Kombucha is a fermented, acidic beverage that dates back thousands of years as a remedy for various health problems in East Asia. Due to its health benefits, kombucha has gained popularity and attracted the attention of both consumers and researchers. The health benefits of kombucha are predominantly attributed to its bioactive compounds that have antioxidant, antimicrobial, probiotic, and other positive effects owing to fermentation. Many factors such as the type of the substrate used, the symbiotic culture of the bacterial yeast composition, and fermentation conditions influence the extent of these properties. This review focuses on recent developments regarding the bioactive constituents of kombucha and its potential health benefits (antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective effects) as well as its impact on multiple sclerosis, nephrotoxicity, gastric ulceration and gut microbiota. Additionally, the composition of kombucha, alternative uses of its biofilm, and potential toxicity are also discussed. Kombucha is a healthy and safe beverage with multiple health benefits that are primarily related to the presence of bacteria, yeasts, and other bioactive constituents. Moreover, kombucha has been suggested as a potential source of probiotics and eco-friendly materials (kombucha-derived bacterial cellulose) for several industries including food and textile.
Keywords: Bioactivity; Camellia sinensis; chemical composition; scoby; toxicity.