Kombucha (Fungus japonicus), though often reported to be a mushroom, is actually a colony of yeast and bacteria producing a jelly-like skin on a favored growth medium. Mostly anecdotal reports have suggested that Kombucha tea has helped with a variety of acute and chronic conditions.
Some of the most enthusiastic responses have come from people with difficult long-term illnesses such as arthritis, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, poor circulation, high cholesterol or cancer, and from older people, many of whom conventional doctors have had difficulty helping. Despite the testimonials and guarded endorsements by health professionals, claims for kombucha's beneficial health effects are as yet unsubstantiated by science.
Independent medical research has been conducted principally in Russia and in Germany. Reports most commonly list improvement for stomach, digestive and intestinal disorders.
Some candida sufferers have found considerable relief in taking Kombucha.
How to Make Kombucha Tea:
When the tea has attained the right degree of acidity (pH 2.7-3.2), it is ready for use. You will not need pH paper to test the acidity: if the drink is still sweet, it may need a couple more days to become more "tart" tasting. If you are going to use bare hands when handling the starter, be sure to scrub with a nail brush and remove your rings, or use latex gloves. Lift your Kombucha start carefully from the container or bowl with your hands or a wooden/plastic spatula. Place it on a non-metal dinner plate and separate the baby start away. The baby will be just as big as the mother start and may be at the top or the bottom. Use either the mother or baby as a start to make new fermented beverage, or use both of them together in your next batch, or save your start in a Ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of tea to keep it moist.
Using fresh tea will extend the shelf life of the starter in the refrigerator. The starter will keep very safely there for at least 2 weeks. If it is kept for a month, it is probably still viable. If it is kept for more than one month, you are taking a chance, but it will probably continue to grow when added to its nutrient tea. Sometimes the first new tea batch made from an older starter will not be usable but a second batch made from the starter of the failed batch will be fine. Either the baby or the mother can be used as a start to make another batch of Kombucha beverage, or you can leave the mother and baby attached together and transfer them into the new tea as a unit.
Sometimes the culture floats on the surface, sometimes it sinks to the bottom of the liquid. When the culture sinks to the bottom a new culture (a baby-culture) will begin to grow on the surface of the tea. The Kombucha culture needs some time to reproduce itself. It begins with a thin and filmy layer. The longer you leave it in peace, the thicker the new culture will grow.
The Kombucha culture usually grows and covers the surface of the tea completely. While growing on the surface of the tea the culture thickens considerably. The thickened culture will be composed of easily-separable superimposed layers. The layers can be peeled off one from another and each can be used as independent units for the production of Kombucha beverage. If the culture should sink to the bottom of the vessel, a new culture will form on the surface of the tea. In this way each culture will continue to propagate itself until it gradually begins to turn a dark brown color from tannin absorption. The more times a culture is used, the darker it slowly becomes. When it is dark and dirty brown discard it and replace it with one of its offspring. Thus this unique culture can provide you, your family and your friends with an ongoing supply of Kombucha tea at very low cost.
Kombucha has a home-brewing safety track record of centuries. Contamination of the culture by molds is not a problem if normal standards of kitchen hygiene are observed and if the ambient temperature of the fermentation is adequate. If contamination occurs, the culture and brew are thrown out, and one starts with a fresh preparation.
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