I took a long break from brewing and made a batch about three weeks ago with green tea. It was awesome! I love green tea; it is light, fizzy and very much like a vino verde wine to me without the "wine." It was so good, I immediately made up two more gallons and they are sitting now.
I was on my way to work one morning and grabbed the 26 oz jar of Kombucha that I put in the fridge. I drank as I worked and soon enough the jar was empty. I've had an occasional store bought kombucha in between my own brews, but I hadn't consumed much in some time.
Three days later, I feel like I am getting a cold. My eyes are burning, I am exhausted, my nose is stuffy and I have a major, serious headache. I rest, drink lots of water, and take my usual cold remedies, but this doesn't feel like my normal cold symptoms. It feels worse, but also not like a cold. Hard to explain, but I know what it feels like to be getting a cold and I know how to kicks its ass before it takes me down. This, was different.
Laying in bed, feeling bad, I realized that I'd had this feeling before. A few years ago I was brewing kefir and drinking a lot of it. I felt like I was getting sick five or six times that winter, with similar symptoms and after some research, I discovered that kefir, like kombucha, is a powerful detoxifer. I read up on detox illness and quit consuming.
My symptoms went away and I quit getting "sick." I decided that kefir was some serious stuff and I needed to drink it with caution.
Well, it occurred to me that downing an entire 26 oz of kombucha without some prep for my body could certainly have the same effect. I was detoxing in a way that made me feel like crap! Actually, I don't so much see it as detoxing, as an attack my body with an army of probiotics. My body had no preparation.
So, what do I take away from this? If you are brewing kombucha, start drinking slow. I seriously wouldn't drink much more than 4- 8oz a day for three or four days; maybe a week. I'm no doctor and don't play one on TV, but my experience says that you need to introduce this powerful and yummy stuff carefully.
I have read on some other sites about folks having detox illness/effects, but I don't think this is cause for alarm. The deal is, you have to give your body time to adjust to the powerful stuff in there. So, word to the wise new brewers, don't slam your first batch down in one sitting!