Kombucha is taking over store shelves. No longer is the tonic something you can find only in specialty stores or by brewing it yourself. These days even local grocery stores have shelves lined with multiple brands of the unusual drink.

So, just what exactly is all the fuss about? These jars of liquid, that often have sediment floating at the bottom, have a history that dates back thousands of years and have amazing health benefits.

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage. Its also known by the names Manchurian tea, Kargasok tea, mushroom tea and tea fungus. Some say the fizzy beverage has a vinegar-like taste and doesnt always smell overly appealing, but manufacturers have answered those complaints by flavoring the drinks with everything from ginger to lemon to berries and more. These sweet additions may also be part of whats adding to the popularity of the drink.

Benefits of Kombucha

Like other fermented foods loaded with probiotics such as sauerkraut, yogurt and kimchi, kombucha is good for the digestive system. Add the benefits of the tea base on top of that, and its literally a recipe for multiple health helpers.

In addition to aiding the gut, kombucha is said to boost immunity and some even claim it can help fight cancer, aid with hair loss, improve insomnia, help with arthritis and even benefit people with multiple sclerosis. Kombucha has even been referred to as the fountain of youth for its anti-aging benefits.

One of kombuchas greatest claims to fame, though, is that it is full of antioxidants that detoxify and help boost the bodys defenses to help fight illness.

While some critics question whether the drink really can fight cancer and serious disease, its hard to argue with the benefits of the probiotics from the fermentation process and the antioxidants from the black tea. Its another option for people who turn to yogurt or kefir to get their good bacteria.

History of Kombucha

Kombucha dates back to ancient China where it was believed to promote immortality. From there it made its way across Asia to Japan as a tonic to heal a variety of ailments. From there the cure-all began to gain popularity in Russia and Germany in the early 19th century before finally making its way to the U.S.

In the United States, kombuchas first audiences were people with HIV and the elderly who flocked to it for its health and anti-aging benefits. More recently it has gained tremendous popularity for the claims that it can heal a wide range of bodily woes.

Now, in addition to the many varieties available for purchase, there is a growing movement of home brewers.

If you havent tried it yet, I highly recommend you add some to your cart next time youre at the market. You may be surprised at how good a drink can make you feel. And with so many to choose from, youre bound to find one that appeals to you.