February 25, 2012 by staff
Kombucha Tea, Since the ’90s when it first gained recognition as a cure-all for ailments for everything from cancer to graying hair, kombucha tea has continued to gain popularity despite minimal scientific validation and potential risks.
Now commercially available through a variety of national and regional distributors, including Whole Foods and Safeway, kombucha tea has become a hit among the proponents for holistic medicine, but why? Is it just a fad or does kombucha actually possess some type of miraculous healing power?
Also called Manchurian tea, kargasok tea, or tea fungus, kombucha is made at home and commercially by fermenting a flat pancake-like culture in sweetened black tea. Although the culture is actually made of a combination of yeast and bacteria, it is often referred to as the kombucha mushroom, according to an American Cancer Society statement about kombucha tea.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the brewing process can take up to seven days and the nutritional profile and alcohol content can vary from batch to batch. This is especially common in a home-brew scenario where protocols are not followed and there are differences in the initial tea concentration, the age of the mushroom and fermentation time, which can affect the final product.
While there have been reports of tea contamination that have resulted in hospital trips and even lead poisoning when painted ceramic pots were used to brew the tea, these dangers seem to be far more prevalent in home brews rather than commercially available versions.
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