Health benefits of Kombucha

This organic beverage is free from chemical poisons and because of containing thousands of probiotic bacteria, yeasts, enzymes and useful acids, has important roles in the body metabolism, blood cleaning and strengthening immunity system.

It’s hard to believe that Kombucha has such long list of benefits, but the scientists from all over the world, especially Germany and Russia, has mentioned more than 30 remedial benefits. Some of them are as follow:

Glucuronic acid and the detoxification,descaling and anti-cancer properties

The toxicants from environment and the foods and the remained chemicals from metabolic and degradation processes, produce some harmful matters such as Indole, Phenol, Cresol Skatole, biogenic Amines, Ethanol, Butanol, Propanol, Fusel oils which have bad effects on liver and heart. Useful organic acids of Kombucha, especially glucuronic acid, are important in exclusion of harmful matters which justify the detoxification,descaling and anti-cancer properties.(1) This has been proved by some scientists, including in Iran (2).

Glucuronic acid is one of the most important ingredients of Kombucha. This, in fact, is UDP-Glucuronic Acid (active form) that combines with the toxicants which eliminates them from the body by solving them in the body. This is mediated by the UDP-Glucruronyltransferas enzyme which is present in the body organs (3).

The more the percentage of Glucuronic acid in Kombucha, the more the nutritive and remedial properties. This acid can’t be synthesized in the labs, but is produced by liver. It acts as an antidote which excretes the toxins.So, it is important to drink adequate amount of water and other beverages during the day to eliminate the toxins by glucuronic acid.

Kombucha is the only food source of glucuronic acid. Nowadays, because of harmful chemicals in foodstuffs due to pesticides and fertilizers, and the mercury alloy used by dentists, a heavy burden is placed on the liver which leads to the different diseases (4). Dr. Erisch Rebholtz, a Kombucha scientist, emphasizes drinking Kombucha to excrete the toxins (5).

Glucuronic acid is also necessary to produce important polysaccharides such as hyaluronic acid which is useful in connecting the tissues (6).

Glucuronic acid isplaced under importance by the oncologists, especially the Russians. Since Dr. Veronika Carstens used Kombucha for treating his husband’s cancer, Karl Carstens, the former president of Germany, this beverage was introduced by her (7) and also Dr. Rudolf Sklenar as a supplement medicine of cancer.

Dr. Rudolf Sklenar is famous for his different methods of cancer treatment (especially in early phases), that has prescribed Kombucha as a complementary remedy. His methods are explained by  Rosina Fesching in her book (8). Dr.  Sklenar has mentioned the other health benefits of Kombucha in curing gout, rheumatism, Arteriosclerosis, kidney stone, blood fat, impotence, overweight, constipation, boil and arthritis.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1970, has mentioned treating his cancer by using Kombucha in one of his books in 1952 (9). Ronald Reagan, the president of USA, could stop his cancer growth by drinking 1 liter of Kombucha per day to finish his presidency (10).  The American Dr. Robert E. Willner, in his book ‘Treating Cancer”, mentions Kombucha as a useful medicine.(11).

The researchers believe that Kombucha is a food supplement which supports the immune system and prevents the diseases. One of the most important reasons of cancer (%35) is due to dietary factors and since Kombucha  improves  the digestive system, it is known as a positive factor in treating cancer (Faranak Beigmohammadi et al., 2010).

The German Dr. Josef Issels MD, a well-known oncologist, during his 40 years of practice and dealing with more than 16000 patients, introduced Kombucha as a part of his remedial methods. The Dutch Dr. Ludvijeks, in his book’ life without cancer’, poposed Kombucha for treating different diseases, especially metabolic disorder and cancer. He believes that one of the reasons of the Red Blood Cell death is the impaired amount of blood acid. So, Kombucha not only excretes the toxins, but also regulates the amount of blood acid, which are the two factors of preventing cancer (12)

According to the lots of researches mentioned above, Kombucha has special compounds (especially glucuronic acid), which have the detoxification, antioxidant, metabolic regulatory and energetic properties and also act as a preventive factor of cancer metastasis and a supplement of cancer treatment (13).

There are other medicines and researchers that have investigated on Kombucha and mentioned its health benefits in their papers, like: Dr. Harald Müller- Kehrmann (1990), Dr. Soraya Shantiay (1996) Dr. Valentin Köhl MD (1961), Dr. Robert E. Willner (1993), …

In 1951, the USSR Academy of Science and the Institute of Gland Research in Moscow, with the supervision of Dr. Molodejew and Dr. Grigorijew decided to analyze the outbreak of cancer in the different regions of Russia. They found that there is little evidence of cancer in Ssolikamsk and Beresniki, which is actually related to the newcomers. They discovered that  the inhabitants of these regions have been using Kombucha for hundreds of years. (14) Lately, some Indian researchers confirmed Kombucha as a supplementary medicine in treating prostate cancer (15).

The Anti-Oxidant Properties of Kombucha

Antioxidants are necessary for body health. These compounds neutralize the destructive effects of free radicals and prevent from illnesses such as cancer and heart diseases. The best sources of antioxidants are fresh fruits and vegetables and Kombucha (16). Antioxidants have detoxification properties and help cleaning the liver and preventing cancer.

This fermented tea has polyphenols and other anti-oxidants more than black tea. Kombucha has plenty of some anti-oxidants such as Vitamins B & C, Beta-Carotene and other Carotenoides. The activity rate of the anti-oxidants in Kombucha is 100 times more than vitamin C and 25 times more than vitamin E. Therefore drinking Kombucha helps to cure the chronic diseases due to oxidative stress.(17) The oxidative stress is because of the imbalance between free radicals synthesis and anti-oxidants defense which, for example, has the role in diabetes and its side-effects. The anti-oxidative features of Kombucah, reduces blood sugar. A considerable amount of sugar is converted to the other helpful chemicals. So, Komubcha is useful for the diabetic persons.(18)

On the other hand, we are exposed to the radiation emitted from natural sources (soil elements and solar radiation) and unnatural sources (electronic devices such as microwave, TV, PC, telephone, cell phone, X-ray and…). The undesirable and gradual effects of these waves on the body cells have been discussed, such as: metabolic disorders which cannot excrete the cell toxins completely. Because the cell membrane has been damaged and the cells can’t operate naturally. Three recent studies (2009,2010 1nd 2013)(19-21) have shown that Kombucha, according to its high anti-oxidative effect, can prevent the cell injury  and recover the damaged cells.

Improvement of Kidney Failure, Detoxification and Kidney Stone Prevention

The detoxification effect of Kombucha is through its glucuronic acid. Kombucha eliminates the kidney injuries due to environmental pollution and is useful for the persons who suffer from kidney failure. Kombucha prevents Ca ions from sedimentation and developing kidney stone (22).

Treatment of Arthritis, Rheumatism and Gout

Glucuronic acid can convert to glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and other polysaccharids and the glycoproteins related to the joints, collagen and the liquid softeners of joint mobility. Kombucha heals the signs of arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Regarding this, the following sources are suggested: Dr. Molenda (23), Prof. Rudolf kubert (24), Karl-Heinz Rodat (25), Prof Wischovsky (former chief of School of Pharmacy of Prague) (26) and Prof.  Winfried Lockman (former chief of school of Herbal medicine and Homeopathy of San Salvador) (27).

Promoting Digestive System Health, Food Digestion and Strengthen of Intestinal Wall

Kombucha, like any other probiotic production, has plenty of useful bacteria which help to the body metabolism. Probiotics, yeasts and enzymes promote food assimilation (specially the type of fats, carbohydrates and proteins which do not break down simply.

According to the reports of the German Prof. Lindner and Prof. Laqwits, Kombucha enhances the intestinal flora and helps to the food assimilation and balance of body PH. So that the intestinal activity for food stuff degradation diminishes, because Kombucha bacteria has done this action before. Therefore Kombucha reduces gastric acid secretion which is harmful for the mucous membranes. In fact, the health impact of Kombucha is equivalent to Omeperazole.The anti-oxidative effect of Kombucha protects the lining of the stomach and heals gastric ulcers efficiently (28).

Butyric acid is one of the most important compounds which is produced during the fermentation process. Prof. Ulf Stahl, microbiologist and the chief of biotechnology institute of Berlin University, believes that butyric acid has the anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties, kills the parasites and prevents from the Candidiasis disease which is due to the useful bacteria deficiency (29). This compound promotes the digestive system health.

Kombucha and the Weight Control and Loss Through Metabolism Regulation

One of the reasons of overweight is the weakness of digestive system, food digestion and metabolism. Prof. Karl-Hintz Schmidt, chief of prophylaxis Department of Tubingen University, believes that Kombucha enzymes help to the metabolism regulation, digestive system health and better food digestion (30). So, Kombucha has been introduced as an efficient supplement in weight control. In his book, Gunter Frank, reported of some persons which had 1.5 kg weight loss by drinking 1 liter of Kombucha per day.(31)

Kombucha for athletes, Energetic and Curing Muscle Cramp

Kombucha  releases the iron in the tea which increases hemoglobin and oxygen transfer to the tissues.

Kombucha increases iron absorption from the vegetables. In his book, Gunter Frank, mentions a study which was carried out on the professional athletes with hard training in Germany. The results showed the athletes that drank Kombucha, had no muscle cramp because of its enzymes. This study has been performed by Korner in Germany (32). Dr. Erich Rebholtz showed that  DRINKING Kombucha  Kombucha can increase the efficiency of athletes up to %66 (33).

Kombucha and Immune System Strength and Healing Infection

Some scientists believe that Kombucha, because of the fermentation process and the compounds such as acetic acid, is a natural antibiotic which stops the harmful bacteria growth and has no side-effect in the long time consumption.(34)

Kombucha has the ability to destroy harmful bacteria, protect useful bacteria and increase the immune cells and by destroying the infections, keeps healthy the body immune system (35). Amongst the researchers that have reported the strengthening ability of immune system by drinking Kombucha, is the Russian Prof. Daniel jan (36). Another Russian researcher, Barbansic, published a book about health benefits of Kombucha in 1954 and mentioned the results of Russian researchers’ studies on the treatment of infections, blood pressure and arteriosclerosis by Kombucha (37). Prof. Rimpler, from the medicine school of Hanover, examined the blood test of 24 persons that consumed 0.5 liter Kombucha daily, and confirmed the multiplication of immune cells (38).

Kombucha and AIDS

Due to the strengthening immune system and the energetic ability of Kombucha, some AIDS associations reported that by kombucha consumption, the AIDS patients had the feeling of more energy, resistance and consciousness .(39)  Some compounds of Kombucha such as usnic acid can act as an antidote to prevent the activity of viruses, decrease the amount of the P-24 antigen (the protein which constitutes the structure of HIV) and increases T-cell (T-lymphocyte, the immune system cell) that results in the gaining weight up to 5-7 kg which is the sign of disease recovery (40).

Kombucha and Blood Pressure Regulation

Dr. Max Bing recommended Kombucha to prevent the headache and dizziness due to high blood pressure (41).

Kombucha and Nervous System

Kombucha contains different amino acids, methyl xanthine alkaloids (caffeine, theophylline and theobromine), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), B vitamins (folic acid- B9) which are necessary for natural metabolism of nervous system. These compounds help the nervous system to relieve headaches and anxiety and prevent epileptic seizure.

Kombucha and Asthma

Daily consumption of Kombucha is useful for asthma patients. Kombucha contains theophylline which widens brunchus. The therapeutic dose of theophylline is 0.18- 1 gr per day. A cup of Kombucha contains 1.44 mgr of theophylline.

Kombucha, Containing Lots of Vitamins B, C and D

Kombucha not only contains useful bacteria, but also vitamins B, C and D. Vitamin B causes relief and stress reduction and decreases nervous desire. This vitamin reduces heart disease risk and helps memory improvement. Vitamin C is useful for immune system, cardiovascular disease risk reduction and eye health. Vitamin D is necessary for bones and skin health.

Kombucha for Arteriosclerosis Prevention, Cholesterol Reduction and Vascular Function Improvement

In a clinical experiment, Kombucha could reduce blood cholesterol of the 52 Patients with atherosclerosis and high cholesterol. Dr. Erich Rebholtz chief of Gagno clinic in Germany, mentioned that Kombucha can reduce chylomicrons (fat carriers) and cholesterol as a result. (42)

During an study on the ducks, Kombucha could decrease LDL (Bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (Good Cholesterol) in a 10-day period. Dr. Zigwart Herman through some experiments on other animals showed that Kombucha can decrease overall cholesterol up to 45-52%. Kombucha ,on one hand, increases HDL and on the other hand decreases triglyceride and LDL (43).

Oxidative stress can damage the inner walls of the arteries which lead to arteriosclerosis. Dr. Madaus showed that Kombucha antioxidants help reconstruction of the cell wall of blood vessels (44).

Other researchers that have reported the positive effects of Kombucha are: Prof Wischovsky (former chief of School of Pharmacy of Prague), Dr. Molenda, Dr. Maxim Bing and the Russian Barbansic (45).

Kombucha and Stomachache Reduction

Kombucha is a fermented beverage which is useful in food digestion. So, through the pre-digestion process by is enzymes, Kombucha can decrease pancreas activity and little digestive fluids are produced in the stomach. Kombucha protects intestine pH and useful bacteria, therefore it useful for the patients which suffer from stomachache, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Celiac  or Coeliac disease and Candidiasis.

Kombuha and Anemia

The organic acids of Kombucha can convert Fe3+ compounds of plant sources to Fe2+. So, iron from plant sources is more available. Vitamin C can absorb Fe more and better. The researchers have suggested drinking Kombucha to the old persons and vegetarians to prevent iron deficiency anemia.

There have been reported other properties of Kombucha, such as:

Reduced heart problems and Prevention of myocardial infarction

-Strong Libido by increasing related hormones

-Prevention of adverse symptoms of menopause (46)

– Treatment of cataract (47)

– Regulation of blood sugar (48)

– Improve neurasthenia, headache and dizziness, fatigue and insomnia disorders (49)

– Treatment of hemorrhoids (50)

– Treatment of constipation (51)

– Treatment of smallpox and boil, shingles and kinds of abscesses

– Reduce side-effects and improve MS (Multiple Sclerosis)

– Treatment of Fatty Liver and prevent acidification of the liver (52)

– Treatment of abdominal inflammation, muscles cramps and bloats

–  Reduce wrinkles and skin freshness, because of the yeasts and enzymes

–  Reduce hair loss, Prevent baldness and turning white hair to black

(1) P. J. Blanc; Characterization of the tea fungus metabolites, BiotechnologyLetters, 18 (2), 1996, 139-142.And S. Thomson; Kombucha green tea symbiont – a scientific health literaturereview, 2006.And Dufrense& Farnworth, 2000.

(2) F. Beigmohammadi, A. Karbasi, Z. Beigmohammadi; Production of High Glucuronic Acid Level in Kombucha Beverage under the Specific Environmental Condition, Food Technology & Nutrition, Vol. 7, No. 2., 2010.

(3) C.Dufrense&E. Farnworth; Tea, Kombucha., and health: a review, Food Research International, 33, 2000, 409-421.

(4) C. W. Hesseltine; A millennium of fungi, food and fermentation, Mycologica, 57, 1965, 149-197.

Greenwalt et al; Determination and characterization of the antimicrobial activity of the fermented tea Kombucha. J. Food, Science and Technology, 31(3), 1998, 291-296.

(5) Dr. med. Erich Rebholz in: Kombucha trinken – den Körper entgiften (Drink Kombucha – detoxify the body), Neue Gesundheit, Nr. 3, 1998

(6) Günther W. Frank; Kombucha, P. 47

(7) Dr. Veronika Carstens; Hilfe aus der Natur – Meine Mittel gegen Krebs (Help from Nature – My Anti-Cancer method), Quick Nr. 43, 1987.

(8) Rosina Fasching; Unser PH-wertes Leben – Kombucha -Therapie nach Dr. Sklenar gegen Krebs und andere Stoffwechselkrankheiten … , 1998.

(9) Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn;”Cancer Ward” a Semi-autobiographical novel, UK, 1968

(10) Günther W. Frank; Kombucha, P. 115-116.

(11) A. J. Lodewijkx; Lebenohne Krebs (Life without Cancer), 2010.

(12) Dufrense& Farnworth, 2000 .

(13) Dr. A. Vogel; Krebs – Schicksal oder Zivilisationskrankheit (Cancer – Fate or disease of civilization) 405 pages, Teufen (Switzerland), 1987

(14) See Tom Valentine’s article (Search For Health, Volume 1, Number 6, July/August 1993) which brought Kombucha to the United States in 1993. Since then this ancient beverage has spread all over the United States.

(15) Thummala Srihari, Ramachandran Arunkumar, Jagadeesan Arunakaran, Uppala Satyanarayana; Downregulation of signalling molecules involved in angiogenesis of prostate cancer cell line (PC-3) by kombucha (lyophilized), 2013.

(16) See Sorayya Shantiani article “Barge Sabz” , 06.01.1375 S.

(17) Sai Ram M et al; Effect of Kombucha tea on chromate(VI)-induced oxidative stress in albino rats, 2000.

(18) See Hamden k. et al;  ” Hypoglycemic and antilipidemic properties of Kombucha tea in alloxan-induced diabetic rats“, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, University of Sfax, Tunisia, 2012. And see also Yogesh B. et al; “ Lead induced oxidative stress: Beneficial effects of Kombucha tea“, Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, India, 2003.

(19) See “Protective effect of Kombucha mushroom (KM) tea on chromosomal aberrations induced by Gamma radiation in human peripheral lymphocytes in-vitro“, by KultiginCavusoglu and PerihanGuler,  Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Art, Giresun and Kirikkale University, 2009.

(20) See “Does Kombucha tea attenuate the Hepato-Nepherotoxicity induced by a certain environmental pollutant ?“, By Ola Gharib from National Center for Radiation Research and Technology, Atomic Energy Authority, 2010.

(21) See “Possible Protective Effect of Kombucha Tea Ferment on Cadmium Chloride Induced Liver and Kidney Damage in Irradiated Rats“, by Nashwa Kamel Ibrahim, in International Journal of Biological and Life Sciences 9:1, 2013.

(22) Dr. med. Erich Rebholz; in “Neue Gesundheit” Magazin, Baden-Baden, Nr. 3, 1998.

(23) Dr. L. Mollenda; Kombucha, ihre Heildeutung und Züchtung. Deutsche Essigindustrie 32, 1928, 243-244.

(24) Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kobert; Teekwaß (Kombucha), Mikrokosmos 11, 1917/18, P. 159

(25) K.-H. Rudat; Was tun, wenn Rheuma plagt?, Natur & Heilen 75, 1998, 586-591.

(26) Prof. Dr. W. Wiechowski; Welche Stellung soll der Arzt zur Kombuchafrage einnehmen? Beiträge zur ärztlichen Fortbildung 6, 1928

(27) Prof. Dr. Winfried Laakmann in Günther, W. Frank; Kombucha,1999, p. 99

(28) Prof. P. Lindner; Über Teekwaß (Kombucha) und Teekwaßpilze (Kombuchapilz), Mikrokosmos 11, 1917, 93-98. /  Prof. N. Lakowitz; Teepilz und Teekwaß, Apotheker-Zeitung 43, 1928.

(29) Prof. Ulf Stahl; TV Program ORB (Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg), 16.06.1998, Sendung Polzlux.

(30) Prof. Dr. Karl Heinz Schmidt in Radio Program ffn (Niedersachsen), 29.07.1998

(31) GüntherFrank, Kombucha – Mythos, Wahrheit, Faszination, Taschenbuch, P. 127

(32) Körner, H., Kombucha-Zubereitung wurde von Sportmedizinern getestet, Natura-med (Neckarsulm) 4 (10/1989).

(33) Dr. med. Erich Rebholz; in “Neue Gesundheit” Magazin, Baden-Baden, Nr. 3, 1998

(34) See the Russian research’s reports: Danielova, Sakarjan, Naumova, Sukiasjan, Barbancik, Ermoleva و همچنین مقاله سه محقق روسی دیگر به نامهای Konovalov, Litvinov and Zakmann  که در سال 1959 در مسکو در مجله “Bot. Zurnal” بچاپ رسید.

(35) Sreeramulu G., Zhu Y., Knol W.; Kombucha fermentation and its antimicrobial activity, Department of Applied Microbiology and Gene Technology, Zeist, The Netherlands, 2000.

(36) Prof. Dr. L.T. Danieljan; Lecebnyesvojstvacajnogogriba (The healing effect of Tea fungus), Erewan, 1991.

(37) G. F. Barbancik; Cajnyigribi ego lecebnyesvojstva, IzdameTret’e, Omsk: Omskoe oblast-noekniznoeizdatel’stvo, 1954

(38) Prof. Dr. Rimpler in: Natürlich gesund mit Kombucha-Tee, Guter Rat, 3/1998

(39) See the reports of Aids Associations in CA and Los Angles:

“Positive Living” in newsletter published by AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), August 1995, and also medicine reports from Charles Steinberg, Norman Backer  from New York.

(40) Harald W. Tietze; Kombucha – The Miracle Fungus, 1996, p. 59.

(41) Dr. Max Bing; Heilwirkung des Kombuchaschwammes(Healing effect of Kombucha sponge), Umschau 32, 1928.

(42) Dr. med. Erich Rebholz in: Kombucha – fast ein neuer Zaubertrank (Kombucha – almost a new elixir potion), Strick & Strick Nr. 4, 1990.

(43) Dr. Siegwart Hermann; Die sogennante Kombucha, Umschau 32, 1928

(44) Dr. Madaus in: Biologische Heilkunst, Nr. 15 and 20 and 27, 1928.

(45) Prof. Dr. W. Wiechowski; Dr. Maxim Bing; Dr. L. Mollenda; G. F. Barbancik

(46) Harald W. Tietze, Kombucha – The Miracle Fungus, 1996, P. 46.

(47) Donna Schwenk, Cultured Food Life, 2011, P. 40.

(48) ” Hypoglycemic and antilipidemic properties of Kombucha tea in alloxan-induced diabetic rats“, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012

(49) Dr. Maxim Bing; Heilwirkung des Kombuchaschwammes (Healing effect of Kombucha), Umschau 32, 1928.  /  Dr. E. Arauner; Der japanische Teepilz (The Japanese tea fungus), Deutsche Essigindustrie 33 (German Vinegar Industry), 1929.

(50) Prof. P. Lindner; Über Teekwaß (Kombucha) und Teekwaßpilze (Kombuchapilze), Mikrokosmos 11, 1917.

(51) Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Henneberg; Handbuch der Gärungsbakteriologie (Manual fermentation Bacteriology), 1. Band

See the test results of Dr. Reinhold Wiesner from Germany with 246 patients in 1987. (Harald W. Tietze, Kombucha – The Miracle Fungus, 1996, P. 47(.

(52) Bhattacharya S, Gachhui R, Sil PC; Hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea against TBHP-induced oxidative stress via suppression of mitochondria dependent apoptosis, India, 2011.