Kombucha tea is a drink made by fermenting sweetened tea for 1-2 weeks with a starter culture of bacteria and yeast. This starter culture is called a kombucha or Manchurian mushroom. Fermentation produces a drink with bacterial and yeast colonies on top. Components in this drink include acetic acid, lactic acid, enzymes, amino acids, polyphenols, B vitamins, and some alcohol (0.5-1.5%).
Kombucha tea has been drunk in many cultures, including in China, Russia, and Indonesia.
Kombucha tea is drunk to promote good health. Other traditional uses include immune enhancement, cancer prevention and treatment, antiaging, antibacterial effects, stomach health, liver and kidney health, and mental health.
There is a lack of evidence supporting the use of kombucha tea for any medical condition. Experts warn that kombucha tea may be contaminated with possibly harmful organisms.
Side effects and components of kombucha may be related to the type of starter tea used. For further details on black tea, green tea, or other teas, related Natural Standard bottom lines are available.

Related Terms

Acetic acid, acetic acid bacteria, Acetobacter aceti subsp. aceti, Acetobacter intermedius sp. nov (strain TF2; DSM11804), Acetobacter nitrogenifigens sp. nov., Acetobacter xylinum, alcohol, algue de thé (French), amino acids, antibiotics, apiculatus yeasts, B vitamins, Bacterium gluconicum, Bacterium katogenum, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium xylinum, black tea, Brettanomyces, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, brewed kombucha broth, butyric acid, cajnij, čajnyj grib (Russian), čajnyj kvas (Russian), Candida kefyr, Candida krusei, Candida stellata, cháméijùn (Chinese), champagne of life, champignon de la charité (French), champignon des héros (French), champignon de longue vie (French), champignon miracle (French), chondroitin sulfate, combucha, combucha tea, Dr. Sklenar's kombucha mushroom infusion, D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone, enzymes, ethanol, fermented black tea, fructose, fungus japanicus, fungus japonicus, glucaric acid, Gluconacetobacter kombuchae sp. nov., Gluconacetobacter sp. A4 (G. sp. A4), Gluconacetobacter xylinus, gluconic acid, Gluconobacter oxydans subsp. industrius, Gluconobacter oxydans subsp. oxydans, glucose, glucoronic acid, glucuronic acid, godly tsche, green tea, haipao, haomo (Chinese), heparin, hóngchágū (Chinese), hóngchájùn (Chinese), hongo (Spanish), hyaluronic acid, Indonesian tea fungus, Issatchenkia occidentalis, Issatchenkia orientalis, Japanese tea fungus, jiaomu (Chinese), kargasok tea, kargiisok tea, kargnsok tea, Kluyveromyces marxianus, kōcha kinoko (Japanese), kombucha beverage from Camellia sinensis L., kombucha beverage from Satureja montana L., kombucha brew, kombucha mushroom, kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha thé, kombutja, kombútja (Russian), KT-4, K-tea, kwassan, lactic acid, laminaire de thé (French), malic acid, Manchurian fungus, Manchurian fungus tea, Manchurian mushroom, Manchurian mushroom tea, mukoitin sulfate, mushroom infusion, oxalic acid, petite mère japonaise (French), Pichia fermentans, polyphenols, red star kombucha tea, red tea fungus, red tea mushroom, Saccharomyces, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, spumonto, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), t'chai from the sea, té de kombucha (French), tea fungus, tea fungus broth, tea fungus kombucha, tea kvass, tea mold, teakwass, teekwass, Teeschwamm (German), thé de combucha (French), thé de kombucha (French), Torulaspora delbrueckii, tschambucco, usnic acid, Wunderpilz (German), yeasts, Zygosaccharomyces, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis sp. n. (type strain NRRL YB-4811, CBS 8849).
Note: Side effects and components of kombucha may be related to the type of starter tea used. Also, the focus of this bottom line is on kombucha, a specific type of tea made from a bacteria and yeast culture, and not from traditional black, green, or other tea leaves. For further details on black tea, green tea, or other teas, related Natural Standard bottom lines are available. The focus of this bottom line is not Japanese kombucha, a tea made from dried and powdered kelp.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Overall well being (Grade: C)
High-quality studies on the use of kombucha are lacking for any medical condition. The authors of a review suggest that the risk of side effects may outweigh any possible health benefit.