the spirit that inhabits the body remembers that it is
there and begins to change certain aspects of itself, an incredible
transformation begins to grow.



It was believed in ancient times, and even written about by the Hebrews,[2],
that the Merkavah could be turned on by certain principles in
meditation. This involves breathing changes, and mind, heart, and body
changes that alter the way a person perceives the Reality. From my
perspective, it is the beginning of ''Enlightenment.''



And yet it is clear that the Mer-Ka-Ba can also be ''activated,'' as the
New Agers say, by other methods beside the male-style instructions
using the breathing changes mentioned above. It can also become
functional through methods that are purely female. Through the true
living of qualities such as love, faith, trust, truth, and compassion,
the Mer-Ka-Ba can spontaneously become alive. In other words, very pure
human character can translate into a living Mer-Ka-Ba field around the
person, even if that person doesn't initially know it is there.



And yes, absolutely, the Mer-Ka-Ba is alive. It is a living field, not a
purely mechanical field of energy. Because it is a living field, it
responds to human thought and feeling, which is the way to connect to
the field. So the ''computer'' that guides the Mer-Ka-Ba is the human
mind and heart. The possibilities are endless.



At a certain and specific moment (not necessarily in this lifetime), a
person's Mer-Ka-Ba field can become alive. When this happens, an
electro-magnetic change occurs which results in a disc of energy that
comes out from a tiny place near the base of the spine and quickly
expands to about 27 to 30 feet in radius around the body. This disc can
easily be perceived by scientific means, and if the United States
Airforce is correct it can be put up on their computer screens via
satellite. In other words, the military can see people who activate
their Mer-Ka-Bas, and watch as they move around the surface of the
Earth.



Since the number of people who have done this is now in the millions, it
is a fairly common sight now. It is the enormous magnetic burst that
results from the disc expanding that brings attention to itself. This
can easily be made invisible by people who activate their Mer-ka-Bas, if
they so desire.



The knowledge of the Mer-Ka-Ba is well known by most of the more
powerful governments of the world. I am certain that our government used
the Mer-Ka-Ba in the 1943 Philadelphia Experiment and the 1983 Montoc
Experiments — in their mind-control experiments and dimensional
explorations, and in controlling weather. And I am equally certain that
Russia is using the Mer-Ka-Ba in their spy programs and defense systems.



But regardless of government experimentation, Mother Earth, the human
race, and we as individuals can profit from this understanding and
knowledge. The remembering of the Mer-Ka-Ba is unfolding all over the
world. From my point of view, this unfoldment is all part of the
evolving cosmic DNA. The Mer-Ka-Ba will be remembered now because this is the time to remember.



Yes, I believe, as did almost all the ancient civilizations, that there
are specific moments in the history of mankind where great jumps in
human understanding take place, as in the ancient Sumerian, Egyptian,
and Indus Valley civilizations.[3]



I truly feel that we have arrived at another one of these grand moments
of human history where brilliant light expands around the world, and
another huge leap in human consciousness appears. And, my friends, I
truly believe, from my own personal experience, that the Mer-Ka-Ba is a
doorway or a dimensional window into a higher level of consciousness
that could be the catalyst for this great change called ascension.



So, to close, I will say again: Your character is the key to your
ascension. Regardless of who you are at this moment, good or bad, you
can change your character. Like losing weight, it is completely within
your control if you focus.



In changing yourself, your Mer-Ka-Ba can become alive. And once it is alive, everything is possible.






Footnotes:



  1. .Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of
    the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness
    was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out
    of the midst of 1:16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was
    like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and
    their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a
    wheel. ...
    1:19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels
    went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the
    earth, the wheels were lifted up.
    1:20 Whithersoever the spirit
    was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels
    were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature
    was in the wheels.
    1:21 When those went, these went; and when
    those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth,
    the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the
    living creature was in the wheels. ...
    1:23 And under the
    firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one
    had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which
    covered on that side, their bodies.
    1:24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters...


  2. See, for example, The Dead Sea Scroll in English, Second
    Edition; G.Vermes; p. 211: "The Throne-Chariot [Merkavah] was a central
    subject of meditation in ancient as well as in medieval Jewish
    esotericism and mysticism"; and The Essential Talmud, Adin Steinsaltz p. 213: "The sources state that torat ha-sod (mysticism) was divided into two parts: Ma'aseh Bereshit (Act of Creation) and Ma'aseh Merkavah (Divine Chariot). The former was more theoretical and dealt with the creation of the world and the first divine revelations. Ma'aseh Merkavah,
    based on the prophet Ezekiel's description of the Divine Chariot, is a
    study of the prevailing relations between God and the world and
    apparently contained the seeds of what later came to be known as
    Kabbalah ma'asit (practical kabbalah)."


  3. See Zecharia Sitchin, The 12th Planet (The First Book of the Earth Chronicles)
    Reissue edition (December 1983) Avon; ISBN: 038039362X (paperback); or
    Reprint edition (June 1991) Bear & Co; ISBN: 0939680882 (hardcover).









Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kombucha: Myths vs. Truths | Phoenix Helix

Kombucha: Myths vs. Truths | Phoenix Helix



“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ Confucius
What is that thing?


It’s a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), a term coined by kombucha enthusiast Len Porzio
in the mid-1990′s. It may not look appetizing, but it creates a very
popular fermented beverage that goes for $4 a bottle in the health food
stores. Luckily, you can make it very inexpensively at home. You just
need 6 simple ingredients: a SCOBY like the one pictured above, tea,
sugar, clean water, a warm place, and time. The final product contains a
blend of beneficial bacteria and yeast (probiotics) as well as certain
acids and enzymes that aid digestion, detoxify the body, and promote
health. However, with popularity sometimes comes infamy, and a number of
myths have cropped up surrounding kombucha over the years. Let’s
separate the myths from the truths.


Kombucha History & Science


Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, believed to have
originated in China, traveled throughout Asia and Russia and eventually
became a health craze in the US over the past two decades. Legend has it
that it was named after a Korean physician Kombu who healed the
Japanese Emperor Inyko with the tea, and the tea was then named after
him: “Kombu” + “cha” (which means tea.)


The science of fermentation is one practiced in homes, rather than
laboratories, and for that reason it has an air of mystery. These living
foods change from batch to batch, and since they can’t be patented or
highly controlled,  there’s no real incentive for the science community
to spend resources in research. Therefore, health claims tend to be
anecdotal, and certain assumptions about the “science” behind the
process get spread with no real evidence to support those assumptions.
We know fermented foods are powerful in their ability to support a
healthy body, and restore balance to an unhealthy one. We don’t really
know the fine details of how this occurs.


Well, Michael Roussin, a kombucha lover, decided he wanted to know what exactly was in this drink that made him feel so good. With the help of a professional lab,
he spent 18 months testing 1103 samples of kombucha, from batches all
over North America and parts of Europe, with different teas, sugars,
temperatures and brewing times, and he discovered some surprising
things. The complete report of his research is for sale through his website. Here are some highlights:


Busting the Myths




  • Although kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    Roussin found that the caffeine content doesn’t reduce at all. This
    myth might have started because only 6-8 teabags are used to brew a
    gallon of kombucha tea, which is half the strength of a normal cup of
    tea. The good news is that kombucha doesn’t need caffeine to thrive. If
    you want to remove even more of the caffeine, simply pre-steep the tea
    bags for 30 seconds and throw that water away. Then steep these teabags
    again in fresh hot water, for the kombucha brew. The majority of the
    caffeine is dispersed in the pre-steeping.
    Update: You cannot decaffeinate tea at home. Thanks to Mari in the comments below for busting the myth of pre-steeping tea to remove caffeine. Lab testing shows this eliminates only a small amount of caffeine. If you can’t have caffeine, buy tea that has been decaffeinated by the CO2 method (a healthier choice, compared to the more common chemical decaffeination.)
  • Although kombucha is made with sugar, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    There will always be a little sugar remaining, and the amount depends
    on how long the tea is fermented. Generally, people brew the tea
    according to their taste. A 5-day brew is going to have a high quantity
    of sugar remaining. A 30-day brew is going to have very little remaining
    (yet still some). Most people brew the tea for 7-12 days, when it has a
    tangy sour flavor with a touch of sweetness remaining; on average, the
    amount of sugar at this point is 16 grams per 8 oz. cup. This is equal
    to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You could brew the full 30 days to minimize the
    sugar, but at that point, the drink is so sour, people usually add
    juice to make it palatable. If you do this, you’re going to get 12-20
    grams of sugar from the juice. This is why many people call it a healthy
    soda-pop. The “healthy” part comes from the high amount of probiotics
    and beneficial acids it contains, and rest assured the sugar content is
    much lower than regular soda. You may feel tempted to try to make your
    kombucha with less sugar or no sugar at all, but sugar is the food your
    SCOBY needs to create the probiotics and acids you seek. It will become
    malnourished and eventually die without it. If you want to know the
    sugar content of your home brew, you can use sugar test strips. Update:
    Silvia (in the comments below) did the math and noted that 16 grams per
    cup is the amount of sugar added when you begin the kombucha brew, so
    how is it possible that it’s still that concentrated at the 7-15 day
    mark? Here’s why: In the first stage of fermentation, the yeast uses the
    minerals from the tea to produce enzymes that separate sugar into
    glucose and fructose. At the 7-day mark, that’s as far as the process
    has gone. The sugar is easier to digest, but hasn’t yet diminished in
    concentration. By the 15-day mark, it is just starting to eat/diminish
    the sugar content (3.3 teaspoons of sugar per cup remaining at that
    point.) The sour flavor comes from the acids that are forming, but that
    sweet tone is still the sugar, unless you brew it a full 30 days. A
    study done by Cornell University confirmed these results.

  • Kombucha is rich in B vitamins. MYTH. Although it does contain these vitamins, the amounts are so small they are almost immeasurable. This was confirmed by the International Journal of Food Science and Technology.
  • Kombucha is rich in glucuronic acid, a powerful detoxifier of the liver. MYTH. There is no glucuronic acid in kombucha. Ironically, Roussin began his experiments intending to prove otherwise. He read a book
    by Harald Tietze in 1995, who said no reputable lab had ever found
    glucuronic acid in kombucha, so Roussin hired a reputable lab to prove
    him wrong. When he confirmed its absence instead, that got him curious
    about the other assumptions people had about kombucha, and his
    experiments continued. Roussin believes the glucuroinc acid myth was
    born of research from the 1940s, where researchers tested the urine of
    people who drank kombucha and found high levels, and therefore assumed
    the kombucha was providing it. Instead, Roussin’s lab found that
    kombucha contains a different acid that is a synergist to glucuronic
    acid. Glucuronic acid is made naturally by the liver and works by
    binding to a toxic molecule and carrying it out of the body. The high
    levels of glucuronic acid in the urine could have been due to the other
    acids in kombucha helping the glucuronic acid in the body do its job.
    So, kombucha is indeed detoxifying, but we are continuing to learn
    exactly how.
  • Kombucha contains hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, which is why it’s so effective in relieving joint pain. MYTH.
    Kombucha contains neither of these compounds. However, it does seem to
    have a positive effect on the joints. Roussin’s theory is that it
    contains the building blocks for these compounds.
  • Kombucha contains over 50 different kinds of probiotics, organic enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. MYTH. Every batch of kombucha is different. The only things every
    batch contains are: (1) at least one beneficial yeast, (2) acetobacter
    (the beneficial bacteria in the SCOBY), (3) gluconic acid (a pH
    regulator) – note: this is not the same thing as glucuronic acid
    referenced above, and (4) acetic acid (an anti-microbial acid, which
    also stabilizes blood sugar) . Most batches of kombucha will also
    contain an analgesic (pain reliever), an anti-arthritic compound, an
    anti-spasmodic compound, a liver-protective compound, and several
    anti-bacterial compounds. The blend varies from batch to batch. See why
    this elixir can’t be patented? It embodies change.
  • Kombucha can cure everything from arthritis to gout to HIV to cancer. MYTH. As Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp says, “Kombucha
    is not a panacea – it doesn’t cure anything! It brings the body back
    into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is
    able to do so much.”
    Results vary from person to person. Many
    people do say it helps their joint pain, keeps them from getting sick,
    gives them energy, aids their digestion, clears their sinuses, reduces
    their blood pressure, clears their eczema, alleviates their headaches,
    and the list goes on. Then there are other people who say they enjoy the
    taste, but don’t really notice any effect. The only way to know what it
    can do for you, is to try it.
  • Kombucha is dangerous and has been linked to deaths. MYTH.
    This one is repeated a lot, and it usually starts with a sentence like
    this: “There is no scientific evidence that kombucha promotes health,
    just anecdotal reports. However, it has been linked to both illness and
    death.” (With never an acknowledgement that the last sentence is an
    anecdotal report, and there’s no scientific evidence that kombucha is
    harmful.) Let’s clear up that report, though, because it’s scary.
    Fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz sums it up nicely: “In
    1995 the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication Morbidity and
    Mortality Weekly Report ran a story headlined, ‘Unexplained Severe
    Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of Kombucha Tea,’ with
    possibly being the operative word. In two separate incidents, weeks
    apart, two women in Iowa had very different unexplained acute health
    episodes. One of them died. Both drank kombucha daily and made it from
    the same original SCOBY. The Iowa Department of Public Health
    immediately issued a warning to stop drinking kombucha ‘until the role
    of the tea in the two cases of illness has been evaluated fully.’ But
    they were never able to explain how kombucha may have been related to
    the illnesses, and 115 other people were identified who drank kombucha
    from the same mother without problems. When the mothers and the kombucha
    that possibly made the women sick were subjected to microbial analysis,
    ‘no known human pathogens or toxin-producing organisms were
    identified.’”
  • Kombucha is an alcoholic drink. TRUE.
    However, it’s a very small amount, usually between .5 and 3%, depending
    on length of fermentation. (Beer contains 4-6%.) Single fermentation
    home brews of kombucha usually contain only .5% alcohol. If you do a
    second fermentation in a bottle, to flavor it and increase the
    carbonation, the alcohol content will increase slightly. Store bought
    brands were found to contain more, because the product is still
    fermenting in the bottle, and a long time can pass between bottling and
    purchase. For this reason, kombucha was temporarily pulled from store shelves in 2010, while the federal alcohol trade bureau tested numerous samples and developed guidelines
    for kombucha manufacturers. Now, all store bought brands are supposed
    to have taken steps to prevent fermentation from continuing in the
    bottle. Sadly, this often means pasteurization, which limits the
    benefits of the drink.
  • If you ferment more than one kind of food or beverage
    (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.) you need to keep them away from each
    other, for fear of cross-contamination: MYTH.
    Sandor Ellix Katz addressed this in his book, The Art of Fermention:While
    different cultures may subtly influence one another through the air
    over time, typically this is not an issue….Betty Stechmeyer, who
    co-founded a starter culture business, GEM cultures, with her late
    husband Gordon and spent 30 years growing and selling fermentation
    starters, reports that for all those years she propagated several
    different sourdoughs, several different milk cultures, tempeh starter
    and more, in one 12×12 foot kitchen. ‘Pretty primitive and simple, eh?’
    She never experienced cross-contamination. I cannot guarantee that
    cross-contamination among cultures is impossible, but it is not a likely
    occurrence, and I encourage enthusiastic experimentalists to ferment to
    your heart’s content without worry.”
  • Kombucha can make you feel worse. TRUE. While
    most people feel benefits from drinking kombucha, some people’s
    symptoms worsen. There are a few potential reasons for this: (1) Healing Crisis: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, says: “Apart
    from good bacteria a healthy body is populated by beneficial yeasts
    which normally protect the person from pathogenic (bad) yeasts, such as
    candida albicans. Kefir (and kombucha) contain these beneficial yeasts
    (as well as the beneficial bacteria) which help to take pathogenic
    yeasts under control.” 
    This is a good thing, but sometimes the body
    goes through a reaction to the mass die-off of bad bacteria and yeast,
    and temporarily symptoms worsen. This can last from a few days to a few
    weeks, but when the symptoms pass, people’s health improves
    dramatically. (2) Gluten Cross-Reaction: Update: Gluten Cross-Reaction has proven to be a myth. Thanks to reader Sarah for this new information. (3) Histamine or Yeast Intolerance:
    Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria which improve the health of
    most people, with the exception of those who are yeast or histamine
    intolerant. In those cases, negative symptoms from drinking kombucha
    don’t improve with time, like they do with a healing crisis. So what do
    you do if you feel like kombucha is making you feel worse? First, lower
    the amount of kombucha you are drinking, and only increase as your body
    is able to handle it without discomfort. If you are experiencing a
    healing crisis, lower doses should slow down the die-off reaction and
    alleviate your symptoms. If you continue to have discomfort at small
    doses, stop drinking it altogether and try again in 6 months. (Food
    intolerances often disappear as we heal.)
Conclusion


Now, you know what’s true and what’s not. Leaving the myths behind,
this traditional fermented beverage can still be a wonderful health
tonic. We don’t need exaggerated claims, and we don’t even need to know
how it works (although we’ll keep searching). Paleo guru Mark Sisson
talks a lot about the N=1
(an experiment of one). That simply means that you try something
yourself, and see if adds to, or detracts from, your health. Paleo
leaders Dr. Terry Wahls and Robb Wolf drink kombucha themselves. Robyn Latimer,
who put her lupus into remission through the paleo diet, also drinks it
daily. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends it for the Full GAPS Diet. Her only caveat is that people should avoid it on the more restricted Introduction Diet due to the fluctuating sugar content. My next post will tell you everything you need to make a successful brew, and my final post in this series will give you the recipes. Stay tuned!


Other Articles in the Kombucha Series


Kombucha Supplies


Update: After writing this series of articles on
kombucha, a number of people asked where they could buy quality
supplies. Not everyone has a friend to lend them a SCOBY and tutor them
through the process. So, I decided to become an affiliate of Kombucha Kamp. Hannah Crum has been brewing kombucha for over a decade and sells everything from quality SCOBYs to continuous brew systems. Whatever you need, she’s got you covered.

~~~

The following websites were very helpful in my research:


- See more at: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/25/kombucha-myths-vs-truths/#sthash.Qa0gwpGt.dpuf
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ Confucius
What is that thing?


It’s a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), a term coined by kombucha enthusiast Len Porzio
in the mid-1990′s. It may not look appetizing, but it creates a very
popular fermented beverage that goes for $4 a bottle in the health food
stores. Luckily, you can make it very inexpensively at home. You just
need 6 simple ingredients: a SCOBY like the one pictured above, tea,
sugar, clean water, a warm place, and time. The final product contains a
blend of beneficial bacteria and yeast (probiotics) as well as certain
acids and enzymes that aid digestion, detoxify the body, and promote
health. However, with popularity sometimes comes infamy, and a number of
myths have cropped up surrounding kombucha over the years. Let’s
separate the myths from the truths.


Kombucha History & Science


Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, believed to have
originated in China, traveled throughout Asia and Russia and eventually
became a health craze in the US over the past two decades. Legend has it
that it was named after a Korean physician Kombu who healed the
Japanese Emperor Inyko with the tea, and the tea was then named after
him: “Kombu” + “cha” (which means tea.)


The science of fermentation is one practiced in homes, rather than
laboratories, and for that reason it has an air of mystery. These living
foods change from batch to batch, and since they can’t be patented or
highly controlled,  there’s no real incentive for the science community
to spend resources in research. Therefore, health claims tend to be
anecdotal, and certain assumptions about the “science” behind the
process get spread with no real evidence to support those assumptions.
We know fermented foods are powerful in their ability to support a
healthy body, and restore balance to an unhealthy one. We don’t really
know the fine details of how this occurs.


Well, Michael Roussin, a kombucha lover, decided he wanted to know what exactly was in this drink that made him feel so good. With the help of a professional lab,
he spent 18 months testing 1103 samples of kombucha, from batches all
over North America and parts of Europe, with different teas, sugars,
temperatures and brewing times, and he discovered some surprising
things. The complete report of his research is for sale through his website. Here are some highlights:


Busting the Myths




  • Although kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    Roussin found that the caffeine content doesn’t reduce at all. This
    myth might have started because only 6-8 teabags are used to brew a
    gallon of kombucha tea, which is half the strength of a normal cup of
    tea. The good news is that kombucha doesn’t need caffeine to thrive. If
    you want to remove even more of the caffeine, simply pre-steep the tea
    bags for 30 seconds and throw that water away. Then steep these teabags
    again in fresh hot water, for the kombucha brew. The majority of the
    caffeine is dispersed in the pre-steeping.
    Update: You cannot decaffeinate tea at home. Thanks to Mari in the comments below for busting the myth of pre-steeping tea to remove caffeine. Lab testing shows this eliminates only a small amount of caffeine. If you can’t have caffeine, buy tea that has been decaffeinated by the CO2 method (a healthier choice, compared to the more common chemical decaffeination.)
  • Although kombucha is made with sugar, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    There will always be a little sugar remaining, and the amount depends
    on how long the tea is fermented. Generally, people brew the tea
    according to their taste. A 5-day brew is going to have a high quantity
    of sugar remaining. A 30-day brew is going to have very little remaining
    (yet still some). Most people brew the tea for 7-12 days, when it has a
    tangy sour flavor with a touch of sweetness remaining; on average, the
    amount of sugar at this point is 16 grams per 8 oz. cup. This is equal
    to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You could brew the full 30 days to minimize the
    sugar, but at that point, the drink is so sour, people usually add
    juice to make it palatable. If you do this, you’re going to get 12-20
    grams of sugar from the juice. This is why many people call it a healthy
    soda-pop. The “healthy” part comes from the high amount of probiotics
    and beneficial acids it contains, and rest assured the sugar content is
    much lower than regular soda. You may feel tempted to try to make your
    kombucha with less sugar or no sugar at all, but sugar is the food your
    SCOBY needs to create the probiotics and acids you seek. It will become
    malnourished and eventually die without it. If you want to know the
    sugar content of your home brew, you can use sugar test strips. Update:
    Silvia (in the comments below) did the math and noted that 16 grams per
    cup is the amount of sugar added when you begin the kombucha brew, so
    how is it possible that it’s still that concentrated at the 7-15 day
    mark? Here’s why: In the first stage of fermentation, the yeast uses the
    minerals from the tea to produce enzymes that separate sugar into
    glucose and fructose. At the 7-day mark, that’s as far as the process
    has gone. The sugar is easier to digest, but hasn’t yet diminished in
    concentration. By the 15-day mark, it is just starting to eat/diminish
    the sugar content (3.3 teaspoons of sugar per cup remaining at that
    point.) The sour flavor comes from the acids that are forming, but that
    sweet tone is still the sugar, unless you brew it a full 30 days. A
    study done by Cornell University confirmed these results.

  • Kombucha is rich in B vitamins. MYTH. Although it does contain these vitamins, the amounts are so small they are almost immeasurable. This was confirmed by the International Journal of Food Science and Technology.
  • Kombucha is rich in glucuronic acid, a powerful detoxifier of the liver. MYTH. There is no glucuronic acid in kombucha. Ironically, Roussin began his experiments intending to prove otherwise. He read a book
    by Harald Tietze in 1995, who said no reputable lab had ever found
    glucuronic acid in kombucha, so Roussin hired a reputable lab to prove
    him wrong. When he confirmed its absence instead, that got him curious
    about the other assumptions people had about kombucha, and his
    experiments continued. Roussin believes the glucuroinc acid myth was
    born of research from the 1940s, where researchers tested the urine of
    people who drank kombucha and found high levels, and therefore assumed
    the kombucha was providing it. Instead, Roussin’s lab found that
    kombucha contains a different acid that is a synergist to glucuronic
    acid. Glucuronic acid is made naturally by the liver and works by
    binding to a toxic molecule and carrying it out of the body. The high
    levels of glucuronic acid in the urine could have been due to the other
    acids in kombucha helping the glucuronic acid in the body do its job.
    So, kombucha is indeed detoxifying, but we are continuing to learn
    exactly how.
  • Kombucha contains hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, which is why it’s so effective in relieving joint pain. MYTH.
    Kombucha contains neither of these compounds. However, it does seem to
    have a positive effect on the joints. Roussin’s theory is that it
    contains the building blocks for these compounds.
  • Kombucha contains over 50 different kinds of probiotics, organic enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. MYTH. Every batch of kombucha is different. The only things every
    batch contains are: (1) at least one beneficial yeast, (2) acetobacter
    (the beneficial bacteria in the SCOBY), (3) gluconic acid (a pH
    regulator) – note: this is not the same thing as glucuronic acid
    referenced above, and (4) acetic acid (an anti-microbial acid, which
    also stabilizes blood sugar) . Most batches of kombucha will also
    contain an analgesic (pain reliever), an anti-arthritic compound, an
    anti-spasmodic compound, a liver-protective compound, and several
    anti-bacterial compounds. The blend varies from batch to batch. See why
    this elixir can’t be patented? It embodies change.
  • Kombucha can cure everything from arthritis to gout to HIV to cancer. MYTH. As Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp says, “Kombucha
    is not a panacea – it doesn’t cure anything! It brings the body back
    into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is
    able to do so much.”
    Results vary from person to person. Many
    people do say it helps their joint pain, keeps them from getting sick,
    gives them energy, aids their digestion, clears their sinuses, reduces
    their blood pressure, clears their eczema, alleviates their headaches,
    and the list goes on. Then there are other people who say they enjoy the
    taste, but don’t really notice any effect. The only way to know what it
    can do for you, is to try it.
  • Kombucha is dangerous and has been linked to deaths. MYTH.
    This one is repeated a lot, and it usually starts with a sentence like
    this: “There is no scientific evidence that kombucha promotes health,
    just anecdotal reports. However, it has been linked to both illness and
    death.” (With never an acknowledgement that the last sentence is an
    anecdotal report, and there’s no scientific evidence that kombucha is
    harmful.) Let’s clear up that report, though, because it’s scary.
    Fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz sums it up nicely: “In
    1995 the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication Morbidity and
    Mortality Weekly Report ran a story headlined, ‘Unexplained Severe
    Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of Kombucha Tea,’ with
    possibly being the operative word. In two separate incidents, weeks
    apart, two women in Iowa had very different unexplained acute health
    episodes. One of them died. Both drank kombucha daily and made it from
    the same original SCOBY. The Iowa Department of Public Health
    immediately issued a warning to stop drinking kombucha ‘until the role
    of the tea in the two cases of illness has been evaluated fully.’ But
    they were never able to explain how kombucha may have been related to
    the illnesses, and 115 other people were identified who drank kombucha
    from the same mother without problems. When the mothers and the kombucha
    that possibly made the women sick were subjected to microbial analysis,
    ‘no known human pathogens or toxin-producing organisms were
    identified.’”
  • Kombucha is an alcoholic drink. TRUE.
    However, it’s a very small amount, usually between .5 and 3%, depending
    on length of fermentation. (Beer contains 4-6%.) Single fermentation
    home brews of kombucha usually contain only .5% alcohol. If you do a
    second fermentation in a bottle, to flavor it and increase the
    carbonation, the alcohol content will increase slightly. Store bought
    brands were found to contain more, because the product is still
    fermenting in the bottle, and a long time can pass between bottling and
    purchase. For this reason, kombucha was temporarily pulled from store shelves in 2010, while the federal alcohol trade bureau tested numerous samples and developed guidelines
    for kombucha manufacturers. Now, all store bought brands are supposed
    to have taken steps to prevent fermentation from continuing in the
    bottle. Sadly, this often means pasteurization, which limits the
    benefits of the drink.
  • If you ferment more than one kind of food or beverage
    (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.) you need to keep them away from each
    other, for fear of cross-contamination: MYTH.
    Sandor Ellix Katz addressed this in his book, The Art of Fermention:While
    different cultures may subtly influence one another through the air
    over time, typically this is not an issue….Betty Stechmeyer, who
    co-founded a starter culture business, GEM cultures, with her late
    husband Gordon and spent 30 years growing and selling fermentation
    starters, reports that for all those years she propagated several
    different sourdoughs, several different milk cultures, tempeh starter
    and more, in one 12×12 foot kitchen. ‘Pretty primitive and simple, eh?’
    She never experienced cross-contamination. I cannot guarantee that
    cross-contamination among cultures is impossible, but it is not a likely
    occurrence, and I encourage enthusiastic experimentalists to ferment to
    your heart’s content without worry.”
  • Kombucha can make you feel worse. TRUE. While
    most people feel benefits from drinking kombucha, some people’s
    symptoms worsen. There are a few potential reasons for this: (1) Healing Crisis: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, says: “Apart
    from good bacteria a healthy body is populated by beneficial yeasts
    which normally protect the person from pathogenic (bad) yeasts, such as
    candida albicans. Kefir (and kombucha) contain these beneficial yeasts
    (as well as the beneficial bacteria) which help to take pathogenic
    yeasts under control.” 
    This is a good thing, but sometimes the body
    goes through a reaction to the mass die-off of bad bacteria and yeast,
    and temporarily symptoms worsen. This can last from a few days to a few
    weeks, but when the symptoms pass, people’s health improves
    dramatically. (2) Gluten Cross-Reaction: Update: Gluten Cross-Reaction has proven to be a myth. Thanks to reader Sarah for this new information. (3) Histamine or Yeast Intolerance:
    Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria which improve the health of
    most people, with the exception of those who are yeast or histamine
    intolerant. In those cases, negative symptoms from drinking kombucha
    don’t improve with time, like they do with a healing crisis. So what do
    you do if you feel like kombucha is making you feel worse? First, lower
    the amount of kombucha you are drinking, and only increase as your body
    is able to handle it without discomfort. If you are experiencing a
    healing crisis, lower doses should slow down the die-off reaction and
    alleviate your symptoms. If you continue to have discomfort at small
    doses, stop drinking it altogether and try again in 6 months. (Food
    intolerances often disappear as we heal.)
Conclusion


Now, you know what’s true and what’s not. Leaving the myths behind,
this traditional fermented beverage can still be a wonderful health
tonic. We don’t need exaggerated claims, and we don’t even need to know
how it works (although we’ll keep searching). Paleo guru Mark Sisson
talks a lot about the N=1
(an experiment of one). That simply means that you try something
yourself, and see if adds to, or detracts from, your health. Paleo
leaders Dr. Terry Wahls and Robb Wolf drink kombucha themselves. Robyn Latimer,
who put her lupus into remission through the paleo diet, also drinks it
daily. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends it for the Full GAPS Diet. Her only caveat is that people should avoid it on the more restricted Introduction Diet due to the fluctuating sugar content. My next post will tell you everything you need to make a successful brew, and my final post in this series will give you the recipes. Stay tuned!


Other Articles in the Kombucha Series


Kombucha Supplies


Update: After writing this series of articles on
kombucha, a number of people asked where they could buy quality
supplies. Not everyone has a friend to lend them a SCOBY and tutor them
through the process. So, I decided to become an affiliate of Kombucha Kamp. Hannah Crum has been brewing kombucha for over a decade and sells everything from quality SCOBYs to continuous brew systems. Whatever you need, she’s got you covered.

~~~

The following websites were very helpful in my research:


~~~

- See more at: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/25/kombucha-myths-vs-truths/#sthash.ZiC4GLDi.dpuf


“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ Confucius
What is that thing?


It’s a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), a term coined by kombucha enthusiast Len Porzio
in the mid-1990′s. It may not look appetizing, but it creates a very
popular fermented beverage that goes for $4 a bottle in the health food
stores. Luckily, you can make it very inexpensively at home. You just
need 6 simple ingredients: a SCOBY like the one pictured above, tea,
sugar, clean water, a warm place, and time. The final product contains a
blend of beneficial bacteria and yeast (probiotics) as well as certain
acids and enzymes that aid digestion, detoxify the body, and promote
health. However, with popularity sometimes comes infamy, and a number of
myths have cropped up surrounding kombucha over the years. Let’s
separate the myths from the truths.


Kombucha History & Science


Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, believed to have
originated in China, traveled throughout Asia and Russia and eventually
became a health craze in the US over the past two decades. Legend has it
that it was named after a Korean physician Kombu who healed the
Japanese Emperor Inyko with the tea, and the tea was then named after
him: “Kombu” + “cha” (which means tea.)


The science of fermentation is one practiced in homes, rather than
laboratories, and for that reason it has an air of mystery. These living
foods change from batch to batch, and since they can’t be patented or
highly controlled,  there’s no real incentive for the science community
to spend resources in research. Therefore, health claims tend to be
anecdotal, and certain assumptions about the “science” behind the
process get spread with no real evidence to support those assumptions.
We know fermented foods are powerful in their ability to support a
healthy body, and restore balance to an unhealthy one. We don’t really
know the fine details of how this occurs.


Well, Michael Roussin, a kombucha lover, decided he wanted to know what exactly was in this drink that made him feel so good. With the help of a professional lab,
he spent 18 months testing 1103 samples of kombucha, from batches all
over North America and parts of Europe, with different teas, sugars,
temperatures and brewing times, and he discovered some surprising
things. The complete report of his research is for sale through his website. Here are some highlights:


Busting the Myths




  • Although kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    Roussin found that the caffeine content doesn’t reduce at all. This
    myth might have started because only 6-8 teabags are used to brew a
    gallon of kombucha tea, which is half the strength of a normal cup of
    tea. The good news is that kombucha doesn’t need caffeine to thrive. If
    you want to remove even more of the caffeine, simply pre-steep the tea
    bags for 30 seconds and throw that water away. Then steep these teabags
    again in fresh hot water, for the kombucha brew. The majority of the
    caffeine is dispersed in the pre-steeping.
    Update: You cannot decaffeinate tea at home. Thanks to Mari in the comments below for busting the myth of pre-steeping tea to remove caffeine. Lab testing shows this eliminates only a small amount of caffeine. If you can’t have caffeine, buy tea that has been decaffeinated by the CO2 method (a healthier choice, compared to the more common chemical decaffeination.)
  • Although kombucha is made with sugar, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    There will always be a little sugar remaining, and the amount depends
    on how long the tea is fermented. Generally, people brew the tea
    according to their taste. A 5-day brew is going to have a high quantity
    of sugar remaining. A 30-day brew is going to have very little remaining
    (yet still some). Most people brew the tea for 7-12 days, when it has a
    tangy sour flavor with a touch of sweetness remaining; on average, the
    amount of sugar at this point is 16 grams per 8 oz. cup. This is equal
    to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You could brew the full 30 days to minimize the
    sugar, but at that point, the drink is so sour, people usually add
    juice to make it palatable. If you do this, you’re going to get 12-20
    grams of sugar from the juice. This is why many people call it a healthy
    soda-pop. The “healthy” part comes from the high amount of probiotics
    and beneficial acids it contains, and rest assured the sugar content is
    much lower than regular soda. You may feel tempted to try to make your
    kombucha with less sugar or no sugar at all, but sugar is the food your
    SCOBY needs to create the probiotics and acids you seek. It will become
    malnourished and eventually die without it. If you want to know the
    sugar content of your home brew, you can use sugar test strips. Update:
    Silvia (in the comments below) did the math and noted that 16 grams per
    cup is the amount of sugar added when you begin the kombucha brew, so
    how is it possible that it’s still that concentrated at the 7-15 day
    mark? Here’s why: In the first stage of fermentation, the yeast uses the
    minerals from the tea to produce enzymes that separate sugar into
    glucose and fructose. At the 7-day mark, that’s as far as the process
    has gone. The sugar is easier to digest, but hasn’t yet diminished in
    concentration. By the 15-day mark, it is just starting to eat/diminish
    the sugar content (3.3 teaspoons of sugar per cup remaining at that
    point.) The sour flavor comes from the acids that are forming, but that
    sweet tone is still the sugar, unless you brew it a full 30 days. A
    study done by Cornell University confirmed these results.

  • Kombucha is rich in B vitamins. MYTH. Although it does contain these vitamins, the amounts are so small they are almost immeasurable. This was confirmed by the International Journal of Food Science and Technology.
  • Kombucha is rich in glucuronic acid, a powerful detoxifier of the liver. MYTH. There is no glucuronic acid in kombucha. Ironically, Roussin began his experiments intending to prove otherwise. He read a book
    by Harald Tietze in 1995, who said no reputable lab had ever found
    glucuronic acid in kombucha, so Roussin hired a reputable lab to prove
    him wrong. When he confirmed its absence instead, that got him curious
    about the other assumptions people had about kombucha, and his
    experiments continued. Roussin believes the glucuroinc acid myth was
    born of research from the 1940s, where researchers tested the urine of
    people who drank kombucha and found high levels, and therefore assumed
    the kombucha was providing it. Instead, Roussin’s lab found that
    kombucha contains a different acid that is a synergist to glucuronic
    acid. Glucuronic acid is made naturally by the liver and works by
    binding to a toxic molecule and carrying it out of the body. The high
    levels of glucuronic acid in the urine could have been due to the other
    acids in kombucha helping the glucuronic acid in the body do its job.
    So, kombucha is indeed detoxifying, but we are continuing to learn
    exactly how.
  • Kombucha contains hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, which is why it’s so effective in relieving joint pain. MYTH.
    Kombucha contains neither of these compounds. However, it does seem to
    have a positive effect on the joints. Roussin’s theory is that it
    contains the building blocks for these compounds.
  • Kombucha contains over 50 different kinds of probiotics, organic enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. MYTH. Every batch of kombucha is different. The only things every
    batch contains are: (1) at least one beneficial yeast, (2) acetobacter
    (the beneficial bacteria in the SCOBY), (3) gluconic acid (a pH
    regulator) – note: this is not the same thing as glucuronic acid
    referenced above, and (4) acetic acid (an anti-microbial acid, which
    also stabilizes blood sugar) . Most batches of kombucha will also
    contain an analgesic (pain reliever), an anti-arthritic compound, an
    anti-spasmodic compound, a liver-protective compound, and several
    anti-bacterial compounds. The blend varies from batch to batch. See why
    this elixir can’t be patented? It embodies change.
  • Kombucha can cure everything from arthritis to gout to HIV to cancer. MYTH. As Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp says, “Kombucha
    is not a panacea – it doesn’t cure anything! It brings the body back
    into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is
    able to do so much.”
    Results vary from person to person. Many
    people do say it helps their joint pain, keeps them from getting sick,
    gives them energy, aids their digestion, clears their sinuses, reduces
    their blood pressure, clears their eczema, alleviates their headaches,
    and the list goes on. Then there are other people who say they enjoy the
    taste, but don’t really notice any effect. The only way to know what it
    can do for you, is to try it.
  • Kombucha is dangerous and has been linked to deaths. MYTH.
    This one is repeated a lot, and it usually starts with a sentence like
    this: “There is no scientific evidence that kombucha promotes health,
    just anecdotal reports. However, it has been linked to both illness and
    death.” (With never an acknowledgement that the last sentence is an
    anecdotal report, and there’s no scientific evidence that kombucha is
    harmful.) Let’s clear up that report, though, because it’s scary.
    Fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz sums it up nicely: “In
    1995 the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication Morbidity and
    Mortality Weekly Report ran a story headlined, ‘Unexplained Severe
    Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of Kombucha Tea,’ with
    possibly being the operative word. In two separate incidents, weeks
    apart, two women in Iowa had very different unexplained acute health
    episodes. One of them died. Both drank kombucha daily and made it from
    the same original SCOBY. The Iowa Department of Public Health
    immediately issued a warning to stop drinking kombucha ‘until the role
    of the tea in the two cases of illness has been evaluated fully.’ But
    they were never able to explain how kombucha may have been related to
    the illnesses, and 115 other people were identified who drank kombucha
    from the same mother without problems. When the mothers and the kombucha
    that possibly made the women sick were subjected to microbial analysis,
    ‘no known human pathogens or toxin-producing organisms were
    identified.’”
  • Kombucha is an alcoholic drink. TRUE.
    However, it’s a very small amount, usually between .5 and 3%, depending
    on length of fermentation. (Beer contains 4-6%.) Single fermentation
    home brews of kombucha usually contain only .5% alcohol. If you do a
    second fermentation in a bottle, to flavor it and increase the
    carbonation, the alcohol content will increase slightly. Store bought
    brands were found to contain more, because the product is still
    fermenting in the bottle, and a long time can pass between bottling and
    purchase. For this reason, kombucha was temporarily pulled from store shelves in 2010, while the federal alcohol trade bureau tested numerous samples and developed guidelines
    for kombucha manufacturers. Now, all store bought brands are supposed
    to have taken steps to prevent fermentation from continuing in the
    bottle. Sadly, this often means pasteurization, which limits the
    benefits of the drink.
  • If you ferment more than one kind of food or beverage
    (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.) you need to keep them away from each
    other, for fear of cross-contamination: MYTH.
    Sandor Ellix Katz addressed this in his book, The Art of Fermention:While
    different cultures may subtly influence one another through the air
    over time, typically this is not an issue….Betty Stechmeyer, who
    co-founded a starter culture business, GEM cultures, with her late
    husband Gordon and spent 30 years growing and selling fermentation
    starters, reports that for all those years she propagated several
    different sourdoughs, several different milk cultures, tempeh starter
    and more, in one 12×12 foot kitchen. ‘Pretty primitive and simple, eh?’
    She never experienced cross-contamination. I cannot guarantee that
    cross-contamination among cultures is impossible, but it is not a likely
    occurrence, and I encourage enthusiastic experimentalists to ferment to
    your heart’s content without worry.”
  • Kombucha can make you feel worse. TRUE. While
    most people feel benefits from drinking kombucha, some people’s
    symptoms worsen. There are a few potential reasons for this: (1) Healing Crisis: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, says: “Apart
    from good bacteria a healthy body is populated by beneficial yeasts
    which normally protect the person from pathogenic (bad) yeasts, such as
    candida albicans. Kefir (and kombucha) contain these beneficial yeasts
    (as well as the beneficial bacteria) which help to take pathogenic
    yeasts under control.” 
    This is a good thing, but sometimes the body
    goes through a reaction to the mass die-off of bad bacteria and yeast,
    and temporarily symptoms worsen. This can last from a few days to a few
    weeks, but when the symptoms pass, people’s health improves
    dramatically. (2) Gluten Cross-Reaction: Update: Gluten Cross-Reaction has proven to be a myth. Thanks to reader Sarah for this new information. (3) Histamine or Yeast Intolerance:
    Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria which improve the health of
    most people, with the exception of those who are yeast or histamine
    intolerant. In those cases, negative symptoms from drinking kombucha
    don’t improve with time, like they do with a healing crisis. So what do
    you do if you feel like kombucha is making you feel worse? First, lower
    the amount of kombucha you are drinking, and only increase as your body
    is able to handle it without discomfort. If you are experiencing a
    healing crisis, lower doses should slow down the die-off reaction and
    alleviate your symptoms. If you continue to have discomfort at small
    doses, stop drinking it altogether and try again in 6 months. (Food
    intolerances often disappear as we heal.)
Conclusion


Now, you know what’s true and what’s not. Leaving the myths behind,
this traditional fermented beverage can still be a wonderful health
tonic. We don’t need exaggerated claims, and we don’t even need to know
how it works (although we’ll keep searching). Paleo guru Mark Sisson
talks a lot about the N=1
(an experiment of one). That simply means that you try something
yourself, and see if adds to, or detracts from, your health. Paleo
leaders Dr. Terry Wahls and Robb Wolf drink kombucha themselves. Robyn Latimer,
who put her lupus into remission through the paleo diet, also drinks it
daily. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends it for the Full GAPS Diet. Her only caveat is that people should avoid it on the more restricted Introduction Diet due to the fluctuating sugar content. My next post will tell you everything you need to make a successful brew, and my final post in this series will give you the recipes. Stay tuned!


Other Articles in the Kombucha Series


Kombucha Supplies


Update: After writing this series of articles on
kombucha, a number of people asked where they could buy quality
supplies. Not everyone has a friend to lend them a SCOBY and tutor them
through the process. So, I decided to become an affiliate of Kombucha Kamp. Hannah Crum has been brewing kombucha for over a decade and sells everything from quality SCOBYs to continuous brew systems. Whatever you need, she’s got you covered.

~~~

The following websites were very helpful in my research:


- See more at: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/25/kombucha-myths-vs-truths/#sthash.Qa0gwpGt.dpuf
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ Confucius
What is that thing?


It’s a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), a term coined by kombucha enthusiast Len Porzio
in the mid-1990′s. It may not look appetizing, but it creates a very
popular fermented beverage that goes for $4 a bottle in the health food
stores. Luckily, you can make it very inexpensively at home. You just
need 6 simple ingredients: a SCOBY like the one pictured above, tea,
sugar, clean water, a warm place, and time. The final product contains a
blend of beneficial bacteria and yeast (probiotics) as well as certain
acids and enzymes that aid digestion, detoxify the body, and promote
health. However, with popularity sometimes comes infamy, and a number of
myths have cropped up surrounding kombucha over the years. Let’s
separate the myths from the truths.


Kombucha History & Science


Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, believed to have
originated in China, traveled throughout Asia and Russia and eventually
became a health craze in the US over the past two decades. Legend has it
that it was named after a Korean physician Kombu who healed the
Japanese Emperor Inyko with the tea, and the tea was then named after
him: “Kombu” + “cha” (which means tea.)


The science of fermentation is one practiced in homes, rather than
laboratories, and for that reason it has an air of mystery. These living
foods change from batch to batch, and since they can’t be patented or
highly controlled,  there’s no real incentive for the science community
to spend resources in research. Therefore, health claims tend to be
anecdotal, and certain assumptions about the “science” behind the
process get spread with no real evidence to support those assumptions.
We know fermented foods are powerful in their ability to support a
healthy body, and restore balance to an unhealthy one. We don’t really
know the fine details of how this occurs.


Well, Michael Roussin, a kombucha lover, decided he wanted to know what exactly was in this drink that made him feel so good. With the help of a professional lab,
he spent 18 months testing 1103 samples of kombucha, from batches all
over North America and parts of Europe, with different teas, sugars,
temperatures and brewing times, and he discovered some surprising
things. The complete report of his research is for sale through his website. Here are some highlights:


Busting the Myths




  • Although kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    Roussin found that the caffeine content doesn’t reduce at all. This
    myth might have started because only 6-8 teabags are used to brew a
    gallon of kombucha tea, which is half the strength of a normal cup of
    tea. The good news is that kombucha doesn’t need caffeine to thrive. If
    you want to remove even more of the caffeine, simply pre-steep the tea
    bags for 30 seconds and throw that water away. Then steep these teabags
    again in fresh hot water, for the kombucha brew. The majority of the
    caffeine is dispersed in the pre-steeping.
    Update: You cannot decaffeinate tea at home. Thanks to Mari in the comments below for busting the myth of pre-steeping tea to remove caffeine. Lab testing shows this eliminates only a small amount of caffeine. If you can’t have caffeine, buy tea that has been decaffeinated by the CO2 method (a healthier choice, compared to the more common chemical decaffeination.)
  • Although kombucha is made with sugar, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    There will always be a little sugar remaining, and the amount depends
    on how long the tea is fermented. Generally, people brew the tea
    according to their taste. A 5-day brew is going to have a high quantity
    of sugar remaining. A 30-day brew is going to have very little remaining
    (yet still some). Most people brew the tea for 7-12 days, when it has a
    tangy sour flavor with a touch of sweetness remaining; on average, the
    amount of sugar at this point is 16 grams per 8 oz. cup. This is equal
    to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You could brew the full 30 days to minimize the
    sugar, but at that point, the drink is so sour, people usually add
    juice to make it palatable. If you do this, you’re going to get 12-20
    grams of sugar from the juice. This is why many people call it a healthy
    soda-pop. The “healthy” part comes from the high amount of probiotics
    and beneficial acids it contains, and rest assured the sugar content is
    much lower than regular soda. You may feel tempted to try to make your
    kombucha with less sugar or no sugar at all, but sugar is the food your
    SCOBY needs to create the probiotics and acids you seek. It will become
    malnourished and eventually die without it. If you want to know the
    sugar content of your home brew, you can use sugar test strips. Update:
    Silvia (in the comments below) did the math and noted that 16 grams per
    cup is the amount of sugar added when you begin the kombucha brew, so
    how is it possible that it’s still that concentrated at the 7-15 day
    mark? Here’s why: In the first stage of fermentation, the yeast uses the
    minerals from the tea to produce enzymes that separate sugar into
    glucose and fructose. At the 7-day mark, that’s as far as the process
    has gone. The sugar is easier to digest, but hasn’t yet diminished in
    concentration. By the 15-day mark, it is just starting to eat/diminish
    the sugar content (3.3 teaspoons of sugar per cup remaining at that
    point.) The sour flavor comes from the acids that are forming, but that
    sweet tone is still the sugar, unless you brew it a full 30 days. A
    study done by Cornell University confirmed these results.

  • Kombucha is rich in B vitamins. MYTH. Although it does contain these vitamins, the amounts are so small they are almost immeasurable. This was confirmed by the International Journal of Food Science and Technology.
  • Kombucha is rich in glucuronic acid, a powerful detoxifier of the liver. MYTH. There is no glucuronic acid in kombucha. Ironically, Roussin began his experiments intending to prove otherwise. He read a book
    by Harald Tietze in 1995, who said no reputable lab had ever found
    glucuronic acid in kombucha, so Roussin hired a reputable lab to prove
    him wrong. When he confirmed its absence instead, that got him curious
    about the other assumptions people had about kombucha, and his
    experiments continued. Roussin believes the glucuroinc acid myth was
    born of research from the 1940s, where researchers tested the urine of
    people who drank kombucha and found high levels, and therefore assumed
    the kombucha was providing it. Instead, Roussin’s lab found that
    kombucha contains a different acid that is a synergist to glucuronic
    acid. Glucuronic acid is made naturally by the liver and works by
    binding to a toxic molecule and carrying it out of the body. The high
    levels of glucuronic acid in the urine could have been due to the other
    acids in kombucha helping the glucuronic acid in the body do its job.
    So, kombucha is indeed detoxifying, but we are continuing to learn
    exactly how.
  • Kombucha contains hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, which is why it’s so effective in relieving joint pain. MYTH.
    Kombucha contains neither of these compounds. However, it does seem to
    have a positive effect on the joints. Roussin’s theory is that it
    contains the building blocks for these compounds.
  • Kombucha contains over 50 different kinds of probiotics, organic enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. MYTH. Every batch of kombucha is different. The only things every
    batch contains are: (1) at least one beneficial yeast, (2) acetobacter
    (the beneficial bacteria in the SCOBY), (3) gluconic acid (a pH
    regulator) – note: this is not the same thing as glucuronic acid
    referenced above, and (4) acetic acid (an anti-microbial acid, which
    also stabilizes blood sugar) . Most batches of kombucha will also
    contain an analgesic (pain reliever), an anti-arthritic compound, an
    anti-spasmodic compound, a liver-protective compound, and several
    anti-bacterial compounds. The blend varies from batch to batch. See why
    this elixir can’t be patented? It embodies change.
  • Kombucha can cure everything from arthritis to gout to HIV to cancer. MYTH. As Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp says, “Kombucha
    is not a panacea – it doesn’t cure anything! It brings the body back
    into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is
    able to do so much.”
    Results vary from person to person. Many
    people do say it helps their joint pain, keeps them from getting sick,
    gives them energy, aids their digestion, clears their sinuses, reduces
    their blood pressure, clears their eczema, alleviates their headaches,
    and the list goes on. Then there are other people who say they enjoy the
    taste, but don’t really notice any effect. The only way to know what it
    can do for you, is to try it.
  • Kombucha is dangerous and has been linked to deaths. MYTH.
    This one is repeated a lot, and it usually starts with a sentence like
    this: “There is no scientific evidence that kombucha promotes health,
    just anecdotal reports. However, it has been linked to both illness and
    death.” (With never an acknowledgement that the last sentence is an
    anecdotal report, and there’s no scientific evidence that kombucha is
    harmful.) Let’s clear up that report, though, because it’s scary.
    Fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz sums it up nicely: “In
    1995 the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication Morbidity and
    Mortality Weekly Report ran a story headlined, ‘Unexplained Severe
    Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of Kombucha Tea,’ with
    possibly being the operative word. In two separate incidents, weeks
    apart, two women in Iowa had very different unexplained acute health
    episodes. One of them died. Both drank kombucha daily and made it from
    the same original SCOBY. The Iowa Department of Public Health
    immediately issued a warning to stop drinking kombucha ‘until the role
    of the tea in the two cases of illness has been evaluated fully.’ But
    they were never able to explain how kombucha may have been related to
    the illnesses, and 115 other people were identified who drank kombucha
    from the same mother without problems. When the mothers and the kombucha
    that possibly made the women sick were subjected to microbial analysis,
    ‘no known human pathogens or toxin-producing organisms were
    identified.’”
  • Kombucha is an alcoholic drink. TRUE.
    However, it’s a very small amount, usually between .5 and 3%, depending
    on length of fermentation. (Beer contains 4-6%.) Single fermentation
    home brews of kombucha usually contain only .5% alcohol. If you do a
    second fermentation in a bottle, to flavor it and increase the
    carbonation, the alcohol content will increase slightly. Store bought
    brands were found to contain more, because the product is still
    fermenting in the bottle, and a long time can pass between bottling and
    purchase. For this reason, kombucha was temporarily pulled from store shelves in 2010, while the federal alcohol trade bureau tested numerous samples and developed guidelines
    for kombucha manufacturers. Now, all store bought brands are supposed
    to have taken steps to prevent fermentation from continuing in the
    bottle. Sadly, this often means pasteurization, which limits the
    benefits of the drink.
  • If you ferment more than one kind of food or beverage
    (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.) you need to keep them away from each
    other, for fear of cross-contamination: MYTH.
    Sandor Ellix Katz addressed this in his book, The Art of Fermention:While
    different cultures may subtly influence one another through the air
    over time, typically this is not an issue….Betty Stechmeyer, who
    co-founded a starter culture business, GEM cultures, with her late
    husband Gordon and spent 30 years growing and selling fermentation
    starters, reports that for all those years she propagated several
    different sourdoughs, several different milk cultures, tempeh starter
    and more, in one 12×12 foot kitchen. ‘Pretty primitive and simple, eh?’
    She never experienced cross-contamination. I cannot guarantee that
    cross-contamination among cultures is impossible, but it is not a likely
    occurrence, and I encourage enthusiastic experimentalists to ferment to
    your heart’s content without worry.”
  • Kombucha can make you feel worse. TRUE. While
    most people feel benefits from drinking kombucha, some people’s
    symptoms worsen. There are a few potential reasons for this: (1) Healing Crisis: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, says: “Apart
    from good bacteria a healthy body is populated by beneficial yeasts
    which normally protect the person from pathogenic (bad) yeasts, such as
    candida albicans. Kefir (and kombucha) contain these beneficial yeasts
    (as well as the beneficial bacteria) which help to take pathogenic
    yeasts under control.” 
    This is a good thing, but sometimes the body
    goes through a reaction to the mass die-off of bad bacteria and yeast,
    and temporarily symptoms worsen. This can last from a few days to a few
    weeks, but when the symptoms pass, people’s health improves
    dramatically. (2) Gluten Cross-Reaction: Update: Gluten Cross-Reaction has proven to be a myth. Thanks to reader Sarah for this new information. (3) Histamine or Yeast Intolerance:
    Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria which improve the health of
    most people, with the exception of those who are yeast or histamine
    intolerant. In those cases, negative symptoms from drinking kombucha
    don’t improve with time, like they do with a healing crisis. So what do
    you do if you feel like kombucha is making you feel worse? First, lower
    the amount of kombucha you are drinking, and only increase as your body
    is able to handle it without discomfort. If you are experiencing a
    healing crisis, lower doses should slow down the die-off reaction and
    alleviate your symptoms. If you continue to have discomfort at small
    doses, stop drinking it altogether and try again in 6 months. (Food
    intolerances often disappear as we heal.)
Conclusion


Now, you know what’s true and what’s not. Leaving the myths behind,
this traditional fermented beverage can still be a wonderful health
tonic. We don’t need exaggerated claims, and we don’t even need to know
how it works (although we’ll keep searching). Paleo guru Mark Sisson
talks a lot about the N=1
(an experiment of one). That simply means that you try something
yourself, and see if adds to, or detracts from, your health. Paleo
leaders Dr. Terry Wahls and Robb Wolf drink kombucha themselves. Robyn Latimer,
who put her lupus into remission through the paleo diet, also drinks it
daily. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends it for the Full GAPS Diet. Her only caveat is that people should avoid it on the more restricted Introduction Diet due to the fluctuating sugar content. My next post will tell you everything you need to make a successful brew, and my final post in this series will give you the recipes. Stay tuned!


Other Articles in the Kombucha Series


Kombucha Supplies


Update: After writing this series of articles on
kombucha, a number of people asked where they could buy quality
supplies. Not everyone has a friend to lend them a SCOBY and tutor them
through the process. So, I decided to become an affiliate of Kombucha Kamp. Hannah Crum has been brewing kombucha for over a decade and sells everything from quality SCOBYs to continuous brew systems. Whatever you need, she’s got you covered.

~~~

The following websites were very helpful in my research:


- See more at: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/25/kombucha-myths-vs-truths/#sthash.Qa0gwpGt.dpuf
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ Confucius
What is that thing?


It’s a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), a term coined by kombucha enthusiast Len Porzio
in the mid-1990′s. It may not look appetizing, but it creates a very
popular fermented beverage that goes for $4 a bottle in the health food
stores. Luckily, you can make it very inexpensively at home. You just
need 6 simple ingredients: a SCOBY like the one pictured above, tea,
sugar, clean water, a warm place, and time. The final product contains a
blend of beneficial bacteria and yeast (probiotics) as well as certain
acids and enzymes that aid digestion, detoxify the body, and promote
health. However, with popularity sometimes comes infamy, and a number of
myths have cropped up surrounding kombucha over the years. Let’s
separate the myths from the truths.


Kombucha History & Science


Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, believed to have
originated in China, traveled throughout Asia and Russia and eventually
became a health craze in the US over the past two decades. Legend has it
that it was named after a Korean physician Kombu who healed the
Japanese Emperor Inyko with the tea, and the tea was then named after
him: “Kombu” + “cha” (which means tea.)


The science of fermentation is one practiced in homes, rather than
laboratories, and for that reason it has an air of mystery. These living
foods change from batch to batch, and since they can’t be patented or
highly controlled,  there’s no real incentive for the science community
to spend resources in research. Therefore, health claims tend to be
anecdotal, and certain assumptions about the “science” behind the
process get spread with no real evidence to support those assumptions.
We know fermented foods are powerful in their ability to support a
healthy body, and restore balance to an unhealthy one. We don’t really
know the fine details of how this occurs.


Well, Michael Roussin, a kombucha lover, decided he wanted to know what exactly was in this drink that made him feel so good. With the help of a professional lab,
he spent 18 months testing 1103 samples of kombucha, from batches all
over North America and parts of Europe, with different teas, sugars,
temperatures and brewing times, and he discovered some surprising
things. The complete report of his research is for sale through his website. Here are some highlights:


Busting the Myths




  • Although kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    Roussin found that the caffeine content doesn’t reduce at all. This
    myth might have started because only 6-8 teabags are used to brew a
    gallon of kombucha tea, which is half the strength of a normal cup of
    tea. The good news is that kombucha doesn’t need caffeine to thrive. If
    you want to remove even more of the caffeine, simply pre-steep the tea
    bags for 30 seconds and throw that water away. Then steep these teabags
    again in fresh hot water, for the kombucha brew. The majority of the
    caffeine is dispersed in the pre-steeping.
    Update: You cannot decaffeinate tea at home. Thanks to Mari in the comments below for busting the myth of pre-steeping tea to remove caffeine. Lab testing shows this eliminates only a small amount of caffeine. If you can’t have caffeine, buy tea that has been decaffeinated by the CO2 method (a healthier choice, compared to the more common chemical decaffeination.)
  • Although kombucha is made with sugar, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH.
    There will always be a little sugar remaining, and the amount depends
    on how long the tea is fermented. Generally, people brew the tea
    according to their taste. A 5-day brew is going to have a high quantity
    of sugar remaining. A 30-day brew is going to have very little remaining
    (yet still some). Most people brew the tea for 7-12 days, when it has a
    tangy sour flavor with a touch of sweetness remaining; on average, the
    amount of sugar at this point is 16 grams per 8 oz. cup. This is equal
    to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You could brew the full 30 days to minimize the
    sugar, but at that point, the drink is so sour, people usually add
    juice to make it palatable. If you do this, you’re going to get 12-20
    grams of sugar from the juice. This is why many people call it a healthy
    soda-pop. The “healthy” part comes from the high amount of probiotics
    and beneficial acids it contains, and rest assured the sugar content is
    much lower than regular soda. You may feel tempted to try to make your
    kombucha with less sugar or no sugar at all, but sugar is the food your
    SCOBY needs to create the probiotics and acids you seek. It will become
    malnourished and eventually die without it. If you want to know the
    sugar content of your home brew, you can use sugar test strips. Update:
    Silvia (in the comments below) did the math and noted that 16 grams per
    cup is the amount of sugar added when you begin the kombucha brew, so
    how is it possible that it’s still that concentrated at the 7-15 day
    mark? Here’s why: In the first stage of fermentation, the yeast uses the
    minerals from the tea to produce enzymes that separate sugar into
    glucose and fructose. At the 7-day mark, that’s as far as the process
    has gone. The sugar is easier to digest, but hasn’t yet diminished in
    concentration. By the 15-day mark, it is just starting to eat/diminish
    the sugar content (3.3 teaspoons of sugar per cup remaining at that
    point.) The sour flavor comes from the acids that are forming, but that
    sweet tone is still the sugar, unless you brew it a full 30 days. A
    study done by Cornell University confirmed these results.

  • Kombucha is rich in B vitamins. MYTH. Although it does contain these vitamins, the amounts are so small they are almost immeasurable. This was confirmed by the International Journal of Food Science and Technology.
  • Kombucha is rich in glucuronic acid, a powerful detoxifier of the liver. MYTH. There is no glucuronic acid in kombucha. Ironically, Roussin began his experiments intending to prove otherwise. He read a book
    by Harald Tietze in 1995, who said no reputable lab had ever found
    glucuronic acid in kombucha, so Roussin hired a reputable lab to prove
    him wrong. When he confirmed its absence instead, that got him curious
    about the other assumptions people had about kombucha, and his
    experiments continued. Roussin believes the glucuroinc acid myth was
    born of research from the 1940s, where researchers tested the urine of
    people who drank kombucha and found high levels, and therefore assumed
    the kombucha was providing it. Instead, Roussin’s lab found that
    kombucha contains a different acid that is a synergist to glucuronic
    acid. Glucuronic acid is made naturally by the liver and works by
    binding to a toxic molecule and carrying it out of the body. The high
    levels of glucuronic acid in the urine could have been due to the other
    acids in kombucha helping the glucuronic acid in the body do its job.
    So, kombucha is indeed detoxifying, but we are continuing to learn
    exactly how.
  • Kombucha contains hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, which is why it’s so effective in relieving joint pain. MYTH.
    Kombucha contains neither of these compounds. However, it does seem to
    have a positive effect on the joints. Roussin’s theory is that it
    contains the building blocks for these compounds.
  • Kombucha contains over 50 different kinds of probiotics, organic enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. MYTH. Every batch of kombucha is different. The only things every
    batch contains are: (1) at least one beneficial yeast, (2) acetobacter
    (the beneficial bacteria in the SCOBY), (3) gluconic acid (a pH
    regulator) – note: this is not the same thing as glucuronic acid
    referenced above, and (4) acetic acid (an anti-microbial acid, which
    also stabilizes blood sugar) . Most batches of kombucha will also
    contain an analgesic (pain reliever), an anti-arthritic compound, an
    anti-spasmodic compound, a liver-protective compound, and several
    anti-bacterial compounds. The blend varies from batch to batch. See why
    this elixir can’t be patented? It embodies change.
  • Kombucha can cure everything from arthritis to gout to HIV to cancer. MYTH. As Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp says, “Kombucha
    is not a panacea – it doesn’t cure anything! It brings the body back
    into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is
    able to do so much.”
    Results vary from person to person. Many
    people do say it helps their joint pain, keeps them from getting sick,
    gives them energy, aids their digestion, clears their sinuses, reduces
    their blood pressure, clears their eczema, alleviates their headaches,
    and the list goes on. Then there are other people who say they enjoy the
    taste, but don’t really notice any effect. The only way to know what it
    can do for you, is to try it.
  • Kombucha is dangerous and has been linked to deaths. MYTH.
    This one is repeated a lot, and it usually starts with a sentence like
    this: “There is no scientific evidence that kombucha promotes health,
    just anecdotal reports. However, it has been linked to both illness and
    death.” (With never an acknowledgement that the last sentence is an
    anecdotal report, and there’s no scientific evidence that kombucha is
    harmful.) Let’s clear up that report, though, because it’s scary.
    Fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz sums it up nicely: “In
    1995 the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication Morbidity and
    Mortality Weekly Report ran a story headlined, ‘Unexplained Severe
    Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of Kombucha Tea,’ with
    possibly being the operative word. In two separate incidents, weeks
    apart, two women in Iowa had very different unexplained acute health
    episodes. One of them died. Both drank kombucha daily and made it from
    the same original SCOBY. The Iowa Department of Public Health
    immediately issued a warning to stop drinking kombucha ‘until the role
    of the tea in the two cases of illness has been evaluated fully.’ But
    they were never able to explain how kombucha may have been related to
    the illnesses, and 115 other people were identified who drank kombucha
    from the same mother without problems. When the mothers and the kombucha
    that possibly made the women sick were subjected to microbial analysis,
    ‘no known human pathogens or toxin-producing organisms were
    identified.’”
  • Kombucha is an alcoholic drink. TRUE.
    However, it’s a very small amount, usually between .5 and 3%, depending
    on length of fermentation. (Beer contains 4-6%.) Single fermentation
    home brews of kombucha usually contain only .5% alcohol. If you do a
    second fermentation in a bottle, to flavor it and increase the
    carbonation, the alcohol content will increase slightly. Store bought
    brands were found to contain more, because the product is still
    fermenting in the bottle, and a long time can pass between bottling and
    purchase. For this reason, kombucha was temporarily pulled from store shelves in 2010, while the federal alcohol trade bureau tested numerous samples and developed guidelines
    for kombucha manufacturers. Now, all store bought brands are supposed
    to have taken steps to prevent fermentation from continuing in the
    bottle. Sadly, this often means pasteurization, which limits the
    benefits of the drink.
  • If you ferment more than one kind of food or beverage
    (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.) you need to keep them away from each
    other, for fear of cross-contamination: MYTH.
    Sandor Ellix Katz addressed this in his book, The Art of Fermention:While
    different cultures may subtly influence one another through the air
    over time, typically this is not an issue….Betty Stechmeyer, who
    co-founded a starter culture business, GEM cultures, with her late
    husband Gordon and spent 30 years growing and selling fermentation
    starters, reports that for all those years she propagated several
    different sourdoughs, several different milk cultures, tempeh starter
    and more, in one 12×12 foot kitchen. ‘Pretty primitive and simple, eh?’
    She never experienced cross-contamination. I cannot guarantee that
    cross-contamination among cultures is impossible, but it is not a likely
    occurrence, and I encourage enthusiastic experimentalists to ferment to
    your heart’s content without worry.”
  • Kombucha can make you feel worse. TRUE. While
    most people feel benefits from drinking kombucha, some people’s
    symptoms worsen. There are a few potential reasons for this: (1) Healing Crisis: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, says: “Apart
    from good bacteria a healthy body is populated by beneficial yeasts
    which normally protect the person from pathogenic (bad) yeasts, such as
    candida albicans. Kefir (and kombucha) contain these beneficial yeasts
    (as well as the beneficial bacteria) which help to take pathogenic
    yeasts under control.” 
    This is a good thing, but sometimes the body
    goes through a reaction to the mass die-off of bad bacteria and yeast,
    and temporarily symptoms worsen. This can last from a few days to a few
    weeks, but when the symptoms pass, people’s health improves
    dramatically. (2) Gluten Cross-Reaction: Update: Gluten Cross-Reaction has proven to be a myth. Thanks to reader Sarah for this new information. (3) Histamine or Yeast Intolerance:
    Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria which improve the health of
    most people, with the exception of those who are yeast or histamine
    intolerant. In those cases, negative symptoms from drinking kombucha
    don’t improve with time, like they do with a healing crisis. So what do
    you do if you feel like kombucha is making you feel worse? First, lower
    the amount of kombucha you are drinking, and only increase as your body
    is able to handle it without discomfort. If you are experiencing a
    healing crisis, lower doses should slow down the die-off reaction and
    alleviate your symptoms. If you continue to have discomfort at small
    doses, stop drinking it altogether and try again in 6 months. (Food
    intolerances often disappear as we heal.)
Conclusion


Now, you know what’s true and what’s not. Leaving the myths behind,
this traditional fermented beverage can still be a wonderful health
tonic. We don’t need exaggerated claims, and we don’t even need to know
how it works (although we’ll keep searching). Paleo guru Mark Sisson
talks a lot about the N=1
(an experiment of one). That simply means that you try something
yourself, and see if adds to, or detracts from, your health. Paleo
leaders Dr. Terry Wahls and Robb Wolf drink kombucha themselves. Robyn Latimer,
who put her lupus into remission through the paleo diet, also drinks it
daily. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends it for the Full GAPS Diet. Her only caveat is that people should avoid it on the more restricted Introduction Diet due to the fluctuating sugar content. My next post will tell you everything you need to make a successful brew, and my final post in this series will give you the recipes. Stay tuned!


Other Articles in the Kombucha Series


Kombucha Supplies


Update: After writing this series of articles on
kombucha, a number of people asked where they could buy quality
supplies. Not everyone has a friend to lend them a SCOBY and tutor them
through the process. So, I decided to become an affiliate of Kombucha Kamp. Hannah Crum has been brewing kombucha for over a decade and sells everything from quality SCOBYs to continuous brew systems. Whatever you need, she’s got you covered.

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The following websites were very helpful in my research:


- See more at: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/25/kombucha-myths-vs-truths/#sthash.Qa0gwpGt.dpuf