Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 10, pp 643–644

Probable gastrointestinal toxicity of kombucha tea

Is this beverage healthy or harmful?
  • Radhika Srinivasan
  • Susan Smolinske
  • David Greenbaum
Brief Reports

DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.1997.07127.x

Cite this article as:
Srinivasan, R., Smolinske, S. & Greenbaum, D. J GEN INTERN MED (1997) 12: 643. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1997.07127.x


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.

Key Words

alternative theraplesgastrointestinal toxicityKombucha teaallergic reactions

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radhika Srinivasan
    • 1
  • Susan Smolinske
    • 2
  • David Greenbaum
    • 3
  1. 1.Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and Veterans AffairsAmarillo
  2. 2.Children’s Hospital of Michigan Poison Control CenterDetroit
  3. 3.Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Division of GastroenterologyTexas Tech Health Sciences CenterAmarillo