Kombucha – Harbinger and Safety Net

Mutual assistance enriches even the poor. – Chinese Proverb

A couple years ago I finally had a chance to start making kombucha. My sister had gotten a hold of a kombucha mother/starter (known as a SCOBY – Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) while doing a house call, (she’s a nurse). Kombucha is a fermented tea created by a mysterious symbiotic colony of yeasts and bacteria. It looks and feels like a rubbery pancake, and floats on the top of strong black tea and sugar for 7-10 days. The resulting liquid is similar to fizzy iced tea and is very good for cleaning out toxins, supporting the liver and digestive system.

After making a couple batches I didn’t know what to do with all my SCOBY’s (a new baby is born every batch) so I posted my email onto the site www.kombu.de offering the babies to whoever wanted. To my surprise a steady stream of all kinds of people arrived at my door, each with their own kombucha experiences. The most recent being a South African lady who started drinking kombucha while living in Malaysia, she had gotten her SCOBY from someone in Kuala Lumpur via www.kombu.de

Kombucha has been used all over Europe for quite some time and is thought to have originated in China. Precisely where it came from or what it is exactly remains unknown, but the results are well documented. Kombucha represents a danger to the established corporate health industry by providing a freely available incredibly affordable detoxifying and healing agent, which can be made at home. Kombucha is actually pretty difficult to mess up despite frantic warnings from various mainstream health information hubs. In fact, the German equivalent of our FDA (which is probably much more reliable) declares it completely safe. Each person’s system deals with kombucha differently but rest assured your body will let you know if you are drinking too much.

Kombucha is easy and cheap to make, using only tea, white sugar, transmogrified water and a kombucha starter. The virtual father of kombucha, Gunther W. Frank, integrated the logic of an ancient Chinese saying, “Mutual assistance enriches even the poor”, into modern kombucha culture. Through his universal site www.kombu.de he established a place where people could network worldwide for access to a free SCOBY. Kombucha is celebrated as a free and abundant resource by a wide variety of people who just want to feel good and take care of their kids by boosting immunity and protecting the digestive tract.

I had hepatitis A (the least harmful kind) when I was a kid, I didn’t get it very bad, but I have, as a result, a weak liver, which often leaves me with severe hangovers from drinking just one beer (for real-although our Butchery Chef when I was a student at the Culinary Institute of America didn’t believe it when I told him I had only had one beer after running retching from the class when he opened a cryovac bag of a huge side of pig –no fear of swine flu in those days!). When I first started drinking kombucha I had a couple of healing crisis experiences when I drank too much. These symptoms are a result of an overly toxic liver that releases too many toxins for the blood stream to handle. For someone like me, it is best to start with small amounts of kombucha until the liver revives. Kombucha is an adaptogen, normalizing metabolism and bringing the body back into balance. Kombucha’s adaptogen effect is seen mostly through its effect on the liver, the blood and the digestive system. I can actually drink about 4 beers in a night now with only excessive tiredness the next day, so I still don’t do it very often, but it is a huge improvement.

Kombucha has been considered by many to be just another food fad that will soon run out of steam, only to regain it again in another 20 years. It’s true these things go with the ebb and flow of the seasons and times, but with each rise and fall, more of us succumb to the affordable detoxifying power of the ‘booch. Kombucha isn’t something that is going to disappear, a useless fad, like the pet rock. It is a symbiotic creature teaching us the importance of community, helping us build connections, showing us how different life-forms can work together and become something completely different.

In this day where virtual feudalism is doing its best to maintain control, where we have all manner of pharmaceutical drugs in our tap water which no one seems to yet know if there is any real way to remove and our drinking water is bottled in containers made of bisphenol A, it isn’t surprising many of us have returned to the medieval days when no one trusted water and only drank fermented beverages, such as kvass, mead and beers. Kombucha is a necessary household brew especially in urban environments where air pollution, electro-magnetic frequencies, uncertain chemicals in tap water including statins, estrogens and other prescription drugs are the norm. It cleans these man-made poisons out of our systems on a daily basis.

Kombucha also astonishes me by being most efficient when using my most hated (and loved) food item, –highly refined white sugar. This is wonderful because it is probably the most affordable and accessible ingredient these days (although you should avoid any made with sugar beets). The resulting healing brew reminds me of what my wise old Vietnamese teacher once told me, “Out of the shit, grow the most beautiful flower.” Kombucha is for the people and supports the homegrown revolution 100 percent, by optimizing liver function to eliminate the poisons mankind has created from our bodies.

Enjoy this quick fun demo of how to make kombucha:

Interesting Kombucha Links

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. n. tucker


    Living in Penang now and thinking to start brewing my own kombucha (RMY14/a small bottle at Cold Storage), tried the website but for some reason the website owner stop the exchange Scooby last July. Any advice where can I get Scooby around here?

    thank you

    1. hellaD

      Oh I am sorry to hear that. I am not sure about where you can get a Scooby in Penang, but if you can buy a bottle of unpasteurized kombucha you can make a brew with that. Just start with a small batch and it will grow a Scooby for you. It might take a bit longer than 10-14 days but it should work.

  2. yoongtc

    i’m living in kajang, selangor. would appreciate if someone could provide me information where i can purchase or get free kambucha tea culture (SCOBY) around selangor or kuala lumpur. thanks alot.

    1. hellaD

      last year I had a lady who had lived in KL tell me that she was able to get a scoby from someone off of the http://www.kombu.de website where they have a list of people who will share kombucha babies with you for free. Hopefully you can still find someone who has it!

  3. Jason

    “…highly refined white sugar. This is wonderful because it is probably the most affordable and accessible ingredient these days (although you should avoid any made with sugar beets)…”

    Hi there, was just wondering why should sugar made with sugar beets be avoided? Is that a recommendation just for kombucha making, or in general?

    Many thanks!

    1. hellaD

      Thanks for the question, I made the comment about sugar beets in reference to the genetically modified sugar beets that have been planted in Canada and which are in most refined white sugar in Canada now. Other than that I think there is no problem with normal sugar beet sugar for kombucha.

  4. Kimberly Hartke

    Thanks for submitting this to my natural cures blog carnival today. This is a fun hobby and healthy for you too!


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