How does the saying go? I wish I had a dime for….
Well, I wish I had a dime for every time I receive an e-mail like this from a panicked reader:
“Can you let me know what your response is to Prevention’s statements about the Kombucha Tea? Thank you very much.
From Prevention Magazine, April 2008:
‘Kombucha – Traditionally home brewed by fermenting yeast and bacteria in sweetened black tea, this hot health-food store pick (devotees say it’s a cure-all) can bring on side effects from nausea to lead poisoning. The drink can become contaminated with microorganisms, making it especially dangerous (and potentially fatal) for people with compromised immune systems.’”
Rarely do more than a few months go by before a traditional media outlet takes aim at Kombucha. As Kombucha regains the popularity it has held all over the world for centuries, supporters as well as detractors stake out their positions.
My position is much simpler. Kombucha has been around for more than 2,000 years, and even more importantly, civilizations have relied tremendously on all types of fermented whole foods to deliver nutrition not available in the natural world and to assist the body in absorbing nutrition more efficiently than it already is able.
The quote from Prevention Magazine is simply another in a long line of quotes. Last month, I think it was Men’s Health. Next month, maybe Marie Claire? In any case, let’s take a very quick look at the quote, because it is instructive as to how so much BAD INFORMATION exists around Kombucha.
Traditionally home brewed by fermenting yeast and bacteria in sweetened black tea…
– Kombucha can be made with green tea, Rooibos, or any number of teas: green is considered the healthiest, and perhaps the safest too, though Kombucha is very safe. By the way, the article lists kombucha as a type of tea, which of course it is not. But that is emblematic of the research done prior to publishing.
…this hot health-food store pick (devotees say it’s a cure-all)
– Kombucha is not a cure-all, I specifically address this in my e-book. In fact, Kombucha doesn’t cure anything. I have honestly NEVER heard ANYONE call Kombucha a “cure-all.” Please read my book to find out what Kombucha does for the body.
…can bring on side effects from nausea to lead poisoning
– Kombucha does not make one sick to their stomach; detoxification, known in the medical community as a Herxheimer Reaction, might cause this; that is the body ridding itself of toxins – as for lead poisoning, yes if you brew in a container with lead in it, you can get lead poisoning. If you drink Coca cola out of something with lead in it, you can get lead poisoning. Otherwise, exactly how can one get lead into Kombucha? It’s preposterous.
The drink can become contaminated with microorganisms, making it especially dangerous (and potentially fatal) for people with compromised immune systems.
– Any food we make in our home, or made in any restaurant for that matter, can become infected with microorganisms. Should we stop making food at home? Of course not, simply sanitize and be smart and you will be fine. As for being “potentially fatal,” Prevention Magazine makes it’s most egregious mistake. There is not a single case of proven Kombucha toxicity on record. Not 1.
Probiotics are exactly that: Pro-Life. I am working now on a worldwide research round-up of everything about Kombucha and hope to have that done this year. The summary is this: in every case of suspected Kombucha toxicity, and there have been only 2 in the US in the last 20 years, the link to Kombucha has been “suspected” and circumstantial. There is no scientific link to any harmful effects. A few doctors have said they suspect a link, but can’t prove it. That’s all. Everything else is just rumor or conjecture.
Finally, three questions to consider: In these magazines taking aim at Kombucha, how many advertisements are there for drug companies that have manufactured drugs that have been PROVEN to kill people over the last 20 years? How many people have died taking these drugs? Do these magazines give back the money they were paid to run ads for drugs that killed their readers?
I believe in the power of Western medicine to heal injuries and extend critical life situations, but in terms of prevention, Western medicine falls short. The irony that Prevention Magazine hasn’t done it’s research on one of the oldest preventative elixirs in human history only further illustrates the disconnect between medicine and wellness that threatens to grow greater each day. Only whole foods and real nutrition can break the downward spiral of our food supply.