Probable Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Kombucha Tea

Is This Beverage Healthy or Harmful?


Dr. Srinivasan : Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, 1400 Wallace Blvd., Amarillo, TX 79106-1797.


Kombucha tea is a health beverage made by incubating the Kombucha “mushroom” in tea and sugar. Although therapeutic benefits have been attributed to the drink, neither its beneficial effects nor adverse side effects have been reported widely in the scientific literature. Side effects probably related to consumption of Kombucha tea are reported in four patients. Two presented with symptoms of allergic reaction, the third with jaundice, and the fourth with nausea, vomiting, and head and neck pain. In all four, use of Kombucha tea in proximity to onset of symptoms and symptom resolution on cessation of tea drinking suggest a probable etiologic association.