'Tibicos' - probiotic culture of Latin America
"There is a long pre-Columbus use of Tibicos in Mexico as 'a ferment' (equivalent to the ginger beer plant of England). The culture is believed to date back to before the time of the Aztecs, where it was used by ancient physicians.
Just as milk kefir grains vary slightly in composition, so no doubt do Tibicos. It seems that the term Tibicos was corrupted to Tibetan crystals and then to Japanese crystals, along with colourful names such as 'California bees' which describes their activity."
Some of this info from Karen Bueger's site (Dresden, Germany) www.kombuchapilz.de
In 1899, M Lutz documented the existence of Tibicos, a culture derived from the sugar saturated liquid of the Opuntia cactus of Mexico. It was taken back to Germany where it has been in consistent use since the 1930s - it increased in popularity in the 1980s when it became a 'cult drink' of sorts, in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Also known as 'Tibetan Crystals' (thus causing confusion with Tibetan Kefir milk culture which can also be used to culture juices and water/fruit mixtures). Known in Japan as Japanese Water Crystals because used there to culture water, juice and fruit mixtures.
Properties: Probiotic because Tibicos is a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast cells. Contains Lactobacillus Brevis, Streptococcus Lactis and Saccharmyces Cerevisae.
How to, with tibicos cultures:
Keep tibicos cultures in a matrix of water and sugar, at room temp. Every 6 weeks or so, strain out the cultures (eg when you are about to use them to ferment juice), make a new matrix liquid and throw the old liquid matrix out - it is good in compost, cos full of yeasts and bacteria.
To ferment juice with tibis, eg. Organic apple juice, pomegranate juice, apple and blackcurrant juice (no citrus):
Put the tibicos cultures and their matrix storage liquid into a plastic sieve, not metal, over a plastic container. Take the tibis cultures out of the plastic mesh of the plastic sieve, with a plastic spoon, not metal. Then carefully (they are quite small) put the tibis cultures into some juice, eg. organic apple juice and let it ferment for 2 days at room temp.
Then you strain the tibis out of the juice, using same sieve method as above related. Put the tibis back into their storage liquid of sugar and water and keep at room temp. in their storage hutch.
Put the fermented apple juice into the fridge. Every couple of days check to see what sort of yeast build up you have in the fridge bottle - commonly you need to remove the fermented juice, swill out the bottle a couple of times with clean water, then replace the product in the fridge. This stops the product fermenting too much in the fridge, cos it continues to ferment in the fridge to a degree.
..One keeps the Scoby in a little kitchen hutch at room temp - like one of those Breakfast fruit plastic jars by SPC. You keep it in black tea (believed to be good for the culture) sweetened with brown sugar. Now and then, you take the lot out of the hutch and swill out the bottom of the Scoby hutch, to stop excess yeasts building up and creating too much acidity for the Scoby. Its also necessary to make up new black tea and sugar solution from time to time and and chuck out the old solution - the old is good for driving compost. The 'matrix' is the tea and sugar that the Scoby lives in, when its not fermenting.
Kombuchaed juice: Kombucha continues to ferment in the fridge, as Kefir does, even when you swill out the yeast at the base of the product bottle from the fridge every 2 days, to keep the yeasts down. So I only make about 3 cups at a time, when there are two people drinking it daily.
Take 3 cups of apple juice or apple and blackcurrant juice. Put this into a plastic jar at room temp., to ferment the juice for 2 days, eg. a Decore plastic jar with a screw top. Pull the Scoby out of storage hutch with two fingers and stick it into the fermenting jar of juice. After two days, pull out Scoby from ferment and put back into its storage house, then put fermented juice product in fridge and drink about one cm of kombuchaed juice over a small amount of mineral or plain water, say 3 oz/90 ml, once a day. Kombucha is strong stuff, so once a day is plenty. If I had cancer as a concern, I would use it twice a day.
The big and mature Kombuch scobies are about a cm fat, usually round and about 3 inches across but even the junior, less mature ones do a perfectly good job of fermenting. Up in Manchuria, they grow in puddles at the base of birch trees and feed on the carbohydrates from the trickling down birch tree sap.
Kombuch as a culture, moved down into Japan from Manchuria China, then across into Russia, from where it moved across through Germany and on into the rest of Western Europe, becoming well established there by the 1970s, as with Kefir milk culture (contains 34 probiotics) from Tibet. Kombuch is also a probiotic but has a small number of probios, rather like Tibicos from Mexico and the yogurts.
The Russians have been using K as an anti cancer regime and also to assist with treating cancer for a long time. I drink it in the warmer weather once a day tho not in the cold but if I'd had cancer, I would use it right the year round. Dietetics now has a lot of respect for some Chinese herbal and other similar therapeutic substances like Kombucha/Kefir - because they have now been shown by orthodox science to be so potent in their properties.
Scoby lives in storage hutch at room temp.
Scoby ferments juice at room temp.
Fermented product is stored in fridge and you clean accumulated yeasts out of the fridge product bottle every 2 days, then replace product in bottle in fridge.
Kombucha is now marketed in the States (black tea form) as 'Synergy GT' probiotic.
Onibasu Link: http://onibasu.com/archives/km/89157.html