The latest tonic to reach the health and fitness zeitgeist is kombucha. You can't go to Whole Foods, a yoga class, or a Crossfit workout without hearing someone bring it up.
If this is new to you, you're probably asking, "What is kombucha?" And you probably also want to know why the hell you would want to drink such a thing.
Today, let's answer the first question. On Thursday, we will talk about the benefits.
An Ancient Tea
Kombucha has likely been around for a bit over 200 years and it seems to have originated in Manchuria or far East Russia.
It is a brew of green or black tea fermented with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The resulting drink is slightly effervescent, slightly alcoholic (in some places, you will need to present your ID), and slightly sweetened drink (about 10g sugar per serving).
Many people brew their own at home, but it's also widely commercially available through a number of different companies.
Kombucha is NOT a Magic Potion
You can find people claiming some WILD stuff about the benefits of kombucha.
In 2000, a scientific review of the myriad claims around the benefits was done. A clip for your reading pleasure:
"It has been claimed that Kombucha teas cure asthma, cataracts, diabetes, diarrhea, gout, herpes, insomnia and rheumatism. They are purported to shrink the prostate and expand the libido, reverse grey hair, remove wrinkles, relieve hemorrhoids, lower hypertension, prevent cancer, and promote general well-being. They are believed to stimulate the immune system, and have become popular among people who are HIV positive or have full-blown AIDS."
Sorry to bear the bad news here, but that is a special kind of crazy. It isn't going to make you live to 100 and be irresistible to the opposite sex (that we know of).
What it will do, we will talk about on Thursday.
In the mean time, we have a video for you about kombucha that also includes taste testing 4 popular brands. You can find that video here.