Kombucha’s Health Benefits
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: George
Posted on: May 6, 1998

For what health purpose is kombucha’s value in green tea? Does it provide a healing for a specific ailment?

Christopher Hobbs provides the following information in his book "Kombucha, Manchurian Tea Mushroom" (available at Richters).

Kombucha is a colony of yeast and bacteria, cultured in a blend of black tea and sugar, similar to the vinegar making process and resulting in a fermented beverage that tastes like apple cider vinegar. It has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. As a fermented food it may be beneficial to the digestive process, following the logic of providing beneficial bacteria to the digestive system: the ingestion of natural yogurt is often recommended by natural health practitioners to rebuild healthy gut flora after antibiotics kill the good as well as the offending gut bacteria. The vinegar may provide antibiotic action and aid digestion.

The major constituents of the tea, which may account for its antibiotic action, are: acedic acid, gluconic acid. Lactic acid and other hydroxy acids dependent on the particular tea batch, including citric acid, tartaric acid, succinic acid, malonic acid and oxalic acid.

Hobbs includes warnings that because of the antibiotic activity, it should not be taken on a regular basis, for the same reasons as overuse of penicillin has resulted in bacterial resistance, making antibiotics innefective in some people. He also warns of the possible dangers of AIDS patients ingesting the bacteria until studies have been done to show the effects.

Some of the anecdotal claims for use of Kombucha are: cancer prevention, AIDS remission, relief of menopausal hot flashes, elimination of wrinkles, removal of brown "liver spots" on the hands, helps constipation, bronchitis, asthma, coughs, allergies, kidney problems, cataracts, retards aging, cures irritability and mental fatigue.

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