Subacute (90 days) oral toxicity studies of Kombucha tea

Biomed Environ Sci. 2000 Dec;13(4):293-9.


Kombucha tea (KT) is a popular health beverage and is used as an alternative therapy. KT is prepared by placing the kombucha culture in solution of tea and sugar and allowing to ferment. The inoculum is a fungus consisting of symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. KT is consumed in several countries and is believed to have prophylactic and therapeutic benefits in a wide variety of ailments, viz., intestinal disorders, arthritis, ageing and stimulation of immunological system. Though KT is used in several parts of the world its beneficial effects and adverse effects have not been scientifically evaluated. Since there are no animal toxicological data on KT, subacute oral toxicity study was carried out. Five groups of rats were maintained: (a) control group given tap water orally, (b) KT given 2 ml/kg orally, (c) plain tea (PT) given 2 ml/kg orally, (d) KT given in drinking water, 1% (v/v) and (e) PT given in drinking water, 1% (v/v). The rats were given this treatment daily for a period of 90 days. Weekly records of weight, feed intake, water intake and general behaviour were monitored. There was no significant difference in the growth of the animals as evidenced by the progressive body weight change. The organ to body weight ratio and histological evaluation did not show any toxic signs. The haematological and biochemical variables were within the clinical limits. The study indicates that rats fed KT for 90 days showed no toxic effects.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Bacteria*
  • Beverages / toxicity*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Liver Function Tests
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Yeasts*


  • Blood Glucose