The U.S. government would love nothing more to have their nose in everything we purchase, eat, drink, or even lay our eyes on, and in some ways they already do. Seeing a natural tea-drink come under regulation should be no shock to any of us. But many people don’t quite understand what kombucha tea is or why the government is watching it, especially while the benefits of kombucha tea are overwhelming.
Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea. It can use regular black tea but with the addition of bacterial and yeast cultures. Many people brew their own at home and it is said to be an easy process. Some types of kombucha can also be purchased in health food stores, though a few brands were taken off shelves a few years ago.
The federal government stepped in to regulate kombucha in 2010. This is when they noticed the fermentation process would sometimes continue on the shelf, raising the alcohol concentration of the tea to more than the legal 0.5 percent. Some, they found, were “cooking” to levels comparable with some beers (3 percent).
In response, many stores like Whole Foods removed these kombucha products off their shelves voluntarily. Also, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the FDA stepped in to ensure the alcohol contents didn’t rise to illegal levels.
Since their involvement, more and more people have begun brewing their own kombucha. This is done using a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, or SCOBY. Also called a “mother”, this is the starter for your kombucha, that when paired with tea and sugar create the fermented end-product.
Benefits of Kombucha Tea
Kombucha is alleged to have many health benefits, according to its brewers and supporters. It is used as a general health tonic. Benefits of kombucha tea include:
- Increase metabolism
- Relieve headaches
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Prevent hardening of the arteries
- Detoxify the liver
- Prevent cancer
- Alleviate constipation
- Improve eyesight
- Reduce blood pressure
All of the benefits of benefits of kombucha tea are possible, they say, because the tea contains beneficial probiotics (good bacteria), amino acids, antioxidants, and polyphenols.
SCOBY’s can be purchased online through several different resources and brewers caution new kombucha consumers to thoroughly research safe brewing practices before they begin their own kombucha journey.