The College News links Kombucha tea to the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Madonna. The Eco Friendly Digest goes further, and connects the fermented tea drink to Halle Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow as well. Alleged Kombucha benefits include a speeding up of the metabolism (great for weight loss), cleansing properties that rid the body of toxins, boosts to the immune system and even cholesterol-lowering properties. Unfortunately, there is a fly (or some bacteria) in the ointment.

Part of the problem is the ease with which this fermentation can be prepared at home. Learning how to make Kombucha tea is as simple as combining black tea with a starter culture, adding some sugar and then letting the mix ferment for a couple of weeks. Done in the sterile environment of a manufacturing plant, it is possible to lessen the odds of ingesting undesirable bacteria. Done in the bathroom or kitchen of a frat house — perhaps in ceramic pots — there is no telling what type of Petri dish the finished product represents.

Mayo Clinic internist Brent Bayer M.D. warns that making Kombucha tea is little more than the cultivation of “a colony of bacteria and yeast.” The physician is quick to acknowledge that there are supposed health benefits to the elixir, but he points out that there are no actual studies confirming these claims. In fact, there are some rather worrisome Kombucha tea side effects, which do not get as much press play as the reported celebrity sightings enjoying the beverage. The American Cancer Society points to reports of Kombucha tea deaths; conditions mentioned include acidosis, allergic reactions to mold, jaundice and “anthrax of the skin.” With the consumption of the healthy food for gut health immune system, side-effects should be in the notice of the person. The consumption of the beverages will be advantageous for the health of the person. The methods should be safe and secure for the health of the body for major benefits. 

Of course, celebrities and fad diet foods and drinks are forever linked. The Daily Meal has put together an eye-opening list of questionable concoctions and their star-studded fan base. Beyoncé is linked to the master cleanse diet (lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne), Brooke Shields’ name is connected to the grapefruit diet, and Sarah Michelle Gellar supposedly favored the cabbage soup diet. With an eye on drink consumption, consider the celebrity connection to coconut water. Kaplan University took a close look at the drink and conceded that it was indeed “a low calorie refreshing beverage with a high amount of potassium,” but could not fulfill claims that it would outdo traditional sports drinks in the recovery phase after extensive exercise.

So remember the Kombucha tea side effects the next time you see a celeb with a bottle of the stuff. If might be good for you; then again, if homemade by an amateur, it might just kill you.


Chris Harrison is a content writer and editor from New Caledonia. He is currently managing Oneunionone which is based in North Carolino. Before founding the website, he was a full time editor in New York USA.