Kombucha

Last Updated: November 18 2022

Kombucha is a fermented form of Camellia sinensis, the plant that makes green and black tea. Though it is thought to be a healthy drink, improper preparation can cause toxicity and has resulted in multiple deaths.

Kombucha is most often used for

Summary

Kombucha, sometimes called mushroom tea (though it does not contain Bioactive Mushrooms) is a fermented tea from the plant Camellia sinensis. Kombucha is a green or black tea that is fermented for a week after sugars, fungi, and bacteria have been added to it.

The fermentation process produces a variety of acidic compounds that are claimed to benefit health through detoxification and anti-oxidation. Kombucha is also thought to promote longevity.

Though kombucha is a popular product, its actual effects on health are lacking. Kombucha contains more anti-oxidants than other teas, but there is not enough evidence to compare it against other standards like Green Tea Catechins and vitamin c.

Hypothetically, kombucha can aid detoxification through its main bioactive, which is called saccharolactone, but this has not been tested in people.

Improper sanitation and too long of a fermentation period can contribute to kombucha’s toxicity, which can result in death. Usually, this is because an individual was brewing their own kombucha, but death has also resulted from drinking too much kombucha (more than 14oz). Most of the evidence supporting kombucha's potential benefits is limited to rodents, while much of the evidence demonstrating its risks extends to humans. Therefore, it is not recommended to drink kombucha for its health benefits.

What else is Kombucha known as?
Note that Kombucha is also known as:
  • Fungal tea
  • Mushroom tea
Kombucha should not be confused with:
  • Camellia sinensis (plant from which it comes from)
Dosage information

There are several case reports of adverse effects occuring following Kombucha consumption. This may be due to toxins, pathogens, or excess acid, as a result of over-fermentation. Due to this potential harm, regular kombucha consumption is not recommended.

Although rare, most adverse effects occurred after a person drank more than 4 ounces (125mL). Therefore, it is not recommended to ingest more than 4 ounces of kombucha a day, in order to minimize the chance of an adverse effect. If kombucha is brewed at home, it must be properly prepared in a sanitized environment and fermented for less than a week to be safe to drink.

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