After the great national war (1941-1945), the number of cancer cases in the Soviet Union, as in other lands, increased by leaps and bounds from year to year. At the beginning of 1951 the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Central Oncological Research Institute in Moscow decided, among other important research measures, to analyze minutely the statistical data on the varying frequency of cancer cases in the individual regions, districts, and cities of the USSR. In doing so, the habits and environmental conditions of the populations in the districts where there were particularly few cases of cancer were to be investigated in especially close detail. In this way -- you might say almost criminologically --it was hoped to reach new discoveries in the field of pathogenesis and, if possible, succeed in finding an effective cure for cancer.
Conspicuous in this respect were the districts of Ssolikamsk and Beresniki in the region of Perm on the Kama in the central western Urals. There were hardly any cases of cancer here, and then only in people who had just moved there. The environmental conditions were no better here than in the old industrial areas. In the Ssolikamsk and Beresniki districts there was new and continually expanding industry which, on account of its pollution (potassium, lead, mercury, and asbestos mines and the dangerous processing works connected with them) was much more dangerous than the old industurial areas in other parts of the Soviet Union. Although the population density was considerably less, the pollution was in comparison considerably more dangerous. The trees were dying and so were the fish in the Kama.
Two exploration teams of ten scientists each, plus associated personnel, were set up. Dr. Molodyev headed the team in the Ssolikamsk district, and Dr. Grigoriev the team in Beresniki. The techniques used in the exploration, which were very extensive and lengthy, need not be described in detail here.
Among other things explored by the teams were:
The only thing that stood out was that, in spite of a comparatively higher consumption of alcohol and nicotine, the work morale was considerably better than in other areas of the USSR. Non-payments of social security contributions due to illness were considerably fewer. Drunken offenses were extremely rare. In spite of higher alcohol consumption, drunkenness was virtually unknown. It looked as if people here could take more alcohol. The norms for work and production were consistently and genuinely exceeded. The general mood of the population on the whole was high. Explanations for all these phenomena were not at first forthcoming. There seemed to be little prospect of finding an explanation for them.
One warm summer's day the team leader, Dr. Molodyev, personally visited the dwelling of one of the families to be questioned. The wife and husband were out at work, and the children were at kindergarten or playschool. Only an old "babushka" was there, doing the housework. She helped several other related families in this way. The old "babushka" offered Dr. Molodyev refreshment, as the day was particularly hot, and he accepted gratefully. The beverage, which was unknown to Dr. Molodyev, was pleasant, refreshing, and tasty. When he inquired what sort of drink it was, the old lady told him it was called "tea kvass." Dr. Molodyev was astonished. He only knew of kvass, which was fermented from bread. On inquiry, the old lady explained that "tea kvass" was not made from bread but from sweetened tea, which was fermented by means of the "tea fungus" or "tea sponge." When she saw that Dr. Molodyev had difficulty understanding this, she showed him about ten big stoneware jars, which were standing side-by-side on shelves in a small neighboring room, and which had muslin or linen cloths tied down over them. She uncovered one of the jars. It smelled strongly of fermentation. On the top floated a large grey-brown jelly-like thing, flat as a pancake, which looked almost like a jellyfish. "Not exactly appetizing," said the doctor. "But very healthy for all that, easy to digest, and what's more, free," retorted the old lady.
She then described in precise detail for Dr. Molodyev the method of preparing it:
Into the stoneware jar is poured three to five liters of warm black tea (one teaspoonful of tea to one liter of water), sweetened with 100 to 150 grams of sugar per liter. While the tea is lukewarm, a "fungus" or an offshoot of one is placed on top, after a cup of ready-fermented tea kvass has been added. Then, a linen or muslin cloth is bound over the jar. After standing for 10-12 days at 20 to 30 degrees centigrade, the new tea kvass or "tea wine" is ready.
Of course, the culture propagates itself from time to time by a cylindrical binary fission. However, using a sharp blade, three or four kopeck-sized pieces of culture (about the size of one DM coin) can be cut from the edge of the main culture, like a gear wheel, and placed in small glass jars (150 ml) on black tea and Kombucha beverage (in the ratio 1:1), sweetened as above. After three or four days new cultures will have grown, and they can be replaced right away on two liters of tea plus Kombucha beverage.
The old lady must have told him that there was not a family in the whole Ssolikamsk region that did not brew and drink "tea wine." It had been so for many hundreds of years. It was said that learned travellers had brought it with them from China long ago. The Chinese had obtained it from the Japanese. The scholars had presented the Czar with this ferment with which one could make wine out of tea. After a while the Czar remarked that this "wine" was no longer to his taste. He commanded that it be given to the people, with the comment that now everyone could make wonderful wine from tea. The little moujiks would stop being so covetous, and they would not get drunk on this "wine" either.
By a similar strange coincidence, the team under Dr. Grigoriev in Beresniki also stumbled onto this otherwise almost unknown tea ferment during their research. Long and thorough investigation proved that in both regions there was hardly a household that did not possess the "tea fungus," produce this strange "tea wine," and consume it in large quantities. Here was a cheap and beneficial folk beverage. Even alcoholics drank large quantities of it before, during, and after drinking alcohol. The remarkable thing about this was that after consuming large quantities of alcohol, drinkers showed hardly any signs of inebriation. Drunken offenses and accidents--either on the roads or at work--caused as a result of consuming alcohol, were extremely rare. The consumption of alcohol and tobacco was rather higher in the areas investigated than in other regions of the USSR.
Now came the scientific evaluation of the results of the investigation. This was made more difficult because nobody in either team was in a position to classify or define the "tea fungus" with scientific exactitude. The Moscow Central Bacteriological Institute was able to help fairly quickly. From color photos and samples, it was definitely established that they were dealing with the little-known Kombucha. Kombucha is the Japanese "tea sponge" or "tea fungus," which is a jelly-like mass formed of Bacterium xylinum and nest-like deposits of yeast cells of the genus Saccharomyces. To this symbiosis also belong: Saccharomyces ludwigii, Saccharomyces of the apiculatis types, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium gluconicum, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Acetobacter ketogenum, Torula types, Pichia fermentans, and other yeasts. It was also known that this Kombucha was used in some parts of the Sovient Union to prepare a cider-like beverage called "tea kvass."
The Central Bacteriological Institute in Moscow did not know much more about Kombucha than this. They relied mainly on the manual written by the German W. Henneberg, "HANDBUCH DER GARUNSBAKTERIOLOGIE," Volume II, 1926. However, the German manual did not say anything about the biochemical functions of the Kombucha symbiosis either. So, then the Central Biological and Biochemical Institute in Moscow was consulted.
We now know that the so-called "Kombucha tea fungus" is not a fungus but a lichen. Kombucha is a symbiosis of yeast cells and bacteria, a fungal lichen membrane, which does not produce by means of spores--like a fungus--but by budding...(Note by G. W. Frank: I hope the author of this article will forgive me, but I do not agree with the classification of Kombucha as a lichen. A lichen is a symbiosis of algae and fungi, and requires light as a source of energy in order to build up chlorophyll by photosynthesis, a typical feature of algae. Kombucha, on the other hand, flourishes even in the dark, precisely because it contains no algae components, a typical feature of lichens.)*.
Detailed investigation revealed that Kombucha, apart from other not easily definable sustances possessing an antibiotic effect, produces: GLUCORONIC ACID in particular, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, as well as folic acid and dextrogyral; i.e. L-LACTIC ACID (+).
Of prime interest here were the GLUCORONIC ACID and the dextrogyral L-LACTIC ACID (+). A healthy liver produces sufficient quantities of GLUCORONIC ACID, which as yet can hardly be synthetically produced. It binds in the liver endogenic metabolic toxins which have entered the body, which are then transferred via the gallbladder into the intestines, and via the kidneys into the urine. Toxins bound by the glucoronic acid cannot be reabsorbed by the intestines or the urinary system. Glucoronic acid consequently has an extraordinarily important detoxifying function. A healthy body can produce it in sufficient quantities in the liver under normal circumstances, ensuring in general an adequate detoxification of the system. It becomes critical when the environment contains excessive amounts of freely circulating toxic substances or when excessive amounts of endogenic metabolic toxins accumulate in the body.
The gradually and increasingly weakened liver cannot manage to produce sufficient gluoronic acid any more. In a situation where excessive amounts of endogenic and environmental toxins are present, the development of cancer and other diseases is fostered. Above all, the endogenic resistance system (RES) breaks down. Besides this, it is of great significance that GLUCORONIC ACID in conjugated form is the building block of the very important polysaccharides such as hyaluronic acid (ground substances of connective tissue), chondroitin-sulfuric acid (ground substance of cartilage), mucoitin-sulphuric acid (building block of the stomach lining and the vitreous humour of the eye), and heparin.
So, it is not surprising that KOMBUCHA is used so successfully for weak connective tissue, arthrosis and arthritis, damage to the stomach lining and complaints of vitreous humour of the eye. It is also helpful for thrombosis and thrombophlebitis. The antibiotic component in KOMBUCHA is USNIC ACID, normally obtained from lichen. It has a strongly antibacterial effect, and can even partly inactivate viruses. USNIC ACID is a dibenzofurane derivative.
L-LACTIC ACID (+)--dextrogyral--is almost never present in the connective tissue of cancer patients. So long as it is predominantly present in the connective tissue, cancer cannot develop. It is interesting to note here that a pH value of 7.56 is exceeded in cancer patients. Organisms which are free from cancer (and also free from precancers) show pH value of under 7.5. A deficiency of L-LACTIC ACID (+) in the diet leads to failure of cell respiration, fermentation during the breakdown of sugar, and the build-up of DL-lactic acid in the tissue. Mixtures of both lactic acids [levogyral(-) and dextrogyral(+), i.e. D and L-lactic] in equal amounts, whose directions mutually cancel each other out, are called racemates. These racemates promote the development of cancer, and even make it possible in the first place.
Plenty of food-containing dextrogyral (L-lactic acid), manual labor, muscle training, saunas, etc., besides the elimination of waste products, enables the body to get rid of this lactic acid, and thus regulates the pH value of the blood and helps lower it. Serological tests of the blood in the veins have shown that the KOMBUCHA beverage shifts the pH value noticeably toward the acid side. That should give you a broad outline of our chief interest in KOMBUCHA.
Detailed urine tests showed that after drinking Kombucha, the urine of patients who had never had Kombucha to drink before contained considerable traces of environmental toxins (such as lead, mercury, benzol, caesium, et cetera). It was thus ascertained that the beverage was completely free of these substances.
Professor Vinogradov, member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, who was also Stalin's personal physician, ordered a series of further medical and pharmacological tests using Kombucha. Rumors of a future miracle cure for cancer reached the ears of the Minister of the Interior and the Chief of Secret Service, L. P. Beria, who had himself gone on a guided tour of the laboratories of the various research institutes that were now busy testing Kombucha, and had everything explained to him in minute detail. When Beria heard how they had come across KOMBUCHA, he was jubilant. "That's the criminological investigation of the KGB for you! You see? Science can learn from the KGB! But learning from the KGB means learning how to be victorious! I shall have to tell Comrade Stalin about this. He just recently reproached me and said we must work more efficiently, that is, scientifically."
In this connection people began to talk about how Stalin's anxiety about the possibility of getting cancer was growing even greater. Added to this, there was a scientific treatise by Professor Petrovsky, Principal of the Leningrad Institute of Parapsychology, who said that people often die of the disease they have always dreamt about. Stalin had apparently read this treatise, and due to his "belief in science" was now so depressed that something had to happen.
In view of this state of affairs, and because harmful side effects could with certainty be ruled out, Stalin was pacified by treating him with the raw product of KOMBUCHA, the beverage itself, before a corresponding pharmaceutical preparation could be developed. Professor Vinogradov made his decision in this respect, dependent on the assent of a medical council. In the Autumn of 1952 a council of 12 doctors gave their assent. Beria gave the go-ahead, but he had done so without reckoning on both his deputies, KGB Generals Ryumin and Ignatiev. Both had gotten wind of the affair and had likewise had themselves conducted around the laboratories, naturally not without listening to the relevant scientific explanations about it, but then, however, coming to different conclusions.
Ryumin and Ignatiev were pathologically ambitious. Each of them was trying to oust Beria and take over the office of Minister of the Interior and Chief of the KGB for himself. As Stalin at this time had considerable antipathies toward the Jews, which had never previously been the case, they used the fact that Vinogradov and most of the members of the council of Stalin's personal physicians were Jews. They hatched a very primitive but nonetheless mean and effective plot, by informing Stalin that Vinogradov and his "accomplices" had cultivated particularly dangerous "moulds" in order to obtain poisons from them with which they intended to slowly and unobtrusively but surely poison him (Stalin).
Stalin, in his extremely morbid distrust, gave Ryumin and Ignatiev full power -- without any interference from Beria -- to arrest Vinogradov and his followers and to prepare a trial. This affair became known as "The Trial of the Moscow Doctors" 1953. Vinogradov and his team of docors ended up in Moscow's Lubyanka prison. The research work on KOMBUCHA came to an abrupt end. The Moscow examining magistrates and public prosecutors soon discovered new "crimes" and formulated them in the indictment: damaging the reputation of Soviet medicine and pharmacology by relapsing into pre-scientific nature healing. They had deliberately tried to use this to expose Soviet science to ridicule in the eyes of the world. Scientifically prepared preparations could not be seriously set aside in favor of pre-scientific so-called "nature products," without appearing backward and ridiculous.
Vinogradov and the other members of the "council of personal physicians" were vindicated after Stalin's death, and Beria, Ryumin, and Ignatiev sentenced to death and executed for these machinations, but as far as I know, the research work on KOMBUCHA was not taken up again. The Soviet Research Committees justified the indictment in the following way: Soviet science refuses to slavishly imitate or exploit natural processes. Soviet science must think and investigate in an independent and creatively productive way. One should not stick to simple natural processes and copy them. This would be unworthy of a Soviet scientist. The aim of Soviet medicine is to create an irrefutable theory of the pathogenesis of cancer and to develop from it steps towards an effective therapy of this disease. Soviet medicine must not demean itself by descending to a state of quackery infatuated with nature cures. The former methods of healing by natural means is pre-scientific. One should not fall back into such a state.
However, nobody was against experiments with KOMBUCHA going on -- quietly -- in prison hospitals and labor camp with prisoners who had cancer. These experiments did no harm in any way, but on the contrary only did good. A vast number of specialist books have been written on this subject. As witness to this, Alexander-Solzhenitzyn's works can be mentioned here, particularly "Cancer Ward," "The Right Hand," his autobiographies, et cetera. In them, he expounds in detail how he himself fell hopelessly ill in prison from stomach cancer with numerous metastases in the lungs, liver, bowel, et cetera, and how by a seeming miracle, he was completely cured by KOMBUCHA, which was made with birch leaf tea. He then describes in "Cancer Ward," how he was in a Moscow clinic for a check-up, lying in the same room as some high-up officials who were also suffering from cancer, and who would have given all they possessed in order to get hold of this "miracle cure."
A note is necessary here:
KOMBUCHA is made with birch leaf tea in those cases where the urinary system requires stimulation. The toxins bound by the glucoronic acid can thus be eliminated from the body particularly quickly and effectively. However, it must not be forgotten that the tea solution in which the KOMBUCHA culture is to be placed must always contain some black tea. Without black tea, the culture will not thrive, if it grows at all.
It is a little known fact that Paracelsus fermented all the medicinal herbs one could think of with KOMBUCHA. These medicinal herbs fermented with Kombucha were particularly effective.
In 1983 the media reported for the first time that the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was said to have cancer. Then, at regular intervals we heard continued reports of new metastases which had appeared and had to be removed from the bowel, bladder, and nose. He found it difficult to cope with the chemotherapy he had at first been given. Further metastases appeared. Famous doctors in the USA remembered the cancer therapy mentioned by Alexander N. Solzhenitzyn in his autobiography "Cancer Ward." He had been cured of cancer quickly, completely, and without problems in Soviet hard labor camp hospitals. References to the sinister "tea fungus," allegedly the cause of the cure, were followed up. A. N. Solzhenitzyn, who was living as an immigrant in the USA, was questioned on this matter. He was able to give important information. Some samples of the "Japanese tea fungus," also called "Kombucha," were procured at once from Japan. The treatment using the beverage was begun, and the President drinks a liter of it daily. Ronald Reagan's cancer and his metastases are hardly ever heard of now, if at all. He'll probably enjoy a happy and healthy life for many years yet.
*To link to a related article by Gunther Frank, Visit: Article by Gunther Frank!
Another article of interest can be found at fungi perfecti's MUSHROOM INFORMATION CENTER, hosted by the President, Paul Stamets: Points to Ponder!
Gunther Frank's Article!
Gunther Frank's Article!