Is Kombucha Halal?
Published November 18th, 2019
In general, kombucha is considered Halal. But as with other kinds of beverages that contain traces of alcohol, always read out the label.
In Islamic dietary laws, there are two classifications of food: halal and haram. Halal means it’s allowed for consumption. While the word “haram” translates to “forbidden” which, in itself, gives you a clue.
According to this law, alcoholic beverages are haram. This means that drinking such is a sin and can have consequences.
Though kombucha is generally regarded as a health drink, it still contains alcohol. Thus, Kombucha halal status has always concerned the Islamic community.
What is Kombucha?
As the quest for healthy foods is sweeping the world, kombucha is right at its forefront. It has gained popularity mainly due to its many health benefits.
But what made it a crowd favorite is its resemblance to soda. This fermented tea tastes tart and tangy with a slight fizz. Unlike soda, however, it doesn’t come with the threat of diabetes due to its low sugar content.
Another thing that endeared it to health lovers is its ease of preparation. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make one which is why most kombucha lovers prefer to make their own than buy ready-made ones from the store.
How Is Kombucha Made?
There are four basic ingredients to making kombucha: water, sugar, tea leaves, and SCOBY culture.
Also called the “mother”, a SCOBY is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that looks like a flat rubbery fungus. This is why kombucha is also sometimes referred to as “the mushroom tea.”
Kombucha is made by adding SCOBY to a sweetened black or green tea. Then it’s left to ferment for a week to a month. The result is a fizzy beverage that can taste from sweet and tangy to vinegary, depending on the length of fermentation.
The fermentation process also gives kombucha its alcohol content. But unlike other alcoholic drinks, it is not enough to cause intoxication on an adult. Most beers and wines contain an average of 4.2% to 12% alcohol while kombucha only has around .5% to 3%.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha’s health benefits are thanks mainly to its high probiotic content. Probiotics are living microorganisms commonly known as “the good bacteria.” They’re naturally found in our body and in some of the foods we eat.
Probiotics are best known for their immune-boosting properties. But recent studies show that the health benefits of probiotics are wide and varied. Depending on the probiotic strains, it can range from treating digestion issues to improving oral health.
Apart from its probiotic content, kombucha is also rich in vitamins and minerals. It has vitamins B1, B6, and B12 which has a mood-stabilizing effect beneficial for those suffering from anxiety and depression. These B Vitamins also help promote healthy nerve function. (Related: Is Kombucha Safe for Kids?)
For people who always feel tired, a sip of kombucha can help boost their energy levels too. With lesser sugar content than regular sodas, its also recommended for those trying to shed some pounds. It helps curb your sugar cravings thus making weight management a lot easier. (Related: Can Kombucha Make You Sick?)
Why Is It Halal?
There is a Hadith that says “Whatever a lot of it intoxicates, a little of it is unlawful.” This is why “Khamr” or alcoholic fermented beverages are considered haram as they cause intoxication.
As mentioned earlier, the level of alcohol in kombucha isn’t enough to cause intoxication. Therefore, it can’t be considered unlawful.
In fact, a review published by the Halal Certification Services in Switzerland states that an alcohol concentration of less than 1% is allowed. In Islam, its called “Mubah” which is neither forbidden nor recommended. They recognized that this level of alcohol is needed to maintain the acidic condition and prevent the growth of harmful microbes in some food.
A fatwa issued in 2015 supports this review. It permits the consumption of beverages with 0.5% alcohol content. Or that the alcohol content has no intoxicating effect even in large quantities.
But the different fermentation periods can yield varying levels of alcohol in kombuchas. Just to be safe, make sure the kombucha brand you’re buying is Halal certified.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the health benefits of probiotics and she wants to share that with the world. She also loves to write about healthy foods and other healthy living tips.