Anyone scanning the isles of a natural health market will immediately notice the vast amount of health drinks now being sold. Even though many of these drinks are sweetened with sugar or contain hidden additives, the general health boosting claims are not unfounded and have fueled this rapidly growing market. Although these drinks can be expensive to buy, today I’d like to share 3 types of powerful drinks that are quite easy to make at home.
These days you can find many different flavors of kombucha tea in health food stores, touted as a natural probiotic and health drink. Basically, it’s a sweetened black or green tea that is fermented with a culture made of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast called SCOBY. This is also referred to as the Kombucha mushroom due to its similar appearance as it forms at the top of the tea while fermenting. The end result is a tasty, effervescent sweet and sour drink that many find very appealing.
How to make it: To make Kombucha tea, you’ll need to purchase your first SCOBY online or obrain one from someone who is already making Kombucha and has an extra. This is something you’ll only need one time if you preserve the fermented mushroom(s) batch by batch. Once you have your SCOBY, boil 3 liters of water for 5 minutes, add about 5 tea bags (green or black), turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes and then add 1 cup of organic cane sugar. Cover the tea and let it sit until it reaches room temperature. Pour the tea into a glass jar, add the liquid that came with your mushroom or previous Kombucha tea (you want this to equal about 10% of the liquid) and then add the SCOBY. Cover tightly with a cloth and leave at room temperature for 8-12 days allowing time to ferment to a pH of about 3. After preserving the mushroom(s) in tea for the next batch and bottling the rest, you’ll want to wait another 5 days for the tea to mature.
Health Benefits: Kombucha tea contains many antioxidants, which makes it an immune system booster and anti-aging tonic. It also is packed with probiotics, making it great for digestive health as well an array of other benefits associated with good bacterial flora; preventing yeast overgrowth, brain health, nutrient absorption, etc. Kombucha detoxifies the body and may even have cancer and arthritis healing and prevention properties due to its high glucaric acid content.
If you are from California or New York, you may have already seen an elixir bar or special elixirs drink menu at health food restaurants or yoga centers. Herbal elixirs are a mix of adaptogenic herbs (which means that they are rejuvenating and restorative), super foods and filtered water with many variations designed to target specific health concerns or just feel your best. Advocates say that these tonics are the perfect combination of ancient herbal traditions utilizing modern-day super foods and herbs and are sure to make you feel vital and amazing.
How to make them: Poor 1 liter of filtered hot water over 1 Tbsp of each of the herbs you want to include. Let it steep for 15 minutes and then strain it. Add 1-2 Tbsp of each super food to the tea and then blend. You can also add extracts and natural sweeteners if you’d like. E-books and recipes can be found online to help you find your favorite herbal formulations.
Health Benefits: Depending on the combination of herbs and super foods you use, these tonics can address just about any health concern. There are formulations for anti-aging, immune system support, brain health, beauty, metabolism, detoxing, allergies, adrenal glands, stress, sinuses and much much more.
Kefir is a probiotic drink that can be made with either milk or water. Milk kefir is made with cow’s milk, goat’s milk or coconut milk. Water kefir is made from sugared water, juice or coconut water. The bacterial yeast culture converts the sugar into fructose, providing a powerful drink that can balance the flora within the intestinal tract.
How to make it: As with the Kombucha tea, you’ll need to obtain a starter culture either online or from a friend who has already made kefir. Both milk and water starters are available. For the milk keefer, you’ll want to pour 1 cup or more milk over the kefir grains into a 1 quart glass jar, cover and secure it with a cloth and rubber band, and then let it ferment at room temperature (70-78°F) for 24 hours until it thickens into a buttermilk consistency. Afterwards, you strain the kefir through a fine mesh strainer to capture the kefir grains and re-use them for the next batch.
For water kefir, you’ll put ¼ cup of organic sugar (any type of sugar except for honey) into a 1 quart jar and add ½ cup of hot water to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, add cold water (or coconut water) to fill the jar, cover and secure with a cloth and rubber band, and then let it ferment at room temperature (70-78°F) for 24-48 hours before straining the kefir grains to use for the next batch. Afterwards, you can sweeten the water kefir with juice, herbs or dried fruit.
Health Benefits: Kefir has all of the probiotic benefits that Kombucha has and is excellent for digestive and brain health. It is rich in enzymes, which fill your body with healthy bacteria to maintain optimal health and a strong immune system. It can also curb food cravings by providing the proper nourishment needed for a healthy body.
 (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.kombu.de/anleit-e.htm and http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Kombucha-Tea
 (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/
 (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.secrets-of-longevity-in-humans.com/herbal-elixirs.html
 (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.dragonherbs.com
 (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.culturesforhealth.com
 (n.d.) Retrieved from http://bodyecology.com/benefits-of-kefir.php
Published On: December 12, 2012