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I am continuing my current project of bringing you new and useful information and content to empower you to Jump Start Your Healing Practice. It’s not enough to just have a goody bag of useful “tricks” and “bits” of therapies to put together a successful healing practice. Degrees and Certifications are fine but in and of themselves do not lead one to a happy, successful and fulfilling life, a intrinsically successful, happy life.
Recent Course Releases…
Increase Your Focus For Better Life and Practice
Sustainable Eating Equals Sustainable Health
Meditation for Focus and Success
The Freedom of Living in the Now
How To Get Back on The Health Track
New Video Lessons on SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Vinyasa (Flows for various breakouts)!
It is good that our traditions have deep and ancient roots with elders and teachers who have lived the life of healers, traditional doctors and therapist for centuries, literally. They are our role models. We do not have to reinvent the wheel of success in what we do by ourselves. Only our current life situations and perhaps cultural considerations are unique. But what we are doing in life is not new or unique. We can learn from our elders and these lessons and qualities I am recommending you cultivate don’t originate with me personally but they are passed down to us by previous generations of healers who chose to practice true medicine as a way of life for their whole life!
Please share these courses with your professional friends!
The ONLY On-line Thai Yoga (Traditional Thai Massage) course exclusively authored and designed by a recognized Aachan and Master Teacher of Traditional Thai Yoga Therapy!
Currently Available in the Jump Start Your Practice All Inclusive Subscription Course (New Content! Sunday, February 17th. 2019), this All Inclusive course program includes:
Eighteen (18) different professional courses.
106 Educational and Demo Video’s
32 Audio Lectures
7 Free Textbooks plus Handout!
Over 222 hours of professional Thai Yoga Therapy Educational Content!
2 Free NCBTMB/ FSMBT CE Courses suitable to renewal requirements for Massage Therapist National Certification Board License Renewal!
Please NOTE! Of course, if you have already attended a LIVE SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Practitioner Program then the new LearnThaiYoga on-Line School gives you new review and updates on new materials and clinical applications to keep your work fresh and practical. Expand your practice!
At the LearnThaiYoga On-Line School we are committed to bring you the very best instructional courses and support materials.
Clinical Applications: Courses cover all aspects of Traditional Thai Yoga Therapy Practice from technique to clinical applications. Dr. James is not just an AaChan and Master Teacher of Thai Traditional Ayurveda and Medicine, but he holds Doctorates in Medicine, Naturopathy, Oriental Medicine-Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Indigenous Medicine and a Masters of Science in Clinical Herbology plus other advance clinical boards and certifications… Only a Physician can give you a trusted clinical approach!
We have over 200 new lessons scheduled to be delivered over the next six months! You can expect a new courses, new video’s and or new multiple lessons to be added and or updated weekly!
A Therapeutic Art and Science, developed for the benefit of mankind. The practical expression of loving kindness addressing the issues of pain and suffering.
SomaVeda® incorporates elements of mindfulness, gentle rocking, deep slow stretching and rhythmic compression to create a singular healing experience.
The four principle therapies used in traditional healing are Wai Khruu (paying respect and affirmations for mental, emotional and spiritual health), Herbs and Natural Substances, Sacred Nutrition or Eating for long life/ Diet and healthy eating and Laying On of Hands (Chirothesia/ Marma Chikitsa/ Yoga Therapy).
SomaVeda® Certified and Authorized Practitioner’s and Therapist (Medicine Persons) determine best treatment strategy after intake based on traditional Vedic and western biologic assessments. They look at the whole person assessing the body, mind and spiritual needs of the client and then lay out a multi-day program which will methodically work through and treat appropriately the needs of the client. Every individual session and or component of the SomaVeda® Therapeutic Day program is unique and different. Think of the program as not just a treatment but a journey of discovery into the possibilities of healing based on this traditional therapeutic model.
Content therapies included are based on Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, SomaVeda® Thai Yoga, Medicine of Hope™, Indigenous (clerical/ pastoral/ ministerial) Healthcare, Healing Science and Medicine (IHSM).
SomaVeda® incorporates elements of mindfulness, gentle rocking, deep slow stretching and rhythmic compression to create a singular healing experience.
It brings fundamental elements and energy into harmony; creates wholeness of mind, body and spirit, in the client and the practitioner as well. It is is an excellent alternative form of vibrational and energy based healing work. It is suitable for rehabilitation, pain relief, and stress reduction. Nurturing, calming, and enlivening SomaVeda® will expand your ideas of what hands on healing can be.
SomaVeda® Protocols Included:
Basic Program: Seven different sessions over a period of seven or more days. However, please note: SomaVeda® Therapeutic Day programs are designed/ tailored for the individual client and their specific needs for health and balancing. That means this protocol will vary from one client to the next and will also vary over time as to what is emphasized and what is not. Advanced Therapeutic Day Programs may be over 20 or 30 individual sessions and incorporate both the basic protocol and adjuncts as deemed appropriate and necessary.
The program will emphasize the balancing of both physiological/ structural and psychological/ emotional and the energetic/ vibrational as well including but not limited to 1) All the primary Chakra, 2) Over 700 Marma-vital points, 3) All primary energy lines i.e. Meridians and Thai Sen Lines, 4) Five Doshic Bodies, 5) Three Primary Dosha (Vatta, Pitta, Kapha), Ayurveda Pulse (Nadi Vignyam), 6) Over 300 therapeutic Yoga Asana or Postures.
SomaVeda®: Thai Yoga Therapeutic Day Protocol
Seven Sessions over Seven Days Session #1: Intake and Traditional Vedic and Naturopathic Clinical Assessments and a Short General Balancing Session Session#2: Supine Position Intensive Session #3: Side Lying Position Intensive Session#4: Prone Position Intensive Session #5: Abdominal/ Torso and Leg Stretching Session #6: Seated Position Intensive Session #7: Long General Session and re-assess
Total contact time average 10.5 hrs.
All program/ sessions include Assessment, Sacred Therapy, food-nutrition and supplement counseling, Mental-Emotional and Spiritual counseling by a Certified NAIC minister/ counselor. Programs may incorporate Traditional Thai Yoga Mat, Table or Chair as appropriate for session and or client.
Advanced SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Therapeutic Day Programs may also include:
▪ SomaVeda® Pancha Karma Detox and Vitality enhancement
▪ SomaVeda® BET/ EFT Energy Psychology- Tapping for Mental and Emotional issues.
▪ SomaVeda® Sacred Nutrition: More specific coaching, education and demonstrations on obtaining and preparing whole food nutrition to support healing and wellness.
▪ SomaVeda® Vibrational- Energy Medicine: Adjunct healing modalities such as Light (Near-Far-Infrared/ Photo-biomodulation Therapy), Bio-magnetic/ PEMF Therapy,
▪ SomaVeda® Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT)
▪ Massage Therapy (If NAIC Practitioner is also a State Licensed Massage Therapist!)
▪ Jade Integrative Therapy
▪ SomaVeda® Subdermal Endermatherapie
Among the many benefits of SomaVeda® Thai Yoga the following have been noted:
• Enhances the Body/Mind /Psyche connection
• Practically expresses loving kindness
• Practical extension of Divine Energy (Chirothesia)
• Lowers low-density liprotein (LDL) cholesterol (”bad” cholersterol)
• Raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “Good” cholesterol)
• Boosts immune system, helps increase resistance to infection
• Lowers high blood pressure
• May reduce risk of some cancers (Static Lymph and or site toxic)
• Assist in management of type 2 diabetes
• Reduces stress and enhances sense of well being
• Increase bone density by stressing connective tissue and “bending the bones”
• Reduces Risk of Heart Attacks
• Helps to Increases lean muscle mass
• Balances the Chakras, promotes the
circulation of Prana and vital energies
• Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression
• Reduces chronic fatigue and related syndromes
• Increases tendon and connective tissue extensibility.
• Increases range of motion and reduces resistance to motion (PNF)
• Virtual cure for many soft tissue disorder (Fibromyalgia, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
• Reduces pain and referred pain from trigger points
• Effective in reducing Migrane Headache frequency and severity
• Reduces swelling and edema
• Increases circulation of fluid and oxygen to deficient areas
• Increases range of motion and general mobility
• Effective treatment in many kinds of soft tissue related disorders
• Stress and emotional related infertility and impotence
• Removes Toxins and speeds recovery
• Reduces and or eliminates the harmful effects of negative emotions
• Effective treatment in psycho-somatic and psycho-emotional illness
• Effective treatment for Repetitive Stress Disorders
• Addresses nutritional and food issues and increase nutrient motility
• Reduces back and neck pain
• Integrates and supports proper alignment of all structural parts of the body without ballistics or force. (Osseous alignment)
• Reduces and or eliminates active / latent Trigger Points and equalizes/ reduces areas of high neurologic activity
• Effective lymphatic Drainage modality
For more extensive review of medical, clinical and anecdotal evidence for the benefits of the SomaVeda® Therapeutic Day program CLICK HERE!
Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health: Part 4 of 4
By Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), SMOKH
(Repost: Transcribed from a live talk at the Florida Sustainable Living and Perma-culture Conference, Plant City Florida, March 26, 2011)
Edible should also mean to buy local
Besides the lowered impact on the environment, another reason to buy local is to support your local community! We buy food from Peggy and Jeff at Eco-farm because they are our neighbors! That’s it, that’s the reason. We want to support them, they are up to good things, they are helping us to have a longer, healthier, happier life and by God, if I’m going to support anybody in the world, before I send 100 bucks to the American Red Cross, I’m going to send 100 bucks to Peggy and Jeff with my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and buy some food with it. I need them and they need me and that’s why I do it. Buy local. Make it personal. If you don’t personally know someone that you can buy food from, you need to cure that by getting out and meeting somebody who grows food.
A clear conscience makes the food taste better!
These choices to bring consciousness to what and how we eat need to be personal and emotional. That is conscience, by the way, and we need conscience. Edible means to eat food with a clear conscience. To have a clear conscience about what you eat. What does conscience mean? I’ll give you my definition. Conscience is an emotional realization of the truth. So its very important for me to have a good conscience about what I eat and to emotionally know that I am doing the best that I can. If I don’t know that and I go ahead and I consume it anyways, then I am acquiescing to the possibility that the food may cause harm to me and to somebody else. That’s tough, I know.
Edible means to eat less meat. Research from many sources suggests minimum 95% plant-based nutrition and 5% animal products. That’s just science, its nothing personal. You want to live happier, healthier, longer lives? You want to support the soil on the inside and out? You want to support the ecology and reduce global warming? You want to have more support for democracy in the world? Eat less meat. And then, whatever meat you do eat, make sure that you’re supporting the local farmers, that it is organic, grass fed, free range, chemical free, antibiotic free, etc.
Don’t expect to change overnight! I use the 95/5 idea because it is unrealistic to expect everyone to become a vegetarian now. We have several thousand years of indoctrination into “eating meat equals prosperity” to overcome. We’re not going to be able to turn on a dime. You vegetarians and you vegans, get the freak off the backs of your meat-eating friends! Get off their backs, because what you resist, persists. The harder you push them, the harder they will hold on to those unproductive ways of eating. If you want people to change the way they eat then do it by example. Make the most nutritious, happy, fun-filled, exciting food that you can to share with them, so that they feel like it would be crazy not to eat your delicious food. That will make it easier.
95% Plant Based Diet
Edible means to prefer a plant-based diet. Aside from the morality question of cruelty to animals from factory production of animal based foods, animal food factories are the single largest users of antibiotics. 70% of all manufactured antibiotics go to animal food production. You need to know this especially if you are against the use of antibiotics and you think that the epidemic increase in antibiotic-resistant methicillin and staph bacteria is not a good thing. 70% of the antibiotics are not being used on human patients, but they are going to the cows that people eat. Then they go from their urine and their feces into the water supply. Then from aquifers into the water supplies of the hospitals where it is then recycled into the bodies of people with deficient immune systems, where they then become susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacteria. See? It’s the circle of life. Eat less meat. Prefer a plant-based diet.
Eat the widest variety of foods you can manage
Why? That’s the way foods naturally grow in the world, in a healthy ecosystem, and it is also the way they are supposed to come into our system, in great variety and in seasonal rotation. Every type of food offers a different nutrient profile and benefit towards helping you living a full healthy and happy life. Give every good thing in nature the possibility of sharing its life enhancing qualities with you. Variety and diversity strengthen your immune system and make your taste buds happy. There is research that suggest that rotating your foods and diet can reduce allergies and may even be part of a productive strategy for mental and emotional health. Ortho-molecular Medicine and research specializes in this field. Try more. Try everything!
For everyone sake grow something!
Grow a good perma-culture based garden in a little square foot of land- you should be able to grow 6, 8 or 10 different kinds of plants. If you don’t have that little plot then invest in a pot of some kind and put an edible plant, vegetable, herb, or flower in it. Practice becoming a more conscious person by nurturing and caring for it until it matures and then eat it! Everyone can and should grow something. No reason why not!
I’m serious, grow something to eat!
ANYTHING! Everybody here should be growing one food item. Grow anything! Grow a chive! I mean come on, grow something. Anybody can grow a Chia pet. You can eat them! It’s about elevating your consciousness and bringing energy, attention, consciousness, breath and pressure to changing your environment. GROW SOMETHING.
Perma-culture experience in Thailand
Go to Thailand, you’ll see farms that if you’re not paying attention you would never know it was a farm because it looks like an overgrown jungle. You say, “What do you mean, this is a farm?” And they say, “This is a multi-generational farm! We’ve been farming here for years.” You say, “But we’re on a trail in the jungle!” And they say, “No, no, you’re on a trail through the farm!” You look around saying, “What farm? What are you talking about?” The guy reaches out and plucks a leaf off a bush and says, ‘”Put this in your mouth.” You take a bite of it- its green tea! “Whoa! Oh! There are tea plants here!” He says, “No, there are ten thousand! This is a tea plantation.” This all happened to me and I thought I was in a jungle. I said “Well, what is all this other weeds and under-growth around the base here?” He says, “Oh, that’s edible morning glories, and these are coffee.” Did you know coffee and tea grow together? They can! You don’t have to mono-culture either coffee or tea! I said “Oh, well what is this kind of viny thing here that looks like it’s choking the life out of these plants?” “Oh,” he says, “that’s edible morning glory.” Turns out to be one of my most favorite edible green foods on the whole planet.
Reasonable eating means seasonal eating
Edible means to eat seasonally for your region of the country. A billion years of survival data in our DNA tells us that the most appropriate foods for us to eat at any given time are the foods that are ripe and ready for harvest right this moment. That’s what we are supposed to be eating right now. If you don’t know what that is, well that shows the measure of separation from the environment that you are currently suffering. The proper treatment is education and experience!
Stick out your nose, open up the window, look outside, talk to a friend and say, “Hey! It’s the end of March, what is in season? What foods are in season in my geographic area?” Seek them out as your primary foods. It will change! The foods you eat are supposed to rotate, just like in nature. The soil isn’t always the same. The variety that you see in the natural ecology in December is not the same as you see in March. There will still be an equally great diversity but it will just be different. “Same same but different” as the Thai’s say “Munkan mai munkan.”
Edible should mean- eat only foods that you know you’re not allergic to!
Stop eating that which inflames you! I’d bet that everyone in this room knows or suspects something that they eat that they are allergic to. When you eat foods that are allergens, they cause a histamine reaction in your brain. This triggers an inflammatory response in your tissue, which triggers edema. Inflammation and edema are the hotbeds of disease. So one of the ways to prevent disease through your eating habits is to stop eating the foods that you already know you’re allergic to. That means stop eating any food that when you eat it regularly it makes you feel bad. It’s really easy, but we’re so out of touch with our inner ecology that we don’t know this.
Consider your overall attitude towards eating new food in general, if it has a label, READ IT.
Don’t buy it until you actually read the label. You will be surprised how many times you will put something back that you were 99% sure you were going to buy after you read the label.
Don’t waste food- compost food waste
Composting is one of the very best ways to justify our existence on this planet. It’s one of the proven simple technologies that actually feeds the earth. As a practice it runs contrary to the trends overwhelming the eco-systems and environment with harmful waste. Composting keep the useful biomass out of the land fill and on the soil where it belongs. Keep in mind that “circle of life” thing. Using your own compost to enhance the soil of your garden, or your friends garden will help insure more vital and amazing foods. These foods have more minerals and bio-available nutrients and healthy bacteria. Composting supports the process of these foods becoming our essential medicines. Everyone should compost.
Make the best possible food choices according to your understanding
Before shopping, make a list- if it is not on your list it is probably not edible. Involve your family, friends, church, social network or group in a food project, or join one. Edible should be part of that.
Make your food beyond interesting and nutritious
We have to be ninja. I’m a ninja for food! You want to know I am a healthy food ninja? How I went from a raging carnivore to a plant based diet? Know how I do it? Julie and I, we craft in the secret dark recesses of our attic with our candles and our sigils on the floor and our sacred tomes of secret knowledge (I mean favorite recipe books) and we flip the pages and we recite the ancient magic incantations of holistic, organic, local, fresh, seasonal ingredients and we put them (boil, boil, toil and trouble) into our cauldron (our safe crokery) and we put our own energy and our own sacred essence in to that boiling cauldron of magic elixir and we call it to allurement, we call it to glamor, and healing affirmation and we call it to create life and we call it to manifest our vision for the world as we see the swirl of the world inside that pot and then we serve that on the table and its an irresistible force. People are drawn to it, “OOOOHHH! What is that?” And Julie goes, “Dinner!” Then they eat and they are like, “oh, uh, um, how?” You can see it, the trying to adjust, trying to adapt, trying to encapsulate the idea that the tastiest thing that’s ever crossed this inner and outer brain barrier, has no meat! And it’s tasty! And it’s medicine! Then they start to make these little adjustments. “Hey, do you have a recipe? What are the ingredients? Is it hard to make?” “Nah,” we say, “you just throw some healthy ingredients, veggies, herbs, grains, herbs, minerals in a bowl and stir it up! It’s easy!” And then they start to do it and next thing you know, you’ve saved a soul, you’ve got another person who is going to live a longer, healthier, happier life.
All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. While all attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information. The author and ThaiYogaCenter.Com does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.
Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health: Part 3 of 4
By Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), SMOKH
(Repost: Transcribed from a live talk at the Florida Sustainable Living and Perma-culture Conference, Plant City Florida, March 26, 2011)
Food and eating strategies need to be based on non-violence
We are utterly and completely dependent on the viruses and the bacteria in the soil for our life. Somehow we lost that connection and so when we begin to experience them in our body, we think that they are foreign invaders and so we have to cut, kill and burn them. We think we have to destroy them so we do the same thing as when we apply pesticide to the soil outside, we kill them! Then the soil is no longer is able to sustain the biodiversity that life is dependent upon, monoculture prevails and diversity dies. Inevitably there is a dissolution of life and a cascading domino effect on other ecologies and eventually everybody draws the same picture: if we continue to create monoculture, the world is going to be unsuitable for human existence at a definite point in time. Everybody comes to the same conclusion. If we do the same inside of our body, guess what? We come to the same conclusion. We don’t need to kill the bacteria in our body, we don’t need to kill the viruses in our body; they have ALWAYS been with us. We need to learn how to be an ecosystem within our selves and we need to learn how to communicate. Non-violent communication, how about that? NVC applied to your body’s internal ecology. I am not trying to kill the bacteria in my body; I am negotiating an existence that is compatible, mutual, and supportive. That’s what my food strategies are about.
If it’s not right we fix it not kill it
People will say, “Well, what about infection?” Yeah? What about it? What do you do when the soil PH is not right? What do you do if you look at the soil and the mycology and bacterial structure of the soil is not right? Do you then kill it? What do you do? You AMEND it. You actually bring in plants and structure that out of their life cycle will create the balance that you want. Why? Because that is sustainable. If you dump chemicals on it, it will chemically give you a balance on a test and then you will have the imbalance that will be the consequence of the chemically induced state and it won’t be sustainable. The longer you do that to the soil and the longer you force it to produce, eventually it looks like desertification. You will kill it and reduce its ability to sustain life at the microbial level to a point to where it is no longer possible for life to be sustained. The soil will turn to sand and rock, no longer able to sustain life. We are going to end up doing the same thing to our selves because we don’t eat right and we don’t have productive eating strategies. We need to bring the same sustainable strategies to eating that we would to the soil, inner soil and outer soil, that’s what I’m saying.
Do you want to know how to get connected to the earth?
The easiest way in the world to re-establish and to revitalize your connection to the earth is to bring consciousness to what you eat. It’s so simple and you don’t have to get all big and spiritual about it. My late, adopted father Chief Floyd Real bird would have said it the same way. He would have said, “I don’t give a damn about ritual and external ceremony, the only thing mother earth cares about is how you live! Mother earth doesn’t care if you do a smudge, you light some sage or you whoop a pipe around in the air. Mother earth doesn’t care! Mother earth is all about how gentle you walk on her, how compatible you are with her other children and these kinds of things.” It is more important who you are than what you do. You want to get in touch with the planet, you want to get in touch with your roots, and you want to get in touch with your most fundamental spiritual essence? You want to get in touch with the source of life? Bring consciousness to your food. It’s the easiest way.
I am the laziest person that you’ve ever met in your whole life so I’m looking for the easiest way. What is the easiest way I can make all these universal connections? Cause’ I’m a lazy guy, right? So I’ve figured it out. The easiest way to handle all those things is to bring consciousness to what I eat! And guess what? Just by doing that not only do I get to live healthier and happier and be more functioning, but my family does too. Just by doing that alone, I lost 50 lbs in the last 2 years. I haven’t been on a diet for one minute. I eat like a freaking horse because I love to eat! I just brought consciousness to my food and my body. Soil harmonized. It equalized. It balanced. It looks like me 50 lbs lighter.
Get down on the food chain
Lets run through a couple of things. One, consider eating lower on the food chain. Ever hear the justification of “the little things eat the bigger things and then it goes on until we’re at the top of the food chain eating every damn thing else?” When you start thinking of sentient beings in the company of other sentient beings, that’s not going to work is it? It is not sustainable if we eat and or consume everything else. It’s not going to work! We need to eat a little bit lower down. On the food chain we are about where the herbivores are. Eating much above that doesn’t work and looks like were going to destroy the planet. We have that whole food chain thing wrong and we need to get down on the food chain. As a perma-culture person would say it, we need to get our hands dirty!
Get your hands dirty
What do you have to do if you want to know what is going on with the soil?
The finest, most sophisticated technological instrument ever created for agriculture is the finger! I think that’s why we have them. Some people say it’s for tools. Maybe if a tool is a hoe but that’s not the only reason we have fingers. We have fingers so we can point at each other and say “Hey! You aint’ doin’ the right thing!” We have fingers so we can put them in the dirt and know what’s happening. That’s how we make our connection, right? Want to develop superpowers? Spend more time with your fingers in the dirt. In yoga we call them Siddhas. You want to develop Siddhas? You want to become a Reishi yogi, a magnificent supernatural superman or woman? I’ll give you a secret- get your fingers dirty, get your hands dirty and it will change your life.
Change your definition of what is “edible”
Second, consider changing your definition of “edible.” I want to challenge what that means. One idea that I would recommend to you is to bring consciousness to your definition of the word edible because it may be enlightening and very helpful for you. In that context I have a corollary, and I want you to be crystal clear about this: “Substantially the same as food,” does NOT equal food. Whenever you see something that’s labeled, marked or promoted to you as “substantially equivalent to food,” that means it is not food. Food is food and anything that’s not food is something else!
Oil, tar and coal and their derivatives are not edible
Most likely the “substantially equivalent” is chemical and it actually a derivative of crude oil. 99% of “substantially the equivalent of food,” is a derivative of oil, and as a species we were never meant to consume oil or oil byproducts.
We evolved as a species over billions of years from plankton to human beings or if you take the creationist biblical perspective it has only been 6 or 7 thousand years. However you do it, the entire time we have been here, it is only in the last hundred years that we have been exposed to byproducts of carbon and oil because they were underground. There were a few sources of natural tars and natural oils but 99% of humanity didn’t have access to them. So biologically in our DNA we do not have the ability to metabolize crude oil in any form, derivative or solvent. Oil is one of the primary ecologic contributors that has contaminated our food supply. One of the biggest things we can do is be clear that “substantially the same as food,” does not equal food.
Edible should mean organic, fresh, whole, non-GMO food
If it is not organic we should automatically question whether or not it is adulterated and to what degree. We have to keep the idea in the back of our mind that there are no known safe levels for any chemical in the human body. It is not a true or scientific statement to say that the amount of contamination with XYZ chemical has been deemed to be safe for humans. Don’t take my word for it, research it yourself and you will find that scientifically speaking, there are no known safe levels of any chemical substance in the human body. If anybody says otherwise then they actually haven’t looked at the science.
Edible should mean the reduction of adulterated food consumption
Adulterated food includes foods that on the surface are advertised as “natural” or “real” but have been adulterated by the manufacturing process and include things such as trans fats, hydrogenated fats and oils, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, aspartame, etc. Though these foods are advertised and promoted as natural or as derivatives of natural substances, they are not! From a marketing standpoint all additives, chemicals and constituents that are derived from oil are technically derived from natural substance because oil is natural. All of them, which are coming from the parent, are equally harmful, including baby oil! Just because it says “baby” doesn’t mean that it is healthy for you. For example, baby oil contains Benzene. Benzene is considered to be one of the most deadly, dangerous, immune disrupters that man has made. Plutonium is the most dangerous, but Benzene completely, immediately and instantaneously disrupts your immune system. It’s in baby oil and chapstick!
Edible should be local
Weigh and measure what you eat based on how far it travels to get in your mouth. The further from you the origin of your food is the higher the carbon footprint. That means more oil in the air. Your carbon footprint is your contribution to environmental toxicity, contamination of water, support of the fossil fuel industry, oppression of native peoples due to deforestation, etc. All of this eventually comes back around to increase your own toxic exposure. That’s the way it works. I have my favorite foods that come from other countries.
For me, it has been a challenge to reduce the amount of food that comes from foreign countries. That includes herbs, spices, the kind of rice that I prefer, etc. It has been a real challenge and I’m still working on it. I’m not perfect at it, I’m transitional and it’s very hard when you have a beautiful kitchen like I have that is fully stocked with spices and 8 different kinds of rice and all kinds of stuff. It all represents an investment. See, mentally I have a problem tossing out everything in my closet that has a foreign origin because I can’t help but think of the economics of it. However, when I start to think about the economics of it, I start to be able to let it go a little better.
Continued in Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health Part 4.
All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. While all attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information. The author and ThaiYogaCenter.Com does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.
Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health: Part 2 of 4
By Dr. Anthony B. James DNM(P), ND(T), MD(AM), SMOKH
(Re-Post: Transcribed from a live talk at the Florida Sustainable Living and Perma-culture Conference, Plant City Florida, March 26, 2011)
An amazing possibility is occurring right now!
Right now this second there are groups just like the group in this room who are having the exact same conversation about exactly the same topics in about a hundred different locations around the planet! Right now this minute! That’s never happened before, so that’s our possibility of hope. But what are we going to do with it? That’s the question.
Its one thing to philosophically get it and it’s another thing to have practical solutions. I’m going to go through some practical solutions. We’re ahead of the curb, right? I’m a hopeful guy, I actually do believe that there is hope that we can come out of this and we can actually survive in a good way. That is what I work for.
What’s the core issue with sustainability?
I want to focus on what I think is really the fundamental issue in sustainable eating and health. Pardon me if this is elementary because I know there are some experts in the room, but I’m just speaking across the board.
I believe the number one issue is food. I have all these doctor technologies and no matter what I learn I keep coming back food as the number one issue. It’s the one issue above all others that we actually have the capacity to substantially control. So because we have the ability to have some input in relation to what we eat, where it comes from and what the impact is of our food on ourselves and on our environment, it’s one of the places where we can add our influence, both internally and externally. That’s why I choose to focus on food. I’m going to keep coming at it from a health point of view because I just can’t help it!
Whatever it takes to live a long and happy life!
Hippocrates said “let they food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” So what is medicine? There are a lot of misconceptions about what medicine is. The definition of medicine is same as the definition of sustainable living! There’s a source of conflict and confusion right there. We compartmentalize and create distinctions and say, “medicine is over here, and food is over here.” There is some crossover but it is a misconception and a misperception that they are unrelated. Let’s go back to the definition of sustainable living: Whatever it takes to live a long healthy and happy life, while respecting and caring for the community of life in which we live. Well guess what? That’s the definition of medicine too: whatever it takes to live a long and happy life. Let food be your medicine, let food be part of your strategy of whatever it takes. Let whatever it takes to be happy be your food, so let’s stop eating things that don’t make us happy. That’s a real simple way to say it isn’t it?
Stay away from the dominant cultures medical system
Statistically speaking, other then changing your eating habits the number one thing you can do to prolong your life and guarantee that you’ll have a long healthy life in this country (I’m not necessarily talking about the whole world) is to do whatever it takes to stay out of hospitals and to stay out of the conventional medical system.
The current system has failed. Where is the outrage?
I’m a pastoral medical doctor so I get a copy of JAMA and the different journals that are published under the banner of JAMA. According to JAMA, give or take, some 380,000 people a year die directly from medical malpractice. I think this is a conservative estimate because it might be a little self-incriminating. We drive down the highway and see billboards of the sheriff with the reflective glasses and the words “drive drunk and pay the price.” We see MADD billboards with the cameo of the teenage son or daughter who will not live a long and happy life because of an incursion due to drunk driving. Virtually every city in the country including has federal, state and local funding of millions of dollars for the formation of DUI task forces, random roadblocks, and breathalyzers. There have been 12,000 constructed expansions of prisons in the US just to take the additional prisoner loads of DUI’s into the jail system and the legal system. There are about 48,000 deaths a year on average as a result of drunk driving.
It gets worse
I’m not saying that I support drunk driving, but compare that to 380,000 deaths a year due to medical malpractice. When is the last time you were driving down the road and you saw a billboard with a man or a woman in a white jacket with a stethoscope hanging around their neck with a “have you seen this person? Call “1-800-STOPDOC” to report that you have seen one of these people wanted for murder, mayhem, malpractice and for just damn not trying to help you and being part of a system that kills you at 4, 5 and 6 times the annual rate of drunk drivers.” That’s not the bad news; it gets worse. I’m not quoting the national inquirer, although technically it might be more accurate and I’m sorry to say that.
According to these medical statistics, another 400,000 die simply from unsuccessful procedures that were properly applied. In other words, it wasn’t malpractice. They did exactly what was the standard medical practice according to standard medical disciplines, according to standard medical procedures. 400,000 people died from operations that were considered a complete success. They did everything right and the patient died. These numbers are per year, not in the last 100 years, but the annual numbers! 400,000 people died from side effects.
There are no side effects!
There is no such thing as a side effect! How many people have heard that there is such a thing as a drug side effect? You have been misled and that is a programming issue and propaganda issue because there are actually NO side effects of any known prescription drug or procedure. There are secondary effects that we don’t want, which are less popular. You can get a copy of a Merck Manual or the Physician’s Desk Reference to Drugs and for every single drug there will be the primary benefit listed and immediately there will be up to 92 different secondary effects. For marketing, they are referred to as “side effects” as if they are optional.
A chemical doesn’t know what a side-effect is
A relative of mine has an advanced degree in pharmacology. He would say that it is all chemistry- you ingest the chemical and get the effect. The chemical doesn’t know primary from secondary. The chemical doesn’t know what a side effect is, it just does what it does. For many of these drugs there are up to 92 side effects and I’ve even seen a drug that has more than that. Generally there are between 70 and 90 secondary effects and about a third of them are fatal. That’s how you get these 400,000 deaths. We need to be logical, so how do we get there? That’s not the malpractice, that’s when everybody agreed that it was appropriate for you and it still caused you harm.
The source of your primary health care has to be your eating habits
So what is the alternative? If we are not going to rely on the conventional medical system as our primary health care, then “let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” The source of your primary health care has to be your eating habits. You have no choice! There is no other alternative. I know some of you that might be offended to even hear me say so, but I am giving you my professional medical advice. As you would with any doctor, or perhaps as you should do with any doctor, take my advise or leave it.
Health is a fluid balance between toxicity and deficiency
Traditional Chinese Medicine theory postulates that health is a dynamic equilibrium between internal and external pernicious influences. Health is a constant balancing act. This could be anything that reduces our capacity to live the full natural possibility of life or whatever life as a human being on this planet could be. That includes everything from the environment and landscape, both internal and external. Internal pernicious influences are what take place when harmful influences bridge the world-skin barrier and become part of us causing changes within us. This includes mental and emotional psychology, the ecology of our inner world and how we handle toxins, virus, bacteria, and cancers. The external landscape is everything outside of your skin that has the ability to affect your longevity, health and well being.
We can also talk about the 5 elements because we have fire, earth, metal, water, and wood, or in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda we have ether, air, fire, water and earth. Any way you slice it, whatever is out there is part of us and then we have this really funny philosophy that says that we are also part of everything that’s out there.
We are children of the soil
So health is about managing this equilibrium between the inside and the outside, the two landscapes. Sometimes we use the word soil, and I know perma-culture people really want to talk about the soil a lot; in fact, that’s one reason I love them! The first book I ever read on the soil was Secrets of the Soil and I developed this whole different idea about the ground and what the nature of the soil was. I learned that it was alive and there was energy in it and that it was communicating to me!
Of course I knew from my bible lessons as a child that eventually I would become the soil. I thought, “Whoa! Dirt to dirt! So what you’re saying is that I’m actually a child of the soil and that I am soil in a flesh bag walking around for a while and then I go back to my origin which is the soil?” Somewhere I had lost the connection or the conscious knowledge that I was really just a bag of dirt walking around. What is my function then, as mobile dirt?
I realized that part of the reason why we are so unhealthy is because we have been separated from our proper relationship to our mother ecology, which of course is the soil. Now that we are ego-encapsulated soil flesh bags we think that we are separate and somehow isolated from the total environment that surrounds us. We pretend and we act and we create structures that are based on this false idea that we are somehow separate from the soil. We no longer rely on the soil as our nutrient base and we no longer honor the fact that its part of our lifestyle to sustain the soil.
What is my path in life?
When we say, “Oh, I’m looking for my path,” we are really wondering, “What is the purpose of a human being?” A human bring is a mobile expression of the vital life of the planet. There are probably lots of purposes for human beings but part of the reason why we were given legs in the first place was to act as landscapers, caretakers, moderators and enhancers of the vital communication capacity of the earth that is expressed in the life of the soil. It is the proper time to rejoin the community of other sentient beings and the earth which all return their essence to the dirt. You might say, “Oh my god, that’s just crazy!” You know what? If you start to think about it like that for a minute, I think some things might come clear.
We are not that special
Like the Native Americans say, “What is a human being? An upright two-legged being.” No different than any other! No different than the four-legged, no different from the ones with wings, no different than the ones that swim. No different than the ones who crawl through the earth and no different than the microbes. Guess what? Microbes are sentient. How about that? Bacteria is sentient, virus is sentient. Like the Dalai Llama says, “ALL LIVING BEINGS ARE SENTIENT.” We pray for all sentient beings, so when we are praying for all sentient beings we pray for the virus and the bacteria.
Disclaimer: All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. While all attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information. The author and ThaiYogaCenter.Com does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.
(Transcribed from a live talk at the Florida Sustainable Living and Perma-culture Conference, Plant City Florida, March 26, 2011)
Welcome! I am so happy that you all have come to share this Sustainable Living and Perma-culture conference with us and explore what sustainability is. There is clearly a lot of passion in this group about what sustainability is and what a sustainable life means. I’ve been going around and talking to lots of beautiful people with really succinct, clear and dynamic visions about what they are trying to achieve. These are big goals!
I am a medical doctor (Monastic Physician), Traditional Naturopathic physician, Oriental Medical Doctor, Vidya (Classical Indian Ayurvedic Physician) and Aachan i.e. traditional master teacher/ professor of Thai Traditional Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy. I am what you think of when you hear about alternative medicine or complementary medicine. What you think of when you hear about wacky medicine that actually has conscience. I am one of those people and I’m proud to be one of those people. I teach medicine, alternative medicine, holistic health, yoga, and everything to do with what it means to try and survive in this world as a healthy balanced person.
At first when I was brainstorming for this talk sustainable living I thought, “well maybe I can talk about 10 principles of health for sustainable living.” The more I thought about it the more I realized “well that’s just crap! I’m not going to be able to do that!” First of all, anybody who knows me knows that one thing I like to do is get behind the curtain and go behind the scenes to get to the real issues because I’m one of those crazy doctors that thinks that in order to balance and achieve optimal health we actually have to go to the origin of the symptoms of our dysfunction. The problem with that is that there are a lot of causes, and some of them are kind of big! There is such a thing as geo-pathic stress, there is such a thing as economic stress, there is such a thing as social stress, there is such a thing as ecological stress, interpersonal stress, toxins, poisons, bacteria, viruses, chemicals and especially radiation right now. Add to that mix of external stress the internal truth that we can be our own worst enemies. Whew!
All these things are contributing to whether or not you feel happy and well right now in this moment. How are we going to achieve that? Even more complex, how are we going to sustain it? Oh my god! That’s a complicated issue. But we have to start somewhere. I have taken some insight from some of the other presentations here and I may not be able to remember the individual names of the presenters because I was so tied up in the really beautiful messages that they speak. I want to always pay respect that I learn from other people, that’s basically how I got here. I’ve been fortunate to have really good role models for sustainable ideas about personal health, wellness and balance and that’s what I’m trying to perpetuate.
Our common survival is linked
So I am Dr. Anthony James and I live here. This is my home, this is my classroom and this is where I teach every day. I want to welcome you to share our space and to bring your energy and contributions on a personal level because I think one of the core concepts that we have to focus on in sustainability is that while we get caught up in the environment, we get caught up in ecology, we get caught up in the external landscape issues, the bottom line is that we are people and we are concerned with ourselves and each other. One of our primary motivations to try and find sustainable solutions to the questions that the world is giving us right now is so we can survive as humans, so we can survive as people! I think one of the most important ideas that we have for sustainability is that we keep reaching toward connectivity with each other and that we don’t let these issues separate us and cause us to fracture and to go off in our own little survival corners with our own little survival strategies. I think our survival as a species or as individuals is absolutely connected to us remaining connected to each other. No matter the kinds of strategies we’re working with, we’ve got to hang! Our survival is dependent on one another. No matter what else I say it’s always going to be in the context of community because the more research I do, the more I realize that I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving long term if you personally aren’t going to help me do it. It’s not going to happen! On many simultaneous levels I am completely dependent on my community for survival. No matter what our individual strategy of sustainability we have to keep bringing it back to our family, to our friends, to our community, which are all flesh and blood people. You know, “you prick at them, they doth bleed” kind of thing, that’s the core of it right there.
In this community I know we have some people in our midst that are hardcore sustainable educators and perma-culture educators. But we also have a few people here who don’t really know what the word means. They’re not really sure- What is this sustainability thing? What does that even mean? I am going to start with that and then take my marching orders and try to get through as much of what I have to talk to you about as possible. I know you’re probably not going to remember anything other than the “hello,” however, I also believe that there is such a thing as the Akashic record. I also believe that the ‘stress adaptive human biological transformational machine’ that is sitting in the chair has an absolute perfect ability to mimic, record and adapt to external environments and circumstances. If in fact I can say anything at all that has substance and resonates with any core truth within you then you will have a perfect memory for it and at some point you will recollect it in context, although you may not remember where it came from and I’m OK with that.
What are the principles of sustainable living?
Whatever it take to live a long, healthy, and happy life while respecting and caring for the community of life in which we live.
–Working to improve the quality of our life, enabling human beings to realize their full potential for life expression. Building self-confidence and leading lives of dignity that are in and of themselves fulfilling.
-Living in such a way as not to be a burden by creating suffering for ourselves or others while seeking health education, a decent living, political freedom of expression, human rights, and freedom from violence. Sustainable means stepping away consciously from the origin cycle of the creation of suffering for ourselves and for others.
Some of you might recognize that last phrase. It is the last statement in the Metta Sutra Buddhist mantra that is considered to be the most perfect example of Bodhichitta or generating a perfect thought. An example of the most perfect thought a person can have in their head is, “May all beings be happy, may all beings be free from suffering.” Regardless of high, low or middle status, may they be free from suffering. The last sentence in the Metta Sutra says, “May I no longer participate in the origination cycle for the creation of suffering for myself and for other beings.” Essentially those are the principles of sustainable living!
We have the technologies, ideals and philosophies of sustainable living, but how do we get there? How do I no longer participate in the creation cycle of suffering for myself and for other beings, and then how do I explore, experience, and receive the effect of that philosophy? This is where we get into our green technologies. We get into to our democratic social imperatives, our holistic medical paradigms, and we get into our geologic viewpoint of “think global, act local.” These are technologies to actually implement the imperatives.
I am connected to the global paradigm of life
I know that I want to say no to pain, suffering, disorganization, disease, manipulation and coercive ideologies. How do I do that in real terms for myself, my family, my friends, my neighborhood, my community, my town, my county, my state, my country, my nation, my ocean, my sky, my world? How do I do that? Is there a way that I can be functional on all those hierarchies? I do believe that it is possible. Again, I’m another one of these holotropically and holographically minded people and I believe on some level that simultaneously within the context of my humanity and expression of physiology and my DNA that energetically physically, emotionally, and mentally I am connected to the global paradigm of life, I am part of the thin veil or film on the surface of mother earth that we call organic life. On some level, we all serve a function and we’re all interconnected in that way. There is a way to live within the framework of internal and external natural equilibrium’s and sustainability is the key. There is a way to conserve the earth’s vital resources and diversity while promoting our own for our selves, our friends and families, children and children’s children. As the Native Americans say, “we work for the life of seven generations.”
Not being sustainable is counter-intuitive to you own survival
The main reason to be sustainable is that it’s crazy not to be! It’s crazy! If you really understand what’s going on, it would be insane to not be. So, I don’t want to be crazy! It has been part of my path of life to move myself through whatever means was available towards a progression of sanity. I want to be more; I don’t want to be less. Not to be sustainable is counter intuitive to your survival. Thoughts, actions and deeds that are counter intuitive to your survival and those around you are freaking crazy! I don’t want to be crazy and that’s one reason I want to be sustainable.
Planetary die-off cycles of humanity?
Did anyone hear the lecture yesterday on paleo-human life here in the state of Florida? Did you hear the part about periodic human die-off? 12,000 years ago there was proliferation, anthropologically speaking there were millions of humans in our geographic region. Then they just kind of go away and there was a period of time where they weren’t here. Several thousand years later we start to see a continuation but it’s not too good. The technologies aren’t too good and it’s like they lost something. Then they kind of pick it up and they get going again and the arrowheads get a little sharper and a little more precise – and then, they go away for a couple thousand years! Then they come back again.
My understanding is that we are at the precipice of one of those cycles right now and we are arrogant to ignore that these cycles exists. They have been repeated several times in the last 12,000 or 15,000 years! We will be subject to the consequences if we ignore our external environment and internal environment. Anthropologists say that the disappearance and resurgence of the population is a result of conflict over harvesting of food and inappropriately harvesting of food that led to massive die offs. Spreading of disease without containment strategy also led to massive die-offs. Not understanding the impending doom by noticing the changing planetary conditions led to planetary die off.
Guess what folks? We have all of these things happening right now. The only difference between us and our paleo brothers and sisters is that we have the internet so we have more of a real-time communication network that allows us to address these issues a little bit faster whereas our paleo brothers and sisters were dependent on the “telephone game” to communicate this information. “The sky is falling! The glaciers are coming!” Then a couple of thousand miles away: “I heard something about…there is some guy with snow-cones coming?” “Well I don’t even like snow-cones, so screw that!” They were subject to that problem. We have the possibility of hope because we have a greater ability to communicate. It’s not necessarily technology, but the possibility of simultaneous global communication. Continued in “Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health Part 2“.
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Anthony B. James MD(AM), ND(T), DNM, DOM, PhD, RAAP, SMOKH
I am concerned about the possible risk and benefits associated with Kombucha Tea. Increasingly we have seen in the past year an increasing number of students in our SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Practitioner Certification as well as other SCNM College programs bringing or using Kombucha. The use varies from commercial branded products to home brew. First question is Kombucha a suitable natural remedy appropriate for Thai Yoga/ Traditional Thai Massage and other holistic healing practitioners to use? Second question is whether or not I feel as a Natural Medicine Practitioner and Dean of the SomaVeda College of Natural Medicine as to whether we should be using it in our programs? I decided to do a bit of investigation and found many references, some more authoritative than others as there is much hype and myth when it comes to Kombucha, Kombucha usages and health claims… Fortunately there is also some research. Especially as the use of Kombucha based products continues to grow. My final opinion after all of this is found at the end of this article.
Celebrities are powerful role models and are important to consumers concerned with their health because of the perception that famous people have access to the best health practices and medical care. The public looks to celebrities for hope and inspiration as they struggle with their own health issues and fight disease. However the health practices that celebrities promote are often questionable and misleading.
One currently popular folk remedy, kombucha tea, is part of the dietary regimens of multiple Hollywood actresses and entertainers including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst, Lindsay Lohan, Madonna, Halle Berry, Meg Ryan, Anna Paquin, Cher, Barbara Streisand, Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon. The claims for its medicinal value are as far reaching as they are implausible and include aging, anorexia, arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, constipation, diabetes, gallbladder disease, gout, hemorrhoids, hair growth and color restoration, headache, hypertension, HIV, immune boosting, indigestion, increased vitality, treatment of alcohol and coffee addictions, and wrinkle reduction.
Kombucha is a form of black tea and sugar that is fermented using a combination of bacterial and fungal cultures that form a “mushroom” on top of the fermentation vessel. It originated in China thousands of years ago, eventually spreading to Europe, and is today becoming increasingly popular, through celebrity use and endorsement, in the U.S. and U.K. Many home brew recipes for making kombucha may be found on the Internet but it is also manufactured and sold by companies such as Synergy Drinks.
We conducted a literature review of kombucha at www.pubmed.gov and found 40 articles on kombucha tea. Many of these studies originated in China or India and consisted of testing the effects of kombucha tea on rats or mice; a few papers tested effects on human cancer cells in vitro. Some beneficial effects were seen but one study concluded that “Comparable effects and mechanisms in humans remain uncertain, as do health safety issues, because serious health problems and fatalities have been reported and attributed to drinking kombucha.”
Most of the reports of human consumption of kombucha tea are case reports of toxicity, in some cases, life-threatening. The greatest danger from kombucha seems to arise in “home brew” versions that have become contaminated because of improper preparation and/or when kombucha interacts with alcohol or prescription drugs.
Observed adverse effects of kombucha consumption include hepatitis, xerostomia, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, shortness of breath, restless legs, abdominal pain, hypotension, and tachycardia. In most cases, patients fully recovered after discontinuation of kombucha and symptomatic treatment. However there are case reports of serious and sometimes fatal cases of hepatic dysfunction and lactic acidosis.
In addition to oral ingestion, skin application of kombucha is also used as a topical analgesic. Such use has resulted in cutaneous anthrax infections from kombucha stored in unhygienic conditions; such conditions make kombucha preparations a potential medium for the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
Because folk medicines, herbal remedies and dietary supplements, including Kombucha tea, are not considered foods or drugs, they are not routinely evaluated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking this tea in quantities typically consumed (approximately 4 oz daily) may not cause adverse effects in healthy persons; however, the potential health risks are unknown for those with preexisting health problems or those who drink excessive quantities of the tea.
Recently, Whole Foods removed kombucha drinks from its store shelves because they can contain alcohol as a product of the fermentation process. This fact was used as a possible explanation for why actress Lindsay Lohan’s alcohol-monitoring (SCRAM) bracelet was activated even though she asserted compliance with court orders not to drink alcoholic beverages.
Kombucha is the flavor of the day when it comes to popular drinks and it’s easy to see why. It’s slightly fermented tea has just a bit of carbonation to it, making it seem like a soda, but without the massive amounts of sugar that many sodas have. Kombucha also has live cultures in it that are said to promote healthy digestion in people who regularly consume it. Could there also be hidden Kombucha health risks of which people are unaware? Did You Know That Kombucha Contains Alcohol?
In order to create the magical sweet and sour aftertaste of Kombucha, a combination of bacteria and yeast is allowed to naturally ferment over a period of time. This culture is then added to the tea and then bottled. What happens during the fermentation process? Alcohol is created! If allowed to continue fermenting over time, the alcohol level of the drink will actually increase. World Foods this year had to recall many of their Kombucha products because they believed the alcohol content of the tea had risen above the 0.5% legal threshold.
That means if you drink too much Kombucha, you could become legally drunk in some areas, especially those with a .05 legal limit. This alcohol can interfere with certain medications as well, especially painkillers.
Kombucha Also Contains Acid Compounds
Sometimes the human body struggles to release the byproducts that it creates through normal everyday use. This can result in lactic acid buildup, uric acid buildup, and in turn, these buildups can cause medical problems such as gout or lactic acidosis. Because Kombucha is acidic in nature, it creates a situation where the body is forced to expel the acids that you’ve consumed with this drink before expelling the other stored acids.
When Kombucha is consumed regularly, it can possibly prevent the body from expelling those pent up acids, causing severe health issues. One woman is known to have died from cardiac arrest because of the Kombucha she consumed. Others have suffered severe medical emergencies because of acidic levels in their bodies due to their consumption of Kombucha too.
Molds Can Penetrate Into Kombucha Too
The nature of Kombucha is that it creates the prime working conditions for mold development, especially molds like penicillium. For those allergic to penicillin-based drugs, Kombucha could potentially create a life threatening allergic reaction if it has sat out long enough to develop mold. This is especially true for brews that have not been refrigerated. Though this is a low Kombucha health risk compared to the others, it is still a risk.
Chances are good that consuming Kombucha is not going to create a health problem for you. There are historical precedents set, however, that Kampuchea health risks do exist, especially for specific health groups. That’s why it is important to understand your current health needs and know if Kombucha may negatively interact with them.
Kombucha: Studies Show Risks Outweigh Benefits
Added by Nick Ng on July 28, 2014.
Saved under Health, Nick Ng, Research
Proponents of kombucha tea claim the drink, created by certain types of fungi and bacteria that contribute to the fermentation of the tea, has anti-cancer properties and can “detox” the body. Kombucha is a type of black or green tea from the plant Camellia sinensis, that is fermented for about a week, to which certain types of bacteria, fungi and sugars are added. However, the cumulative scientific evidence as well as studies conducted in the past decade show that kombucha drinks’ risks outweigh their benefits.
According to the American Nutrition Association, Kombucha is claimed to have originated in China thousands or hundreds of years ago – depending on the source – and has mystical powers to prolong life and improve health. Some even claim that drinking Kombucha can treat AIDS, diabetes, obesity and a host of common diseases and disorders. However, none of these claims have been verified.
Examine.com, an independent research organization that reviews various nutritional topics and trends, recently evaluated Kombucha and its claims. Although it is rich in antioxidants, there is no evidence to compare it with catechins found in green tea or vitamin C, which have been proven to help reduce the risk of cancer. Examine.com pointed out that Kombucha has saccharolactone, which is a bioactive compound that is claimed to “exert anti-cancer effects in the colon.” Even though studies in rats and in vitro have shown that it may have healing properties, saccharolactone is difficult to apply in human subjects for two reasons: No human studies have ever been done on saccharolactone either in Kombucha or by itself, and kombucha intake can increase the risk of death if the drink is prepared improperly. Cross-contamination during the production process can increase the growth of certain bacteria and fungi that may cause “cutaneous anthrax” and “acute renal failure,” according to a few reported case studies. With the given evidence available, Examine.com stated that there is no proven and significant benefit of drinking Kombucha nor is it very practical as a health supplement, “considering there’s hardly any evidence for its health effects, but plenty of evidence for the damage it can do.”
Not all animal studies show that Kombucha compounds’ benefits outweigh their risks. A study on Kombucha’s healing effects on lab rats that was conducted at Tehran University’s Department of Pathology in Iran was published in 2013 in Diagnostic Pathology. Rats that were administered Kombucha fungus showed better wound healing than those that were given Nitrofurazone, a type of ointment, but the results and differences “were not significant.”
Scott Gavura, BScPhm, MBA, who is a pharmacist and writer, pointed on Science-Based Medicine to a 2003 systematic review that was published in a Swiss journal (Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd) that did not find any clinical trials or case series in which Kombucha had any hint of medical benefits. “Based on what’s known about the active ingredients, there’s no reason to expect it would offer any medicinal effects other than the consequence of low levels of alcohol or caffeine.” Like Examine.com, Gavura listed documentation of toxicity and harm related to Kombucha consumption, including hepatitis and metabolic acidosis.
The Kombucha “mother.”
Even though drinking Kombucha has risks that outweigh the “benefits,” both Examine.com and Gavura agree that if people like the taste of the product, drink it wisely. Examine.com suggested that consumers purchase kombucha from “trustworthy producers with sanitary working conditions and properly trained staff” to minimize cross-contamination. Gavura said that drinking Kombucha “probably won’t kill you.” Considering the lack of documented health benefits, there is no real benefit to consume it unless it is just for the taste. As with any food, Gavura suggested that people should weigh the risks and benefits. In the case of kombucha, it may not be a wise choice for some people.
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ Confucius What is that thing?
It’s a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), a term coined by Kombucha enthusiast Len Porzio in the mid-1990′s. It may not look appetizing, but it creates a very popular fermented beverage that goes for $4 a bottle in the health food stores. Luckily, you can make it very inexpensively at home. You just need 6 simple ingredients: a SCOBY like the one pictured above, tea, sugar, clean water, a warm place, and time. The final product contains a blend of beneficial bacteria and yeast (probiotics) as well as certain acids and enzymes that aid digestion, detoxify the body, and promote health. However, with popularity sometimes comes infamy, and a number of myths have cropped up surrounding kombucha over the years. Let’s separate the myths from the truths.
Kombucha History & Science
Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, believed to have originated in China, traveled throughout Asia and Russia and eventually became a health craze in the US over the past two decades. Legend has it that it was named after a Korean physician Kombu who healed the Japanese Emperor Inyko with the tea, and the tea was then named after him: “Kombu” + “cha” (which means tea.)
The science of fermentation is one practiced in homes, rather than laboratories, and for that reason it has an air of mystery. These living foods change from batch to batch, and since they can’t be patented or highly controlled, there’s no real incentive for the science community to spend resources in research. Therefore, health claims tend to be anecdotal, and certain assumptions about the “science” behind the process get spread with no real evidence to support those assumptions. We know fermented foods are powerful in their ability to support a healthy body, and restore balance to an unhealthy one. We don’t really know the fine details of how this occurs.
Well, Michael Roussin, Kombucha lover, decided he wanted to know what exactly was in this drink that made him feel so good. With the help of a professional lab, he spent 18 months testing 1103 samples of Kombucha, from batches all over North America and parts of Europe, with different teas, sugars, temperatures and brewing times, and he discovered some surprising things. The complete report of his research is for sale through his website.
Here are some highlights: Busting the Myths
• Although Kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH. Roussin found that the caffeine content doesn’t reduce at all. This myth might have started because only 6-8 teabags are used to brew a gallon of Kombucha tea, which is half the strength of a normal cup of tea. The good news is that kombucha doesn’t need caffeine to thrive. If you want to remove even more of the caffeine, simply pre-steep the tea bags for 30 seconds and throw that water away. Then steep these teabags again in fresh hot water, for the kombucha brew. The majority of the caffeine is dispersed in the pre-steeping. Update: You cannot decaffeinate tea at home. Thanks to Mari in the comments below for busting the myth of pre-steeping tea to remove caffeine. Lab testing shows this eliminates only a small amount of caffeine. If you can’t have caffeine, buy tea that has been decaffeinated by the CO2 method (a healthier choice, compared to the more common chemical decaffeination.)
• Although Kombucha is made with sugar, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH. There will always be a little sugar remaining, and the amount depends on how long the tea is fermented. Generally, people brew the tea according to their taste. A 5-day brew is going to have a high quantity of sugar remaining. A 30-day brew is going to have very little remaining (yet still some). Most people brew the tea for 7-12 days, when it has a tangy sour flavor with a touch of sweetness remaining; on average, the amount of sugar at this point is 16 grams per 8 oz. cup. This is equal to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You could brew the full 30 days to minimize the sugar, but at that point, the drink is so sour, people usually add juice to make it palatable. If you do this, you’re going to get 12-20 grams of sugar from the juice. This is why many people call it a healthy soda-pop. The “healthy” part comes from the high amount of probiotics and beneficial acids it contains, and rest assured the sugar content is much lower than regular soda. You may feel tempted to try to make your Kombucha with less sugar or no sugar at all, but sugar is the food your SCOBY needs to create the probiotics and acids you seek. It will become malnourished and eventually die without it. If you want to know the sugar content of your home brew, you can use sugar test strips. Update: Silvia (in the comments below) did the math and noted that 16 grams per cup is the amount of sugar added when you begin the Kombucha brew, so how is it possible that it’s still that concentrated at the 7-15 day mark? Here’s why: In the first stage of fermentation, the yeast uses the minerals from the tea to produce enzymes that separate sugar into glucose and fructose. At the 7-day mark, that’s as far as the process has gone. The sugar is easier to digest, but hasn’t yet diminished in concentration. By the 15-day mark, it is just starting to eat/diminish the sugar content (3.3 teaspoons of sugar per cup remaining at that point.) The sour flavor comes from the acids that are forming, but that sweet tone is still the sugar, unless you brew it a full 30 days. A study done by Cornell University confirmed these results.
• Kombucha is rich in B vitamins. MYTH. Although it does contain these vitamins, the amounts are so small they are almost immeasurable. This was confirmed by the International Journal of Food Science and Technology.
• Kombucha is rich in glucuronic acid, a powerful detoxifier of the liver. MYTH. There is no glucuronic acid in Kombucha. Ironically, Roussin began his experiments intending to prove otherwise. He read a book by Harald Tietze in 1995, who said no reputable lab had ever found glucuronic acid in Kombucha, so Roussin hired a reputable lab to prove him wrong. When he confirmed its absence instead, that got him curious about the other assumptions people had about Kombucha, and his experiments continued. Roussin believes the glucuronic acid myth was born of research from the 1940s, where researchers tested the urine of people who drank kombucha and found high levels, and therefore assumed the kombucha was providing it. Instead, Roussin’s lab found that kombucha contains a different acid that is a synergist to glucuronic acid. Glucuronic acid is made naturally by the liver and works by binding to a toxic molecule and carrying it out of the body. The high levels of glucuronic acid in the urine could have been due to the other acids in kombucha helping the glucuronic acid in the body do its job. So, kombucha is indeed detoxifying, but we are continuing to learn exactly how.
• Kombucha contains hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, which is why it’s so effective in relieving joint pain. MYTH. Kombucha contains neither of these compounds. However, it does seem to have a positive effect on the joints. Roussin’s theory is that it contains the building blocks for these compounds.
• Kombucha contains over 50 different kinds of probiotics, organic enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. MYTH. Every batch of kombucha is different. The only things every batch contains are: (1) at least one beneficial yeast, (2) acetobacter (the beneficial bacteria in the SCOBY), (3) gluconic acid (a pH regulator) – note: this is not the same thing as glucuronic acid referenced above, and (4) acetic acid (an anti-microbial acid, which also stabilizes blood sugar) . Most batches of kombucha will also contain an analgesic (pain reliever), an anti-arthritic compound, an anti-spasmodic compound, a liver-protective compound, and several anti-bacterial compounds. The blend varies from batch to batch. See why this elixir can’t be patented? It embodies change.
• Kombucha can cure everything from arthritis to gout to HIV to cancer. MYTH. As Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp says, “Kombucha is not a panacea – it doesn’t cure anything! It brings the body back into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is able to do so much.” Results vary from person to person. Many people do say it helps their joint pain, keeps them from getting sick, gives them energy, aids their digestion, clears their sinuses, reduces their blood pressure, clears their eczema, alleviates their headaches, and the list goes on. Then there are other people who say they enjoy the taste, but don’t really notice any effect. The only way to know what it can do for you, is to try it.
• Kombucha is dangerous and has been linked to deaths. MYTH. This one is repeated a lot, and it usually starts with a sentence like this: “There is no scientific evidence that kombucha promotes health, just anecdotal reports. However, it has been linked to both illness and death.” (With never an acknowledgement that the last sentence is an anecdotal report, and there’s no scientific evidence that kombucha is harmful.) Let’s clear up that report, though, because it’s scary. Fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katzsums it up nicely: “In 1995 the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report ran a story headlined, ‘Unexplained Severe Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of Kombucha Tea,’ with possibly being the operative word. In two separate incidents, weeks apart, two women in Iowa had very different unexplained acute health episodes. One of them died. Both drank kombucha daily and made it from the same original SCOBY. The Iowa Department of Public Health immediately issued a warning to stop drinking kombucha ‘until the role of the tea in the two cases of illness has been evaluated fully.’ But they were never able to explain how kombucha may have been related to the illnesses, and 115 other people were identified who drank kombucha from the same mother without problems. When the mothers and the kombucha that possibly made the women sick were subjected to microbial analysis, ‘no known human pathogens or toxin-producing organisms were identified.’”
• Kombucha is an alcoholic drink. TRUE. However, it’s a very small amount, usually between .5 and 3%, depending on length of fermentation. (Beer contains 4-6%.) Single fermentation home brews of kombucha usually contain only .5% alcohol. If you do a second fermentation in a bottle, to flavor it and increase the carbonation, the alcohol content will increase slightly. Store bought brands were found to contain more, because the product is still fermenting in the bottle, and a long time can pass between bottling and purchase. For this reason, kombucha was temporarily pulled from store shelves in 2010, while the federal alcohol trade bureau tested numerous samples and developed guidelines for kombucha manufacturers. Now, all store bought brands are supposed to have taken steps to prevent fermentation from continuing in the bottle. Sadly, this often means pasteurization, which limits the benefits of the drink.
• If you ferment more than one kind of food or beverage (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.) you need to keep them away from each other, for fear of cross-contamination: MYTH. Sandor Ellix Katz addressed this in his book, The Art of Fermentation: “While different cultures may subtly influence one another through the air over time, typically this is not an issue… Betty Stechmeyer, who co-founded a starter culture business, GEM cultures, with her late husband Gordon and spent 30 years growing and selling fermentation starters, reports that for all those years she propagated several different sourdoughs, several different milk cultures, tempeh starter and more, in one 12×12 foot kitchen. ‘Pretty primitive and simple, eh?’ She never experienced cross-contamination. I cannot guarantee that cross-contamination among cultures is impossible, but it is not a likely occurrence, and I encourage enthusiastic experimentalists to ferment to your heart’s content without worry.”
• Kombucha can make you feel worse. TRUE. While most people feel benefits from drinking kombucha, some people’s symptoms worsen. There are a few potential reasons for this: (1) Healing Crisis: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, says: “Apart from good bacteria a healthy body is populated by beneficial yeasts which normally protect the person from pathogenic (bad) yeasts, such as candida albicans. Kefir (and kombucha) contain these beneficial yeasts (as well as the beneficial bacteria) which help to take pathogenic yeasts under control.” This is a good thing, but sometimes the body goes through a reaction to the mass die-off of bad bacteria and yeast, and temporarily symptoms worsen. This can last from a few days to a few weeks, but when the symptoms pass, people’s health improves dramatically. (2) Gluten Cross-Reaction: Update: Gluten Cross-Reaction has proven to be a myth. Thanks to reader Sarah for this new information. (3) Histamine or Yeast Intolerance: Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria which improve the health of most people, with the exception of those who are yeast or histamine intolerant. In those cases, negative symptoms from drinking kombucha don’t improve with time, like they do with a healing crisis. So what do you do if you feel like kombucha is making you feel worse? First, lower the amount of kombucha you are drinking, and only increase as your body is able to handle it without discomfort. If you are experiencing a healing crisis, lower doses should slow down the die-off reaction and alleviate your symptoms. If you continue to have discomfort at small doses, stop drinking it altogether and try again in 6 months. (Food intolerance’s often disappear as we heal.)
“As an occasional kombucha drinker, I enjoy the strange, sour aftertaste of the trendy fermented beverage. But after spending as much as five bucks for a 16-ounce bottle of the stuff, I decided to see if I could successfully—and safely—brew my own batch. I also wondered whether the claims about kombucha’s health-enhancing properties had any merit.
Often mistaken for a mushroom, the culture used to make kombucha is actually a collection of yeast and bacteria. After 10 days of natural fermentation, the amalgam forms a thin pancake-looking colony referred to as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) surrounded by a fizzy, vinegar-like tonic—the stuff you drink. Remnants of the living mass make their way into bottled kombucha, which creeps some people out. “But really, it’s no more frightful than when yogurt first reared its head in health stores across America in the 1970s,” states one Whole Foods website. Kombucha has been consumed for thousands of years—some say it originated in Manchuria in 220 B.C.; others trace its roots to Russia—and enthusiasts prize the drink for its beneficial probiotics, organic acids, vitamins and antioxidants.
Because the fermentation happens naturally, I needed no special equipment besides a one-gallon mason jar to get the project bubbling. Brad Koester, a local kombucha brewer who also sells pickled beans and onions to San Francisco restaurants, presented me with my very own “mother” SCOBY; a gelatinous mass that resembled a small jellyfish asleep in amniotic fluid. I brewed about a gallon of green tea, added eight tablespoons of sugar, and poured all the liquid that would fit into the gallon jar with the SCOBY, making sure to cover the top of the mason jar with a thin cloth to prevent fruit fly infestation.
Maybe because kombucha brewers refer to this mass as the “mother,” I couldn’t help feeling like I was caring for a pet. Would I kill my SCOBY if I shook it? Would my SCOBY wither and die in my chilly Victorian house? I voiced my anxieties to Brad, who shot me back a text that said: “Patience grasshopper.” I could do nothing but wait and see if the “mother” would work her magic, and I’d have little control over the results.
This lack of control recently led to some problems among kombucha manufacturers and sellers. In June, Whole Foods voluntarily pulled all kombucha products from its shelves, citing concern that the alcohol levels had surpassed the legal limit of 0.5 percent. Because it kept fermenting in the bottle, some brands’ product became more alcoholic—sometimes up to 3 percent alcohol—over time. Some kombucha manufacturers have since recalibrated their beverages so that they won’t re-ferment, and the tea is back on store shelves.
I don’t know precisely how much alcohol will turn up in my homebrew, but unless I allow it to re-ferment, the possibility that it will get me drunk—or even buzzed—is remote. If mine registered in at 0.6 percent alcohol, I would have to drink five 16-ounce bottles of kombucha before reaching the effects of one can of Coors Light—which contains 4.2 percent alcohol.
Whether my homemade kombucha can provide health benefits turns out to be a far more complicated question. Beverage manufacturers praise the elixir for “improving liver, gall bladder, and digestive function” and being able to “enhance the body’s normal toxin elimination process.” But little scientific research has been conducted on the stuff, and these claims are mainly based on anecdotal evidence.
That the probiotics in kombucha might aid digestion has certainly caught people’s attention. GT’s Synergy Kombucha, the leading brand on the market, claims its probiotic content includes S. boulardii and Lactobacillus, bacteria commonly found in yogurt. S. boulardii is actually a yeast, explained Boulder nutritionist and herbalist Matthew Becker. “It has a great effect on normalizing the system, it crowds out bad bacteria, and it allows good bacteria to proliferate.” Believers also praise the drink for its array of organic acids. Becker maintains that the malic acid in kombucha contains mildly detoxifying properties, and Adam Goodman, a Santa Cruz brewer and owner of Kombucha Botanica, added that the drink’s combination of acetic acid, gluconic acid, and succinic*acid “has a powerfully detoxifying effect.” But while many kombucha makers boast about their brew’s glucuronic acid—which may play a role in ridding the body of harmful chemicals—Goodman believes research that says none has ever been detected in the beverage. Among others, Stuart Tompson, director of Gaia Research Institute, continues to cite several studies which report that low levels of glucuronic acid are found in kombucha.
Overhyping the benefits of a beverage can lead producers into sticky legal situations. Millenium Products, makers of GT’s, currently faces a class action lawsuit, wherein plaintiff Gretchen Patch aims to “put an end to the deceptive, misleading, unfair, and unlawful labeling and advertising of GT’s” and claims she never would have bought the beverage if she had known its health benefits had not been scientifically proven. What’s worse, the lawsuit says, “serious health risks may be associated with the product.”
And Patch is not the only one to voice concern about the risks involved in kombucha. In 1995, two women who had shared the same kombucha culture became seriously ill; one went into cardiac arrest and died. Another man was hospitalized in 2009 after possibly suffering lactic acidosis, a build-up of lactic acid in the blood stream that can be life-threatening, as a result of drinking kombucha.
One potential risk of growing my own kombucha is that even though the high acetic acid content would eat away at any potentially harmful bacteria, dangerous molds could find their way into the mix. Cornell microbiologist Ramón Mira de Orduña raises concerns over the possibility that molds like penicillium and aspergillus could proliferate. The molds may produce mycotoxins, which are “fairly toxic and carcinogenic,” warned Mira de Orduña. “If you do that at home, and you’re not sure how to control that, that could be dangerous.” The mold would be visible on the surface of the SCOBY, though, or might expel a funky odor, so keeping an eye out for anything fuzzy could decrease the chance of drinking cancer-causing agents.
The danger of these molds is much worse for those with already suppressed immune systems. So trying to cure illnesses like AIDS and cancer with lots of kombucha drinking, as was trendy in the ’90s, could be a bad idea. But for healthy people who drink small quantities of kombucha (4 ounces or so a few times a week), the risks involved still seem pretty low.
But what about the question my friends keep asking me: Will my kombucha cure their hangovers? My guess is the caffeine and the sugar in the drink might have something to do with any morning-after boost. Mira de Orduña doesn’t even go that far. “Sure, the liquid might have some effect,” he chuckled, because “often when you have a hangover, you’re dehydrated. If someone found something that officially worked against hangovers, they would’ve made a billion dollars by now.”
Kombucha, popularly called kombucha mushroom, a combination of yeast species and acid forming bacteria, that was quite popular in the US in the mid to late 1990s, but has since not been in the limelight. Some people call it kombucha mushroom but technically it is a symbiosis of several yeast species and bacteria.
Benefit There have not been any reliable human studies with kombucha tea published in recent years in the Western medical literature, therefore, at this point, it is difficult to report definitive proof of kombucha benefit. Rodents studies indicate it has antioxidant and immune influencing properties, ulcer-healing, along with liver protecting and anti-stress potential. It may have anti-bacterial activity. Other studies in rodents indicate that, compared to black tea, kombucha tea is a better inhibitor of alpha-amylase and lipase activities in the plasma and pancreas and a better suppressor of increased blood glucose levels, which could be of benefit to those with high blood sugar issues or who have diabetes. However, some human case studies as listed below raise some concern about possible risks and dangers.
J Med Food. 2014 Feb. Current evidence on physiological activity and expected health effects of kombucha fermented beverage. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the recent studies in search of experimental confirmation of the numerous KT health-promoting aspects cited previously. Analysis of the literature data is carried out in correspondence to the recent concepts of health protection’s requirements. Attention is given to the active compounds in kombucha tea, responsible for the particular effect, and to the mechanisms of their actions. It is shown that KT can efficiently act in health prophylaxis and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, antioxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of depressed immunity. The recent experimental studies on the consumption of KT suggest that it is suitable for prevention against broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders. This makes KT attractive as a fermented functional beverage for health prophylaxis.
Kombucha side effects, caution, toxicity, risks, harm, danger Kombucha side effects have been reported. A rare case of myositis has been mentioned with drinking. Other possible problems include harm to liver and lactic acidosis. These harmful effects are rare compared to the number of people who drink this tea.
A case of kombucha tea toxicity. J Intensive Care Med. 2009. Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Kombucha mushroom tea is touted to have medicinal properties. Here, we present a case of hyperthermia, lactic acidosis, and acute renal failure within 15 hours of Kombucha tea ingestion. A 22 year old male, newly diagnosed with HIV, became short of breath and febrile to 103 F within twelve hours of Kombucha tea ingestion. He subsequently became combative and confused, requiring sedation and intubation for airway control. Laboratories revealed a lactate of 12.9 mmol/L, and serum creatinine of 2.1 mg/dL. Kombucha tea is black tea fermented in a yeast-bacteria medium. Several case reports exist of serious, and sometimes fatal, hepatic dysfunction and lactic acidosis within close proximity to ingestion. While Kombucha tea is considered a healthy elixir, the limited evidence currently available raises considerable concern that it may pose serious health risks.
A case of anti-Jo1 myositis with pleural effusions and pericardial tamponade developing after exposure to a fermented Kombucha beverage. Clin Rheumatol. 2004. Division of Rheumatology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA The pathogenesis of the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies has been postulated to be an environmental trigger causing the expression of the disease in a genetically predisposed patient. We report a case of anti-Jo1 antibody-positive myositis which was associated with pleural effusions, pericardial effusion with tamponade, and ‘mechanic’s hands’, probably related to the consumption of a fermented Kombucha beverage. Kombucha ‘mushroom’, a symbiosis of yeast and bacteria, is postulated to be the trigger for our patient’s disease owing to the proximity of his symptoms to the consumption of the beverage.
Can a person experience an onset of psychosis from ingesting kombucha tea? A friend began drinking this tea and within 2 weeks began having psychosis like behavior.
Perhaps it is possible in rare cases that this can occur, but one has to rule out other supplements, medications, drugs, etc., that the person may have been ingesting.
Kombucha Tea Side Effects
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2014 | By Ann Bartkowski
Kombucha tea is made by fermenting several species of yeasts and bacteria along with sugar in black tea. The colony of yeast and bacteria is called a kombucha mushroom, although it is not actually a mushroom. The resulting tea has been promoted as a panacea for serious conditions such as cancer, autoimmune disorders and aging, however there is no scientific evidence for these claims. There is, however, evidence for serious side effects of kombucha tea, including death.
There have been many reports of severe acidosis, which is a life-threatening condition caused by an abnormally high amount of acid in the body, in people who had recently consumed kombucha tea. In 1995, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that two women were hospitalized with severe acidosis after drinking kombucha tea that they had made daily for two months. One of the women died, and the other’s heart stopped but she recovered. A 22-year-old HIV-positive male presented with lactic acidosis and died within 15 hours of drinking kombucha, as reported in a 2009 “Journal of Intensive Care Medicine.”
Liver damage is another side-effect associated with drinking kombucha. Although complete liver failure resulting in death is rare, it is not impossible. The 22-year-old who developed acidosis and died shortly after consuming kombucha tea also went into liver failure. More commonly, according to the American Cancer Society, liver damage occurs in kombucha drinkers as jaundice. As jaundice sets in, your skin starts to turn yellow, often followed by your eyes and nails.
By Carrie Grosvenor
Kombucha is an ancient Chinese remedy used to support overall wellness and longevity. The substance is usually consumed as a tea and has gained popularity in the Western world. However, kombucha may not be the benign substance many believe it is.
Kombucha Tea Cautions
Kombucha dangers arise in a variety of forms, from allergic reactions to contamination. Since many batches of kombucha tea are brewed at home, the risks associated with this drink can be quite high.
According to the American Cancer Society, Kombucha tea is made by fermenting sweetened black tea with the “Kombucha mushroom,” which is not actually a mushroom at all but a mushroom shaped culture of yeast and bacteria that forms while the tea is fermenting. There are many variables that can occur when fermenting and consuming the tea with potentially dangerous results.
• Strains of molds, bacteria and fungi can develop which may cause serious illness. In fact, WebMD states on its website that 20 people in Iran developed anthrax infections after drinking kombucha tea. They go on to caution that the tea can be especially threatening to people with HIV or compromised immune systems.
• The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided a report that lists case studies of individuals reacting badly to kombucha tea. In 1995, cases of unexplained illness, including one death, occurred in two people who drank kombucha tea for two months.
• Overproduction of yeast can occur in the tea due to fermenting at too high a temperature, using a kombucha culture that contains a high yeast to bacteria ration, or allowing the culture to remain dormant too long before use. WebMD lists yeast infections as a possible side effect of kombucha tea.
• Dr. Andrew Weil says NO to Kombucha. states on his website that incidents of lactic acidosis (a condition where the blood becomes acidic due to too much lactic acid in the body), kidney failure and serious liver dysfunction have been reported due to kombucha tea consumption. He also mentions other adverse reactions including:
◦ Head and neck pain
• Kombucha tea contains a high level of acidity, and this may cause problems for people with stomach ulcers, heartburn, or any sensitivity to acidic foods. Although some people claim that the ‘good bacteria’ found in kombucha can help those conditions, others find it aggravates them.
Bottom line? Possible risk and benefits associated with Kombucha Tea.
So, possible risk and benefits associated with Kombucha Tea? After reviewing over 100 articles and published studies there is no consensus on the or any proposed health benefits of Kombucha. This is especially significant as many of the benefits individuals are seeking are better, more reliably and overall more safely served with other delivery systems. Quality probiotics, enzymes and vitamins which are now easily and commonly available in certified laboratory grade products. Kombucha’s effects appear to mostly be attributed to the Alcohol and caffeine and sugar which is always present. Of very real concern is the high acidity and the Kombucha’s supporting acidosis which is now considered a very real health concern. Some of the lighter side effects may be due to the acidifying properties. Lastly, there is a risk of cross contamination with dangerous molds and bacteria such as penicillin strains which could be very severe especially if the individual is health compromised in any way. Kombucha’s purported antibiotic resistant qualities are uniformally over stated by proponents.
There are far more effective and reliable natural alternatives to conventional antibiotics with little or no risk of exacerbation of existing conditions, harmful interactions and any risk. Although it may not be overtly harmful to healthy individuals drinking absolutely and properly prepared, on a limited basis no more than 2 to 3 times a week. It should be avoided when immune compromise is suspected. In answer to my first question whether I feel SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Practitioner should use or recommend to themselves or clients as a remedy? My overall vote is a NO as there are more readily available low to no risk alternatives for the same benefits. More Hype than help. Maybe in an “There is nothing else available” type of scenario. Additionally, we teach several proven antibiotic and or infectious disease treatment alternatives to all SomaVeda® students in class. As to whether we recommend Kombucha for use during our SomaVeda® programs? Again the answer is a no on using or making during programs… First of all we have a “NO ALCOHOL” policy for campus and since the majority of Kombucha products have varying amounts of alcohol it would not be suitable. Lastly, The risk is unpredictable from person to person and any use of Kombucha should be closely monitored for possible risk factors.
New information: Coffee Super Food: May Reduce Risk of Endometrial Cancer!
I published my first article of Coffee Super Food Nov. 11, 2013. There have been some significant new studies and scientific papers supporting Coffee use since then. I am updating this information accordingly.
There’s a lot of hype and mythology today regarding coffee and the consumption of coffee as possibly unhealthy. Many physicians for years have been warning their patients about the supposed risks associated with coffee drinking. They have said that coffee will raise your blood pressure, lead to heart disease, give you ulcers or make you diabetic. One gentleman I recently spoke to at his coffee bistro which he owns and operates, related to me how his personal physician had stated to him, “Drink another cup and you might die!”.
In the moment I was trying to relate to what a successful coffee shop owner might think or feel having been given this little gem of wisdom by his personal physician. As a physician and coffee drinker myself, I have heard over time both pro’s and supposed con’s. My new friends dilemma is the genesis for this article.
I’m sure he is not the only one. Drinking that cup of fresh, organic, properly roasted and brewed, premium coffee with a bit of guilt and or shame if not out right fear! Let’s work together to clear this up.
Please keep in mind that coffee like anything should be used or consumed in moderation and not to excess. However, I hope to show that there is an increasing database of scientific articles and research supporting health promoting properties. Most of the supposed harmful effects of coffee have been attributed to caffeine, however, there are more than 1000 different chemicals and bio-active compounds found additionally in coffee and many of them actually buffer the effects of the single constituent of caffeine! (20), (21)
History of Coffee (Brief!)
The origins of the word “Coffee” are actually Dutch which is based on a transliteration of the truncated Arabic term of “qahhwat al-bun” ‘ Wine of the bean’. Coffee, grown, processed and consumed the way we do today has been in practice as fa back as back goes! It has been part of native culture and indigenous traditions of ancient Ethiopia and the Arabian peninsula from which it spread to the rest of Africa and on to Indonesia and SE Asia and then to the America’s. it’s original use was closely associated with spiritual practices requiring extended night time devotions. It was noted from the 1500’s that drinking coffee “drove away fatigue and lethargy, and brought to the body a certain sprightliness and vigour“. There is a dark side of the coffee history Coffee was one of the products such as sugar which played a role in the development and expansion of the slave trade in the early America’s. (1)
The introduction of coffee into the diet of the ancient Arabs and the subsequent development of the coffee house, coffee salon may have contributed greatly to the development of all of the arts at that time. Story telling, conversation, revolution, culture, mathematics, literature, philosophy, music, dance were all fair game. From a cultural developmental point of view it would be difficult to separate the positive influence of coffee and it’s gathering places from other important societal influences.
From the scientific literature here are some results:
May Lower Risk of Death!
From Heart / Coronary Heart Disease, diabetes, stroke, death due to inflammatory disease. There are even some evidence that coffee drinkers perish at lower rates from injuries and accidents! Coffee appears to support longevity and reduce risk of death from many possible illnesses. (19)
The New England Journal of Medicine published a 14-year study of 402,260 American men and women titled “Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause specific Mortality” stated “As compared with men who did not drink coffee, men who drank 6 or more cups of coffee per day had a 10% lower risk of death, whereas women in this category of consumption had a 15% lower risk.” Researchers also found that as coffee consumption increased, the risk of death decreased. It made no difference whether the coffee was “Decaffeinated or not. (2)
Type 2 Diabetes: Several studies support the role of coffee in reducing the harmful effects of Type 2 diabetes. One Japanese study in 2010 showed this protective effect. Additional health benefit demonstrate included that coffee doubles glucose intake, which will reduce blood glucose levels stabilizing blood sugar levels. (3), (4)
CARDIO-VASCULAR DISEASE: Consumption of coffee is associated with reduced risk of death attributed to inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. ( 5), (6)
Endothelial Function: or healthier Endothelium (Lining of the blood and lymphatic vessels). Anything that supports the proper or improved Endothelial function supports longevity and proper functioning of all of the organs, circulatory process, healing of wounds and regeneration of tissues. This includes Rhuematic conditions and inflammatory processes. So what would these conditions relative to Endothelia health be? Here’s a partial list: atherosclerosis, hypertension and thrombosis often seen in coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, as well as in smokers. (7)
New! Endometrial Cancer: In a study published in the Medical Journal Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers & Prevention, cited by PubMed.Org, Coffee was reported to lower levels of estrogen and insulin. Researchers in a 2011 study indicated these two hormones are implicated in increased risk of endometrial cancer. Further the study showed that fewer than 4 cups per day resulted in as much as a 25% lower risk than in those individuals who consumed 1 or less cups per day. However, they also said that additives such as sugar and cream to the coffee could offset benefits.(28) So if we are speaking of Coffee as part of an overall natural treatment approach then black coffee is the way to go. More recently, a study Published in the February issue, 2016 of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, scientists found that drinking roughly 26 to 37 ounces of coffee per day reduced endometrial cancer by up to 18 percent. The study did not differentiate between whole, organic vs. decaf etc. Another trial involving consumption of 26 ounces per day identified a similar reduction, reportsCBS News. (25, 26, 27) The bottom line? Coffee Super food: May Reduce Risk of Endometrial Cancer!
Prostrate Cancer: One large study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute of almost 50,000 men, found that men who drinks six cups of coffee per day had a 60% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer. (8)
BRAIN FUNCTION: May protect from the degenerative conditions of Parkinsonson’s, Alzheimers and dementia disease. The exact reasons and or mechanisms that allow coffee to protect or support anti-aging or healthy brain function are as yet still unknown. The average person would be shocked to learn that there are over 1000 natural chemical compounds in the coffee that might have potential to affect health. This ancient herb infusion of the Arabica genus is one of the most complex foods on the planet. Additionally coffee may reduce some of the potential harmful side effects of dangerous chlorine based pesticides and herbicides such as Rotenone, Paraquat and Roundup. Coffees effects and possible benefits of brain function are being systematically being researched around the world. (9), (10)
ANTI-OXIDENTS: Japanese researcher Kenichi Yanagimoto showed that some of the antioxidants in brewed coffee remained effective for 15 to 30 days! He and other researchers have demonstrated that drinking brewed coffee which contains many antioxidants may inhibit diseases caused by oxidative damage. Which diseases are those? Try and find one chronic disease that does not share an indicator of oxidative damage as part of it’s morphology and pathology. (11)
We could easily go on! Additional conditions and disease which research suggest helpful, beneficial effects from coffee consumption include but are not limited to: Cirrhosis & Liver Cancer (12) (13), Kidney Cancer (14), Colorectal Cancer (15), Stroke (16) (17), Stomach and Gastrointestinal Flora (Gut Bacteria) (18), Hypertension, LDL Cholesterol, Cardia arrhythmia’s, Lactation, Endothelial Cancer (22), Breast Cancer (23)(24)
How much coffee should one consume?
That’s a good question and currently there is no hard and fast rule. While some of the studies and resources I have included here seem to indicate that the more the better, I think it’s actually important to self monitor and regulate based on how you feel. Some studies showed significant health benefits with consuming as many as four to six cups a day! However, when you feel your a your limit, drink more water! Shaking hands, nervous anxiety etc. show you it’s time for more water. Also, no matter how much coffee you drink daily, remember coffee should not be a substitute for water. The average person needs somewhere close to half their body weight in water every day to avoid dehydration and on the downside coffee is also known to be a diuretic.
Lastly avoid all the condiments, sugars, syrups, creams etc. as they do not have the health benefit of just the freshly brewed coffee. It’s also a quality issue. For example a properly brewed, good quality, organic, coffee regardless of origin, will have more and better flavor profile. It will be less acidic or bitter and pleasing for the palate without all the adjuncts and additives. So, properly brewed, fresh, good quality coffee for maximum health benefit. It’s time for a guilt and fear free cup or two of Java.
Coffee Super food: Coffee deserves it’s place at the “Super Food” table!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.