Kombucha For Bees, Man, and Woman

Dennis Murrell calls himself a “natural beekeeper”. This is one reason he sprayed kombucha on his bees:

In the early spring, I grade my hives strong, average, below average, weak. This year, I sprayed the below average hives with a slightly diluted, about 30%, solution of overly ripe kombucha. It was probably about 3 weeks old. The spraying was done incidentally, without any planning, etc., just to watch the first reaction of the bees. After spraying, the below average hives were left alone, without any more manipulation or observations. . . . Ten weeks later, I popped the covers off the below average hives and found they had a full super of honey, while all the others, even those with larger bee populations had none. I was quite surprised to say the least! And I’d had forgotten about the incidental kombucha spraying until looking at my notes a week later.

Wow. Does this presage a honey surplus? As other beekeepers follow his example? He sprayed kombucha on his bees partly because he himself had found it so beneficial:

I began drinking about a cup a day. . . . I’d been afflicted with a skin aliment since my youth [psoriasis?]. There’s no known cure. Modern medicine can relieve the symptoms. But the drugs used have more long term side effects that are worse than any benefits. Well, within 24 hours [of drinking kombucha], the itching associated with the irritated skin disappeared. Within three days, the slight swelling associated with the irritated skin also disappeared. Within a month, 99% of the irritated areas disappeared. During that time, I lost joint pain that had plagued me for a decade, commercial beekeeping is rough on the back and joints. I regained full movement in my right shoulder. And a sense of wellness replaced whatever biologically stressed out condition I thought was normal. Once you’re over 50, some of the things lost along the way become more apparent. Hair texture, intestinal fortitude, urinary function, energy level, and sexual prowess all decrease. And weight increases. Using kombucha, a probiotic, has reversed my losses to that of a man 10 to 15 years younger. And I’ve lost some weight. Before using it, I felt old. After using it, I feel alive. . . . My wife, a nurse, was more than skeptical, she thought I’d poison myself with that ugly looking concoction. But when she saw my results, she tried it. Within a month, her joint pain completely disappeared, allowing her to get up off her knees without help or pain. And her hair has returned to the luster and thickness it had when she was in her 30’s.

I gained a few pounds when I moved from Berkeley to Beijing in August. Until I read this, it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be due to kombucha deprivation. (It took three weeks to brew kombucha in Beijing. I have not seen it for sale in Beijing even in Western-style health food stores!) To me, the most interesting change he describes is better hair texture. Perhaps it reflects better digestion. I can’t see why better immune function would improve your hair.

Thanks to Steve Hansen.

10 Replies to “Kombucha For Bees, Man, and Woman”

  1. Here is a hypothesis. The hair texture probably depends on the same mechanisms that cause reduction in joint pain. Short-term hair changes depend on the excretions from the scalp. Conditioners attempt to substitute for the healthy scalp oils, but of course it’s not as natural-looking as what the body can produce. So, when the body works better with its fats, that includes the substances that “oil” joints and substances that “oil” the hair.

    1. Maria, no doubt kombucha increases digestion of many nutrients. If one of those nutrients is omega-3, that would reduce joint pain. But I suspect kombucha reduces joint pain for the same reason bee stings (and perhaps acupuncture) are effective: introducing antigens reduces inflammation. The better hair, on the other hand, I’d guess is due to better digestion.

  2. The two things I can safely eat are starches (potatoes and rice) and lean meat. Fat is definitely out, even small amounts of it. So I think kombucha is impossible for me, even if it didn’t trigger lactose intolerance.

    What can I ferment? How do I do it?

  3. I’ve been drinking kombucha daily for about two years. I haven’t noticed any health improvements — but then again, I was pretty healthy to begin with.

    My wife also drinks it daily, or almost-daily. She has a history of chronic indigestion, bloating, and related digestive problems. She’s tried all sorts of drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, without any success. Probiotics have not helped, either. Drinking kombucha is moderately helpful to her. The digestive problems continue but in abated form. When she misses drinking kombucha for a day or two, she notices a distinct worsening of her symptoms.

  4. I LOVE kombucha. However, I also love good data and good science. The article Kombucha:
    The Manchurian Mushroom
    My Adventures with “The Blob”

    by Paul Stamets
    Updated July 1995
    Originally published in Mushroom, The Journal, Winter 1994–95

    Available at http://www.fungi.com/info/articles/blob.html

    Is amazing reading for anyone who’d like to understand the contents and challenges with repeatable kombucha. Don’t get me wrong, I drink kombucha on a regular basis, but I’ve become much more aware of the underlying issues with it after reading this article.

    P.S. I found this through the amazing Wild Fermentation site (http://www.wildfermentation.com/index.php), another fan of live foods!

  5. where did you manage to find kombucha in beijing? although i know how to say it in chinese, none of the people around me seems to know where i could find some. Thanks!!

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