Probable gastrointestinal toxicity of Kombucha tea: is this beverage healthy or harmful?

J Gen Intern Med. 1997 Oct;12(10):643-4. 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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Basidiomycota
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Tea / adverse effects*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Tea