Kombucha's Health Benefits
Claims for cures made by the many devotees of Kombucha run the gamut from atherosclerosis to zits. One woman calls kombucha tea her lifeline back to perfect health, and another calls it a poor man's medicine cabinet. People from all over the world credit drinking Kombucha for their recovery from cancers, depression, skin rashes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, arthritis, infections, poor digestion, and a host of other ailments and diseases.
On the other side of the coin, the Mayo Clinic has issued a statement that says, "There hasn't been enough research to prove any direct evidence that Kombucha tea provides any health benefits."
In fact, tests conducted on rodents indicate Kombucha tea has strong antioxidant and immune influencing properties, along with liver protecting, digestive aid, and anti-stress potential.
Anecdotes Tell A Story
Most of the praise showered on Kombucha is based on anecdotal documentation, including testimonials from millions of people through recorded history. Recently, celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst, Madonna, Meg Ryan, Barbara Streisand, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Alex Baldwin, giving it the thumbs up, are bringing more media attention to Kombucha's effectiveness.
What Traditional Medicine Says
Kombucha, although acidic, has an alkaline-forming function inside the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kombucha balances the Middle Qi (spleen and stomach). By aiding the stomach to better digest food and by assisting the spleen to deliver more nutrition, the body heals itself.
Kombucha Adapts Well
Herbalist refer to Kombucha an adaptogen because of its ability to balance endocrine hormones and the immune system. Adaptogens help the body stay balanced by either toning down the activity of hyperfunctioning systems or strengthening the activity of hypofunctioning systems.
What's In Kombucha
Kombucha contains folic acid, an important B vitamin that works with vitamin B12 to reduce homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease. B vitamins may prevent and correct deficiencies caused by aging, cancer, Crohn's disease, heart disease (atherosclerosis & hypercholesterolemia), immunodepression (including AIDS & CFIDS), memory loss (including Alzheimer's disease), osteoporosis, and periodontal disease.
Lactic acid in Kombucha acts as a detoxifier, assisting blood circulation to help prevent bowel decay and constipation. Lactic acid helps balance the acids/alkaline ratio in the body, which is believed to help in the prevention of cancer.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) in Kombucha is believed to aid in the prevention of arthritic conditions, atherosclerosis, cancer, free radical damage, skin aging, stroke, brain cell aging, and weakened immune system.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) in Kombucha has properties that can prevent allergies and arthritic conditions.
The niacin or vitamin B3 present in Kombucha can help prevent free radical damage. It also helps skin tissue heal faster.
Kombucha's Vitamin B6 is believed to aid in the prevention of atherosclerosis, free radical damage, obesity, rheumatism, and strokes.
The all-important vitamin B12 has a reputation for helping people remember, and have a sense of well-being.
Kombucha also contains vitamin C from its lactic acid. Vitamin C's many health benefits are well know, and are too numerous to list here.
Probiotics and Bacteria
As a probiotic, Kombucha, aids the stomach in the breakdown and digestion of food ingested. The beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in Kombucha compete with and help remove or suppress harmful bacteria, yeast, and parasites. This action explains why people who suffer from candida can drink Kombucha.
Kombucha Helps Detox
Some research indicates that glucuronic acid or its precursors are present in Kombucha. This acid is a metabolite that is produced by a healthy liver to help the liver do its detoxification of the body. Advocates claim that by drinking Kombucha daily, people can help prevent bodily tissues from absorbing toxins and poisons found in ordinary environments.
Studies performed on athletes under very intensive stress during their training and competitive cycles indicated that the athletes who consumed Kombucha had an increase in maximum performance capability, an increase in cardiac output, improved gastrointestinal function, and an improved sense of well being. The theory is that Kombucha serves as a biostimulator, able to increase aerobic capacity and improve metabolic function.
Because most Kombucha contains caffeine, some people report an energy boost and upbeat mood after drinking it. Kombucha also contains small amounts of alcohol, thanks to the fermentation process, which may also add to that happy feeling Kombucha drinkers report.
Kombucha tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine, an acid that occurs in both green tea and black tea. L-theanine crosses into the brain and stimulates positive, relaxed feelings.
As for warnings about Kombucha consumption, there have been reports of people having allergic reactions or beginning to detoxify too quickly, which is why Kombucha drinking should begin gradually.
Other incidents of side effects include lead poisoning from making tea in vessels that contain lead, or bacterial infections from poor sanitation during kombucha brewing at home.
The FDA and American Cancer Society advises against immune-compromised individuals, including those with HIV or cancer drinking Kombucha. Whether or not pregnant women or breastfeeding women should consume Kombucha is unknown.
Anyone taking hormone replacement therapy should consult with their physician before drinking Kombucha regularly because Kombucha can reduce the absorption of certain drugs.
Observed adverse effects of kombucha consumption include hepatitis, xerostomia, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, shortness of breath, restless legs, abdominal pain, hypotension, and tachycardia. In most cases, patients fully recovered after discontinuation of kombucha and symptomatic treatment. However there are case reports of serious and sometimes fatal cases of hepatic dysfunction and lactic acidosis.
The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
If you'd like to see more on this, here's a link to the FDA's Poisonous Plant Database.