What are the Benefits of Kombucha?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

There are a number reported health benefits of kombucha, such as improvements to the immune system, improved liver function, better digestion, and cancer prevention. As kombucha tea has become popular, many people have focused on these claims. It is important, as with all fad foods and drinks, to review the research that may support such claims. While there have been a number of personal reports about the benefits of kombucha and some lab studies, these benefits are not widely accepted in the Western medical community. Furthermore, there are some reports of individuals experiencing adverse effects as the result of drinking kombucha.

Kombucha tea include green tea, sugar, and hot water.
Kombucha tea include green tea, sugar, and hot water.

Even though much of the science behind the benefits of kombucha is a bit soft or unaccepted by the Western medical community, many people swear by kombucha tea as a wonder drink. There are also indications that people in the East have been enjoying the benefits of kombucha for many centuries. For some, reports that kombucha has been healing and promoting health for such a long period of time is evidence enough.

Brewing kombucha, also known as mushroom tea, requires careful preparation.
Brewing kombucha, also known as mushroom tea, requires careful preparation.

As the science behind the benefits of kombucha is lacking, the claims about the drink's abilities are rather vague. It is not possible, for example, to claim that the drink will improve mental acuity if there is not sufficient evidence to support this fact. The broad claims regarding the benefits of kombucha include improved general health and wellness as well as those listed above. It is possible, however, that evidence in the future will either corroborate or poke holes in these claims.

The adverse effects of kombucha usually have to do with an upset stomach. This may be because the drink is rather acidic. On the other hand, many people report that one of the best benefits of kombucha is improved digestion. Other adverse effects of kombucha may have to do with the kind of barrel or jar that is used to cultivate the drink. If the jar is made out a material such as clay, it is possible for the drink to become tainted with lead, an ingredient that is sometimes used in glazes for these kinds of jars.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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