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This is an article published in the American magazine "The American raum & zeit" (Mount Vernon/USA) Volume 2, Number 5, 1991, pages 51-56.
Nowadays we experience a return to healing measures that are close to nature; also remedies and foods of a natural origin - away from industrial packaged products. This may be one of the reasons for the great attractiveness and fascination of the healthful beverage called Kombucha. Communalities of yeasts and bacteria have been used by people, and applied for their well-being, since ancient times in all the world for the creation of health-promoting fermented drinks and foodstuffs.
We read already in the Bible (Ruth 2:14) that the land-owner Boas invited the Moabite Ruth, who later became his wife, during her gleaning of grains: "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 B.C. not only gives us a hint of their exemplary nutritional habits, although they were modest by our perspective, we see from it also that, even at that time, people prepared beverages with microorganisms of lactic acid and how they served the people for strength and refreshment during the hard work of harvesting.
An ancient, pure relative of these related symbioses of bacteria and yeasts is the tea-fungus called Kombucha. It comes from the area of East Asia and came into Germany via Russia, around the turn of the century. This ancient house-remedy is used more and more also in other countries against all possible defects. The mushroom consists of a gelatinoid and tough mushroom-web membrane in the form of a flat disk. It lives in a nutrient solution of tea and sugar, in which it constantly multiplies through germinating. The fungal disc at first spreads over the entire surface of the tea and then thickens. When one treats the mushroom correctly, it thrives, germinates, and will accompany its owner for life.
During the fermentation and oxidation processes, the mushroom effects diverse complicated reactions in the tea-setting, either one after the other or side by side (these are assimilation- and dissimilation-processes). The tea-mushroom feeds on the sugar and, in exchange, produces other valuable substances which change into the drink: glucuron-acid, acetic acid, lactic acid, vitamins, amino acids, antibiotic substances, and other products. The tea-mushroom is, therefore, a real, tiny biochemical factory.
Numerous doctors and scientists have concerned themselves with the effects of the Kombucha-beverage as a home remedy. Many scientific works are at hand concerning Kombucha. They speak of its therapeutic effectiveness as based on glucon-acid, glucuron-acid, acetic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, as well as the life-supporting vitamins C and the B-group. As has been proven especially by Russian researchers, many of its components have antibiotic and detoxifying characteristics, and they play a decisive role for the biochemical processes in the body.
In contrast to the many pharmaca with unpleasant side effects, the active substances of the Kombucha address themselves to the whole body system; through its friendly metabolistic properties, it can reestablish a normal condition in the cellular membranes without any side-effects and thus promote one's well-being. Let us use these natural powers for maintaining our vitality, activity, as well as our mental and physical capacities!
Professor S. Bazarewski brought forth a report in the "Correspondence for the Association of Nature Researchers in Riga, 1915, that among the Latvian population of the Baltic Russian Provinces of Livland and Kurland, they had a folk-remedy by name of "Brinum-Ssene" Verbally translated, it means "Wonder-mushroom". The Latvian population ascribed to this mushroom "a wonderful healing power for many diseases", according to Bazarewski. Some people asked by Bazarewski insisted that it helps for headaches, but others assured him that "this mushroom is useful for all diseases.
Privy Councilor Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kobert (1917-18) recollects that an "unfailing remedy against joint rheumatism" was made with this mushroom.
Also Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Henneberg (1926) reports that a drink made with tea-mushroom was prepared, called "Teakwass" in Russia, being used in all those areas as a "remedy against all sorts of diseases, especially against constipation."
According to Dr. Madaus in the "Biologic Healing Arts" (1927), the mushroom, and its metabolic products, has excellent influence on the regeneration of the cellular walls and is, therefore, an excellent remedy for arteriosclerosis.
Prof. Br. Lakowitz (1928) confirms Waldeck's statement that digestive disturbances are quickly removed by the mushroom-tea. Strong headaches and nervous disturbances also are removed experientially. Lakowitz comes to the conclusion: "An extensive spreading of the mushroom-tea for the production of such Tee-Kwasses, as a remedy against digestive disturbances is desirable for all types of people."
In the "White Flag" (1928) is reported: 'The refreshing taste of this tea-beverage is generally pleasing, and its effect is ... a very good one. The taste of the fermented tea is very pleasant, being reminiscent of light, sparkling wine or sweet Most (pear juice). The effect of the tea usually shows up very fast. Most of all, it works blood-cleansing and detoxifying and is said ... to give excellent services for facial skin rashes. Further, according to doctor's orders and evaluations, it is very effective for constant headaches, pain in the limbs, gout, rheumatism, and other aging problems. The general effect of the mushroom-tea shows already in a few weeks through an improved general condition and in one's raised performance capacity, which may be connected with the mushroom's high vitamin and hormone effect, which are also emphasized by doctors.
Further, the mushroom stimulates the metabolism ... excellently and, thereby, helps in clearing out the body, i.e. the elimination of all types of disease toxins.
Dr. Siegwart Hermann (1929) describes experiments with cats who had been poisoned with Vigantol (an anti-rickets Vitamin B-preparation). He noted a positive influence in their cholesterol level when the animals received Kombucha extracts. This is interesting because in cases of human arteriosclerosis there is also a raised cholesterol level. Hermann's resume based on these experiments is: "The observations by doctors at the sickbed, as also the animal experiments, showed that folk-wisdom quoted effects have been observed in general."
In 1961, Dr. med. Valentin Köhler stimulated a discussion on the therapeutic usage of Glucuronic acid through his article titled, "Glucuronic Acid Gives Courage to Cancer-Patients in the periodical "Medical Practice". Glucuronic acid is one of the products that are produced during the fermentation process in the Kombucha-tea. Dr. Köhler reported at that time about encouraging results in treating cancer patients with Glucuronic acid. The maximally long effect of Glucuronic acid is able to bring about an increase in the body's own defenses and, possibly, also of the Interferon-production.
The detoxifying function of Glucuronic acid goes hand-in-hand with an improvement in the general condition and In the oxidative metabolism.
Dr. Köhler also noted surprising successes in the treatment of sick trees. Various Institutions were doing scientific tests for resolving the problem of dying trees. By combining nutritious substances, trace-elements, and heavy metals ions a building process was activated or accelerated. The capacity of the Glucuronic acid to enter into combination with both foreign and endogenic toxic substances, effects protection for the plant cell. Over 200 substances can be made harmless by this way, including those which are contained in acidic and radioactive rain, as well as sulfur dioxide, nitrites, ozone. According to Br. Köhler's research, the protective activity connected with Glucuronic acid preserves also the genetics of the plant from growth disturbances or promotes their restoration in the further course of its growth. The insights arising from Dr. Köhler's examinations can be transferred onto all human cells. When the processes of growth and decomposition in the human metabolism are maintained on an optimal level through adding small dosages of Glucuronic acid, as contained in the Kombucha beverage, it presents a combination of scientific data and a product of nature which is currently still much preferred by the laity. Here is a possible aid for a humanity that is more and more threatened through toxic environmental substances. By Glucronic acid, the "disturbance products in the human body are disintegrated into end-products, eliminated and, thereby, made harmless. This detoxifying function of Glucuronic acid benefits the variety of cellular functions.
This shows up as increased endogenic capacity towards the toxic and environmental stresses batting us from many sides, as a revival. of damaged body cells, and a restoration and firming up of our well-being. When many people say that they use Kombucha not to necessarily heal a particular disease, but they drink it as a beverage for supporting their well-being, we have in this a contact point where scientific insights and folk-wisdom can go hand in hand.
Dr. E. Arauner (1929) reports of diverse medical reports and evaluations and reaches the following conclusion: "In summary, one can say that the Kombucha mushroom or its extract, has proven itself as excellently prophylactic against diabetes, but especially against aging problems, such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure with its consequences such as dizziness, gout, hemorrhoids; for the very least it is a pleasant laxative." Dr. Arauner reports that in his home-country the tea-mushroom has been in usage for centuries by Asian people because of its surprising healing successes, being a most effective, natural home-remedy for tiredness, fatigue, nervousness, beginning aging problems, arteriosclerosis, intestinal lassitude, gout and rheumatism, hemorrhoids, and diabetes.
Arauner adds to this, that not only professors, doctors and biologists have confirmed the surprising healing successes but also those who have imbibed the mushroom-tea report about "entirely excellent effects on the general body functions.'
The med. doctor, Dr. Rudolf Sklenar of Lich, Oberhessen, reported in 1964 in the periodical "Experiential Healing Science" about his methods of diagnosis and therapy successes: "An outstanding natural remedy is the mushroom beverage named Combucha, which acts detoxifying in every regard and which dissolves microorganisms as well as cholesterol." Dr. Sklenar had developed a biologic cancer therapy in which Combucha, as well as other biologic remedies such as Coli-preparations, held an important place for the sanitization of the intestinal flora.
In a small publication of 8 pages, titled "Cancer Diagnosis Based on Blood and the Treatment of Cancer, Pre-cancerous Conditions, and other Metabolic Diseases with Kombucha and Coli-Preparations", Dr. Sklenar reports that vitamins, lactic acids and glucuronic acid are effective. "They destroy harmful microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi) and dissolve waste matter and toxic deposits (uric acid, cholesterol, etc.) ". Kombucha effects "an outstanding detoxification of the organism". Through enjoying this beverage there is, additionally, a "noticeable invigoration of the entire glandular system and enhancement of the metabolism."
Dr. Sklenar reports that he was able to treat successfully with the mushroom-tea: gout, rheum, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, dysbacteria, constipation, impotence, nonspecific draining, obesity, furunculosis, kidney stones, cholesterol, cancer and especially its early stages, etc.
The Natural Healing specialist A.J.Lodewijkx (Homepage: http://www.ngab.nl) of Ermelo, Netherlands, writes about Kombucha in his very recommendable book "Life Without Cancer" (obtainable in the Dutch and German languages): "The Kombucha mushroom has strongly antiseptic properties. The tea purifies the glandular system and promotes elimination; uric acid Is neutralized and eliminated through Kombucha tea. Therefore, this tea is an excellent remedy against gout, rheum, arthritis, kidney stones, intestinal dysbacteria, but especially cancer and its early stages because the Kombucha mushroom exerts a mighty influence on the disease-causing endobionts. As we have seen, it is these endobionts which eliminate the red corpuscles when the pH changes unfavorably. In all metabolic diseases and cancer, Kombucha is a unique beverage for the detoxification of the body. Kombucha removes the metabolic dross and normalizes thereby the blood pH."
Gottfried Mueller, founder of the world-wide "Salem Children's and Youth Villages" praises the Kombucha tea-mushroom this way: "A gift from heaven, especially for health emergencies" (in "Salem-Help" 15, Nr. 3, August 1987, page 2).
Some of the health-promoting properties ascribed to Kombucha-tea require further research. However, other active mechanisms are entirely proven both by scientific testings and experientially, such as: regulation of the intestinal flora, cellular strengthening, detoxification and dross elimination, metabolic harmonization, antibiotic effect, facilitating pH-balance.
Nowadays, there are occasional warnings - mostly coming from ignorance or economic interests - not to make the Kombucha beverage by oneself. Such a warning is justified in so far as the know-how about the precise method, wherewith, and why, etc. had often been lost and people wrongly experimented instead of abiding with proven recipes.
However, when one works clean and abides by proven directions, then there is no hesitation in making the Kombucha drink, as in many generations past. Whoever has the necessary knowledge can deal successfully with the tea-mushroom - just as one deals with other "open" foodstuffs in one's household. When abiding by proven instructions, one can produce an impeccable, tasty, wholesome and effective Kombucha beverage. The mushroom will increase and accompany its owner lifelong and serve him or her well.
The Russian researcher I.N. Konovalow mentions in his report of 1959, that the intensive growth of the tea-mushroom leven and bacteria distinctly suppresses the spreading of other yeast and bacterial varities. Also the Russian Professor G.F.Barbancik (1958) reports In his book about the tea-mushroom based on laboratory tests which showed that the tea-mushroom bacteria drive out all other microbes energetically (antagonism).
In contrast to other reports this mushroom is easy to multiply and part. Because it grows cheerfully and is parted willingly, all friends and acquaintances can soon benefit. It is a good custom to pass on the Kombucha mushroom to other people as a sign of friendship and mutual helpfulness.