Reub's journey

14 November 2011


Almost exactly a year ago I had kombucha for the very first time, grabbing a bottle to have with my bagel sandwich at the little bakery where my son worked in Ithaca, NY. The label was attractive, and I thought it was just raspberry iced tea. My daughter considered it a little odd, but maybe kind of cool: "You know it's fermented with a mushroom," she said. Well, no, that was news to me, and kind of bad news at that: like long ago when I found out tequila centered around a worm. Are you kidding? Who thinks of these things?  But after paying 4 bucks for it, I drank the whole thing, dammit.

The dark shape is the scoby floating in a gallon of tea.

Now, 12 months later, I find myself tenderly minding a gallon of this stuff in a dark warm place in my pantry. After conferring with one of John's young, smart, fantastic graduate students...let's just call her Meagan...I made a batch.

Meagan, you  see, sensing a sucker, had given me a scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, not really a mushroom) a few weeks ago. She gave me some directions and after looking it up on youtube, that paragon of reference material, I became brave. The scoby is gross, like a giant, perfectly oval, pounded chicken breast floating in the sweetened tea. When it finally makes its way to the top of the gallon of fermenting liquid, it creates a baby scoby. If you keep brewing this stuff, it keeps multiplying.

Here is a list of possible benefits, copied from a website that compiled info from 600 participants:

  • 1. Great beverage
  • 2. Sense of well-being
  • 3. Helps to relieve congestion in airways
  • 4. Thicker hair (whoopee!)
  • 5. Energy boost
  • 6. Straightened my hair out!
  • 7. Helps osteo arthritis
  • 8. Great conversation piece! :)
  • 9. Licked Calcifying tendonitis
  • 10. Helps with asthma
  • 11. Has brought me into contact with some very caring people.
  • 12. Stress buster
  • 13.Very calming
  • 14. Increase sex drive
  • 15. Regulates Intestines.
  • 16. Cured Candida Overgrowth.
  • 17. Aides digestion - especially on top of dairy.
  • 18. Addictive taste.
  • 19. Eliminates or reduces heat rash.
  • 20. Improved circulation/controlled venous stasis in shins
  • 21. Clears and Improves skin
  • 22. Makes a good hair rinse
  • 23. Redundant 'Momma's make good brass cleaners!
  • 24. Helped take the "scales" from a friends Skin disorder
  • 25. Makes a wonderful, soothing foot soak.
  • 26. Shrinking large fatty tumor.
  • 27. Flattening and fading old age carotene patches on the face.
  • 28. Stops severe menstrual cramps
  • 29. Makes a wonderful facial.
  • 30. Made me much more mobile with my gout.
  • 31. Oncoming headlights do not bother me as much.
  • 32. Reduces / stabilizes blood pressure.
  • 33. Prevents and helps heal bladder infections
  • 34. Eases carpal tunnel syndrome
  • 35. Heals boils and staph infections on skin.
  • 36. Prevents oral canker sores
  • 37. Prevents eczema and psoriasis
  • 38. Household Cleaner: cuts grease, cleans stoves, bathroom tiles, windows, copper
  • 39. Hair and nails grow faster
  • 40. I can see the pupils of my eyes again without glasses.
  • 41. More energy
  • 42. Clears nail fungus
  • 43. Improves the sense of well being for people with liver Cancer
  • 44. Helps an older woman feel and look younger
  • 45. Helps Arthritis sufferers
  • 46. Cleanses toxins from the system
  • 47. Soothes burns and sunburn
  • 48. Takes the sting and swelling away from Bee Stings
  • 49. Good underarm deoderant
  • 50. For some people; eliminates desire for alchohol, & helping to relax
  • 51. Smashes flus and colds
  • 52. Significant progress healing chapped lips from topical application of KT
  • 53. Kombucha Colony makes a great poultice
  • 54. Removes rust
  • 55. Returns grey hair to it's natural color for some people
  • 56. Improved eyesight 

The Mayo Clinic, however, does NOT recommend kombucha:

...there's no scientific evidence to support these health claims. There have, however, been reports of adverse effects such as stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions in kombucha tea drinkers. Kombucha tea is often brewed in homes under nonsterile conditions, making contamination likely. 

Woops.  Wait, it's still good for reason #8 on the above list.

Got a minute? This is funny, and kombucha does get mentioned:


  1. great blog conversation piece! :) have never heard of this tea. probably won't be trying it out anytime soon, but hope your batch is great!

  2. I'm glad it works for you! Sounds totally awful - though I drink a lot of Chinese medicinal teas all of which have some kind of mushroom thingies in the mix.

    Just because there is no scientific evidence doesn't mean something isn't good for you - just that it hasn't been studied. That said, the Mayo clinic site is really good.

  3. Anything that claims to do all that is a little scary! hahaha.

  4. all right. well, i'm on this journey too, i'll admit. you inspired me to bring out my neglected SCOBY to see if it is still...sliming. it appears to have survived in its little tea in the verrrrry back of my fridge. maybe. how would i know? in any case, the tea i poured off to drink - a WHILE ago! - is still pretty darn tasty...
    (i used Trader Joe's cranberry green tea and not only is it tasty, it's PRETTY!!) courage, mon amie!

  5. Never heard of it.. and I'm okay with that! ;) I hope it works out for you but do be careful. The video was indeed funny.

  6. twg: I don't know who else with whom to talk about this; thanks to blog-land this is actually a "conversation" piece!

    Reya:I think that there are thousands of medicinal uses in fungi and molds-and moldering things- that we have yet to discover. I bet Chinese medicines make use of all kinds of these things. So does western medicine, really...penicillin!
    At the same time, Mayo puts things into perspective, and always gives a careful, measured response to questions. I always listen to them.

    Ellen: It is soooooooo icky, but I'm fascinated. Can't help it.

    Rebecca, Yeah I know! That's the thing: if this really did all of that stuff it would be the freakin' fountain-of-youth/miracle drug. Turns you back into a brunette! Kills your toenail fungus! Shrinks tumors! Increases your libido! Decreases age spots! You can see again! Not likely.

    Slim: Yaay! We have simultaneous-scobies! This makes me so happy. Now I'm gonna go to Trader Joe's and try that green tea. I wish this worked with herbal tea, but it doesn't. Has to have caffeine for the scoby to do its work, which I find funny.

    Hilary: Betchya that some time in the next 6 months you'll see this on a shelf for sale somewhere, right next to the iced teas. It's catching on. The taste is not usually super sweet; it's a bit tangy.

    The video is hilarious, but at 3 minutes long, you might be the only one to have watched it. I'm impressed.

  7. I called it a mushroom? Whoops.


  8. Well, it looks like a mushroom. Or a floppy, slimy pancake. It grows kind of like a mushroom. Let's just call it a mushroom.

    It's a mushroom.

  9. Lindsay Lohan's kombucha habit supposedly caused her to fail her alcohol test last year. I have not noticed any alcohol buzz from drinking my home brew. I drink it alongside my sandwich at school, for heaven's sake! Now I kind of want to know its alcohol content though. I don't know how to find that out.

  10. The Mayo Clinic is run by a bunch of sissies anyway.

    Removes rust? Like, from metal? I guess that makes sense. You can pour a Coca-Cola on a car battery to eat away the corrosion.

    But it does make you think about the crap we put in our bodies.

  11. I Like it Raw was so funny and gutsy. It's wintery here so I'm avoiding raw and going for cooked and steamy. Brrrrrr...... way too cold for raw. Mushrooms have lots of niacin... good for your arteries. I wonder if your scoby does too?

  12. Doug: I want to test some of these claims, and that might be a good place to start. I don't know whether to pour kombucha tea over the rusty nail, or lay the scoby on it though. Same with most of the other things on this list. There is NO WAY I want to lay the scoby on my face for a facial.

    Linda: I bet this scoby is full of tons of micro nutrients. But what are they? I don't know.

  13. sounds African, like the song KUBAYA my Lord.

  14. if the stuff is that good why is it not on the proscribed list?

    Congratulations on your new status.

    If you want Sauerkraut and sausage, come to me, no sermons, no waiting, just S&S, with added Speck and smoked meat.

  15. Ann: "Kombuchaaa, my lord, kombuchaaa...oh lo-ord kombucha..." yes you're right.

    Friko: I'm there. You're German, and you understand. I'll be right over.

  16. One appreciates the health claims but it does look like you might be drinking something from the sludge factory.

  17. Laoch: Yeah, while this stuff is brewing it looks revolting. Can't believe I drink it.


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