What is Kombucha and Jun?
Being in the yoga world, it is likely you have heard of kombucha, you may have even tried it, or you may be a devout kombucha lover already! In any case, “Kom-boo-cha” is a sweet and sour tasting fermented tea. Kombucha is ancient, and has become very popular in the recent decades. It is made by sweetening tea with sugar, and adding the kombucha culture, called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). In the same way a yogurt culture ferments milk, the kombucha culture ferments tea. Jun is like the lesser known, but just as fabulous cousin of kombucha. The bacteria and yeast of a jun culture prefer green tea and honey over black tea and sugar. The result of the culturing of either tea is a beautiful, bubbly, delicious, probiotic, health tonic!
Kombucha Nutrition Profile
You have probably heard of people who take raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) every day to be healthy. Like ACV, kombucha is an acetic acid ferment, so they have similar health effects. The acetic acid is the ingredient in vinegar and kombucha that gives them their notorious sour taste. However, ACV is about 5% acetic acid where kombucha is about 1%, resulting in kombucha being way more palatable. Kombucha contains many other healthy organic acids, such as amino acids, enzymes, and probiotics. It has vitamins, especially B vitamins and vitamin C. While they are found in small amounts, they are bioavailable, meaning they are easily absorbed by the body. Often times nutrients (even from supplements) are not bioavailable, so they are not absorbed by the body.
In addition, there are the inherent health properties of tea. Tea is high in antioxidants, alkaloids, and amino acids, all made more bioavailable from the alchemical process of fermentation! Kombucha extracts the flavonoids and vitamins from the flavoring agents (herbs, fruits, superfoods) used in kombucha as well. Flavonoids are phytonutrients, or antioxidants, that protect cells from free radicals. Overall, the finished kombucha and jun product is like a bottle of micronutrients that if made well, tastes great!
An Overview of Health Benefits
There can be some pretty high expectations that kombucha is a miracle cure-all. I think we all know that is not the case with anything. Unfortunately, due to this unreal expectation, I have had people tell me that they quit drinking kombucha because they ‘didn’t notice anything different.’ I look at kombucha as any other health food. For example, salads are generally healthy. However, eating a salad once a day for a few days might not make you feel any healthier. There are so many variables. Maybe the dressing was full of sugar. Maybe you had pizza and doughnuts that day as well… My point is, there are many factors to consider when making decisions for your health or trying to prevent or treat illness and disease. Drinking kombucha and not changing any other factors is probably not going to have as strong of an effect as if you included kombucha as part of a balanced healthy lifestyle. Now don’t get me wrong, if you drink a glass of kombucha three times a day for a week, I would be surprised if you didn’t notice an improvement in digestion and getting more ‘regular.’ That is one of the easiest effects to see. Also drinking a glass of kombucha can just flat out make you feel good. Especially if you are in good health and are in tune with your body enough to notice those kinds of subtleties.
Most importantly, I find that drinking kombucha helps to support your body’s already brilliant system of digestion, elimination, and detoxification. For example, the liver needs specific amino acids to effectively remove toxins from the body. So kombucha doesn’t ‘detox you’ but it provides the liver with gluconic and glucuronic acids the liver needs to remove toxins. The contents of kombucha also help to support the immune system, promote healthy bacteria in the gut, and may help other digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, and IBS. In fact, I went through a period of acid reflux, and found immediate relief from drinking kombucha. I don’t get it as long as I eat relatively healthy and have it a few times a day. There is also evidence that balanced gut flora helps with mental health. The enteric nervous system, often called our second brain, is made up of neurons that line the entire gastrointestinal system. It contains about 90% of our body’s serotonin and 50% of our dopamine, suggesting that the gut health really can influence our mental health.
How to Drink Kombucha
I get this question a lot and in short, there is no wrong way to drink kombucha! The first thing I recommend is to listen to your body. If you try some and want more, then drink it! If your body feels like it has had enough than don’t drink any more. Some days you might not have any and some days you might drink a 32-ounce bottle! If your brain needs more of a concrete answer to this question, I recommend drinking smaller amounts more often than a large amount all at once. I typically drink 4 ounces, about three times throughout the day. I love drinking kombucha or having some kind of raw fermented food with cooked meals, because cooking can destroy the enzymes in the food that help with digesting it.
Are There any Contraindications to Drinking Kombucha?
Kombucha is very safe to drink, there is not one recorded fatality from consuming kombucha in the thousands of years it has been around. But just like some people have a bad experience from eating peanuts, it can affect every body differently. If you are new to kombucha try a small amount on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. This will give you the chance to assess the effects. If you have a compromised immune system, I would advise to start slow, in the same way you should introduce anything new into your diet. Take only small amounts and monitor the effects on your body. For pregnant women who are used to drinking kombucha, it can be great to alleviate some of the common issues like fatigue, heart burn, indigestion and milk flow but again, everyone is different. If you have never had kombucha before, pregnancy might not be the best time to start, as with anything else. If you are on many different pharmaceutical medications for many different issues, and or have serious liver damage, I recommend consulting your health care provider.
Lunar Infusions, Meet the Brewer
Everyone wants to know the story of how and why I started brewing kombucha. I have always been interested in natural health. I first tried the elixir in 2010 and I was immediately intrigued. But, I was at the beginning of a road trip leading me to my seasonal job in Alaska for the summer so it got filed away into the bank of things I wanted to learn more about in the future. I was a free spirit for the next 4 years living and working at different national parks and traveling. Over that time, I became quite interested in fermenting and probiotics, and I knew that when I settled down, I was going to experiment with brewing my own kombucha. In 2014, I finally decided live in one place for a while. I moved to a beautiful coastal town near the epic redwood forests, Arcata, California. The first thing I did was find a SCOBY, and learn how to brew. I quickly found I had a knack for fermenting. I put a lot of love into each batch. I experimented with all sorts of herbs and flowers and superfoods, and I loved to infuse my brew under the moonlight to capture some of the soft, creative energy of the moon. I know, I am kind of a hippie… but that is where the name comes from! Anyway, as I shared my kombucha with practically anyone who would try, people started asking if they could buy it from me. They really liked my stuff so I started brewing more and more and eventually I couldn’t keep up with the demand! I wanted to make it a legitimate business but life took a turn when I met the love of my life while visiting family here in Indiana. So, I moved to Indiana in January 2017 and I decided to keep creating my health tonics. People like it here just like in they did in California, so my dreams of making Lunar Infusions a business have come true! I am so happy to be able to put my passion and creativity into something that is truly beneficial for people. I use only the highest quality herbs, fruits, and teas. I make everything in small batches and use reiki to make it the highest vibration possible. I have done a lot of research and experimentation and continue to learn as much as possible about health and healing and all things kombucha.
Love and Blessings
Lunar Infusions Komucha can be found every day at Fusion Yoga