Kombucha has immune boosting, detoxifying, probiotic and adaptogenic qualities.
It is an excellent alternative to break the soda/carbonated and energy drink habit.
You get the all the benefits of tea, and, the benefits of fermentation. Oolong was a common, traditional favourite, but any old tea works fine. I use a mix of black and green teas - organic and fair trade, of course.
The acids and cultures found in kombucha vary for each batch, and even each country, but are also influenced by the length of fermentation, and sugar concentrations. Of course analysing and proving the benefits of kombucha is difficult because of that variability; but that is part of it's charm - the SCOBY's survival relies on each person passing on a SCOBY to another person (you can buy some, but they too are not standardised), so it builds a community of people too!
Those who are drinkers all feel the benefits, and there are many claims, largely unsubstantiated by science, but include: the improvement of arthritis, allergies, chronic fatigue, digestive problems (including IBS), memory loss, chronic pain, metabolic disorders, cancer, skin problems (such as acne - can be used topically and internally), baldness, high blood pressure, cholesterol. Most commonly claimed is increased energy.
Many of these improvements could be attributed to the improvement in gut health as a result of the probiotic effect on bowel flora, but also the antibiotic and alkalizing effect of the acetic acid - all of which have been shown as true by science. And of course, there are all the benefits of the vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. It is also true that most people who make kombucha are already conscious of the effect of their food and lifestyle on their health and will also be making other adjustments.
Acids shown to be present (in varying proportions) are:glucuronic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, usnic acid, oxalic acid, malic acid, gluconic acid, butryic acid.
Cultures shown to be present (also in varying proportions) are:
Saccharomyces, Candida Stellata, Acetobacter, Brettanomyces, Gluconacetobacter, Lactobacillus
There is something about living food that certainly gives you that "feel good factor" - that feeling is a health benefit in itself. That is a feeling of connection with the past, connection to our community, and a connection to the future.
The alcohol content should be less than 0.5% at the end of the fermentation process, but of this I am certain - you will not get drunk! I let the kids have a little too and they feel very important. Much healthier and less sugar than juice, more refreshing than normal tea, less alcohol than wine or beer and the whole family can enjoy it. Perfect!