I really want to drink Kombucha tea. I love the taste of it and there certainly are health benefits to the tea, but sometimes you just have to listen to your body. And mine says, “No way!” very loud and clear.
If you are not familiar with it, Kombucha is a tea made from tea, sugar and a Kombucha SCOBY which is an acronym for symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast. It has been used for many years and promoted as a health beverage which has helped cure some cancers and detox the liver. You can check out the wiki page here.
I was so excited because a right after Christmas I received a SCOBY from a family member and decided to make my first batch. I purchased a store bought variety to add in to help the culture get started because you are supposed to add some of the “mother” with each batch.
I had a very small glass, maybe only half a cup, of the store bought variety on the day I made the first batch and I had some adverse reactions after I drank it. I started out with a sharp pain in my left side and then my heart started racing and I felt very ill and slightly feverish. I couldn’t sleep that night and spent most of the night drinking LOTS of water to try and flush my system. I thought maybe it was just that there was too much caffeine since i haven’t had any caffeine in over 2 years. And I also thought maybe it was just detox.
So, I was still really looking forward to my batch, which I made with decaf tea. I thought I wouldn’t have the same reaction as the store bought brand if I used decaf tea.
It takes about a week or slightly longer to ferment or brew so I have been anxiously awaiting and testing its readiness. Finally yesterday it was ready.
I only had a very small glass, maybe 3 or 4 tablespoons; I wanted to go slow just in case. It was really tasty! Right after I drank it I felt great, it gave me a little energy boost and I thought I was going to be able to tolerate it. Then after about an hour I began having some adverse reactions again- same as before.
I just kept thinking that this was related to the “detox” you get when you introduce new bacterial cultures. But, I have had the detox before when starting with some fermented foods and also when I started taking the Advantage Liquid Concentrate. Those detox symptoms were more flu-like with general aches and pains, this was different. The pain in my side was very concerning. It felt almost like my internal organs were shriveling up, thats the best way to describe it. Also, my hands and feet were swollen, like i was retaining water.
I was up all night again and had to stay home from work because I felt so ill.
I did some research and most sites claim that Kombucha is well tolerated but there were a couple cases of organ failure and death reported, most likely due to contamination of the SCOBY. Since my reactions happened with both the store bought brand and my home brew, I seriously doubt it’s contamination. Plus, my SCOBY looks to be in good health, there is no mold or anything, which is the main sign its gone bad.
I did read on the Body Ecology website that Kombucha is a wild ferment.
Wild fermentation is when the starter contains airborne yeast, which is considered “wild.”
Airborne yeast can be unpredictable to work with, is not native to the human digestive tract and may cause allergic reactions in people with fungal infections (candida).
- Even after fermentation, kombucha tea still retains too much sugar for the healing purposes of the Body Ecology diet.
- The alcohol content of kombucha tea is somewhat higher than what is produced as a by-product in Young Coconut Kefir and other Body Ecology probiotic liquids.
My conclusion is that my body is not ready for the Kombucha tea. I may have had an allergic reaction, I certainly have had and still have symptoms of candida. Also, I am extremely sensitive to sugars and I don’t want anything to hinder my healing.
Maybe someday I will be ready to try it again. But, for the time being I am going to listen to my body and stay away! There are plenty of other probiotic beverages that I can enjoy, like, coconut water kefir and home made sodas!
I’m curious, what are your experiences with Kombucha?