Kombucha tea (KT) is also known as Manchurian tea, Kargasok tea or tea fungus. It is made by fermentation of sugared black tea with a smooth, pancake-like culture of different species of yeasts and bacteria called the “Kombucha mushroom“, which is referred to as the mushroom because of the shape and color of the sac that is formed on top of the tea after fermentation.
Species of yeasts and bacteria may include Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium gluconicum, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium katogenum, Pichia fermentans, Candida stellata, and Torula species, among others.
In one study, researchers have found that kombucha tea is helpful in preventing the hepatotoxic effects of acetaminophen over-dosage in mice. In another study, it has been shown that kombucha tea is also helpful in carbon-tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity.
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Researchers have also found that the ingestion of KT has significant role in inhibition of weight gain and life elongation.
However, according to American Cancer Society,
No human studies have been published in the available scientific literature that support any of the health claims made for Kombucha tea. There have, however, been reports of serious complications and death linked to the tea.
American Cancer Society
Jalil Abshenas, Amin Derakhshanfar, Mohammad Hosein Ferdosi and Saeid Hasanzadeh, (2011). Protective effect of kombucha tea against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in mice: a biochemical and histopathological study. Comparative Clinical Pathology, DOI: 10.1007/s00580-011-1273-9
Semantee Bhattacharya, Ratan Gachhui, Parames C. Sil, (2011). Hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea against TBHP-induced oxidative stress via suppression of mitochondria dependent apoptosis. Pathophysiology, 18(3), 221-234
Houda Battikha, b, Amina Bakhroufa, 1, Emna Ammar, (2012). Antimicrobial effect of Kombucha analogues. LWT – Food Science and Technology, 47(1), 71-77