Drink your way back to health: Ginger-based kombucha found to treat breast cancer

A study has found that ginger-based kombucha could potentially treat breast cancer. For this study, the team investigated the effects of fermented tea using an animal model.

Cancer cells have many distinct characteristics, and one of them is an abnormal metabolism. For example, aerobic respiration at the invasive stage creates more reactive oxygen species (ROS). This leads to cancer progression.

Scientists studied how kombucha made from ginger (Zingiber officinale) can affect antioxidant agents. In particular, they looked at its effect on a breast cancer animal model. Before and after tumor challenge, BALB/c mice b were given two kinds of kombucha tea: one that contained ginger and a ginger-free fermented tea.

They also measured superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (two common enzymes), glutathione (GSH) (an antioxidant), and malondialdehyde (MDA) (a marker for oxidative stress) in the tumor, liver, and kidney of the subjects.

Based on the findings, the kombucha ginger tea helped to moderately decrease catalase activity and GSH and MDA levels in tumor homogenate in the murine breast cancer model. The data also revealed a significant decrease in SOD activity and an increase in MDA quantity in the kidney of subjects that were given the kombucha ginger tea.

The researchers posit that regularly drinking ginger-based kombucha can help balance multi-antioxidant components in various tissues of the murine breast cancer models.

The study was published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine.

More about kombucha

Invented thousands of years ago, kombucha is a fermented tea with many health benefits. Experts believe that kombucha originated in China or Japan.


The fermented tea is made by adding certain strains of bacteria, sugar, and yeast to black or green tea. The mixture is then allowed to ferment for one week or more. As the tea ferments, bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film on the surface of the liquid. This is the reason why kombucha is sometimes called “mushroom tea.” The mushroom-like blob is a living symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). SCOBY may be used to ferment new kombucha.

As kombucha is fermented it produces acetic acid and various acidic compounds, trace levels of alcohol, and gases that causes carbonation. The fermentation process also creates a lot of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics provide the gut with healthy bacteria that offer benefits such as improved digestion, minimized inflammation, and weight loss.

When kombucha is made from green tea, it can also offer some of the same health benefits as the tea, like blood sugar control and weight loss.

The acetic acid in kombucha can help eliminate potentially harmful microorganisms without harming the beneficial probiotic bacteria. Data from rat studies on kombucha revealed that it can help improve “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Kombucha can also prevent heart disease. (Related: Roughly translated as “the tea of immortality”, kombucha is a health drink you should be drinking more of.)

A separate study showed that kombucha can help improve several markers of diabetes in rats, such as blood sugar levels.  As long as kombucha is made properly, it can improve your overall health. Take note that contaminated or over-fermented kombucha may cause severe health problems or even death. Homemade kombucha may also contain at least three percent alcohol. An alternative is to purchase kombucha at a store or online. Commercial products are considered alcohol-free since they can only have less than 0.5 percent alcohol. Check the ingredients list and don’t purchase brands with a lot of added sugar.

You can read more articles about study findings on natural cancer treatments at Cancer.news.

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