It's been popping up at your grocer's shelves for years, but this health trend seems to be growing in popularity and some health advocates swear by it.
We're talking about kombucha, a fermented tea-based drink that claims a lot of health benefits.
But does it really work?
You'll find kombucha by the health food drinks. Kombucha has been around for centuries, but really took off in the U.S. in the late 1990s, when it started showing up in health food stores.
So what is it?
"We do raw organic kombucha, meaning it's all tea based," says brewer James Hopkins. "So in order to create our kombuchas, we just create simply a tea based off any of these herbs, and then we add a little bit of sugar and then our live cultures."
Live cultures? That's right...kombucha is alive!
The live cultures called 'SCOBY' stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts
"This is what makes kombucha, well, kombucha," explains Hopkins. "It's a living culture that adds healthy bacteria to the kombucha, and also ferments it at the same time."
That 'SCOBY' is placed in sweetened black or green tea, packing it with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria we need in our guts.
Nicole Eichinger is a licensed dietician. She says that, "bad bacteria can overgrow and that can lead to depression, weight gain, mood swing. So a great way to help reverse that or improve it is with good bacteria."
That could be why the stuff is so popular. But what about the health claims, like weight loss, depression, high blood pressure, arthritis, even cancer prevention?
jennifer mcdaniel academy of nutrition and dietetics.
"We don't have a lot of good evidence to support the many health claims," says Jennifer McDaniel of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "I mean you'll see claims out there like it can help you lose weight, sleep better, but in reality we don't have any evidence to back that up. The only reason anybody would drink kombucha outside of the fact that they enjoy the taste of it is that is has good bacteria which could potentially translate into a healthier microflora in our own intestine."
So there's no scientific evidence it's a miracle cure for a variety of illnesses, but we do know the stuff in it is good for your intestines. And for some, that's reason enough to drink it.