No one knows for sure the primary origins of Kombucha, but this fascinating beverage has a long and colorful history. Some believe that Kombucha can be traced back around 4500 years to an Egyptian healer at the time of Pharaoh Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid. Most accounts will pinpoint the history of Kombucha a bit more recently to around 220 BC during the Tsin Dynasty in China where it was called the “Tea of Immortality”. At least this is the timeframe that we have the first recorded history of Kombucha.
“Cha” is the Chinese word for tea. The name Kombucha is reported to have been coined around 414 AD when a Korean doctor, Dr. Kombu, brought this healing beverage to the Japanese Emperor Inyoko. Kombucha became a part of the Samurai traditions and allegedly filled the flasks of Genghis Khan. In the Bible, we read in Ruth 2:14 “Come over here and eat some bread and dip your morsel into the vinegar-drink. And she sat down beside the reapers; and he reached her parched corn and she ate and was sufficed and left.” This biblical report from around 1000 BC gives us insight into the nutritional habits of that time which included prepared beverages rich in microorganisms which served to offer strength and refreshment during the time of harvesting. Some believe that the vinegar-drink mentioned here was in fact Kombucha.
A more recent account of Kombucha benefits involves the residents of a town near the Chernobyl meltdown in Russia in the 1980’s. As the radiation exposure ravaged the victims over the weeks and months following, doctors noticed a group of elderly women who seemed resistant to the effects. Upon further research, it was found that the common thread turned out to be that those who consumed Kombucha regularly survived the radiation.
Nobel Prize winner Alexsander Solzhenitsyn, in his autobiography, attributed Kombucha to saving his life from stomach cancer when he was in exile in Siberia and former President Ronald Reagan used Kombucha as part of his regimen when he was fighting cancer.
Clearly, more study needs to be done, but for me and my family seeing is believing. We personally are experiencing the healing benefits of Kombucha, Kefir, and cultured vegetables and invite you to try them for yourself. My 9 year old daughter, who has been raised on these cultured foods since she was only a couple years old, has never been prescribed or taken antibiotics, rarely gets sick, and often tells me how much she loves Kombucha. Recently, my daughter was at a friends house spending the night. The friends mom asked me afterwards, “What is this Kombucha stuff she keeps asking for? At dinner last night, I asked her what she wanted to drink…soda, milk, juice? She wanted to know if I had Kombucha.” Of course that sparked a huge discussion which resulted in the mom learning how to make Kombucha and experiencing all the benefits for her family, too! I have no doubt that throughout history, word of mouth and the enthusiasm for this healthy drink have contributed to the spread of Kombucha-drinking traditions world-wide.
Kombucha can be purchased commercially at most health food stores. You can find it in the refrigerated section in many flavors. If you’re unfamiliar with Kombucha, this might be a great place to start. If you love Kombucha like I do, however, you’ll want to brew your own at home. You’ll need to obtain a SCOBY and starter, yet home brewing offers many benefits such as cost savings, control of ingredients, and best of all, the enjoyment that comes from making it yourself and sharing the skill with your kids. To learn more about making your own Kombucha, check out our new online eCourse by clicking here. God Bless and happy brewing!