You might be wondering, can I feed my children Kombucha?
There are varying opinions about this, but generally be cautious in children 4 & under. This not to dissuade you from sharing Kombucha with your children, but to ask you to exercise care in how much and how often you give it to them.
Reasons that it might be wise to impose some limitations for younger children, pregnant and breastfeeding women:
1) Contains caffeine (however fermentation reduces the caffeine context to 1/3rd or ½ the original amount).
2) The average and natural weaning time for babies varies from 2-4 yrs or as high as 7 years in traditional societies. It is the way of nature to give babies probiotic bacteria through breast milk. It would be better to give young children milk or water kefir on a regular basis which is nutritional, not just probiotic.
3) Small amounts of pathogenic bacteria or wild yeasts that would not pose a threat to healthy adults, may compromise children whose young immune systems are still developing. Nor do we want the child to rely on the Kombucha cultures for protection, we want them to build their own immunity. However, Kombucha could be used medicinally if your child is having trouble overcoming something on his/her own.
4) Kombucha tea may cause calcium depletion because it binds to minerals making it an alkaline drink, nevertheless more minerals should be consumed to compensate (another reason why Kefir milk is better for children as it is naturally mineral rich).
5) Kombucha is a cleansing and stagnancy breaking meaning that it breaks down and eliminates toxicity. In times like pregnancy, breastfeeding and growth (babies and children are always growing) the intent is to build, not cleanse or break down. However, you can use it at times when your children have been exposed to toxicity, sugar and junk food to swiftly detoxify these elements from your child’s body after birthday parties or holiday celebrations.
6) According to Ed Kasper LAc. Acupuncturist, Herbalist, & Homeotoxicologist (Kombucha Brewer since 1995) “Kombucha is Qi. Energy and Yang. It is Yang within Yang. A catalyst. Kombucha makes things happen. For most people, who are Yang Deficient and clogged with toxins, Kombucha is perfect. For children who are Yang Excess and predominately Yin Deficient, Kombucha poses a risk of upsetting a delicate newly developing balance. Kombucha will tend to make a child more hyper-active. The child will get more colds and flu (average child ha 4-10 colds per year) with higher fevers and will tend towards more skin disorders and asthma. (TCM Lung disorder). Many people believe Kombucha is an immune-booster, and where it does benefit a otherwise healthy adult, in a child with a Wind Heat (TCM condition, Cold with chills, fever and sore throat) Kombucha will exhaust the Qi (energy of the body) resulting in higher fevers, fevers that linger, and fevers that come and go. Kombucha is a diuretic (makes one pee) which furthers depletes the Yin and dehydrates the body. The child’s dehydration (Yin Deficient in TCM) is accepted by western medicine as one of the leading causes of childhood diseases.”
7) Some children have a hard time drinking adequate water as it is. Given that Kombucha has a dehydrating tendency, it must be used sparingly with children, especially when they do not drink enough water.
Kombucha is not just a probiotic drink, it is medicinal, so use it wisely!
Want to learn more about Kombucha and sharing the joy (and health benefits) of other naturally bubbly beverages with your kids? Click here.