Can Candida Sufferers Drink Kombucha?

by Sarah Fermented FoodsComments: 140

I’ve been asked more than once recently if kombucha is beneficial for those who are battling candida overgrowth in the colon.

There is evidently a school of thought making the rounds that candida sufferers best avoid this healthful, traditionally fermented beverage.

But, is avoidance truly a good course of action?

What Exactly Is Kombucha?

For those of you new to this delicious beverage, kombucha is a traditional Russian drink that is made from fermenting plain black tea (or a combination of black and green tea) and sugar. It has been consumed for hundreds of years and, through extensive testing in Russia, proven to be an effective overall detoxifier through the binding of the organic acids to toxins present in the body.  Once tightly bound to the organic acids, the toxins are then rushed to the kidneys for excretion.

Russian communities that drink a lot of kombucha do not suffer from cancer at the high rates that plague folks who live near that country’s toxin spewing factories — even when the local flora and fauna are dying! During the years of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union used kombucha as one of its secret weapons in the training of its Olympic athletes — the athletes would drink up to 1 quart of kombucha per day while training to prevent lactic acid from accumulating in the muscles (lactic acid =  sore muscles).   So, athletes drinking this brew would be able to train harder and longer than athletes who did not drink kombucha.
The popularity of kombucha in North America has been steadily growing for the past 15 years or so.  I’ve been brewing kombucha in our home for over 11 years now and it has proved to be an integral part of our family’s overall wellness strategy.

Kombucha For Those With Candida

We’ve established that kombucha is a healthy, traditional beverage.  But, what if a person has candida overgrowth?   Will the fact that kombucha contains beneficial yeasts as well as bacteria in the final brew aggravate the situation?

The key is that kombucha contains beneficial yeasts, not pathogenic ones like candida.

Therefore, when someone with candida starts drinking kombucha for the first time, there may indeed be a flare up of symptoms that may confuse the person into thinking that the kombucha is actually making the problem worse.

In fact, this flare up of candida symptoms is more than likely only temporary as the beneficial yeasts and probiotics in this traditional fermented drink begin to rebalance the gut environment.

Rebalancing of the gut environment involves die off of possibly large amounts of pathogens which causes symptoms to flare up temporarily.

This short term aggravation of symptoms is sometimes referred to as “a healing crisis” and is necessary if improvement in the gut environment is to occur over the long term.   A healing crisis can occur not only with kombucha, but with other fermented beverages such as kefir or even yogurt.

A friend of mine noticed when she started drinking kefir awhile back that her eczema flared up.  I told her to keep on with it and it would eventually go away on its own as the die of symptoms from the aggressive probiotics in the kefir lessened.   Sure enough, her eczema went away and her overall health improved considerably from the introduction of raw kefir into her diet.

Even though kombucha can be enjoyed by candida sufferers, it is certainly possible for some folks to not react well to kombucha regardless of whether they suffer from gut imbalance or not.  There is no food or drink even if traditional and nourishing that works well for absolutely everyone.

On a personal note, my husband and I both used to suffer from candida overgrowth years ago prior to our introduction to Traditional Foods and kombucha in particular.   We have found over the years that drinking kombucha on a daily basis does in fact help considerably in keeping the problem at bay by working to maintain a balanced gut environment.

So drink up and enjoy your kombucha even if candida is something you are working to resolve at the moment.   Just be aware that you may get worse before you ultimately get better.

UPDATE!  The kombucha industry has changed significantly since this post was written in early 2012. Please click here for an important update about kombucha consumption and candida risk.

More Information

Want to know more about kombucha and candida?  These articles provide more detail for your research.

Fluoride in Kombucha: Should You Be Concerned?
Kombucha: What it is and How to Make it
Does Kombucha Prevent Grey Hair?
Jun Tea:  Kombucha Champagne
Batch vs Continuous Brew Kombucha
Have You Tried Kombucha?
Safe Traveling with Kombucha
Kombucha: Drink It and Wear It?
Pau d’Arco: Best Herb for Treating Candida
Biofilms: Overlooked Step in Treating Candida
Don’t Waste Your Time: Why the Candida Diet Doesn’t Work

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

Comments (140)

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  • LisaPring

    For the record, my ENT diagnosed me with Candida overgrowth in my throat and esophagus. Not sure how far it’s gotten, gut-wise… I read your early blog post about the Lady Soma Candida Cleanse- and within an hour of the first dose — my stomach started churning and it was off to the restroom. All I can say is, YEAH, THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Granted, it gave me a fit of diarrhea for a few hours but I’ll take it if it means expelling these toxins from my body.

    Thank you so much for the Lady Soma recommendation! I took 2 pills, popped a probiotic, and now have finally have that horrible thing out of my throat. . .

    August 23rd, 2014 10:37 pm Reply
  • Celina

    I recently read an article that talked about the myths surrounding kombucha. One myth, that the SCOBY eats all the sugar in the tea, is not true. When analyzed, the brew still had significant amounts of sugar left by the time it was ready to drink. I am in the process of overcoming candida and once I eliminated kombucha from my diet, I saw results right away.

    Here is the link to the article I referenced above:

    May 14th, 2014 2:35 pm Reply
    • chris

      Same for me. I just started thinking about what feeds cancer and what feeds kombucha and it is the same thing – sugar and acidic envornment. I have had neglected in the kitchen for 7 months and it is so happy – thriving in it’s own acids. Creepy. Anyway, when I stopped taking it (for cancer reasons) the itchy area on my neck just went away. Nice. That ichy spot had been there on and off for a year or more. Bye bye kombucha. Never to return to my life.

      March 4th, 2016 3:16 pm Reply
  • di

    We started drinking homemade kombucha about 5 months ago. One month ago both my husband and I started to have muscles that did not want to work at all. We went off of the kombucha and immediately the next day the muscles no longer ached and felt lifeless. Recently my husband went back on kombucha and is now having the same effects. Could we have been drinking too much? Say 20 oz a day each?

    April 12th, 2014 5:09 pm Reply
  • OLWomen

    Nice post and very good and informative discussion, i wish anyone could tell me if using Kombucha has some effects on pregnancy? Can we use it during pregnancy?

    April 8th, 2014 4:27 am Reply
  • kangen water

    You’re so cool! I don’t think I’ve truly read anything like this before.
    So great to find somebody with genuine thoughts on this subject matter.

    Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is
    one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

    March 27th, 2014 1:43 am Reply
  • sierra

    First off I want to say that I love your website and your youtube videos : ) So much info, and the video on bone broth simmering helped me to perfect my own.
    My question: I recently had skin scratch allergy testing done and I was positive for yeast. I’m wondering if fermented foods like kombucha, knifer and fermented veggies still ok to eat? I gave up bread and wine quite awhile ago.
    Thanks again for all you do.

    March 15th, 2014 5:11 pm Reply
  • brooklynD

    I didn’t know fruits were bad for you with candida until my DR told me. This is the program he recommended, and it got rid of my y infection in 2 days.

    Lady Soma Advance Candida Supplement
    with Distilled watter (with added minerals)
    organic beans
    olive oil

    Now that I have my diet straight, I take the lady soma candida supplement, and going to the gym every day I am yeast free!

    March 4th, 2014 9:03 pm Reply
  • Jen

    Thank you so much for this! I have another question: I have A LOT of metal fillings (currently researching what to do about that). Could that be why I got HORRIBLLY sick from drinking bucha everyday for a month? My symptoms went away when I stopped drinking it. I did test positive for candidia toxins in my blood work, too. So maybe that’s why? I plan on taking the meds then starting up the bucha again. Maybe drink a smaller amount at first.

    January 6th, 2014 9:13 pm Reply
  • Belkis McPhee

    I have been drinking Kombucha for two weeks now. I started drinking it because my heartburn was not responding to my regular treatment (e.g., Zegrid and Robunol). I don’t usually take medication (only as needed), but I was having a lot of pain. I went to my GI and he did nothing, so I went to my naturopath and she recommended Kombucha. I felt amazing the first week on Kombucha and was able to cut down on my medication from twice a day to once a day. I also suffer from IBS-C and it really helped with my symptoms of constipation and bloating. Week two I started to exhibit the following side effects:

    – Sinus congestion
    – Acne
    – Nighttime urination (I woke up four times during the night to pee)
    – Cold sore

    I chickened out and stopped drinking the Kombucha. That was yesterday, and today I am feeling the IBS-C symptoms returning. Nonetheless, I decided I did not want to deal with the die-off issues and said no more Kombucha. Now, I’m thinking I should just be patient and wait it out and I drank my 2 oz. after my coffee ( I know that I suppose to take it on an empty stomach). Will it work if I did not take it on empty stomach? Do I give Kombucha another chance? I loved how it helped with my IBS-C and heartburn, but hate the die-off. I now I am vacillating a bit, but I’m sick and confused.

    October 12th, 2013 10:11 am Reply
    • The Helper

      From what I understand Kombcha’s are a powerful candida killer. As they kill the yeast/Candida they will release tons of toxins and heavy metals(if you have them) and they may be redistributed back into the body. So what you need is to take something that will bind to those toxins and remove them out of the body.

      That’s Where Spanish Black Radish comes in. It can do the job,so every time you drink a kombucha take the Spanish Black Radish..

      Where do I get Spanish Black radish you may ask? A company called Standard Process sells an organic Spanish Black radish Tablets(they taste good in my opinion but have a slightly bitter after taste).

      October 12th, 2013 2:20 pm Reply
      • Mela

        Yes exactly.^^ Another easy to take and side-effect free (except for the die off) binder is activated charcoal. For me noticeable improvement immediately in energy & brain fog. The dosage I started with was 2x 280mg capsules (solaray brand) nightly. Then I thought more may be better and doubled the dosage. Die off increased significantl, so dosed back down. In reading this, I’m both drinking kombucha (synergy guava goddess) and re-upping my AC.

        August 16th, 2015 9:15 pm Reply
  • Devin Larosa

    Its such as you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, such as you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you just could do with some p.c. to drive the message house a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

    September 23rd, 2013 1:25 pm Reply
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  • ahmed esam

    i love kombucha tea

    July 6th, 2013 4:23 am Reply
  • Katie J

    Hi there,

    Great article, so interesting. I recently purchased kombucha from my local farmer’s market and fell in love immediately. Drinking about a glass a day I noticed far less bloating and generally more energy :) However within a week, boom, my eczema completely flared up, more than it had in a long time. All around my eyes, bright red, itchy and really inflamed as well as on the palms of my hands. I thought this may have been a healing crisis as I have had a history of bacterial parasites in my gut, however I was far too stressed at uni to continue. I stopped drinking it and in a matter of days my eczema completely subsided.

    The only thing is I miss the kombucha, and know how wonderful the health benefits are. How long would a healthy crisis go for? I would like to give it another go. It seems there isn’t a condition kombucha isn’t go.

    Thanks again :)

    June 3rd, 2013 4:57 am Reply
  • Jeff

    Mary Ann, I’m not an expert by any means, but could it be that your kombucha was not brewed long enough and still had a decent amount of sugar left? As the kombucha brews, the sugar should turn into alcohol, and then the bacteria convert the alcohol into vinegar, at least according to books I have read. So once brewed long enough, there should be very little sugar (or alcohol) left. But at the same time, if you don’t brew it long enough, and there is significant amount of sugars still left, to me it would seem that it could feed an already-existing overgrowth of fungi/yeast (say in your mouth/throat area or something). But I’m not an expert by any means, just sharing my thoughts here. This stuff does get confusing.

    May 30th, 2013 2:52 pm Reply
  • Mary Ann

    Hi! Question about the candida…I just fasted all day yesterday and only drank kombucha. I woke up this morning to a very white tongue. Can you explain if the white tongue is not a flare up of candida, what else causes this to occur?

    I love kombucha! It is filling and satisfying and I have felt better while drinking it. However, the fact that kombucha is FULL of sugar does concern me. I know you will not be giving me medical advice, but I am wondering what your take is on the white tongue experience. Thank you.

    May 4th, 2013 6:13 pm Reply
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    May 2nd, 2013 5:17 pm Reply
  • Albina

    If you love Kombucha, I recommend drinking coconut water kefir instead. Coconut water kefir is very easy to brew and provides high levels of antifungal probiotics. It is a much better option than Kombucha. 5 tips to Cure yeast infection

    April 21st, 2013 11:00 pm Reply
  • Bessie

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    April 20th, 2013 12:09 am Reply
  • EducatedGranny

    I was just wondering where you found kombucha that contained only helpful yeasts. As a project for my microbiology class, we tested several over the shelf and one from my local health food store that sells it in the deli, and we found that all of them had several pathogenic yeasts in them. I would be interested in isolating the good yeasts so that a safer kombucha can be made, but I can’t seem to find any clean cultures or drinks over the counter or from hippie types I know that make their own. I find it odd that this hasn’t been more regulated considering how many bad things we found floating around in the concoctions, but I thoroughly enjoy the flavor so I would really like to see progress in the kombucha brewing.

    April 5th, 2013 2:14 pm Reply
  • Bonnie

    I had problems with constipation with Kombucha. Has anyone had problems like that??

    April 3rd, 2013 4:51 pm Reply
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  • Jennifer Ramanathan via Facebook

    Thank you! Lisa Lisa!

    March 24th, 2013 2:01 pm Reply
  • Linda Forrester via Facebook

    Going to be making some Konbucha in a month or so. I will need a scoby. Anyone? And do you all use the fermentation bottles or what?

    March 24th, 2013 10:52 am Reply
  • Linda

    In a month or so I’m going to make my first ever kombucha. Can’t wait! I will need a scoby and do you all use the fermentation bottles as well?
    Thanks Sarah. Appreciate you!

    March 24th, 2013 10:51 am Reply
  • Lisa Lisa via Facebook

    Jennifer…if you’ve never tried it, you should know there are tremendous differences. The core concept is it’s vinegary… I mix mine in the morning smoothies with raw eggs and other goodies. If you don’t like the first sip…keep trying.

    March 24th, 2013 9:06 am Reply
  • Jennifer Ramanathan via Facebook

    Can anyone recommend a store bought kombucha brand so i can try out kombucha?

    March 24th, 2013 12:58 am Reply
  • Elena Vasileva via Facebook

    I’m concerned about the sugar too. At home, I brew it very sour, and we drink it half and half with water, because it goes very quickly anyway :)

    March 23rd, 2013 9:07 pm Reply
  • Nathan Audrey Dennis Westich via Facebook

    Does kombucha tea have to have caffeine in it? I can’t find it without it and I cannot handle caffeine well. : (

    March 23rd, 2013 7:02 pm Reply
    • Cynthia Phillips

      Actually once it ferments it doesn’t have caffeine in it anymore. I’m extremely sensitive to it so I would not be able to drink it if it did. Yes, you have to use caffeine for the scoby to consume but there is none left by the time you drink it.

      June 6th, 2013 10:28 pm Reply
      • draisy

        Actually that’s a myth. Test have been done that show the caffeine is still in the tea.

        “Busting the Myths

        Although kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, by the end of the fermentation cycle, none remains. MYTH. Roussin found that the caffeine content doesn’t reduce at all. This myth might have started because only 6-8 teabags are used to brew a gallon of kombucha tea, which is half the strength of a normal cup of tea. ”

        – See more at:

        January 18th, 2014 4:47 am Reply
  • Cindy Landskron via Facebook

    I have heard both sides and I’m very confused. I’ve been told that with candida you can’t consume anything that has a mother, like raw ACV or even a probiotic we made … It’s so frustrating to know the right thing. We have no way to get tested using natural methods.

    March 23rd, 2013 5:26 pm Reply
    • Mela

      This controversy is based on a misconception about vinegar. Raw acv & fermented foods are GOOD! Homemade vinaigrettes, mustards & other condiments made at home using apple cider vinegar are beneficial, as are raw, unfiltered brands like Mother. Real lacto-fermented pickles, just like sauerkraut, need no vinegar at all because lactic acid bacteria creates mouth-watering sour taste all on their own.

      SO go ahead and indulge~ it should only help. Use it in homemade salad dressing with olive oil & acv, mayonnaise, and homemade mustard. Use it in marinades for exceptionally tender meats. Don’t go overboard with it, and DON’T drink it straight – too much acidity is not good either and ACV has been known to burn if undiluted. People who do well taking it internally can take up to two tablespoons of (diluted) raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar each day for health benefits in foods and beverages. <3

      August 16th, 2015 9:24 pm Reply
  • Diana

    I have been reading with great interest about kombucha. I also was reading on fluoride and came across information that indicates tea can have up to 5 times the amount of fluoride niaturally as the tap water..5 for tea 0.05. -1.5 in tap water. Its not just black tea either.
    I never heard anyone mention this when they talk fluoride in tap water being so poisonous.
    Do you have any information on the fluoride in kombucha? Thanks

    March 23rd, 2013 3:43 pm Reply
    • Cynthia Phillips

      I’m wondering about that too. I know that Sarah has said that organic tea has less fluoride in it but my research shows conflicting stories on that.

      June 6th, 2013 8:30 pm Reply
    • Weston a price Supporter

      Sally Fallon I Believe,said that the bacteria take’s care of the “lot less” fluoride that’s in organic teas.So it’s not a problem.

      September 2nd, 2013 6:11 pm Reply
  • Sue Bush via Facebook

    I disagree with you all kombucha debunkers. i have been brewing now, for two years. It is the ONLY thing that got my decades long candida overgrowth under control. You do not have to brew to vinegar, but it should be “tart”. It took about 3-4 months of about a quart a day to achieve that. I CRAVED kombucha in the beginning, and drank even more some days. Now I am closer to 12 oz-pint per day and I am good on the candida front.

    March 23rd, 2013 3:23 pm Reply
    • Ann-Marie Gunn

      I would love to know how you are doing now, and also what your experience was during those 3-4 months. Thanks!

      October 14th, 2014 9:50 am Reply
  • Grace

    what about elaine’s concern?

    March 23rd, 2013 3:09 pm Reply
  • Joselyn Hoffman Schutz via Facebook

    Larry – it takes at least 3 months in most temperatures to ferment kombucha long enough to eliminate all the sugar. At that point, it’s vinegar, and nice to put a tablespoon into a tall glass of water, but it’s not something you drink by the cup, or straight.

    March 23rd, 2013 2:58 pm Reply
  • Joselyn Hoffman Schutz via Facebook

    The problem with kombucha for candida is *not* the yeast. As mentioned, the yeast in kombucha does not contribute to candida yeast any more than the bacteria in yogurt contributes to e. coli.

    BUT – there is *sugar* in kombucha. Unless you ferment it all the way to vinegar, that sugar is still there, and *that* is what feeds candida.

    March 23rd, 2013 2:57 pm Reply
    • Deb

      Yes, I definitely think the sugar is the problem. I just bought some store bought kombucha (GT’s classic with no added sugar) and it was sweet and awhile later, I felt the rumblings of a nasty yeast infection. Can I add that I recently ate chocolate cookies and a cupcake and did not have any sort of reaction like that to it. I might revisit it once I’m done with a colon and parasite cleanse…or maybe not.

      June 16th, 2013 12:43 am Reply
  • Tamara Žlender via Facebook

    How much of kombucha can you drink per day and can I give it to my one year old? He is still nursing.

    March 23rd, 2013 2:50 pm Reply
  • Tawnya Howell via Facebook

    Have a continuous brew and it does not work as well as the probiotics I take.

    March 23rd, 2013 1:31 pm Reply
  • Larry Underwood via Facebook

    Batch kombucha shouldn’t have any sugar left in it. Continuous kombucha might.

    March 23rd, 2013 1:25 pm Reply
  • Lisa Yantachka via Facebook

    I’m not a fan and nobody can drink vinegar so they almost always drink it too sweet. Lactoferment some healthy juices or make kefir water/juice. The KT cultures are passed around and everyone’s homes are full of unique cultures that contaminate the brews. Who knows what you are drinking???????

    March 23rd, 2013 12:32 pm Reply
  • Laura Howes via Facebook

    If it’s sweet-tasting, it hasn’t been fermented long enough.

    March 23rd, 2013 12:23 pm Reply
  • Kathryn Johnson via Facebook

    Am not a fan of sweet drinks so although I tried it for a while, gave up. Prefer kefir, non-whey kvass, or rejuvelac

    March 23rd, 2013 12:06 pm Reply
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  • Corinn

    I’ve been on the candida diet now for a month, plus added coconut oil a few weeks back and now kombucha a couple days ago. I’ve been battling heavy yeast for almost all my life, 29, after living on antibiotics, birth control for endometriosis, and severe cravings for sugars and doughs. I’ve battled my health and allergies to the point I’ve had no energy to move from the couch and gave up. In the last 2 years I found a wonderful doctor with a natural approach anda belief in the existence of yeast overgrowth. The first time I did the cleanse, I was on itstrictly for over 6 months and decided to go off of it when my weight withered away to nothing. Every now and again I do a 30 day cleanse because I keep falling off the wagon. With severe determination and hopes to get pregnant next year for the first time which has always seemed impossible, I’ve decided to desperately stay on track. Since adding the kombucha, the very first bottle immediately made me feel good but then blah through the rest of the day. The last couple days after having one, I still feel blah but have also noticed some bloat in my belly,and the thrush on my tongue seems a little worse. I do have a really bad case to start t hat seems impossible to cure and I intend to do a parasite cleanse very soon and have even gotten my mercery fillings removed a few months back to try to cover all bases. Should I stop the kombucha or does this sound like typical dieoff with the drink? Please help, feeling discouraged. :-(

    February 6th, 2013 12:47 pm Reply
    • Corinn

      Btw the 2nd day I drank 2 and the blah feeling really seem to feel like that couchbound, no energy typical dieoff so that’s also why I’m confused how to take the other symptoms.

      February 6th, 2013 12:56 pm Reply
  • Heather G.

    I just read your article, then the below article… Now I’m confused… Can you please help me discern between the two?

    She sites this study:

    Please help as I have gallons of kombucha sitting here…

    January 31st, 2013 3:36 pm Reply
  • Angie

    I have constant yeast infections, to the point that I was taking Diflucan WEEKLY, I am not keen on taking any medications that I don’t HAVE to. I started drinking Kombucha about 6 weeks ago and haven’t had a flare up since. I even had to take a dose of antibiotics which would normally put me into instant flame up and nothin! I am sure that I have (at least for me) found the cure for yeast issues. My belly is also much happier and I have started losing weight again which had stalled out for quite a while.

    Thanks for all the great info you share…keep up the fine fight my friend.

    October 12th, 2012 12:17 pm Reply
  • Eileen Smith

    Hi! :) I found your blog entry after searching for anyone who was having an issue with Kombucha like I was. I also brewed my own as I really want the health benefits attributed to “buch”, and I also like the taste.

    The first few days I drank it, I think I had too much (1/4 cup) (as I have since read to start with a couple of tablespoons only. I didn’t know this.) I had really bad pain in my lower abdomen. I stopped drinking it but the pain lasted a few days then diminished. I wondered if my brew was bad too, but it looked and tasted fine.

    Sooo..I started with a couple of tablespoons a day and all seemed well. I did this for about 3 weeks. This past Monday I went back up to the 1/4 cup, thinking I should be able to handle it by now. WOW , was I wrong. SHARP pain in my lower abdomen, bloating and let’s just say I was in the bathroom a lot…. This pain is slowly diminishing. I have not drank any more of it.

    Now, if my gut health is THAT bad, I’m wondering if I should stick to it. Just a tablespoon at a time. Because from what I have read, it’s supposed to kill off the bad and replace with the healthy flora of the gut.ould have my buch tested so that I can decifer if it’s my gut detoxing or something is in my kombucha that shouldnt be.

    June 28th, 2012 1:54 pm Reply
  • Amy Gol

    I have been drinking Kombucha tea for 12 days. It is homemade kombucha which I did myself using Sarah’s Kombucha Recipes. It worked well till I had vaginal yeast infection which i only have whenever i take antibiotics.
    I had any yeast infection before I start Kombucha. It started 8th day after drank. I started to drink 2-3 tbsp first 4 days and gradually increased. Now I am drinking only 1/2 cup per day. What should I do? Should I quit, and take pill recover this yeast infection (there is one pill to heal that kind of infection in Drug store) or continue drink Kombucha. I do not want to stop, thus I really like its test.

    Does anyone have some problem like me? What is your recommendation?


    May 10th, 2012 3:07 pm Reply
  • Jill Davis

    Do you know if it is GAPS legal? If so what stage?

    April 2nd, 2012 6:25 pm Reply
  • Todd Caldecott

    Btw, I hasten to add that I interviewed Sandor Katz a couple years back wherein he suggests that Kombucha is not as safe as people think it is, and those with dysbiosis and “candida” are better off enjoying LAB cultures such as sauerkraut and brine pickles. With Kombucha, you simply do not know organisms you are cultivating and could have a culture unknowingly contaminated with pathogenic strains of Aspergillus that produce hepatoxic mycotoxins.

    March 24th, 2012 3:32 pm Reply
  • Todd Caldecott

    I believe this article to be seriously misinformed: firstly, in the over-generalization of what is typically termed “Candida” but in fact relates to a broader issue of dysbiosis that may include various Candida species as well as other microbial pathogens; and secondly, by not properly understanding what Kombucha, it’s natural history and a failure to address the fact that the SCOBY requires refined sugars for it’s life cycle. As a practitioner and not simply a hobbyist I strongly encourage those with dysbiosis and carbohydrate sensitivities to avoid Kombucha. The author hasn’t provided any evidence it is safe, and I have seen enough issues with it that I am very skeptical indeed of this supposed “health food”. Please review mycologist Paul Stamets article on the subject ( Kombucha is NOT a traditional food by any stretch – it is a novel SCOBY that has only been around for a short time (since the refinement of cane sugar), and does not have the empirical evidence to back up the claims.

    March 24th, 2012 3:23 pm Reply
  • Raine

    I love kombucha, our family drinks it daily, and I can see obvious health benefits to us all -increased energy and alertness, mood balancing, digestive and blood sugar supporting, detoxing, immune and digestive health. It’s a miracle food! Thanks Sarah. :)

    March 24th, 2012 2:35 pm Reply
  • gina

    Hello, How do you store the scoby when you are not brewing tea?
    Thank you!

    March 22nd, 2012 9:01 am Reply
  • Hannah Crum

    Great article Sarah! Thank you for sharing your wisdom =)

    March 21st, 2012 11:33 am Reply
  • Maryanne

    Thanks for posting this. After extensive testing, my PCP, who is an osteopath, told me that I had candida. I was told to avoid anything sugary, and anything that turns into sugar in the body (starchy veggies, sugar, honey, etc). Interestingly enough, I was told I could have up to 1/4 cup of grains per day (is that not starchy?!). I was also told to avoid anything fermented. The second I got home, I started researching. I thought, if I have a gut imbalance, isn’t eating fermented foods a good idea? Well, I’m eating them and I’m feeling pretty good. I have also been drinking a bit of kombucha (not every day, since I buy it – I don’t brew it). I’m glad I didn’t take 100% of the doctor’s advice. Everyone needs to figure out what works for their own body. Doctors, no matter how good, don’t know everything!

    March 21st, 2012 6:38 am Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    Hi Heather, all I can tell you is that I avoid caffeine like the plague .. it really does me no good at all and I do fine on kombucha and have for so many years.

    March 20th, 2012 7:43 pm Reply
  • J Boone

    Thank you, thank you for the reference to the healing crisis! Last week I had the symptoms of the nasty yeasties and I was just racking my brain trying to figure out what I had done wrong – couldn’t remember any sugar intake other than wine with dinner, and that was almost always a dry red. Then I read the article and remembered that I had been rewarding myself with a purchased kombucha from our local Meijers every time I could, and also increasing my sauerkraut and (homemade, cultured 24 hrs) yogurt. I had totally increased my probiotic intake! I actually had done something good! Now I have the courage to start the Biokult, which I had but was afraid to take b/c I didn’t want to deal with a reaction! And thank you also for the hint to hold your breath when taking the fclo, it helps. But sometimes my stomach just feels queasy and I can’t take it that day. I also can’t take it on an empty stomach. With food in my stomach, and a chaser of kombucha or yogurt, it is usually doable. So thank you again!

    March 20th, 2012 1:45 pm Reply
  • Leslie R.


    I am such a believer in kombucha. Almost 5 years ago, I had a mysterious virus and cough (like mono or the flu) that caused me to run fever daily for almost 30 days. At the same time, I had just begun reading Nourishing Traditions, especially about fermented beverages. Disgusted with worthless advise from doctors, I had my husband stop and get me 3 bottles of kombucha on his way home from work. I drank half of a bottle that night and the rest the following morning. Within 24 hours my fever went away. Within 72 hours, my health was almost completely restored. I now brew my own kombucha and drink it (or beet kvass) every day.

    March 20th, 2012 11:23 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I had a very bad knee infection 3 years ago (have no idea how it developed .. my doctor thought was a very small cyst behind the kneecap that burst spontaneously) and I am convinced that kombucha is one of the reasons I was able to recuperate at home and not end up in the hospital with the whole ordeal. I ran a fever of 104-105 for DAYS and was lucid and fine the entire time .. never got dehydrated .. was drinking kombucha the whole time like a fish. I recovered and am totally fine on that knee today like nothing ever happened. I do think kombucha played a big role in my recovery.

      March 20th, 2012 7:46 pm Reply
  • Tara

    I have a predicament with kombucha. I always let mine ferment for a couple of weeks, until the sugars are all gone. I’ve had kombucha at different friends houses and they all taste sweet to me. They only ferment there’s for, maximum, a week. I think it still has way too much sugar in it that way. What does everyone else do?

    March 19th, 2012 10:04 pm Reply
    • Kathy

      I try to ferment all or most of the sugar out. From what I’ve read that way more of the healty properties and beneficial acids develop. Plus I don’t tolerate sugar.

      March 22nd, 2012 1:59 pm Reply
  • elaine

    My quandry with kombucha and candida is this — I have read that if you had mercury fillings the candida would bind to the mercury. Then, drinking the kombucha would kill the candida and the mercury would be released to float around and potentially take up residence somewhere else in the body. I have a mouth full of fillings and have seen a biological dentist to begin the process of removing them. But, it will take several years as the estimate is *thousands* of $$$ (OUCH!). So, I have been reluctant to drink too much kombucha as I’m sure I have candida issues. Thoughts??

    March 19th, 2012 7:58 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Tammy I generally tell folks to drink what they feel is right for them. However, that does seem like quite a lot to me .. a quart of each every day. If you are working out and sweating a lot though that might be fine. If not, I might suggest cutting back some and see how that goes for you?

    March 19th, 2012 7:17 pm Reply
  • Mickie

    Is kombucha kosher for Passover?

    March 19th, 2012 6:24 pm Reply
  • Leah

    I believe it’s the cultures for health site that tells how to store extra scobys in a “scoby hotel” where they will keep for many months. They say that storing them in the fridge makes them susceptible to mold. I have a whole jar full of extra scobys and have kept them in a cupboard for several months now. They look great…I just have to top the jar off occasionally when the liquid that they are in evaporates. O course, every time I do that, it grows a new scoby on top. This stuff has a life of its own! I plan to pull one of these older ones out and brew a batch with it soon so see how it works.

    March 19th, 2012 5:43 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Great tip! Thanks for sharing. I’ve never stored mine long enough for that as I’ve always got about 7 gallons brewing at any one time. A family of five in hot, humid Florida goes through A LOT of kombucha!

      March 19th, 2012 7:12 pm Reply
      • Sherri Maines

        How do you keep up with 7 gallons? I’m only doing 2 gallons continuous brew and find that I’m preparing the sweet tea very frequently. Do you fix a very strong sweet tea and dilute it or what? Please share how you efficiently manage this much! Thanks.

        March 20th, 2012 6:09 pm Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          Please see my videos on kombucha advanced topics I and II (click on videoclasses in the header of the blog and then select fermented beverages from the pulldown menu). I use 2 gallon glass containers and brew 4 of these at a time. I brew anywhere from 7-10 days depending on the weather (summer it brews much faster as the house is warmer). It’s really just as easy to make an enormous batch as making a small batch if you plan it out right :)

          March 20th, 2012 10:14 pm Reply
  • mya

    Hi Sarah,
    This is an off topic question, but I was wondering what your thoughts are on taking both fclo/high vitamin butter and astaxanthin. Also, would both these supplements be ok for a 11 yr. old boy. I would hate to overdue any supplement, and I’m just not finding info. on taking both of these simultaneously, especially for kids. If you could let me know advisable amounts and how often I would really appreciate it!

    March 19th, 2012 3:12 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I am not a big fan of supplements in isolation such as astaxanthin. It seems just the latest silver bullet in the healthfood community. It may prove to be truly of benefit in the coming years, but for now, I don’t take it.

      March 19th, 2012 3:21 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        I feel best with the tried and true .. FCLO and butter oil. I have a post coming out on FCLO fairly soon.

        March 19th, 2012 3:22 pm Reply
        • mya

          Thanks, Sarah! I usually lean that way myself, but with all the hype I appreciate your insight. We’ve had great luck with FCLO so that’s what we’ll stick with. Thanks for sharing your knowledge…you’re one of the first sites I check when I have a question.

          Mya :)

          March 19th, 2012 4:39 pm Reply
  • Susie Foster

    I need to get a scoby and resume making kombucha. I found it very beneficial.
    I made it for a long time and really enjoyed it.

    March 19th, 2012 2:07 pm Reply
  • Nathalie Farquet via Facebook

    if you have no kidney or liver issues, you can drink as much as you feel necessary… drinking too much is not good to your kidneys and drinking too much of a cleansing drink is not good to your liver if you have liver issues… (in that case, a nourrishing herbal tea would be better)

    March 19th, 2012 1:48 pm Reply
  • Marta

    Hello Sarah,

    Excellent topic, as always. A little off the topic, I was going to ask you if you could blog about drug-resistant bacteria (antibiotic resistant) since I keep seeing such kind of news on TV, on Yahoo, newspapers, etc. My kids recently went through MRSA and it was a very tough time, we have only been Weston Price for 18 months now and I think such way of eating is what has helped them recover and hopefully they will keep free from ooutbreaks. Today I just read about antibiotic resistant tuberculosis that could kill a lot of people very soon. Scary. Thank you.

    March 19th, 2012 1:12 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Marta, this is indeed a very sobering topic. I am gathering info on it. I don’t feel yet comfortable enough in my knowledge of all the angles to yet write anything but perhaps in the coming weeks. We’ll see :)

      March 19th, 2012 3:20 pm Reply
  • Cassandra

    The limit on daily consumption is another thing I’ve found mixed ideas about. There was a discussion on the safety of drinking kombucha during pregnancy/nursing and I posted a link to a website that discusses the downside to giving kombucha to childbearing women and children. This brought up a discussion of how much is safe, and I had a couple people scoffing “Who on earth would drink more than 8oz a day!?!?” like it was the most absurd thing in the world to drink more than a cup in an entire day. I can drink a quart in a day, easy. And the example you gave also demonstrates that. It’s hard to figure out which is the most accurate viewpoint without some hard science.

    March 19th, 2012 1:07 pm Reply
  • Tammy Lee Rodriguez via Facebook

    is there a limit on daily consumption? on Kefir (water)? Kombucha?

    i drink sometimes a quart of each.

    March 19th, 2012 11:23 am Reply
  • Howard C. Gray via Facebook

    I see your reading “My Life in France ” by Julia Child. I’m enjoying it right now as well. THE BOOK is on my list of must haves!

    March 19th, 2012 11:12 am Reply
  • Angie Sherwood via Facebook

    Just wondering if the acidity of the kombucha would contribute to an over acid enviroment in the body?

    March 19th, 2012 11:03 am Reply
    • Hannah Crum

      Kombucha, like lemon & vinegar (it is also an acetic acid ferment) have the opposite effect in the body in that while they test as an acid pH – once they hit the digestive tract, they convert into alkaline ash and help rebalance the body’s pH.

      March 21st, 2012 12:32 am Reply
  • Sybil Strawser via Facebook

    There is also the fb group Share or Find kefir grains, kombucha, sourdough starter etc…where people with extras (they multiply) give them away …you only pay postage if shipping is necessary. Great group of people for hints and advice also.

    March 19th, 2012 11:02 am Reply
  • Elisabeth Tull via Facebook

    Stephanie, if you have a friend who makes kombucha you can start with a SCOBY from them. If not, you can purchase a SCOBY here or start with non-pasteurized kombucha to grow your own SCOBY. Either way, these videos are helpful.

    March 19th, 2012 10:38 am Reply
  • Elisabeth Tull via Facebook

    Sarah, if you already drink kombucha there is no reason to stop. If you’re nursing a toddler who mostly is on solids, take it slow. If you’re pregnant or the sole or primary substanance for a baby, it’s not recommended.

    March 19th, 2012 10:30 am Reply
    • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

      Why is that, Elisabeth?

      March 26th, 2012 12:00 am Reply
  • Christine Oller-Wolf via Facebook

    Great artical!

    March 19th, 2012 10:25 am Reply
  • Sheri

    How about the effects of kombucha on the teeth. With the PH being around 4 does it effect the enamel?

    March 19th, 2012 10:14 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      In 11 years of drinking it, we’ve not had any issues.

      March 19th, 2012 3:18 pm Reply
      • Jane Horning

        I have been using a protocol which includes frequent ingestion of Xylitol water through the day (for tooth and oral health). Question – will the xylitol create issues through interacting with the probiotics? I know xylitol will not allow strep to grow so I’m wondering if it will conflict with probiotics.

        February 23rd, 2013 11:51 pm Reply
  • Jenna L.

    Thanks so much for addressing this! I’ve heard both sides of the argument and it is frustrating for people wanting to know what’s healthy for them, and what’s not! I’ve recently started drinking kefir again, and am able to tolerate it. The first few times I drank it I was doubled over, but can drink it now with no tummy issues. Guess that means my gut health is improving, and hopefully those nasty systemic yeasties are moving on to greener pastures! Can’t wait to start making kombucha soon!

    March 19th, 2012 10:03 am Reply
  • Sarah Fister via Facebook

    Can you drink kombucha while nursing?

    March 19th, 2012 10:00 am Reply
    • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

      I can’t imagine why not.

      March 25th, 2012 11:59 pm Reply
  • Rebecca Anderson via Facebook

    Drinking kombucha and kvass have helped keep yeast infections at bay during my pregnancy. When I was out of both for a week I started having issues-gotta keep those probiotics coming!

    March 19th, 2012 9:55 am Reply
  • jackie

    Hmmmm I had a reaction to kefir so I stopped making it. Maybe i will give it another try. And Sarah I emailed u about my baby loving the yolks but not the veggies. Put some grass fed butter (duh) on those veggies and downed them! Still gets more excited about the yolks though. LOL.

    March 19th, 2012 9:54 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You’ve got a baby that has very good instincts for what is good for her!!! Excellent.

      March 19th, 2012 3:18 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Cirincione via Facebook

    great info, thanks a bunch for this!!!

    March 19th, 2012 9:53 am Reply
  • Sarah

    Hi Sarah, Thanks for posting this article. I was a candida sufferer and started brewing my own. Very helpful. It’s how I start my day!

    March 19th, 2012 9:48 am Reply
  • Stephanie McCall via Facebook

    How can I make kombucha at home?

    March 19th, 2012 9:41 am Reply
  • Joan Winkelmann Scherry via Facebook

    Wondering this myself lately, thanks.

    March 19th, 2012 9:38 am Reply
  • Skye Daniels via Facebook

    Great article! Thanks.

    March 19th, 2012 9:33 am Reply
  • Teresa

    Do you have any idea how long a kombucha culture will last being stored in frig?
    I haven’t used it in months but would like to start making it again. Mine always tasted sweet so I was afraid to drink it everyday. But I would like to try it again!

    March 19th, 2012 7:52 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It will last about one month IF covered with a cloth (not a secure lid) and the culture is in tea water. The one you describe should be thrown out as it will be dead at this point.

      March 19th, 2012 9:26 am Reply
      • Elizabeth

        This answered my question. =)

        March 19th, 2012 9:28 am Reply
    • Elizabeth

      I had the same question…my scoby has been in a jar with the same 1/4 cup of tea for probably close to a year or so, maybe even more if my time is just that off. =) How long is a scoby good for?

      March 19th, 2012 9:27 am Reply
      • Janelle

        I would just start over, you can just use a bottle of raw kombucha from the store, it will usually grow a new SCOBY, I’ve done it a couple times now.

        March 19th, 2012 10:00 am Reply
        • Sarah

          That depends on the formulation and the brand. I know for instance that GT Dave’s has reformulated and the full complement of culture is not present in the new raw KT (due to concerns of alcohol content). It will grow a scoby but it will be subject to issues and probably won’t last many cycles. Best to get a healthy scoby from a friend or seller.

          March 19th, 2012 10:10 am Reply
          • Janelle

            I guess its a good thing I had used some of my old kombucha that had been sitting in the fridge, I thought it was probably dead so I used part of it along with some KT and it did grow a healthy looking SCOBY, hopefully it is a viable culture, we shall see. I am still waiting for it to sour after about 8 days.

            March 19th, 2012 3:58 pm
    • Cassandra

      I had a scoby in a covered jar with some tea for 3 months, it was fine.

      March 19th, 2012 1:01 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        WOW! I think you must hold the world record on that one :)

        March 19th, 2012 3:17 pm Reply
        • Beth

          I had mine in the fridge for 2 years and I just started making kombucha again. I used the GT’s original as my starter tea and it’s going great. My scoby was in a glass jar with a plastic lid on it. I’m on my third batch and this one is the best so far.

          May 3rd, 2012 11:44 am Reply
  • Carolina

    Great article. I think that will help with my others methods I’m using (How To Cure Candida). I have seen it first on

    March 19th, 2012 2:36 am Reply
  • Janna

    I’m currently looking for wisdom on drinking kombucha while pregnant or nursing. Any thoughts? Thanks.

    March 19th, 2012 12:25 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I drank kombucha all through pregnancy and lactation for my youngest 2 children. It really was so helpful to me. It relieved any aches and pains from carrying so much extra weight particularly hip pain which I never had at all as long as I drank kombucha.

      March 19th, 2012 9:25 am Reply
      • Amy M

        I’ve heard that it’s important to start kombucha before getting pregnant because the initial detoxification from the kombucha can cause miscarriage. Have you heard anything about this?

        March 19th, 2012 12:20 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          I’ve not read this anywhere. I actually started drinking kombucha regularly when I was pregnant and it did me a world of good.

          March 19th, 2012 3:16 pm Reply
    • Hannah Crum

      It is important to trust your body. Many women drink Kombucha during pregnancy while others find that they cannot tolerate the taste or smell. Also, lactating women have reported that they have increased breast milk production when they included Kombucha as part of their regimen – check out this article for more info –

      March 21st, 2012 12:28 am Reply
  • Emma

    I seriously question how fermented the store bought kombuchas are, and some kombuchas are pasteurized. It’s like drinking soda they are so sweet.

    I’ve been meaning to blog about how to make kombucha using a second fermentation which enhances the carbonation and makes it taste better.
    I was blessed to receive cultures for something called ‘jun’ which uses raw honey and tea and tastes and feels 1000 better than kombucha!

    Thanks for sharing this, it also relates to wine and candida!

    March 18th, 2012 11:59 pm Reply
    • Jennifer

      Emma, can you tell me more about “jun”? Where can you acquire it?

      March 24th, 2013 2:50 pm Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Very useful information, once again. We drink Kombucha every day, and it makes a huge difference. It is a great replacement for soft drinks, and we have grown to love the taste.

    March 18th, 2012 10:35 pm Reply
  • Christina

    Sounds good! I am boiling water for my first-ever kombucha batch at this very moment. Interesting about the kefir. I started making it from unhomogenized store-bought local organic milk but because of legalities it is pasteurized. Do you think the benefits of kefir are still worth it when making it from pasteurized milk?

    March 18th, 2012 3:38 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, kefir is still very much beneficial even when made from pasteurized milk. That is good that you have nonhomogenized milk too.

      March 18th, 2012 4:29 pm Reply
      • Sarah

        So good to know! I was wondering that too. We will be moving somewhere that is going to be difficult to obtain raw milk. I have been sooooo spoiled the last 4 years with dairy in the next town.

        March 18th, 2012 9:55 pm Reply
  • Dharmender

    For fermenting Kombucha – can sugar be substituted with some other sweetener like honey or somthing else?

    March 18th, 2012 2:55 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      No, honey is antibacterial and so will work to counteract the growth of probiotics in the brew. Just use organic white sugar. Almost all the sugar is fermented and should cause little to no blood sugar problems in most people.

      March 18th, 2012 3:02 pm Reply
      • tracy

        hi sarah my name is tracy I feel horrible due to die off do you know of anything that can help ease this it would be greatly appreciated. thanks very much

        March 22nd, 2012 8:54 am Reply
        • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

          Hi Tracy. I have a load of ideas for you. One is zeolite. Another is liver support. I take a really good one. Also a Chinese Blend that I take called Yin Chiao. You are welcome to drop me a line at wholenewmom at gmail dot com for help. I’ve been through horrible die off and I know how awful it can be. Hang in there.

          March 25th, 2012 11:57 pm Reply
        • CC Elms

          Sorry about your die-off symptoms, my friend, I’ve been there as well.

          Now, I just use carbonized bamboo (others use charcoal, it’s easier to find). It absorbs the die-off toxin that creates the symptoms. Carbonized bamboo is difficult to find unless you have a good alternative doctor; but the good news is that charcoal does the same thing.

          Just thought that I would share; I hope this information helps you like it helped me.

          December 23rd, 2013 3:20 pm Reply
      • terra

        Actually it is a myth that honey kills good bacteria. Studies show that honey has a synergistic effect with beneficial bacteria and helps it grow. If honey killed good bacteria, no one would be able to make JUN tea.

        November 23rd, 2014 2:44 pm Reply
    • Cassandra

      It is possible to ferment it with raw honey, plenty of people do it. Sarah is correct that there is a chance it will harm the SCOBY, but it is not always the case. Plenty of people also use chlorinated tap water without causing harm to the SCOBY.

      March 19th, 2012 12:58 pm Reply

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