kombuchaHave you tried kombucha yet? You know the stuff -- it's sold as a bottled tea, and yet it's more than tea. Maybe your friends have told you it's kinda, sorta, still alive. Or that it's brewed from a mother. Or that once they started drinking it, they never got sick ever, ever again. And you were like, "Wait, go back to that part about the mother?!?"

Don't be scared! No mothers are harmed in the making of kombucha, and drinking it isn't a form of cannibalism. But it is some fascinating stuff that's worth trying at least once. Who knows, once you find out what it's all about, you may start brewing your own.

Kombucha is a fizzy, non-alcoholic fermented drink made with sweetened tea and a colony of bacteria and yeast called a "mother" or more commonly a "SCOBY." (Not to be confused with Scooby Doo.) That sounds pretty funky. Now that I write it all out, I'm a little freaked out that I drink so much of the stuff, especially since there is a slight risk of the SCOBY getting contaminated and poisoning the drinker.

But I've never had a problem with commercially-made kombucha (fingers crossed) so let's get into the reported health benefits. Keep in mind, there hasn't been much large-scale research at all into kombucha, so science has not proven these health benefits. Talk with your doctor before trying it. Kombucha is reported to boost your immune system (thanks to the probiotics), help ward off cancer, and improve your digestion and your liver function. It is rather acidic, so be careful not to drink it on an empty stomach if you're sensitive.

All I know is, I drink it sometimes when I feel like I'm coming down with a cold, and it always works. But anecdotal evidence is worth ziltch. Anyway, that hasn't stopped people from doing all sorts of things with kombucha.

Here's a tutorial on how to brew your own kombucha. If you're really interested, I would also find people who can give you advice and help you brew the first time or two.

Here's some ideas for making flavored kombucha for your kids. What's that sound I hear -- oh, it's your pediatrician screaming NOOO!!!

Here's how to make soda kombucha. Fun! This ginger-lemon jasmine kombucha looks tasty.

Why not try and counteract the benefits of kombucha by turning it into a cocktail? Sure, that makes sense. There's this kombucha cosmopolitan -- I guess that had to happen. And here's a handful of other kombucha cocktail recipes.

To your health!

Have you ever tried kombucha? What did you think?

 

Image via saucy salad/Flickr