The secrets of the other brain



Gut instincts: The secrets of your second brain

When it comes to your moods, decisions and behaviour, the brain in your head is not the only one doing the thinking


IT’S been a tough morning. You were late for work, missed a crucial meeting and now your boss is mad at you. Come lunchtime you walk straight past the salad bar and head for the stodge. You can’t help yourself – at times of stress the brain encourages us to seek out comfort foods. That much is well known. What you probably don’t know, though, is that the real culprit may not be the brain in your skull but your other brain.

Yes, that’s right, your other brain. Your body contains a separate nervous system that is so complex it has been dubbed the second brain. It comprises an estimated 500 million neurons – about five times as many as in the brain of a rat – and is around 9 metres long, stretching from your oesophagus to your anus. It is this brain that could be responsible for your craving under stress for crisps, chocolate and cookies.

Embedded in the wall of the gut, the enteric nervous system (ENS) has long been known to control digestion. Now it seems it also plays an important role in our physical and mental well-being. It can work both independently of and in conjunction with the brain in your head and, although you are not conscious of your gut “thinking”, the ENS helps you sense environmental threats, and then influences your response. “A lot of the information that the gut sends to the brain affects well-being, and doesn’t even come to consciousness,” says Michael Gershon at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York.

If you look inside the human body, you can’t fail to notice the brain and its offshoots of nerve cells running along the spinal cord. The ENS, a widely distributed network of neurons spread throughout two layers of gut tissue, is far less obvious, which is why it wasn’t discovered until the mid-19th century. It is part of the autonomic nervous system, the network of peripheral nerves that control visceral functions. It is also the original nervous system, emerging in the first vertebrates over 500 million years ago and becoming more complex as vertebrates evolved – possibly even giving rise to the brain itself.


Digestion is a complicated business, so it makes sense to have a dedicated network of nerves to oversee it. As well as controlling the mechanical mixing of food in the stomach and coordinating muscle contractions to move it through the gut, the ENS also maintains the biochemical environment within different sections of the gut, keeping them at the correct pH and chemical composition needed for digestive enzymes to do their job.

But there is another reason the ENS needs so many neurons: eating is fraught with danger. Like the skin, the gut must stop potentially dangerous invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, from getting inside the body. If a pathogen should cross the gut lining, immune cells in the gut wall secrete inflammatory substances including histamine, which are detected by neurons in the ENS. The gut brain then either triggers diarrhoea or alerts the brain in the head, which may decide to initiate vomiting, or both.

You needn’t be a gastroenterologist to be aware of these gut reactions – or indeed the more subtle feelings in your stomach that accompany emotions such as excitement, fear and stress. For hundreds of years, people have believed that the gut interacts with the brain to influence health and disease. Yet this connection has only been studied over the last century. Two pioneers in this field were American physician Byron Robinson, who in 1907 published The Abdominal and Pelvic Brain, and his contemporary, British physiologist Johannis Langley, who coined the term “enteric nervous system”. Around this time, it also became clear that the ENS can act autonomously, with the discovery that if the main connection with the brain – the vagus nerve – is severed the ENS remains capable of coordinating digestion. Despite these discoveries, interest in the gut brain fell until the 1990s when the field of neurogastroenterology was born.

We now know that the ENS is not just capable of autonomy but also influences the brain. In fact, about 90 per cent of the signals passing along the vagus nerve come not from above, but from the ENS (American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, vol 283, p G1217).

The feel-good factor

The second brain also shares many features with the first. It is made up of various types of neuron, with glial support cells. It has its own version of a blood-brain barrier to keep its physiological environment stable. And it produces a wide range of hormones and around 40 neurotransmitters of the same classes as those found in the brain. In fact, neurons in the gut are thought to generate as much dopamine as those in the head. Intriguingly, about 95 per cent of the serotonin present in the body at any time is in the ENS.

What are these neurotransmitters doing in the gut? In the brain, dopamine is a signalling molecule associated with pleasure and the reward system. It acts as a signalling molecule in the gut too, transmitting messages between neurons that coordinate the contraction of muscles in the colon, for example. Also transmitting signals in the ENS is serotonin – best known as the “feel-good” molecule involved in preventing depression and regulating sleep, appetite and body temperature. But its influence stretches far beyond that. Serotonin produced in the gut gets into the blood, where it is involved in repairing damaged cells in the liver and lungs. It is also important for normal development of the heart, as well as regulating bone density by inhibiting bone formation (Cell, vol 135, p 825).

But what about mood? Obviously the gut brain doesn’t have emotions, but can it influence those that arise in your head? The general consensus is that neurotransmitters produced in the gut cannot get into the brain – although, theoretically, they could enter small regions that lack a blood-brain barrier, including the hypothalamus. Nevertheless, nerve signals sent from the gut to the brain do appear to affect mood. Indeed, research published in 2006 indicates that stimulation of the vagus nerve can be an effective treatment for chronic depression that has failed to respond to other treatments (The British Journal of Psychiatry, vol 189, p 282).

Such gut to brain signals may also explain why fatty foods make us feel good. When ingested, fatty acids are detected by cell receptors in the lining of the gut, which send nerve signals to the brain. This may not be simply to keep it informed of what you have eaten. Brain scans of volunteers given a dose of fatty acids directly into the gut show they had a lower response to pictures and music designed to make them feel sad than those given saline. They also reported feeling only about half as sad as the other group (The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 121, p 3094).

There is further evidence of links between the two brains in our response to stress. The feeling of “butterflies” in your stomach is the result of blood being diverted away from it to your muscles as part of the fight or flight response instigated by the brain. However, stress also leads the gut to increase its production of ghrelin, a hormone that, as well as making you feel more hungry, reduces anxiety and depression. Ghrelin stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain both directly, by triggering neurons involved in pleasure and reward pathways, and indirectly by signals transmitted via the vagus nerve.

In our evolutionary past, the stress-busting effect of ghrelin may have been useful, as we would have needed to be calm when we ventured out in search of food, says Jeffrey Zigman at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. In 2011, his team reported that mice exposed to chronic stress sought out fatty food, but those that were genetically engineered to be unable to respond to ghrelin did not (The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 121, p 2684). Zigman notes that in our modern world, with freely available high-fat food, the result of chronic stress or depression can be chronically elevated ghrelin – and obesity.

Gershon suggests that strong links between our gut and our mental state evolved because a lot of information about our environment comes from our gut. “Remember the inside of your gut is really the outside of your body,” he says. So we can see danger with our eyes, hear it with our ears and detect it in our gut. Pankaj Pasricha, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology in Baltimore, Maryland, points out that without the gut there would be no energy to sustain life. “Its vitality and healthy functioning is so critical that the brain needs to have a direct and intimate connection with the gut,” he says.

But how far can comparisons between the two brains be taken? Most researchers draw the line at memory – Gershon is not one of them. He tells the story of a US army hospital nurse who administered enemas to the paraplegic patients on his ward at 10 o’clock every morning. When he left, his replacement dropped the practice. Nevertheless, at 10 the next morning, everyone on the ward had a bowel movement. This anecdote dates from the 1960s and while Gershon admits that there have been no other reports of gut memory since, he says he remains open to the idea.

Gut instincts

Then there’s decision-making. The concept of a “gut instinct” or “gut reaction” is well established, but in fact those fluttery sensations start with signals coming from the brain – the fight or flight response again. The resulting feeling of anxiety or excitement may affect your decision about whether to do that bungee jump or arrange a second date, but the idea that your second brain has directed the choice is not warranted. The subconscious “gut instinct” does involve the ENS but it is the brain in your head that actually perceives the threat. And as for conscious, logical reasoning, even Gershon accepts that the second brain doesn’t do that. “Religion, poetry, philosophy, politics – that’s all the business of the brain in the head,” he says.

Still, it is becoming apparent that without a healthy, well-developed ENS we face problems far wider than mere indigestion. Pasricha has found that newborn rats whose stomachs are exposed to a mild chemical irritant are more depressed and anxious than other rats, with the symptoms continuing long after the physical damage has healed. This doesn’t happen after other sorts of damage, like skin irritation, he says.

It has also emerged that various constituents of breast milk, including oxytocin, support the development of neurons in the gut (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, vol 55, p 1592). This might explain why premature babies who are not breastfed are at higher risk of developing diarrhoea and necrotising enterocolitis, in which portions of the bowel become inflamed and die.

Serotonin is also crucial for the proper development of the ENS where, among its many roles, it acts as a growth factor. Serotonin-producing cells develop early on in the ENS, and if this development is affected, the second brain cannot form properly, as Gershon has shown in mutated mice. He believes that a gut infection or extreme stress in a child’s earliest years may have the same effect, and that later in life this could lead to irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterised by chronic abdominal pain with frequent diarrhoea or constipation that is often accompanied by depression. The idea that irritable bowel syndrome can be caused by the degeneration of neurons in the ENS is lent weight by recent research revealing that 87 out of 100 people with the condition had antibodies in their circulation that were attacking and killing neurons in the gut (Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, vol 18, p 78).

If nothing else, the discovery that problems with the ENS are implicated in all sorts of conditions means the second brain deserves a lot more recognition than it has had in the past. “Its aberrations are responsible for a lot of suffering,” says Pasricha. He believes that a better understanding of the second brain could pay huge dividends in our efforts to control all sorts of conditions, from obesity and diabetes to problems normally associated with the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Yet the number of researchers investigating the second brain remains small. “Given it’s potential, it’s astonishing how little attention has been paid to it,” says Pasricha.

Mental illnesses of the gut

A growing realisation that the nervous system in our gut is not just responsible for digestion (see main story) is partly fuelled by discoveries that this “second brain” is implicated in a wide variety of brain disorders. In Parkinson’s disease, for example, the problems with movement and muscle control are caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. However, Heiko Braak at the University of Frankfurt, Germany, has found that the protein clumps that do the damage, called Lewy bodies, also show up in dopamine-producing neurons in the gut. In fact, judging by the distribution of Lewy bodies in people who died of Parkinson’s, Braak thinks it actually starts in the gut, as the result of an environmental trigger such as a virus, and then spreads to the brain via the vagus nerve.

Likewise, the characteristic plaques or tangles found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s are present in neurons in their guts too. And people with autism are prone to gastrointestinal problems, which are thought to be caused by the same genetic mutation that affects neurons in the brain.

Although we are only just beginning to understand the interactions between the two brains, already the gut offers a window into the pathology of the brain, says Pankaj Pasricha at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. “We can theoretically use gut biopsies to make early diagnoses, as well as to monitor response to treatments.”

Cells in the second brain could even be used as a treatment themselves. One experimental intervention for neurodegenerative diseases involves transplanting neural stem cells into the brain to replenish lost neurons. Harvesting these cells from the brain or spinal cord is not easy, but now neural stem cells have been found in the gut of human adults (Cell Tissue Research, vol 344, p 217). These could, in theory, be harvested using a simple endoscopic gut biopsy, providing a ready source of neural stem cells. Indeed, Pasricha’s team is now planning to use them to treat diseases including Parkinson’s.

-by Emma Young, New Scientist

Natural Liver Cleanse

We have seen some great results with this liver cleanse.  It is simple to do and most everyone can find all the products necessary.  Here is what you will need:


apple juice


100% natural apple juice

magnesium sulfate (a.k.a. epsom salt)

cold pressed olive oil

fresh squeezed grapefruit juice



For 6 days, take 1 litre of the natural apple juice throughout the day.   Your diet can be the same as always – there is no need to change anything. Of course sugars should be eliminated anyway.

On the beginning of the 6th day:

  • Throughout the day, drink 1 litre of apple juice until 4 pm
  • At 6 pm take 1 tablespoon epsom salts in 180 ml water
  • At 8 pm take 1 tablespoon epsom salts in 180 ml water
  • At 10 pm mix 250 ml of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil withy 250 ml of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and get to bed, sleeping on your right side

Next morning

  • At 6 am take 1 tablespoon of epsom salts in 180 ml water
  • At 8 am take 1 tablespoon of epsom salts in 180 ml water


On this last day, your diet should not be as usual.  Eat light all day – perhaps eggs in the morning and vegetables in the afternoon and that night.  Eat foods that the body can process quickly, not meats and other heavy foods.


Source: Health Sacraments Workbook : Genesis Health & Healing




Morgellons information and help

Colloidal Silver – some benefits

Proven Colloidal Silver Health Benefits Infographic chart

What is Colloidal Silver?Dime

Before the invention of the refrigerator, it was common practice to drop a silver coin into a container of milk as a preservative because silver was known to prevent the growth of algae, bacteria and other undesirable organisms.

Dating back to ancient times, silver was also a popular remedy to stop the spread of diseases. Its use as a natural antibiotic continued all the way until the 1940s, when modern antibiotics arrived.

Today, obviously, people don’t need to drop silver coins into their water to experience colloidal silver benefits! All you need to do is carefully take a few drops from a bottle that you buy at the store, which is:

A solution of water containing nanometre sized particles of suspended silver. The total silver content is expressed as milligrams of silver per litre (mg/L) of water which is numerically the same as parts per million (ppm). The total silver content is divided into two forms of silver: ionic silver and silver particles. (3)

There are basically three types of products that are marketed as “colloidal silver” and these can be categorized as:

  • Ionic silver solutions
  • Silver protein
  • True colloidal silver

Ionic silver – 

Ionic silver solutions are products whose silver content primarily consists of silver ions. Although ionic silver is often marketed as colloidal silver, it’s not true colloidal silver. Because it’s the least expensive to produce, ionic silver is the most popular product in this category. The problem? It simply won’t produce the same benefits that true colloidal silver can.

Silver Protein – 

In order to keep large silver particles suspended, silver protein-based products add gelatin. Silver protein is the second-most popular type of colloidal silver product on the market and can easily be made by adding water to silver protein powder. Again, it’s also often marketed and labeled as colloidal silver, but should not be confused for the real thing. Silver protein is less effective for human use, and you won’t experience the true colloidal silver benefits.

True Colloidal Silver – 

Lastly, true silver colloids don’t contain any protein or other additives, as the vast majority of the silver content consists of nanometre-sized silver particles. (4)

Colloidal Silver Side Effects

Although the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health reports that colloidal silver may cause poor absorption of some drugs, there is limited research proving that side effects to colloidal silver use even exist. (17)

Nonetheless, you may come across many warnings about it causing an irreversible condition called argyria (when people turn blue). However, this is caused by misuse not of true colloidal silver, but through other cheaper products marketed as colloidal silver, such as ionic silver or silver protein.

One point to consider is that, because colloidal silver is such a potent antibacterial agent, you should be sure to supplement with probiotics during use to be sure that you maintain a proper balance of microflora.




Marvellous Moringa


Amazing Moringa: Medicinal and Edible

The Health Benefits of Moringa - Moringa


In the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, a certain tree has long graced the region with its miraculous fruit. Hanging from its wiry branches are clusters of ribbed pods, each a foot in length. These pods, or drumsticks, have attracted the attention of mankind for millennia, and for good reason.

While the aptly named Drumstick tree has a rather slender appearance, it is anything but frail. A tropical native, this prolific powerhouse has spread its roots across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. And now, it seems to have anchored itself in American soil.

Part of a new wave of exotic vegetables, Moringa oleifera (MO) is a botanical platypus. A member of the order Brassicales, it’s a distant relative of both the cabbage and papaya. Its roots taste so much like its cousin horseradish, that it’s earned the title ‘horseradish tree’. Its fruit, a popular Indian vegetable, looks like a cross between an okra and a pole bean with the flavor of asparagus. Its cooked flowers mimic mushrooms in taste, while its leaves hint at spinach and lettuce. Its immature seeds are used like peas and if fried when mature, resemble peanuts.

In fact, it’s hard to find a part of Moringa that isn’t edible. Even the bark is sometimes taken internally for diarrhea. But that doesn’t come as a surprise to the locals, who consider it a living pharmacy. Moringa has proven to be a multipurpose arsenal that dispenses some of the best secrets nature has to offer. For centuries, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a host of ailments including anemia, bronchitis, tumors, scurvy, and skin infections.

Drought hardy and disease resistant, Moringa is a godsend during the dry season, when little food is available. The fresh leaves and branches serve as an excellent source of forage. The leaves offer a spectrum of nutrition, rich in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as protein, calcium, and iron. They are so nutritious in fact, that they contain more vitamin A than carrots, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more potassium than bananas, and more protein than either milk or eggs! A traditional item in pickles and curries, the raw leaves are also perfect for salads.

As a result, Moringa could play a key role as a wholesome food source in impoverished nations, where malnutrition is often rampant. The World Health Organization has stressed the importance of amino acids and protein for growing children. Luckily, Moringa leaves are rich in these nutrients, with the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids and a host of protective phytochemicals.

Amazing Moringa - Medicinal, Edible and Easy to Grow - Nutrition


Adds Nikolaus Foidl, a world leading agricultural researcher on Moringa.

“[It] is a very healthy satisfying food that meets all nutritive needs. It is cheap to produce, can be cooked or eaten raw, sold in the market, or dried as a powder to be sold over long distances.”

Foidl has been studying the tree for over a decade in conjunction with the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. He has traveled to many countries, including Senegal, Honduras, Guinea Bissau, and Argentina, promoting the miracle tree’s cultivation by working with the locals. In Nicaragua, he helped farmers utilize the leaf extract as a growth spray for other crops.

“Moringa leaves contain the growth factors gibberellin, kinetin, and some lower levels of auxin. We got up to a 25% increase in sugarcane and turnips, onions and radish.”


Such a bountiful increase should not be ignored, especially in areas where food shortage is an issue. Foidl, who has the financial support of the Austrian government, first came across the tree by accident. He recounted,

“By chance, I had a Jatropha plantation with rows of Moringa as windbreaks and the damn cows were always breaking down my fences to get to them. So I wondered, what is so special about this tree that the cows are willing to risk injury?”

That question has now led to a new understanding of Moringa’s multifaceted potential. As a vigorous hardy grower, it surprisingly does not require much water or soil nutrients once established. This makes it one of the most valuable tropical trees in terms of overall utility.

Like the leaves, the flowers too are edible when cooked, packed with calcium and potassium. As a bonus, they are not only incredibly fragrant, but also support native bee populations.

Moringa roots and bark, on the other hand, are used with caution. The bark contains the toxic chemicals moringinine and spirochin which can alter heart rate and blood pressure. However, they do show promise in the medical field. The inner flesh of the root is less toxic, and those of young plants are picked for a hot sauce base while the resin is added as a thickener. Interestingly, blue dye can be obtained from the wood, which is also used in paper production.


Amazing Moringa - Medicinal, Edible and Easy to Grow


But if Moringa were a magician, it has certainly saved its best trick for last. The famed drumstick contains all nine essential amino acids that humans must obtain exclusively from their diet. Often, they’re chopped into logs, boiled, and split into thirds lengthwise. The fibrous rind is inedible – rather it’s the soft jellied pulp and seeds that are sought after. These can be scooped out or scraped away by the teeth.

Hidden within the drumsticks are even more remarkable seeds. Loaded with protein, they also contain special non-toxic polypeptides that act as natural filters. When ground into powder and mixed with water, they cause sediments to clump together and settle out. Then when strained through a cloth, they provide cheap access to clean water. Amazingly, just two seeds are enough to purify a dirty liter.

“It has been widely used at the village level in Africa to transform river water into drinking water,” shared Foidl. “I had a project working with the seeds in a wastewater treatment plant in Nicaragua (wastewater from 4,000 people). It was very effective – about 99.5% separation of turbidity in 30 minutes.”

In turn, the seeds themselves yield a valuable yellow oil called ben oil. Sweet, clear, and odorless, it doesn’t spoil easily – perfect for perfumes, cosmetics, and lubrication. It has also found use in cooking due to its high levels of healthy unsaturated fats.


Amazing Moringa - Medicinal, Edible and Easy to Grow - Malnutrition and Growth Areas Map

Moringa’s natural growing regions and regions of malnutrition.


9th August 2015

By Ansel Oommen

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

About the author:

Ansel Oommen is a garden writer, citizen scientist, and medical transcriptionist whose works have been published in magazines such as Atlas Obscura, Well Being Journal, and Entomology Today, among others. Discover more at

All images thanks to Nikolaus Foidl (whom the author interviewed for this article) apart from Moringa root, thanks to Crops for the Future.


Kombucha’s benefi

7 Reasons to Drink Kombucha Every Day

reasons to drink kombucha every day title

Please note, BIO-SIL does not sell kombuha or cultures

What is Kombucha?

Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:

The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as aSCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green tea too.

You can make kombucha yourself at home or buy it for $3–$5 a bottle at most health food stores and some coffee shops.

Beneficial Probiotics in Kombucha 

An article published in the journal Food Microbiology established that the following probiotics make up this health elixir:

  • Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
  • Acetobacter (<2 percent)
  • Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
  • Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)

Ultimately, this cocktail of good bacteria interact together in a unique way to produce some unbelievable health benefits for those who drink it.

Health Benefits of Kombucha Infograph diagram

7 Kombucha Health Benefits

In research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014, researchers from the University of Latvia say the following about the health benefits of kombucha:

It is shown that [kombucha] can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity.

We agree! In fact, according to research there are five main health benefits of kombucha.

#1 Detoxification — The detoxifying capacity of kombucha is immense. A perfect example is in its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity.

In one study, the liver cells were protected from oxidative injury and actually maintained their normal physiology, in spite of being exposed to a toxin! According to researchers, this was “probably due to its antioxidant activity and could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”

Digestive system

#2 Digestion — Naturally, the antioxidant prowess of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create mayhem in the digestive system. However, the greatest reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics and enzymes.

Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers. No surprise to us, in some instances it’s even proven to be as effective as drugs like Prilosec, which are commonly prescribed for heartburn, GERD and ulcers.

Kombucha can also help heal candida yeast from overpopulating within the gut because it helps restore balance to the digestive system. Kombucha is a great way to fight candida because it contains live probiotic cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast. Kombucha does have bacteria, but these are not harmful pathogen bacteria, instead they are the beneficial kind (called “apathogens”) that compete with “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive tract.

One thing to mention here is that candida or other digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. This doesn’t mean that kombucha isn’t effective or is exacerbating the problem, just that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times some patience or trial and error is needed.

#3 Energy — Kombucha’s ability to invigorate people is credited to the formation ofiron that is released from the black tea during the fermentation process. It also contains some caffeine (although in very small amounts) and b-vitamins, which can energize the body.

Through a special process known as chelation, the iron released helps boost blood hemoglobin, improving oxygen supply to tissues and stimulating the energy-producing process at the cellular level. In other words, by helping the body create more energy (ATP), the ancient tea can help those who regularly drink it stay energized.

#4 Immune Health — The overall effect that kombucha has to modulate the immune system is best seen in its ability to control free radicals through antioxidant measures.

Clinically proven to decrease oxidative stress and related immuno-suppression, a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) was discovered during the kombucha fermentation process that’s not found in black tea alone.

Scientists suspect that DSL and the vitamin C present in kombucha are its main secrets in protecting against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the immune system. Also, we know the probiotics found in kombucha support the immune system.

Joint Health, knee pain, arthritis

#5 Joint Care — Kombucha can help heal, repair and prevent joint damage in a number of ways. Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines, which increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. This supports the preservation of collagen and prevents arthritic pain. In the same way it supports joint collagen, it also supports collagen of the entire body and reduces the appearance of wrinkles on the skin.

#6 Cancer Prevention — Kombucha is also beneficial for cancer prevention and recovery. A study published in Cancer Letters found that consuming glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in humans.

President Reagan even reportedly drank kombucha daily as part of his regimen to battle stomach cancer.

Weight Loss

#7 Weight Loss — Data from a study in 2005 showed evidence that kombucha improves metabolism and limits fat accumulation. Though we need to see more studies before we can confirm these results, it makes sense that kombucha supports weight loss since it’s high in acetic acid (just like apple cider vinegar is) and polyphenols, which are proven to help increase weight loss.

How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha is simple to make yourself, and because it can be a bit costly to buy bottled kombucha almost every day, we recommend you give it a shot.

Here is a simple recipe for making your own kombucha at home. This recipe makes about eight cups of kombucha, but you can also double the recipe to make more and you still only need one SCOBY disk.

Kombucha Recipe

kombucha tea

Yields: 8 cups

You need:

  • 1 large glass/metal jar or bowl that has a wide opening. You want to avoid using a plastic jar or bowl because the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the kombucha during the fermentation period. It’s also possible that ceramic pots might cause lead to leach into the kombucha once the acid comes into contact with the ceramic glaze. Look for a big metal or glass jug/jar/bowl online or in large kitchen stores, and make sure the opening is wide enough to allow a lot of oxygen to reach the kombucha while it ferments.
  • 1 large piece of cloth or dish towel to secure around the opening of the jar with a rubber band. It’s not recommended to use a cheese cloth since this allows particles to pass through. You can even try using an old thin cotton t-shirt or some simple cotton fabric from any textile store.
  • 1 SCOBY disk. You will need to purchase a “SCOBY” disk and can find one either in health food stores or online at very inexpensive prices. A SCOBY disk can be vacuumed-sealed in a small pouch and shipped directly to your house for only a few dollars, while still preserving all of the active yeast ingredients.
  • 8 cups of water (preferably filtered, but people who use tap water feel this works fine too). Some prefer using distilled water which will contain less contaminants or metals than tap water will. Distilled water is inexpensive (only like 88 cents a gallon) and can be found at most large drug or convenience stores.
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar or honey. When it comes to sugar substitutions, some feel that it’s not a good idea to substitute cane sugar for another kind of sugar,honey, stevia or anything else. On the other hand some people have reported making kombucha successfully with raw honey. The quality of the sugar is important in order to avoid contaminants, so look for organic sugar. Yes, this is one of the few times we’ll tell you to use real sugar! Most of it is actually “eaten” by the yeast during the fermentation process, so there is very little sugar actually left in the recipe by the time you consume it.
  • 4 black tea bags (preferably organic which some people have reported works better). Some people also like to use green tea, although black tea is the kind used traditionally in most cases.
  • 1 cup of pre-made kombucha, which you can either buy or use from a previous kombucha batch that you or a friend made.


1. Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

2. Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.

3. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes about one hour). Once it’s cooled, add your tea mixture to your big jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.

4. Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel, and try to keep the cloth in plate by using a rubber hand or some sort of tie. You want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place, but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.

5. Allow the kombucha to sit for 7–10 days depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment even longer and develop more taste. Some people have reported fermenting kombucha for up to a month with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation you’re looking for.

Kombucha tea drink recipe

Usually, the warmer your home is, the less time the kombucha needs to ferment. Once you’re happy with the taste, put your kombucha into smaller glass bottles (or whatever type of bottle fits in your refrigerator), and refrigerate the kombucha for at least 24 hours to allow it to cool and finish carbonating. Once it’s cooled, you are ready to drink your homemade kombucha!

*Note that as the fermentation process happens, you will notice that the SCOBY disk “grows” a second SCOBY disk. Many people call the SCOBY that you purchased and used to make the kombucha the “mother” SCOBY and the second SCOBY that grows the “baby.” The mother SCOBY is located on top of the baby.

You can actually use the newly formed baby SCOBY to create a whole new batch of kombucha, so you don’t want to throw out the baby disk. Store the baby SCOBY in a bit of already-made kombucha in a glass jar while not using it, so you have it on hand to start a new batch when you want it. It will “active” for several weeks when it’s stored in some kombucha at room temperature on a counter top. While some people prefer to keep the mother scoby disk attached to the baby, others prefer to throw away the mother SCOBY once the kombucha is finished fermenting.

It seems to work well both ways and keeping the mother disk hasn’t caused any reported problems or contamination. According to some sources, the mother disk can keep fermenting new kombucha batches for about another month after its first use, but then will become inactive and should be thrown away.

Making Flavored Kombucha:

The recipe above is for a basic, unflavored kombucha. You can try adding unique flavors like fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice; ginger root “juice” made by blending ginger and water, blended berries, fresh-squeezed orange, pomegranate or cranberry juices; or many other natural and low-sugar flavors.

We recommend doing this after the kombucha has fermented and is ready to drink, although some people to prefer to add flavor-enhancers to the kombucha a day or two before it’s done so the flavor can intensify. Either way to seems to work well, but keep in mind that berries and other perishable fruits will not last as long as the kombucha itself, so those will limit the time you have to store it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that flavored, bottled kombucha tends to have more sugar than the plain kind. Some brands add very low-sugar flavors like lemon, lime, or ginger juice which won’t jack up the sugar content, but look out for kinds that are high in added sugar and aggravate health problems.

Kombucha Side Effects 

Most people experience great benefits drinking kombucha and have no negative side effects. However, there are possible interactions and side effect symptoms to be aware of, mostly in populations that already have weakened immune systems and digestive problems. Side effects seem to be more of a risk when making homemade kombucha because contamination is possible and the SCOBY disk and finished products both aren’t tested for quality control, like they are when larger manufacturers produce them. If you’re going to brew your own, pay careful attention to using sterile equipment, clean working spaces and high-quality ingredients.

A small percentage of people have experienced stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. Because kombucha has a high level of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for people with digestive problems like stomach ulcers, heartburn, or any sensitivity to very acidic foods.

It’s a good idea to start with a small amount in moderation and gradually work your way up to drinking more in order to see if you have any negative reaction to it. Stick to about 8 ounces per day, especially in the beginning. To limit your risk, buy pre-made kombucha that’s been tested for bacterial contamination.

Other groups that might want to limit their kombucha consumption include: people with leaky gut syndrome, those with very poor immune systems and pregnant women. More information can be found below about risks related to those groups:

kombucha tea drink

Use caution if you have a weakened immune system

People who have compromised immunity due to certain viruses like HIV/AIDS need to be careful about consuming kombucha, since there is always a possibility that the yeast can grow harmful bacteria that can cause illness. This is especially true of homemade kombucha, where contamination is more likely to happen if it’s brewed in an unsanitary environment.

Women who are pregnant or nursing

While kombucha hasn’t been studied much at all in pregnant women, there is always concern that pregnant women shouldn’t consume alcohol or caffeine, both of which are present in kombucha in small amounts. Before more formal research is conducted showing that it’s completely safe, pregnant women are advised to err on the safe side and avoid kombucha, or at least to enjoy it in small quantities.

Those who cannot tolerate even low levels of sugar, caffeine or alcohol

Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar, which when fermented turn into alcohol is very small amounts (only about 1 percent of kombucha is believed to be alcohol). For people with existing diabetes, kombucha likely won’t cause much of a problem considering it’s very low in sugar (about 2 grams per 8 ounce), but it’s worth being careful and monitoring blood sugar levels and related symptoms. For those with digestive problems like IBS or anxiety disorders, the low level of caffeine in kombucha is also something to be conscious of, since caffeine can sometimes aggravate these conditions.

As you can see, kombucha boasts many health benefits, and you can even make it yourself for a very low cost so you always have some kombucha within arm’s reach! So drink up for your health!

Have you ever made or consumed kombucha? Do you consume it for the health benefits or for the taste?


  • American Cancer Society. Kombucha Tea. Available at:
  • Bhattacharya S, et al. Protective effect of kombucha tea against tertiary butyl hydroperoxide induced cytotoxicity and cell death in murine hepatocytes. Indian J. Exp Biol 2011; 49:       511–524.
  • Bhattacharya S, et al. Hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea against TBHP-induced oxidative stress via suppression of mitochondria dependent apoptosis. Pathophysiology 2011; 18:221–234.
  • Banerjee D, et al. Comparative healing property of kombucha tea and black tea against indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice: possible mechanism of action. Food Funct 2010; 1: 284–293.
  • Danielian LT. Kombucha and Its Biological Features. Meditsina, Moscow, 2005.
  • Dufresne C, et al. Tea, kombucha and health: a review. Food Res Int 2000; 33: 409–421.
  • Fu NF, et al. Clearance of free silica in rat lungs by spraying with chinese herbal kombucha. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013; 2013:790792.
  • Marsh AJ, et al. Sequence-based analysis of the bacterial and fungal compositions of multiple kombucha (tea fungus) samples. Food Microbiol 2014; 38:171-8.
  • Rashid K, et al. An update on oxidative stress-mediated organ pathophysiology. Food Chem Toxicol 2013; 62:584-600
  • Sai Ram M, et al. Effect of kombucha tea on chromate(VI)-induced oxidative stress in albino rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2010; 71: 235– 240.
  •  Vīna I, et al. Current Evidence on Physiological Activity of Kombucha Fermented Beverage and Expected Health Effects. J Med Food 2013; [Epub ahead of print]

Read Next: Vitamin B12 Benefits That You’re Probably Missing

Josh AxeDr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world…Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

Get FREE Access!

Free eBook to boost
metabolism & healing


  1. Littledove says:

    Making my third batch of Kombucha, love it, But I am concerned since reading some of the the articles on this site. I have an auto immune disease, psoriasis on feet, top, bottom, sides and starting up my legs, also on both palms. They crack peel and somestimes bleed. Many days I am not able to walk or use my hands. I started making milk kefir, cultured veggies, sourdough bread and just added kombucha. Do you think the kombucha is safe?

  2. Chrissy the Hyphenated says:

    “advised to air” … should say “err” not air.

  3. Teboho says:

    I use Kombucha all the time and I even make my own. I however would like to caution people against flavoured kombucha. I am not a chemist necessarily but would the organic compounds in fruits react with the bactrium and yeast in Kombucha to form some harmful formaldehyde?

  4. Shirley says:

    Kombucha and diabetes, type 2, good or bad. My ph test is between 3.0 and 3.2 when I process my kombucha. Info please.

  5. Krista says:

    Its “err on the safe side” on “air on the safe side”. Just fyi

  6. Corey says:

    Is kombucha safe for nursing mothers? I’ve come across different opinions. If so, how much water intake would be necessary to flush out toxins and keep them from entering breast milk? Thanks!

  7. Marti says:

    I was drinking Kombucha daily, and had what I think is herxheimer reaction, which I am still working on clearing up. I researched and understand that it is Candida die off reaction, I am now leery to try it again, even though I think I have candida overgrowth. Suggestions please.

  8. Michael says:

    Hi Dr. Axe, can we use the ‘mother’ scoby to start another new batch of Kombucha instead of throwing it away after the fermentation process ? Thank you.

    • Heather says:

      Yes I reuse my mother all the time!! After several months you’ll want to stop using it bit definitely not just after 1 batch. Also do NOT use a metal containe because metal kills the scoby if it’s in contact for long periods!!

  9. chelle nelson says:

    I entered my email for sign up for newsletters and such. Went to download the free items and it disappeared. Need to download them how to access without adding email again.

  10. shea roberts says:

    I have been diagnsed with mycotoxin exposure and possibly lymes with mthfr hetero-a1298c and wondered would this be beneficial for me to drink or should I stay away from yeasty, fermented foods? I have had a difficult time trying to figure out what foods are good for me in this detoxing process and which ones I should stay away from. I know even though some food are “healthy” foods, they are not healthy for me at this stage. Thank you for your advice, Shea Roberts

Eyeball Exercises

So many people are looking for this kind of eye help and this looks good:

Throw Away Your Glasses! Thousands Of People Improved Their Vision With This Method!

We all know that if we don’t use specific group of muscles for some time, they will weaken over time.

For example, if someone hurt his leg and he uses a wheelchair for some time, his leg will become weaker and weaker. The same goes with your muscles around your eye.

If you wear glasses and you don’t do exercises with your eyes, your vision will become weaker. The eye muscles need exercises as every other muscle in our body.

You will need the following roles in the process of restoration of your vision:

  • It is recommended to close your eyes for a few minutes on every 2-3 hours and avoid hard pressure on them.
  • You will need to implement gymnastics for your eyes. There are 16 exercises for your eye.(follow these lines with your eyes)
  • Don’t wear glasses
  • Massage specific spots everyday

You can apply light pressure on your eyeball with the tips of your middle and index finger. Press lightly so you don’t feel pain. Then with your index finger press these points.

  • While walking outside look into distance
  • Consume carrot juices with few drops of olive oil regularly
  • Clean your eyes with warm water
  • Try not to use laptop or PC at least 2 hours before sleeping.
  • To establish your vision implement the Indian exercise Trataka.

Trataka is a form of meditation where you have to focus at moderate distance concentrating at a specific point (candle light, black spot, small object) for strengthening of the eyesight, stimulating the third eye and developing focus.

First you will have to focus on some object or a symbol and stare at it continuously with paying attention on every thought and emotion. You will have to release them in order to have your mind focused on the symbol with pure thoughts.

If tears start to come from your eyes, close them down and leave them to rest.  The main point of Trataka is to stand as much as you can, before you have tears flowing from your eyes.


  • See more at:
%d bloggers like this: