Pau D’Arco Tea

11 01 2010

When I visited my friend Michael in Los Angeles, not only did he teach me about Kombucha, but also about Pau D’Arco tea.

Pau d’Arco is a natural herb retrieved from the inner bark of the Tabebuia Avellanedae or Tabebuia Impetiginosa, known as taheebo.  Pau d’Arco, also known as ipe roxo or sometimes lapacho (its derivative), has been used for centuries by the Indio tribes of South America, as well as the ancient Incas and Aztecs. They say it is beneficial in treating cancer and also Candida.

Michael was brewing this up in a crockpot because the real thing is literally the shaved bark of the tree and takes a long time to brew. (Beware of Pau D’arco in tea bags, it may only be made from sawdust.) It tastes very earthy with a hint of vanilla. It is good served hot, cold or made into a chai. You can buy the bark at http://www.mountainroseherbs.com. Check it out at my links section. Read the rest of this entry »





Kombucha

10 01 2010

So I will begin with my article on how to make Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is delicious and also very healthy due to the live enzymes and probiotics found in the drink. Kombucha proponents claim many advantages such as increased energy, sharper eyesight, better skin condition, and better experience with foods that ‘stick’ going down such as rice or pasta. It may have originally come from Russia and the Ukraine but it has also been enjoyed in Asia, particularly China and Japan. They say that the Kombucha fungus starter was so prized in Japan, that it was passed down from mother to daughter as part of the daughter’s dowry.

My friend, Michael, gave me a gift of a small part of his “shroom” or fungus culture to bring home with me from Los Angeles. I was so excited they did not confiscate it at security. Having safely arrived home with my little prize, I brewed up a batch the next day and watched my shroom grow from about 1/2 inch in diameter to about 10 inches over the course of a week. It was really fascinating. Talk about kitchen science experiments!

I am always amazed as to who discovered this in the first place. How would you know that a slimy fungus growing on the top of a drink would turn it into something healthy and delicious. Go figure.

Here are Michael’s tips for making kombucha. We are currently making it with black and green tea and organic sugar. Most of the sugar is fed to the fungus to grow and the caffeine is also greatly eliminated in the fermentation process so there is only a small amount left. I will experiment however with decaffeinated tea and maybe agave instead of the sugar. I will keep you updated. Read the rest of this entry »