Kombucha: An Elixir Tea or Champagne?

Kombucha, a growing popular green or black tea, has been called the “Champagne of Life”, but is it really?

Over thousands of years several cultures have claimed that drinking kombucha daily promotes well-being and energy.  Kombucha starts as a tea to which is added strains of bacteria, sugar and yeast.  The mixture is fermented to produce a mushroom cloud formation, which can be ingested and then used to ferment new kombucha.  The fermentation process produces acetic acid and various species of lactobacillus strains that are purported to have positive impacts on irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

As the Western culture has begun to embrace this  ancient elixir,  side effects are being noted, including stomach issues, yeast infections, allergic reactions, nausea, vomiting and jaundice.  The fermented tea batches can become contaminated with bacteria and fungi which place those with weakened immune systems at risk.  Because the batches contain alcohol, alcoholics should refrain from consuming it.  Due to high acidic pH from 2.5 to 3.5, the content places the enamel of those who sip their tea at a high caries risk.

The  scientific jury is out on this elixir.  If you are a regular user or want to try it, be aware of precautions in order that you can make informed decisions on its risks and benefits.   (Reference:  Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, September 2019, Jill Rethman, RDH, BA, page 6.