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Overview Information

Kombucha is a fermented mixture of yeast and bacteria. It is sometimes described incorrectly as a mushroom. Kombucha is made by fermenting yeast and bacteria with black tea, sugar, and other ingredients.

People commonly use kombucha orally as medicine for many different conditions, but there is no scientific evidence that it is an effective treatment for any condition.

How does it work?

Kombucha contains alcohol, vinegar, B vitamins, caffeine, sugar, and other substances. Kombucha might act as an antioxidant. However, more evidence on how kombucha might work for medicinal uses is needed


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of kombucha for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Kombucha is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth. Kombucha can cause side effects when contaminated including stomach problems, yeast infections, allergic reactions, yellow skin (jaundice), nausea, vomiting, head and neck pain, and death.

Kombucha, especially batches made at home where it’s hard to maintain a germ-free environment, can become contaminated with fungus (Aspergillus) and bacteria (including anthrax). In Iran, 20 people got anthrax infections from taking kombucha. Kombucha is LIKELY UNSAFE in people with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS, who are more likely to get infections, as well as when it is prepared in a lead-glazed ceramic pot. Lead poisoning has been reported following ingestion of kombucha.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Kombucha is POSSIBLY UNSAFE during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Alcoholism: Kombucha contains alcohol. Avoid it if you have a drinking problem.

Diabetes: Kombucha might affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use kombucha.

Diarrhea: Kombucha contains caffeine. The caffeine in kombucha, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Kombucha contains caffeine. The caffeine in kombucha, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

Surgery: Since kombucha seems to affect blood glucose levels, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop using kombucha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Weak immune system: Don’t use kombucha if you have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS or other causes. Kombucha can support the growth of bacteria and fungus that can cause serious infections.



Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) interacts with KOMBUCHA

    Kombucha tea contains alcohol. The body breaks down alcohol to get rid of it. Disulfiram (Antabuse) decreases the break-down of alcohol. Taking kombucha tea along with disulfiram (Antabuse) can cause a pounding headache, vomiting, flushing, and other unpleasant reactions. Don't drink any alcohol if you are taking disulfiram (Antabuse).



The appropriate dose of kombucha tea depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for kombucha tea. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • Aloulou, A., Hamden, K., Elloumi, D., Ali, M. B., Hargafi, K., Jaouadi, B., Ayadi, F., Elfeki, A., and Ammar, E. Hypoglycemic and antilipidemic properties of kombucha tea in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. BMC.Complement Altern.Med. 2012;12:63. View abstract.
  • Banerjee, D., Hassarajani, S. A., Maity, B., Narayan, G., Bandyopadhyay, S. K., and Chattopadhyay, S. Comparative healing property of kombucha tea and black tea against indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice: possible mechanism of action. Food Funct. 2010;1(3):284-293. View abstract.
  • Bhattacharya, S., Gachhui, R., and Sil, P. C. Hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea against TBHP-induced oxidative stress via suppression of mitochondria dependent apoptosis. Pathophysiology. 2011;18(3):221-234. View abstract.
  • Bhattacharya, S., Manna, P., Gachhui, R., and Sil, P. C. Protective effect of kombucha tea against tertiary butyl hydroperoxide induced cytotoxicity and cell death in murine hepatocytes. Indian J.Exp.Biol. 2011;49(7):511-524. View abstract.
  • Cetojevic-Simin, D. D., Bogdanovic, G. M., Cvetkovic, D. D., and Velicanski, A. S. Antiproliferative and antimicrobial activity of traditional Kombucha and Satureja montana L. Kombucha. J.BUON. 2008;13(3):395-401. View abstract.
  • Derk, C. T., Sandorfi, N., and Curtis, M. T. A case of anti-Jo1 myositis with pleural effusions and pericardial tamponade developing after exposure to a fermented Kombucha beverage. Clin.Rheumatol. 2004;23(4):355-357. View abstract.
  • Dipti, P., Yogesh, B., Kain, A. K., Pauline, T., Anju, B., Sairam, M., Singh, B., Mongia, S. S., Kumar, G. I., and Selvamurthy, W. Lead induced oxidative stress: beneficial effects of Kombucha tea. Biomed.Environ.Sci. 2003;16(3):276-282. View abstract.
  • Ernst, E. Kombucha: a systematic review of the clinical evidence. Forsch.Komplementarmed.Klass.Naturheilkd. 2003;10(2):85-87. View abstract.
  • Gamundi, R. and Valdivia, M. [The Kombucha mushroom: two different opinions]. Sidahora. 1995;34-35. View abstract.
  • Gharib, O. A. Effects of Kombucha on oxidative stress induced nephrotoxicity in rats. Chin Med. 2009;4:23. View abstract.
  • Greenwalt, C. J., Steinkraus, K. H., and Ledford, R. A. Kombucha, the fermented tea: microbiology, composition, and claimed health effects. J.Food Prot. 2000;63(7):976-981. View abstract.
  • Hartmann, A. M., Burleson, L. E., Holmes, A. K., and Geist, C. R. Effects of chronic kombucha ingestion on open-field behaviors, longevity, appetitive behaviors, and organs in c57-bl/6 mice: a pilot study. Nutrition 2000;16(9):755-761. View abstract.
  • Ibrahim, N. D., Kwanashie, H. O., Njoku, C. O., and Olurinola, P. F. Screening of "Kargasok tea". IV: Studies of pathological effects in BALB/C mice and Wistar rats. Vet.Hum.Toxicol. 1993;35(5):399-402. View abstract.
  • Kwanashie, H. O., Usman, H., and Nkim, S. A. Screening of 'kargasok tea.' I: Anorexia and obesity. Biochem.Soc.Trans. 1989;17(6):1132-1133. View abstract.
  • McNaughton, C. and Eidsness, L. M. Ethics of alternative therapies. S.D.J.Med. 1995;48(7):209-211. View abstract.
  • Murugesan, G. S., Sathishkumar, M., Jayabalan, R., Binupriya, A. R., Swaminathan, K., and Yun, S. E. Hepatoprotective and curative properties of Kombucha tea against carbon tetrachloride-induced toxicity. J.Microbiol.Biotechnol. 2009;19(4):397-402. View abstract.
  • No author. Unexplained severe illness possibly associated with consumption of Kombucha tea--Iowa, 1995. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. JAMA 1-10-1996;275(2):96-98. View abstract.
  • Pauline, T., Dipti, P., Anju, B., Kavimani, S., Sharma, S. K., Kain, A. K., Sarada, S. K., Sairam, M., Ilavazhagan, G., Devendra, K., and Selvamurthy, W. Studies on toxicity, anti-stress and hepato-protective properties of Kombucha tea. Biomed.Environ.Sci. 2001;14(3):207-213. View abstract.
  • Perron, A. D., Patterson, J. A., and Yanofsky, N. N. Kombucha "mushroom" hepatotoxicity. Ann.Emerg.Med. 1995;26(5):660-661. View abstract.
  • Sabouraud, S., Coppere, B., Rousseau, C., Testud, F., Pulce, C., Tholly, F., Blanc, M., Culoma, F., Facchin, A., Ninet, J., Chambon, P., Medina, B., and Descotes, J. [Environmental lead poisoning from lead-glazed earthenware used for storing drinks]. Rev.Med.Interne 2009;30(12):1038-1043. View abstract.
  • Sadjadi, J. Cutaneous anthrax associated with the Kombucha "mushroom" in Iran. JAMA 11-11-1998;280(18):1567-1568. View abstract.
  • Sai, Ram M., Anju, B., Pauline, T., Dipti, P., Kain, A. K., Mongia, S. S., Sharma, S. K., Singh, B., Singh, R., Ilavazhagan, G., Kumar, D., and Selvamurthy, W. Effect of Kombucha tea on chromate(VI)-induced oxidative stress in albino rats. J.Ethnopharmacol. 2000;71(1-2):235-240. View abstract.
  • Sreeramulu, G., Zhu, Y., and Knol, W. Kombucha fermentation and its antimicrobial activity. J.Agric.Food Chem. 2000;48(6):2589-2594. View abstract.
  • SungHee, Kole A., Jones, H. D., Christensen, R., and Gladstein, J. A case of Kombucha tea toxicity. J.Intensive Care Med. 2009;24(3):205-207. View abstract.
  • Vijayaraghavan, R., Singh, M., Rao, P. V., Bhattacharya, R., Kumar, P., Sugendran, K., Kumar, O., Pant, S. C., and Singh, R. Subacute (90 days) oral toxicity studies of Kombucha tea. Biomed.Environ.Sci. 2000;13(4):293-299. View abstract.
  • CDC. Unexplained severe illness possibly associated with consumption of Kombucha tea-Iowa, 1995. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1995;44:892-3,899-900. View abstract.
  • FDA Talk Paper. FDA Cautions Consumers on "Kombucha Mushroom Tea." Available at: www.vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/TPMUSHRM.html
  • Gamundi R, Valdivia M. The Kombucha mushroom: two different opinions. Sidahora 1995;90:34-5.
  • Gedela M, Potu KC, Gali VL, Alyamany K, Jha LK. A case of hepatotoxicity related to kombucha tea consumption. S D Med 2016;69(1):26-8. View abstract.
  • Kombucha-toxicity alert. Crit Path AIDS Proj, 1994;30:31-32 1994-5.
  • Majchrowicz M. Kombucha: a dubious "cure". GMHC Treat Issues 1995;9:10.
  • Phan TG, Estell J, Duggin G, et al. Lead poisoning from drinking Kombucha tea brewed in a ceramic pot. Med J Aust 1998;169:644-6. View abstract.
  • Sadjadi J. Anthrax associated with the Kombucha mushroom in Iran. JAMA 1998;280:1567-8.
  • Srinivasan R, Smolinske S, Greenbaum DJ. Probable gastrointestinal toxicity of Kombucha tea: is this beverage healthy or harmful? J Gen Intern Med 1997;12:643-4. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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