Kombucha tea is a fermented beverage from East Asia brewed from tea leaves, sugar, and an organic starter of yeasts and bacteria that drive the fermentation process and lend the end result various probiotics with reputed health benefits. The combination of yeasts and bacteria creates a balance between alcoholic and acidic content so that neither becomes particularly strong. Its taste is somewhat like a hard (alcoholic) cider, though it comes in a number of natural flavorings.
Caution: Side effects have been reported including dizziness and lactic acidosis, as well as toxic poisoning from contaminated batches.
Kombucha starters of the yeast and bacteria "mother", so-called 'kombucha babies', can be found for sale online or available for free on services such as Craigslist. With these organic starters, you can brew your own kombucha tea at home.
Natural Cures: Celebrities have been spotted drinking Kombucha tea as an energy drink and general health tonic. It is also said to reverse balding, improve the immune system and digestive health, prevent cancer, and counteract chronic fatigue.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[YEA] 07/22/2009: Shelley from Hamilton, NJ: "I started taking bottled Kombucha tea (not the teabag stuff) as an alternative to drinking Apple Cider Vinegar for acid reflux. The Kombucha brewing process is very similar (in fact, you can brew vinegar from it) and it has a similar concentration of acetic acids and probiotic organisms. I have found that, since I started drinking it regularly, my acid reflux has all but disappeared!
I find that I must drink at least 8 oz (1 cup) of Kombucha, twice a week, preferable on an mostly empty stomach. Depending on the severity of acid reflux, results may be noticeable immediately or within a few days."
04/23/2009: Ricktla from Gays Mills, WI: "This is no suggestion, but I just started the vinegar treatment for acid stomach and was wondering if kambucha drink wouldn't have the same effects as apple cider vinegar? kambucha wouldn't compete with vinegar -really- unless you make it yourself because of the expense, but I am just curious, and wonder if you know anything about this.
EC: 1 YEA on the site for kombucha tea and acid reflux!
[YEA] 11/28/2007: Michael from Wilsonville, OR: "I have been making Kombucha Tea for over 15 years and I have had two users of my tea who told me their acid reflux went away after a few days of drinking two 22oz. bottles of my Kombucha Tea. Made with Green, Black and herbal wild berry teas. Google "Kombucha Tea" for more info. Michael"
[YEA] 03/02/2008: Suzi from Missoula, Montana: "Kombucha Tea really can heal the planet I believe. Started brewing it 10 years ago through difficult circumstances....(cold apartment in winter, family skepticism,etc.)when I stop it for a month or so I can tell that my body starts to age! Have spread parts of the culture on face, hands and even rinse hair with it. Had significant brown spot on left hand totally disappear! Don't know if necessary, but as a precaution I rinse my mouth with warm distilled water so as not to discolor enamel on teeth. If you want to brew your own, get a bottle of "K.T. s" at health food store and remove the cap, cover with cotton cloth and rubberband, set in warm spot for about 3 weeks and a nice baby culture will grow on the top! Simply pour the entire contents in your gallon of distilled brewed black tea and sugar mixture and you are on your way!"Replies
05/24/2011: Willis from Boston, Ma, Usa replies: "Do you mean "G.T.'s" Kombucha Tea? I can't find a K.T.'s"
[YEA] 10/26/2007: Gaye from Lake Tahoe, CA: "Kombucha Tea has been a miracle drink for me!
NO MORE FATIGUE
NO MORE DEPRESSION
NO MORE SUGAR CRAVINGS
NO MORE CAFFINE CRAVINGS
NO MORE ALCOHOL CRAVINGS
I HAVE MORE ENERGY
The very first time I drank it, I got instant relief. I now only crave healthy foods. I havn't felt this good in a very long time. This tea has changed my life! I have been drinking the SYNERGY brand, from my local health food store for about two months now (the grape flavor is my favorite). I have also seen it at Wild Oats. I love mixing it with sparkling water, and drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I drink anywhere from a half bottle to a bottle a day. It is a little pricey (almost four dollars a bottle), so I am planning to make my own, which costs next to nothing. IMPORTANT: Start off slow, only drink half the bottle to start off with. Listen to your body. I have read that you may feel worse before you feel better, and that this is your body healing itself. I also drink lots of water, cause it makes me thirsty. I would like to share two wonderful and amazing links I found while researching this amazing TEA, that has been around for more than 2000 years.
I hope this tea blesses you like it has me! Thank you sooooooooo much for this website, I would like to share more with you when I have more time. GOD BLESS!"
11/25/2009: Janice from Coloma, Mi: "I just wondered if anyone has tried Kombucha tea? If so, what kind of results did you get?"
[YEA] 03/22/2008: Susan from Seattle, WA: "re: Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis/hypothyroidism. I have had Hashimoto's hypothyroidism for many years and have been under treatment by my naturopathic physician. Due to symptoms of hyperthyroidism, my doctor performed some tests and this time had no thyroid antibodies! This means that I no longer have Hashimoto's hypothyroidis! The doctor explained that the bacteria Yersinia enterolitica has been linked to the cause of Hashimoto's - apparently it has a similar protein coat to thyroid cells which provokes the immune response. I had not been treated with antibiotics for this. The only thing I have been doing differently is to drink Kombucha tea. I just read on your site that Yersinia enterolitica is sensitive to Kombucha, so it seems logical that the Kombucha was my cure. I drink about 8 ounces per day."Replies
06/02/2009: Marta from Provo, Utah replies: "This is a question about Kombucha tea. I have read that it might help reduce the antibodies in hashimotos. My thyroids are still ok, but my anti tpo are at 900. I have lost five babies and they think this might be the cause.
How much Kombucha tea would I have to drink? Could I do it with herbal tea instead of black or green tea? My religion does not let me drink black or green tea. Thank you very much!
06/11/2009: Cyn_texas from Waco, TX replies: "I know a lady who makes hers with grape juice. All I read said the Tea plant was needed, but no tea in grape juice. So give it a try!"
08/27/2009: Craig from Ocala, Fl replies: "I read Susan's (from Seattle, WA) comment about being treated by a Naturapath for Hashimoto's. I would like to know the name of your Naturapath. Thank you.
Also, if anyone else has had success in reducing or eliminating Thyroid Antibodies, I would love to hear about it. Thank you."
08/28/2009: Kathy from Pasadena, Ca replies: "The main difference between traditional MDs and Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) is that NDs work to find and treat the root cause disease and restore health to the whole body. That is why they are so effective in treating chronic disease and illnesses. MDs tend to limit their treatment to synthetic drugs for symtom management and/or use invasive procedures.
You can find a Naturopathic Physician at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at naturopathic.org. Also look for state organizations there under 'about us' then 'affiliates' then 'state affiliates'. Make sure you see a licensed Naturopathic doctor/physician that went through a full 4-year postgraduate naturopathic medical school. (Some states like Florida don't have licenses for NDs yet, but you can check their medical education credentials.)"
01/17/2010: Wydo from Ventura, Ca replies: "Other places in EC say that tea has fluoride in it. Does anyone know what happens to the fluoride in the tea liquor after it has been fermented? This would be very important to me to know. Does the acids produced by the fermentation counteract the fluride? Maybe Ted can answer this."
01/19/2010: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "Dear Wydo:
The fluoride in tea doesn't generally go away even after fermentation. The only way to remove the fluoride from the tea is through chelation or other standard methods in removal. Another way is that the tea from the source has low fluoride content to begin with.
[YEA] 02/20/2010: Kombuchainsomnia from West Chester, Ohio: "Hello, I LOVE THIS SITE and wanted to report my recent experience with Kombucha tea. I purchased some at my local whole foods store to assist me in detoxing. I hadn't slept at night for the entire week. I immediately drank it and, although I hadn't eaten all day and was starved, suddenly was not hungry. Later on that evening I had some extreme detox symptoms and felt fatigued and sleepy. For the first time in a week I went to sleep and slept through the night! I would certainly try this drink. Sure it is acidic and an acquired taste but it's phenomenal. Depending upon how ill you are, I've heard that it is important to begin with 1/2 cup because of the extreme detoxing!"
[YEA] 03/28/2009: Amber from Portland, Oregon: "I absolutely adore drinking Kombucha Tea. First, it's very energizing. If you are having one of those days where you feel horrible and tired, or have a hangover type of feeling, and can hit on some Kombucha somewhere, certainly it's one of your best choices! It is a fermented tea that has super healing and health properties; too many for me to remember here, but there is quite a bit of information online. You can get it at health food stores or make your own. It's great anytime, but if you are feeling tired, it can improve you to about as good as you are going to get. If you are tired it also will help you to look more alive and feel more vibrant that day. It's a balancer, so it won't give you more stimulation than you can handle. In fact, I often choose it at bars when it's available, instead of drinking alcohol, and can still sleep well."
[YEA] 04/20/2010: Sheila from Portland , Oregon: "I recently started using Kombucha tea to help my mother with acid reflux. Her doctor was very doubtful of this remedy but I decided to give it a try. My local market provided me with a "mother" and some about 8 ounces of starter and I was in the brewing business. I have since started two more gallon jars to keep it on hand. Some un-expected fabulous side-effects were discovered. I lost 10 pounds in a 2 month period and my mother is no longer complaining of symptoms. We both drink 6 ounces of our home-brew a day!!! I love my Kombucha!!!"Replies
04/28/2010: Uralochka from Portland, Oregon replies: "To Sheila from Portland: where did you find kombucha "mother" and a growing kit? Are there certain things to keep in mind when growing kombucha? Back when I was little, many households kept them for the same medicinal reasons, but it smelled very vinegary and it could go bad if not properly maintained.. I am very interested in learning to grow the "tea mushroom" as we used to call it"
06/18/2012: Regina from Atlanta, Ga replies: "I have been drinking Kombucha for about 2 month now. I started out by buying GT's Kombucha which gave my tons of energy. But because this is the expensive way I started brewing my own and let it ferment for about 15 days because most of the beneficial health effects are supposed to be present only after 14-21 days of fermenting (which tastes very vinnegary). So, I decided to do the continues brew. And this hit the nail on the head. My degenerative arthritis is gone to 90% just after a few days, I have tons of energy again, my blood sugar went down to normal, I can sleep much better, and I feel overall very, very good. I drink about 16 to 20 ounces a day. I had been drinking less before the continuous brew because it was too vinegary. It does what is said about it. However, obey the caution of starting out with only 4 oz. a day because you don't want the side effects of detoxifying too quickly. Also, research this on the internet. There are brewing instructions, recipes, history and health information."
[YEA] 01/17/2010: Rwlaw from Grand Rapids, Mi: "Been drinking Kombucha a little more than three months now and couldn't be happier w/ a cheap ( approx $6 for a 6 gal batch), homebrewed drink that's got me off Diet Dew and made me feel like a kid again (well almost lol).
I'm 56 yrs old and put my body through the ringer more than I should've. I was afraid that I was going to be a good choice for a one person group rate discount joint replacement program! Aches and pains in my body and the loose feeling in my knees are pretty much gone. Energy level is way up and it seems like even the think tank is doing better.
I do approx a qt or so a day and have changed from sugar to honey (raw, unfiltered) as I could'nt stand the sugary taste, a half pound honey per gal of tea, it also seems to ferment out a couple days quicker too."
01/22/2011: Itai from Charlottesville, Va replies: "hi! can you e mail me your recipie with the honey? it makes more sens to me although All will dispute...thanks, itai goldman(dot)itai(at)gmail(dot)com"
06/19/2012: Regina from Marietta, GA replies: "Hi Rawlaw, I want to coment on using raw honey for Kombucha. Raw honey or any other raw ingredient is supposed to be a no no for making Kombucha because raw honey has its own bacteria and therefore can and often does negatively interfere with the Kombucha brew, even to the point where it is not advisable to drink it any more. The Kombucha brew is what is called a "Wild Fermentation" which means the outcome is not always controllable and can go off. I am attaching below a website that does list the sweeteners suitable and unsuitable for brewing. Otherwise I am a dedicated Kombucha fan. Best of health to all of you."
EC: We're afraid the website meant to be enclosed didn't reach us properly, but a web search should help you track it down!
[QUESTION] 08/18/2009: Lauren from Davis, California: "I was curious if kombucha worked in a similar fashion to the ACV...it has a vinegar taste and also helps to regulate your pH as well as having helpful bacteria. Also can other vinegars work the same as ACV, such as rice vinegar?
Also, I've heard that raw milk products are supposed to be much easier to digest, a heads up to everyone.
If someone can answer, this would be really helpful."Replies
08/21/2009: Joyce from Joelton, Tn. replies: "Hello Lauren,
I don't have the answer to your questions regarding Kumbucha tea and similarity of action to apple cider vinegar, but you can easily answer at least one of those questions yourself by purchasing pH testing strip. ACV is usally 3 to 5% acetic acid and you can quickly learn how in acidity before ingesting.
The way to determine if they are similar in action when you take them is to take one of them early in the day and check your pH about l hour after taking it. If you need more frequent information check it every hour until you take a dose of the other (kumbucha or ACV) in the afternoon and start checking your pH at the same time intervals. This will answer your question as to how they compare in adjusting your pH very quickly and permanently.
I'll answer a question you didn't ask about the kumbucha mushroom. I gave two of my nieces a kumbucha mushroom and instructions for making kumbucha tea. Later I asked if she thought it helped and she laughed and said she never got to use it. She had put it in the refrigerator and went shopping with her sister. Upon return she asked her son if he was hungry and was told that he made a sandwich with the ham in the refrigerator, thought it had tasted a little off, and had been feeling a little queasy since eating it. Knowing that she hadn't left any ham in the refrigerator, she looked and found her kumbucha was missing. Scared that she had poisoned him, she told him that he had eaten a mushroom she had in the refrigerator instead of ham and urged him to go to the doctor. He refused and was feeling better in another hour or so. So apparently eating one doesn't kill you but I don't recommend it since I can't tell you about the nutrition it may or may not have."
Where to Find: Bangkok
02/15/2010: Wyn from Bangkok, Thailand: "Where can I get Kombucha in Bangkok? We used to make and drink it regularly but the culture eventually died out...
Would appreciate any help- been looking for years!
Where to Find: India
09/04/2011: Aji from Delhi, New Delhi: "I urgently require Kombucha tea. Pl provide me the contact address and phone no.,
Aji Kumar K N
02/19/2012: Faith from Forest Park, Ohio replies: "You can purchase Scobies/Mushrooms on Ebay I think. Other than that google it and there are many suppliers! It is one of the keys to BETTER HEALTH, NUTRITION is the other end of the spectrum, think bone broth soups/stews, bottoms up!"