5

votes

Is there any evidence for Kombucha?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 09, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Like many people here I had never heard of Kombucha before going Paleo. Seems like A LOT of people are drinking Kombucha.

But I ask... Where is the evidence of its effectiveness? I have searched the web far and wide and all I have found is anecdotal evidence and claims that it can cure everything from hormonal disorders to AIDS...

Does anyone have a link to any research that has found some benefit? I am reluctant to drink stuff that may give me yeast infections and a host of other problems unless I know that someone has actually studied this and found evidence.

If anyone has links to any research that would be great. Thanks.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 24, 2012
at 05:09 AM

Yes but where is the evidence for its deliciousness.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on August 24, 2012
at 02:22 AM

I buy it at my local Mediterranean shop. Amazon has it too sometimes, but it's expensive there.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on July 31, 2012
at 11:18 AM

You will never get big, scientific research for something that people can easily make in their kitchen because big, scientific research is very expensive. For pharmaceutical drugs, for example, I have heard numbers as high as $262 million for the research.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 10, 2012
at 05:19 PM

Through the research I've done, it seems like the dangers are greatly overblown... The acidic environment of kombucha helps protect it from many molds and bacteria, while the SCOBI has it's own natural defenses as well. I'd be more worried about Seafood, Poultry, eggs, etc. than kombucha (http://chriskresser.chriskresserlac.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/foodborneillness.jpg?d9c344)... I mean, 15 people on average die every year from eating raw oysters. Are there even any deaths attributed to kombucha at all? Seems pretty safe to me, everything we eat has the "potential" to be contaminated.

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 10, 2012
at 10:40 AM

Thanks very much!

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 10, 2012
at 10:39 AM

Thanks for this.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on May 10, 2012
at 12:25 AM

I'm not a doctor, but in Greece pregnant women drink it without any fear AFAIK.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on May 09, 2012
at 11:52 PM

Here's how to prepare Greek Mountain Tea btw: http://eugenia.queru.com/2007/04/21/greek-mountain-tea/ Regarding pregnancy, I'm not a doctor, but in Greece pregnant women drink it without any fear.

Bc3f04f68d0c67a32e95904d0628d610

(30)

on May 09, 2012
at 09:14 PM

I saw this at a Greekfest last summer - didn't try it then, but I'm intrigued. Any idea if it's safe to drink during pregnancy?

45eaf1688c1baf31d687a382b78f451f

(502)

on May 09, 2012
at 08:38 PM

Everything I've read has pointed to home-brewed kombucha as being unsafe because of molds, bacteria, and anthrax (!) being introduced thru unsanitary preparation. I'm typing this on my phone and linking is a pain. I can link some articles when I get home.

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 09, 2012
at 07:01 PM

@Chris. I've read so many things online that say otherwise but my self preservation instincts kicked in and I gave it to my husband to drink instead.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on May 09, 2012
at 05:50 PM

If you're allergic to yeast and can't tolerate vinegar, beer, etc., then you definitely can't drink kombucha. I guess I'm not sure why you'd even consider it.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on May 09, 2012
at 05:49 PM

If you're allergic to yeast then you definitely can't drink kombucha! Why are you even asking?!

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on May 09, 2012
at 05:40 PM

Yeah, I'm curious about the dangers. Also, milk kefir isn't tolerated by everyone, and I haven't been able to get my home-brewed water kefir as strong as kombucha yet. Are there any other fermented beverages out there you've found helpful?

140e2a7ebd23d56038f8b597bab28464

on May 09, 2012
at 04:42 PM

I bought into them because I felt *fantastic* after drinking Kombucha. Turns out, I was having good amounts of the recalled batches; the ones with a considerable alcohol content ;)

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 09, 2012
at 04:02 PM

@chris. I'm allergic to yeast so I cannot tolerate beer, vinegar, wine, mushrooms, yeast extract.. That's why I'm concerned about Kombucha.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on May 09, 2012
at 03:35 PM

Drinking kombucha will not "give you" a yeast infection unless you've already got a problematic overgrowth of candida or there's some other major imbalance in your gut flora. If that was the case, you'd probably have symptoms/problems even without drinking kombucha.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on May 09, 2012
at 03:07 PM

Can you link to some of the studies that have impressed you the most?

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on May 09, 2012
at 03:03 PM

Fascinating! I had never heard of sideritis before.

8c4e1730b7a93894afcf8f32f84b50aa

(50)

on May 09, 2012
at 01:26 PM

Och, how did I not know about this, my roots are in the Greek mountains... About to get very excited about this whole Sideritis departure! Thanks!

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 09, 2012
at 12:05 PM

@Eugenia. I've just looked it up and yes it does sound very promising. I will order some and make iced tea from it. Thanks

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 09, 2012
at 11:51 AM

Thanks Will look at it now.

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on May 09, 2012
at 10:06 AM

I think most people understand that the anecdotal evidence is just anecdotal. I don't believe the health claims about it have been studied. It's a fermented food, which is made out to be an important dietary element in most forms of paleo and WAPF, etc. What I've found is that it's a delicious, refreshing beverage that gives me a little buzz, so that's why I drink it! :)

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11 Answers

9
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on May 09, 2012
at 11:27 AM

A good place to start is this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=kombucha

What's interesting here is that kombucha doesn't seem to excite these researchers. Instead, the Greek Mountain Tea (Sideritis) does, and it shows major health benefits: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=sideritis And yet, the Paleo people don't know about it! Personally, that's the tea I go for, and it's herbal too, so no caffeine in it.

Here's how to prepare Greek Mountain Tea: http://eugenia.queru.com/2007/04/21/greek-mountain-tea/

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 09, 2012
at 11:51 AM

Thanks Will look at it now.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on May 09, 2012
at 03:03 PM

Fascinating! I had never heard of sideritis before.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on May 09, 2012
at 11:52 PM

Here's how to prepare Greek Mountain Tea btw: http://eugenia.queru.com/2007/04/21/greek-mountain-tea/ Regarding pregnancy, I'm not a doctor, but in Greece pregnant women drink it without any fear.

8c4e1730b7a93894afcf8f32f84b50aa

(50)

on May 09, 2012
at 01:26 PM

Och, how did I not know about this, my roots are in the Greek mountains... About to get very excited about this whole Sideritis departure! Thanks!

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 09, 2012
at 12:05 PM

@Eugenia. I've just looked it up and yes it does sound very promising. I will order some and make iced tea from it. Thanks

Bc3f04f68d0c67a32e95904d0628d610

(30)

on May 09, 2012
at 09:14 PM

I saw this at a Greekfest last summer - didn't try it then, but I'm intrigued. Any idea if it's safe to drink during pregnancy?

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on May 10, 2012
at 12:25 AM

I'm not a doctor, but in Greece pregnant women drink it without any fear AFAIK.

4
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on May 09, 2012
at 11:08 AM

I came across Kombucha long before I heard of paleo, and enjoyed it as a non-sugary, non-sweetened, non-fullocrap soft drink. I can't say I'd really bought into the health benefits at that point (and haven't done any scientific surveys on the matter either). But then I'm not likely to buy into a host of unspecified risks either.

140e2a7ebd23d56038f8b597bab28464

on May 09, 2012
at 04:42 PM

I bought into them because I felt *fantastic* after drinking Kombucha. Turns out, I was having good amounts of the recalled batches; the ones with a considerable alcohol content ;)

3
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 10, 2012
at 12:15 AM

Evidence?!? MEH. Kombucha is a frecking delicious beverage!

I used to brew my own and make it super-awesome with ginger and berries and stuff. But after I ditched gluten I developed (or discovered?) an allergy to yeast. I miss kombucha so bad. Definitely not recommending it if you have a yeast allergy. No way. But for everybody else: Yes way! yum yum yum.

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 10, 2012
at 10:40 AM

Thanks very much!

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 24, 2012
at 05:09 AM

Yes but where is the evidence for its deliciousness.

2
984300c79a403775c08be2d21c24affc

(30)

on May 09, 2012
at 08:55 PM

This was the best I could find. Apparently no clinical trials have been done. MSK are usually very fair and thorough in their reviews of literature for complimentary therapies. http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/kombucha

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 10, 2012
at 10:39 AM

Thanks for this.

1
39fc92f54067d170cecd713c1107e93f

(10)

on June 30, 2013
at 02:58 PM

I have tried Kombuccha 3 times, and all 3 times I did get a yeast infection, I have never had one before in my life so I wasn't exactly sure what was happening, it was the worst pain I ever felt, cried all night using garlic to ease my pain. This Is a true statement as I am not a spiteful person, I just want to let the world know that you may get a yeast infection after drinking kombucha by the next day, inspite of the reports that say you cant get one. Cyndi T from Los Angeles

1
9fbe1e5707fa0cef1c2b065ae2c88827

on June 08, 2013
at 09:03 PM

@Jake I'm in Nairobi, Kenya and a quick google search has led me to your post. Looks like people don't write much about their consuming Kombucha here. Any chance you could give me the old russian lady's contacts or anyone here in Nairobi who makes Kombucha? I'd like to start taking it. Thanks

1
963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

on August 24, 2012
at 05:36 AM

No...but there IS much evidence for Kumbaya. It's a damn catchy tune, and it's gets people in harmony with one another in no time...

1
Ba99a15e6bf870b81286791617050593

(671)

on August 24, 2012
at 04:45 AM

For a non-scientific (but interesting) anecdotal answer:

I drank Kombucha long before I went paleo. I simply loved it, and didn't really attribute to much in the way of health benefits other than the fact that it felt good to drink and tasted delicious. I was particularly wary of the GT brand's claim that it helped his mom through breast cancer.

Fast forward to a year when I was living in Kenya and met a Russian woman married to a Kenyan man. She'd met him at university in Moscow and moved off to Kenya. Only thing she brought was a pack of clothes and kombucha cultures. She'd been brewing it there since. She was quite old by this time and had adopted the 'babushka' title - and so I called her kombucha 'babushka kombucha!'

She had never even heard of the term 'kombucha' - the Russians simply called it Chinese Tea. But, I was pretty surprised when she explained that when her grandmother was dying from cancer, the only thing her body wouldn't reject was kombucha. She drank it for a month straight and somehow miraculously recovered.

I don't put much stock into such tales, but I love the symmetry of the stories, particularly across different countries and times. What works for me is simply that it's delicious and makes my day better.

1
155427f71750149dd3be84899f39cfb0

on August 23, 2012
at 06:51 PM

I just use it for probiotics. Instead of greek yogurt. Kimchi is good too I heard

1
F524eaa9d58e5cd2d2368ff7bfffda9c

(480)

on May 09, 2012
at 02:59 PM

I've seen more studies about the dangers of Kombucha than any benefits. I avoid it. There are better fermented drinks around.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on May 09, 2012
at 03:07 PM

Can you link to some of the studies that have impressed you the most?

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on May 09, 2012
at 05:40 PM

Yeah, I'm curious about the dangers. Also, milk kefir isn't tolerated by everyone, and I haven't been able to get my home-brewed water kefir as strong as kombucha yet. Are there any other fermented beverages out there you've found helpful?

45eaf1688c1baf31d687a382b78f451f

(502)

on May 09, 2012
at 08:38 PM

Everything I've read has pointed to home-brewed kombucha as being unsafe because of molds, bacteria, and anthrax (!) being introduced thru unsanitary preparation. I'm typing this on my phone and linking is a pain. I can link some articles when I get home.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 10, 2012
at 05:19 PM

Through the research I've done, it seems like the dangers are greatly overblown... The acidic environment of kombucha helps protect it from many molds and bacteria, while the SCOBI has it's own natural defenses as well. I'd be more worried about Seafood, Poultry, eggs, etc. than kombucha (http://chriskresser.chriskresserlac.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/foodborneillness.jpg?d9c344)... I mean, 15 people on average die every year from eating raw oysters. Are there even any deaths attributed to kombucha at all? Seems pretty safe to me, everything we eat has the "potential" to be contaminated.

0
4886d3390cb1de913ecc198e72cc072c

on May 09, 2012
at 04:32 PM

@Eugenia where can you buy Mountain Tea (Sideritis)?

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on August 24, 2012
at 02:22 AM

I buy it at my local Mediterranean shop. Amazon has it too sometimes, but it's expensive there.

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