Kombucha Craze: Wonder Drinks or Health Risk?

kombuchaI keep hearing about kombucha. First angry posts from my friends on Facebook because Whole Foods pulled it from its shelves, then Lindsay Lohan tweeted about her love for it.

So what is it?

It's a tea, found mostly in health food stores, that's only recently become popular in the United States. It's made from kombucha, which is a colony of bacteria and yeast, and promises to do everything from aiding digestion to warding off cancer.


Whole Foods was one of several retailers who pulled kombucha drinks because some of them contained elevated alcohol levels for a product that wasn't labeled as alcoholic -- as much as some beer due to the product being fermented.

When Lindsay Lohan's SCRAM bracelet went off while she was on probation, some thought it could be as a result of the kombucha tea she drinks. LiLo tweeted her rebuttal of that theory.

"FYI.. #kombucha was not the reason that my scram went off-i wouldn't of been allowed to drink it if that were the problem.. i love kombucha."

But beyond worries of setting off your alcohol-detection device, is it safe?

According the Mayo Clinic, there have been some reports of toxic reactions, particularly when the tea is brewed under unsanitary conditions in individual homes, and there has been no confirmation of health benefits. For now, it may be best you put the kibosh on your kombucha habit if you have one and don't start it if you haven't tried it.

"In short, there's not good evidence that Kombucha tea delivers on its health claims," the site states. "At the same time, several cases of harm have been reported. Therefore, until definitive studies quantify the risks and benefits of Kombucha tea, it's prudent to avoid it."

Have you tried kombucha? What do you think of it?

Image via amazon.com

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