A customer at the taproom asked me this direct question the other day. What is even more interesting, a medical doctor asked me the same thing earlier. Here is what I believe we can say on the matter.
What Does Research Say?
First, there has been less medical research published on kombucha in the English-speaking world than on other subjects, like halitosis. So, we “know” more about bad breath than we do kombucha. In a way this makes sense. I mean, mankind has been suffering from bad breath since time began but all the research in the world doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in the problem….!
Pregnant Humans Have Been Drinking Kombucha for 2,000 Years
While humans, including pregnant ones, have been drinking kombucha for over 2,000 years, the medical literature on the subject of fermented tea remains sparse, albeit growing. The Russians were early adopters of daily kombucha consumption, as the habit was passed on from their next-door neighbours in China. In the 1950s the “Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow” published research that showed daily consumption of kombucha strongly correlated with extremely high resistance to cancer. Further research in Russia in the 1960s showed that kombucha boosted immune system performance and interferon production. Russian findings were supported by research conducted in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland (Allen, 1998).
What Do Non-Russian Researchers Say?
Recently, there have been quite a few studies in English on the healthful properties of regular kombucha consumption. We will talk about those in future posts. However, at the current stage there is very little “real money” in kombucha compared to the development of “miracle drugs” and the billion of dollars at stake with each one. That kind of money creates demand for research and scientists respond.
For pregnant women, I cannot tell you what to do, and in the absence of recent peer-reviewed multi-decade long research studies in English, western doctors are reluctant to comment as well. Since doctors today don’t have the research to back them up regarding consumption of kombucha while pregnant, the safest course of action for them is to demure and say, “Better not to.” However, those white frocked doctors weren’t around over the last two millennia of constant kombucha imbibing and it is safe to conclude people kept making and drinking kombucha because they must have seen real benefits.