Kombucha - originated in China more than 2000 years ago and

now gaining popularity as health beverage in Europe and America.

              Kombucha is a refreshing beverage with a slightly sweet and pleasantly sour taste obtained by the fermentation of sugared tea with a symbiotic association of probiotic yeasts and bacteria. The main composition of kombucha are acetic, gluconic, glucuronic and various types of organic acids. D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone (DSL) which is a potent detoxifying agent has been found in kombucha. 

            Both glucuronic acid and DSL aid the liver to repel toxins and carcinogens. Various antioxidant constituents such as polyphenols including theflavins and therubigins are found to be higher in kombucha compared to black tea. The higher level of antioxidants lead to a stronger free radical scavenging activity and recent research also reveal the antimicrobial and possible cancer preventive activity of kombucha.

Importance of organic acids in kombucha

Acetic Acid
Inhibits pathogenic bacteria as well as being natural food preservative.
Lactic Acid
Aids digestion as well as being natural food preservative
Malic Acid
Assists in the detoxification process
Oxalic Acid
Assists in energy production of cell as well as being natural food preservative.
Gluconic Acid
Acts as an antioxidant
Butyric Acid
Reduces inflammation
Nucleic Acid
Revives cells
Amino Acids
Revive tissue and enhance immunity
Folic Acid
Produces red blood cells and controles brain function
Glucuronic Acid
Assists in liver detoxification

Research and Scientific data
Looking after the liver by drinking kombucha

One of the most important function of the liver is the removal of toxins from the body. In the process, glucuronic acid conjugated with the toxins in the liver to form complex, passing to the large intestine and be eliminated from the body in the faeces. The toxins may be reabsorbed by some intestinal bacteria. D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone (DSL) in kombucha can inhibit the reabsorption of the toxins and thus facilitate the liver to expel the toxins. Kombucha also contains glucuronic acid which facilitates the removal of toxins. Drinking kombucha regularly will therefore reduce the workload and increase the efficiency of the liver in removal of toxins.

Professor Dr.Saisamorn Lumyong
Faculty of Science, Chiangmai University.

Kombucha is a refreshing beverage with a slightly sour taste, obtained by the fermentation of probiotic microorganisms. Kombucha was originated in china over 2000 years ago and is becoming popular in the western world. The main compositions include acetic acid, lactic acid, gluconic acid, glucuronic acid as well as D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone (DSL). Glucuronic acid and DSL are the crucial substances involved in liver detoxification. Kombucha also contains antioxidants such as phenolic compounds including theflavins and therubigins in higher concentration than tea which lead to a stronger antioxidant activity. Furthermore, kombucha exerts antimicrobial activity against a range of pathogenic bacteria and possible cancer preventive activity.

Associate Professor Dr.Panee Sirisa-ard
Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiangmai University.

One of the most important function of the liver is the removal of toxins from the body. Toxic substances which enter the body may be conjugated with glucuronic acid by the process called glucuronidation forming glucuronide complex in the liver. The complex formed is less toxic or nontoxic, it will be secreted via the bile duct to the large intestine and eliminated in the faeces.

The glucuronide complex may be hydrolysed by the enzyme β-glucuronidase produced from the bacteria called Escherichia coli in the large intestine and release the toxin. The toxin or carcinogen will be absorbed to the colonic mucosa. Scientific data also showed that there may be relationship between the intestinal bacterial β-glucuronidase activity and colon cancer. D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone (DSL) can inhibit β-glucuronidase activity and thus may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Kombucha contains various organic acids as well as glucuronic acid and DSL. Therefore, drinking kombucha may increase the efficiency of the liver to remove toxins and carcinogens from the body.

Associate Professor Dr.Surapol Natakankitkul
Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiangmai University.

D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone (DSL), a component of kombucha, inhibits the activity of glucuronidase, known as an enzyme indirectly related with cancer preventive activity. When toxins or carcinogens enter the body they may react with glucuronic acid in the liver forming glucuronide complex, passing to the large intestine and be eliminated from the body in the faeces. The complex formed may be hydrolysed by the enzyme β-glucuronidase in the large intestine and release the toxin. The toxin or carcinogen will be reabsorbed to the body. DSL inhibits the enzyme activity, preventing the release of the toxins and thus facilitate the liver to expel the toxins.

Chatchai Kitipornchai
Faculty of Science, Chiangmai University.

Kombucha or fermented tea was originated and consumed in China thousands of years ago. It is a refreshing beverage which becoming popular in many parts of the world. It is believed to have prophylactic as well as therapeutic benefits and have been used as alternative medicine in China and Eastern Europe for curing a wide variety of ailments such as intestinal disorders, constipation, lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation, reducing migraine and fatigue. It also helps liver function and detoxification. Although there are claims of various curative effects of kombucha by many users, there is also numerous scientific literature available pointing out the benefits of kombucha.


  1. Sirisa-ard, P., Natakarnkitkul, S., Bovonsombut, S., Kitipornchai, C. and Tragoolpua, Y. (2013). Development of fermented tea beverage. Report to the Department of Industrial Promotion, Mininstry of Industry, Thailand. (In Thai)
  2. Battikhi, H., Chaieb, K., Bakhrouf, A. and Ammar, E. (2013). Antibacterial and antifungal activities of black and green kombucha teas. Journal of Food Biochemistry 37, 231–236.
  3. Blanc, P.J. (1996). Characterization of the tea fungus metabolites. Biotechnology Letters 18,139-142.
  4. Chen, C. and Lui, B.Y. (2000). Change in major components of tea fungus metabolites during prolonged fermentation. Journal of Appllied Microbiology 89, 834-839.
  5. Chu, S-C. and Cheng, C. (2006). Effect of origin and fermentation time on the antioxidant activites of kombucha. Food Chemistry 98, 502-507.
  6. Dufresne, C. and Farnworth, E. (2000). Tea, Kombucha, and health: a review. Food Research International. 33,409-421.
  7. Deghrigue, M., Chriaa, J., Battikh, H., Abid, K., and Bakhrouf, A. (2013). Antiproliferative and antimicrobial activites of kombucha tea. African Journal of Microbiology Research 7(27), 3466-3470.
  8. Frank, G. W. 1995. Kombucha - Healthy beverage and natural remedy from the Far East, Ninth ed. Wilhelm Ennsthaler, Austria, pp.150.
  9. Jarrell, J., Cal, T. and Bennett, J.W. (2000). The kombucha consortia of yeast and bacteria. Microbiologist 14(4), 167-170.
  10. Jayabalan, R., Marimuthu, S. and Swaminathan, K. (2007). Changes in content of organic acids and tea polyphenols during kombucha tea fermentation. Food Chemistry. 102, 392-398.
  11. Kozyrovska, N.O., Reva1, O. M. , Goginyan, V. B. ,and de Vera, J.-P. (2012). Kombucha microbiome as a probiotic: a view from the perspective of post-genomics and synthetic ecology. Biopolymers and Cell. 28, 103–113.
  12. Kim, D-H and Jin, Y-H. (2001). Intestinal bacterial β-glucuronidase activity of patients with colon cancer. Archives Pharmacal Research. 24(6), 564-567.
  13. Malbaša, R., Lonćar, E. S., Vitas, J. S., Canadanović-Brunet, J. M. (2011). Influence of starter cultures on the antioxidant activity of kombucha beverage. Food Chemistry 127:1727-1731.
  14. Roche, J. (1998). The history and spread of Kombucha. http://w3.trib.com_kombu/roche.html.
  15. Rogers, A. E., Hafer, L. J., Iskander, Y. S. and Yang, S. (1998). Black tea and mammary gland carcinogenesis by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene in rats fed control or high fat diets. Carcinogenesis, 19, 1269-1273.
  16. Sievers, M., Lanini, C., Weber, A., Schuler-Schmid, U. and Teuber, M. (1995). Microbiology and fermentation balance in a kombucha beverage obtained from a tea fungus fermentation. Systematic and Applied Microbiology. 18:590-594.
  17. Teoh, A.L., Heard, G. and Cox, J. (2004). Yeast ecology of kombucha fermentation. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 95, 119-126
  18. Tijburg, L. B. M., Mattern, T., Folts, J. D., Weisgerber, U. M. and Katan, M. B. (1997). Tea favonoids and cardiovascular diseases. Food Science and Nutrition. 37, 771-785.
  19. Yang, Z-W, Ji, B-P, Zhou, F, Li, B, Luo, Y, Yang, L, and Li, T. (2009). Hypocholesterolaemic and antioxidant effects of kombucha tea in high-cholesterol fed mice. Journal of the Science and Food Agriculture. 89:150–156.
  20. Yang, Z., Zhou, F., Ji, B., Li, B., Luo, Y., Yang, L. and Li, T. (2010). Symbiosis between microorganisms from kombucha and kefir: Potential significance to the enhancement of kombucha function. Appllied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 160:446–455.