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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.

Our evidence-based analysis on kombucha features 25 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
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Summary of Kombucha

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

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.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

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.

Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Fungal tea, Mushroom tea

Do Not Confuse With

Camellia sinensis (plant from which it comes from)

Caution Notice

Kombucha, improperly prepared and in high doses, is linked to numerous instances of toxicity.

  • Improper preparation has been noted to cause adverse effects, sometimes resulting in death

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Click here to see all 25 references.