the American Cancer Society on Kombucha Tea
I have to preface The American Cancer Society article
with my own experience. I have edited and and tried to temper my
feelings and opinions and tried to keep it short and to the point. If
you choose to read through thank you for your indulgence and your
opinions are welcomed. Or you can just skip the next paragraph and read
their articles in their entirety.
IMHO kombucha, like essiac tea and some other
alternatives should not be dismissed simply because someone says so..
They should be
discussed and available. My mother died of cancer in 1972. I
would have liked her to of had that opportunity. More importantly she
wanted that opportunity! The doctors at that time would not even tell
her she had cancer! Telling us even not to tell her! She had to sneak
read her own medical chart and look up the terms herself and was she mad
when she found out they were lying to her! The they would not give her
any more pain medication that Tylenol #3 and told me not to give more
than the prescription allowed or they would not allow us to refill the
prescription. I guess they feared she would become a drug addict -
before she died from the cancer (they gave her only a year to year. She
died two years later in sheer agony. She specifically asked her doctors
about laetrile, a popular alternative cancer treatment being done in
Mexico. Her doctor told her not to waste her money. Saying "the best
treatments are in America". The best thing about
kombucha and essiac and other treatments is that it so dam cheap, actually enjoyable, taste
good and makes most people at least feel better. The American
cancer Society denies there existence. The American Medical Association
(AMA) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) still cling to morphine as
only only thing to control pain - where it is acknowledged it fails and
makes one constipated and nausea and addicted - yet claiming medical
marijuana is evil. Despite the evidence it relieves a degree of pain,
creates a appetite, does not create constipation or nausea and returns a
moderate amount of quality of life and dignity to one who is dying.
Simply give it to one who is in need of help and they (the patient) will
tell you what is working or not. T he ACS still is investigation medical
marijuana after 20 years as needs more research, as well as essiac tea
and Chinese Herbal formulas (Xiao Chai Hu tang/ sho-saiko-to)
although other groups like Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is presently under Phase II (FDA approved)
clinical trials for liver cancer. The AMA who
arrogantly made my mother suffer have changed their policy about
informing patients of their conditions (but not about informing patients
about choices) and fully oppose even trying medical marijuana. Doctors
who are sympathetic and wish to help are threatened with jail and loss
of their federal license. (President Clinton who participated in
recreational use of marijuana (but not inhaling) banned medical use of
it!) The tobacco companies who lied to my mother and the doctors at that
time are still in business and are now one of the largest contributors
to the American Cancer Society.
- Ed Kasper and family
reprinted from the American Cancer Society's Guide to Complementary
and Alternative Methods.
presented in its entirety from
[I added the numbers in
RED for my remarks at the end
of the article]
Tea Other common name(s): Manchurian Tea, Kargasok
Tea Scientific/medical name(s):
Kombucha tea is made from the flat,
pancake-like culture known as the Kombucha mushroom. It is actually not a
mushroom but is called one because of its appearance. The culture or
mushroom sac used in Kombucha tea consists of several species of yeast and
bacteria including Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Schizosaccharomyces pombe,
Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium gluconicum, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium
katogenum, Pichia fermentans, and Torula sp. After the tea is made, it
becomes highly acidic and contains alcohol, ethyl acetate, acetic acid,
There is no
scientific evidence that Kombucha tea is effective in treating cancer or
any other disease. No data exist showing that it helps promote good health
or prevents any ailments. There have been some serious side effects
reported with the consumption of Kombucha tea 1
Department of Food Science Cornell
How is it promoted for
Kombucha tea is promoted as a cure-all for a wide variety
of conditions including baldness, insomnia, intestinal disorders,
arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and cancer.
Supporters assert that Kombucha tea can boost the immune system and
reverse the aging process. Kombucha tea is said to contain antioxidants,
compounds that block the action of activated oxygen molecules, known as
free radicals, that can damage cells. For people with cancer, proponents
claim the tea can detoxify (cleanse) the body and enhance the immune
system thereby improving the body's defenses, especially in the early
stages of cancer. After the body is cleansed, the tea is said to help
repair and balance the body, and fight off disease. There is no scientific
evidence to support these claims.
What does it
Kombucha tea is made by steeping the mushroom culture
in tea and sugar for about a week. During this process, the original
mushroom floats in the tea and produces a "baby" mushroom on its surface.
These new mushrooms can be passed along to other people for starting their
own cultures or be kept to make new batches of the tea when the original
mushroom goes bad (turns dark brown).2
to increase the detoxifying abilities of the tea, people are told to
remove chemicals from their diets and eat only fresh fruits and
vegetables. They are also told to avoid caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol,
hormone-fed meat, fertilized or sprayed foods, preservatives, artificial
coloring and flavoring, and to quit smoking.
[seems like good advice - ed]
Kombucha mushroom cultures can be obtained
from commercial manufacturers in the United States; however, many people
have obtained Kombucha mushrooms from friends because they are easily
What is the history behind
Kombucha tea originated in East Asia and was introduced into
Germany at the turn of the century. Since the early 19th century, Kombucha
tea has been promoted as an immunity-boosting tea, which could strengthen
the body against many ailments. It has become prevalent in the United
States because it can be grown and harvested at home. It is especially
popular among people with HIV and the elderly due to its immunity-boosting
and anti-aging claims.
What is the
There is no scientific evidence to support any of the
claims made for Kombucha tea. There have been reports of some serious
complications associated with the tea.3 In
April 1995, two women who had been consuming the tea daily for two months,
were hospitalized with severe acidosis--an abnormal increase in the
acidity in the body fluids. Both had high levels of lactic acid upon
hospitalization. One woman died of cardiac arrest two days after
admission. The second woman also suffered a heart attack but was
stabilized and eventually released. The mushrooms used by both women came
from the same "parent" mushroom. While no direct link to Kombucha tea was
proven in this case, the FDA has warned consumers to use caution when
making and drinking the tea
Are there any possible problems or
Kombucha tea is highly acidic. Deaths have been
reported from acidosis linked with the tea.5
Drinking excessive amounts of the tea is not recommended
6.Several experts warn that since home-brewing
facilities vary significantly, the tea could become contaminated with
harmful bacteria which could be especially detrimental to people with HIV
or other immune disorders. Because the acid in the tea could absorb
harmful toxins, it should not be brewed in ceramic, lead crystal, or
painted containers. Since the potential health risks of Kombucha tea are
unknown, anyone with a preexisting medical condition should consult a
physician before consuming the tea.7 Women who
are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use this tea.
Boik J. Cancer & Natural Medicine: A
Textbook of Basic Science and Clinical Research. Princeton, Minn: Oregon
Medical Press; 1996.
Cassileth B. The Alternative Medicine
Handbook. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co;1998.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unexplained severe illness possibly associated with consumption of
Kombucha tea-Iowa, 1995. JAMA 1996;275:96-98.
Spaulding-Albright N. A review of some herbal
and related products commonly used in cancer patients. J Am Diet Assoc.
US Food and Drug Administration. FDA Talk
Paper: FDA cautions consumers on "Kombucha mushroom
tea." Rockville, Md: National Press Office; March 23, 1995. Talk Paper
Note: This information was
reprinted from the American Cancer Society's Guide to Complementary and
Alternative Methods. Copyright(c)2000, American Cancer Society. This
information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions,
side effects or interactions, is not intended as medical advice, and
should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with your
doctor who is familiar with your medical needs.
KOMBUCHA TEA report by JAMA
The Centers for Disease Control &
Prevention report on the death of one Iowa woman and the hospitalization
of another we noted in the May-June issue. The CDCP report included
a survey of a nonrandom sample of 24 persons who regularly drank Kombucha
tea. Twenty of 21 respondents had obtained their "mushrooms"
from friends or relatives, and 15 had given one to their friends.
This finding confirms that most quackery is spread by word-of-mouth.
Nearly a fourth reported having discarded batches of tea because of
concerns about the appearance or taste of the tea, or because of visible
mold growth. A randomized survey found that 3.8% (CI=1.4-8.4%) had a
household member who had tried the tea.
NOTE: The Centers for Disease Control doesn't report unconfirmed
following from the web