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A recently discovered 'mushroom', which has been known and used for centuries in Asian countries - kombucha 'tea' is now being acclaimed in the West for its general healing benefits. Kombucha is in fact a colony of yeast and bacteria - and not a mushroom at all.

It grows and propagates in a solution of weak tea and sugar which, as the kombucha grows, begins to ferment, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol.

When the growth has doubled in size, it's removed from the solution to start a new batch. The resulting liquid, which is biologically active, is kept refrigerated, to be drunk daily in 185g doses.

The tea has antibiotic, antibacterial and antiviral properties and purifies the body by binding to toxins and promoting their excretion.

It contains several of the B vitamins and glucuronic acid, a known liver detoxifier.

Ready-made kombucha tea is now available in many health food shops in bottles and extract drop. For more information on nutrition see 'Nutrients A to Z' by Dr. Michael Sharon (Prion Books);

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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