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Synergy Kombucha Fruit Drink


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Is anybody else out there hooked on this stuff?  I fight to keep it down to one bottle a day, but it's tough!  My husband thinks it's completely disgusting because it smells faintly of vinegar and has, well, slimy stuff floating around it, but I just can't get enough of it!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, "Synergy" is a mixture of 95% kombucha and 5% fruit juice.  I get mine at Whole Foods, where they now devote 4 shelves to the stuff.  Kombucha is a fermented tea said to have all kinds of healthy properties because of the fermentation...loads of good bacteria, enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants, it's a natural antibacterial and antifungal, said to help detox your liver and even rumored to cure cancer.    But I drink it because it's just so darn tasty!

Now maybe I'm rationalizing because it's marketed as a "health drink", but it's fairly guiltfree...low cal (70), low sugar (8g) and it has a nice fizz to it like soda (which I gave up ages ago).   For a sweet indulgence, that's not bad!

Am I alone here?
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Hi there, I have 2 replies. First, to shihtzusweet: I have the EXACT same experience sometimes after I drink it-- a really good feeling and then that crappy yucky feeling shortly thereafter. I am also on meds, plus I have Hep C. First of all, that buzz is due to the THEANINE in addition to the alcohol. Theanine is an amino acid also found in green tea that has a very relaxing effect. You can buy it in pill form also. But here is my theory on the nasty after-effects: both the meds that you are on and the meds I am on  (plus my Hep C) can be very hard on the liver. ADD drugs are definitely so, especially if you combine them with another drug. So our livers are very taxed. Therefore I think that the alcohol and theanine can sometimes be too much for our livers to handle, thus causing the blah and headache. I get the EXACT same feeling after drinking a little alcohol (which I no longer do) and I KNOW that is because my liver can't handle it so it follows that this applies to the kombucha. Which is highly unfortunate, since I love it so. HOWEVER, I have been taking several supplements lately to help my liver (LiverCare, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Turmeric, Milk Thistle) and, voila--- I have not experienced that feeling after drinking Kombucha since a few days after I started all the supplements. I think that the LiverCare is the most helpful, if you were to only take one. Anyway shihtzusweet you might try to get your liver detoxed and then see if you have the same reaction. I, too, have an extremely clean diet-- but DRUGS are the biggest culprits in a toxic system. No diet can undo their effects.

SECOND, to jellibean. 0.5% is a PERCENTAGE, not an AMOUNT-- so the entire bottle would STILL have "a trace, less than 0.5%" (if that is indeed accurate). If they said 0.5 MILLIGRAMS, then it would be 1 mg. per bottle, but percentages don't work that way- if half the bottle has 0.5%, then the WHOLE bottle ALSO has 0.5%. That said, I'm not sure that their accounting is accurate- it seems like more than that to me. But as I said earlier, the theanine has a huge effect also, so it could just be that. Anyway no offense jellibean and thanks for the comment- just had to point out the error.
#22  
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I am pretty positive that percents don't double when volume doubles.

BUT I must admit that I have felt that buzz that everyone seems to be speaking of, and I must also admit that I do consider myself a bit of a tank when it comes to drinking.

Could it be that there's something else in there that's making everyone feel this? The average alcoholic drink is: 12 oz - beer, 5 oz - wine, and 2.5 oz - shot. If each 16 oz Synergy drink has about 0.05% alcohol, that's only 0.8 ounces. There is no way that one drink can get me tipsy, let alone 1/3 of one.

Haha, Oops! While I was typing this, I realized that there was another comment addressing and answering my reply. I'm still going to post it because I spent too much time replying to just delete it.

But, uh, Thanks Violetrinity!
vod
Jun 13 2007 02:31
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#23  
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I'd just like to point out that with the alcohol content, it's "less than 0.5%", NOT "less than 0.05%".

I work at a Pilates studio and my coworker had been raving about this stuff for a while and loved how it made her not want sugar or chocolate.

I decided to buy a bottle at Whole Foods today (raspberry flavor) and one of the workers there saw me checking out the display and gave me a free 8oz sample. He was a total advocate of the stuff and went on about how it was helping him lose weight.

Since I generally like vinegar, I was not put off by the taste at all and actually really, really liked it. It wasn't something I could chug, but I did notice that almost immediately afterwards I felt really great and energized and had absolutely no chocolate/sugar cravings or much of an appetite. I did not feel any kind of buzz, and assumed there was no kind of alcohol content associated with the drink. You can imagine my disappointment and horror when I read the label and noticed the alcohol warning.

I'm straight-edge, and ANY alcohol content, even half a percent, is a BIG deal to me. So I'm disappointed to say that I can't even drink the bottle I bought.
I did say "less than O.5%". And I agree, it is a big deal. I think that they need to display that info in a much more prominent place, like on the front label. I mean some beers and spritzers are only 2%- so this could have the alcohol of 1/4 of a beer! ---Per 3/4 serving! (You can extrapolate from there- I'm too tired...lol)     &nb sp;               &nb sp;  
Hey, aspiring Bay Area Kombucha brewers!

Kombucha Workshop
Last Sunday of every month
Oakland or San Francisco, CA

Learn to brew a 3000 year old health tonic for a tiny fraction of the cost of buying commercially bottled products.

Topics covered:
* Getting the fizz
* Adjusting the taste
* Creating new flavors
* Science and health (separating fact and fiction)
* The entire brewing process from beginning to end

You get:
* Kombucha culture
* Kombucha instruction and history booklet
* All your kombucha brewing and drinking questions answered

Program cost:  $35

Venue varies month to month (within Bay Area).  Next one will be at the Voila Cafe in Oakland near Fruitvale.

Send me a message for more information. (I run this.)

--Naomi

vod
Jun 13 2007 06:39
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#27  
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The post above mine, for example, did calculations at 0.05%.


Either way, after checking the drink's website's FAQ, they encourage children to drink it in moderation (no more than 4-8oz a day I think it said), and for pregnant women/nursing mother's to seek out a doctor's opinion.

I feel a little more skeptical after reading that and all the posts from users experiencing a "buzz."
Certain commercial varieties have a lot more alcohol content than others.  It's the "second fermentation" process that happens after the product is bottled and put on shelves that generates this.

If you brew it yourself (ultimate cost per cup is roughly 25 cents, by the way), you are able to control the amount of alcohol.  The kind I brew has none at all and doesn't cause that alcoholic buzz effect a lot of people, myself included, feel drinking the commercially bottled kombucha.
I just have to bring a little balance to all the alcohol discussion. Again, I have one, sometimes two, every day and have never, ever had any kind of a buzz from Synergy. Nor have any of my friends or clients mentioned such an effect.

The amount of alcohol in kombucha is very small. one half of one percent is about 1/10th the alcohol in your average beer. as for the amount of alcohol, it's true that %'s don't double as the volume doubles, but the AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL DOES DOUBLE.

So let's talk numbers...figuring it at a full .5% alcohol content, a bottle (16 oz) of synergy contains 1.86 grams of alcohol. That's equivalent to about 1.5 ounces of beer. A typical bottle of beer is 12 ounces, so that's the same as the alcohol in 1/8th of a bottle of beer. Also equivalent to .6 ounces of  wine (your average red, 14% alcohol; a serving of wine - less than you typically get if you order a glass at a bar - is 5 ounces, so again that's about 1/8th of a 5 oz glass of wine).

But if you're alcohol sensitive, whether for lifestyle, medication, or illness reasons, it's good to be aware that there is *some* alcohol in it. 

p.s. the formula for determing grams of alcohol is:
p = percentage of alcohol
s = serving size in fluid ounces
p * s * 29.5735297 (milliliters in one fluid ounce) * .01 (to turn p into its decimal form) * .789 (gravity of alcohol)

if you want to calc the number of calories of alcohol you're having, take the result of that formula and multiply it by 7.
Thank you, tracyvision!
#31  
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I have been drinking Synergy Kombucha for about a month after discovering it in a health store. I have had about three a week. I unfortunately found out that my ph level has become too alkaline. I have been told by a health practitioner to find out what has changed in my diet. The only difference has been the Kombucha and that I have been eating more salads lately. I do not know if a steady consumption of Kombucha will affect your ph balance and sway it to the alkaline side. 
The only difference has been the Kombucha and that I have been eating more salads lately. I do not know if a steady consumption of Kombucha will affect your ph balance and sway it to the alkaline side.

Indeed it will. 

The combination of increasing low-sugar raw foods (especially greens) and the consumption of high-acidity raw beverages like kombucha, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and the like will definitely sway your body's pH balance to the alkaline side -- although most people are so acidic that they really should be eating as much alkaline-forming food as possible.

Don't cut the kombucha out, just scale it back a bit.  If you've been consuming a lot of it, then most likely your intestinal flora is synchronized with the micro-organisms in the kombucha.  Cutting it out entirely will probably negatively impact your digestion.

You can check your body's pH at home, by the way, by using PH Tape.
I DON'T USUALLY TYPE IN ALL CAPS, BUT I HAVE JUST FOUND OUT SOME MAJOR NEWS ABOUT OUR BELOVED KOMBUCHA. IT HAS JUST BEEN FOUND TO BE A HEPATOTOXIN!!! THIS MEANS THAT IT CAN, POTENTIALLY, CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE LIVER. GOOGLE "KOMBUCHA HEPATOTOXIN" YOURSELF AND FIND OUT!!! IF YOUR LIVER IS AT ALL COMPROMISED, DUE TO TAKING MEDICATIONS OR TO HEP C OR ANOTHER LIVER DISEASE, YOU MUST NOT DRINK KOMBUCHA!! HERE IS A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF ALL SUPPLEMENTS THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED BY THOSE WITH LIVER ISSUES (NOTE THAT KOMBUCHA HAS AN ASTERISK NEXT TO IT, WHICH MEANS THAT IT HAS BEEN SPECIFICALLY ASSOCIATED WITH LIVER TOXICITY).

http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis%5Cfactsh eets_pdf/CAM_avoid.pdf

Also, in response to Tracyvision and others, I will repeat what I said in an earlier post: The "buzz" that some people get is due primarily to THEANINE, which is listed on the bottle. The alcohol may enhance this but the theanine is the primary buzz-giver here.

The usnic acid may be the cause of the liver-toxic effects; it has been found to cause liver problems in other supplements. However, note that the KOMBUCHA MUSHROOM itself, as well as the tea, are HEPATOTOXINS.

If you do not have a compromised liver, then it is possible that the (over rated and over-hyped) benefits, such as they are, MAY outweigh the risks for you.

Believe me, I am as upset as anyone about this news; being one of those who got a "buzz" from the Kombucha, I have been addicted to it and love it more than most. Still, I have definitely felt the ill effects to my liver and this cinches it- I have to cut it out.

In summation- if you have noticed an ill feeling after drinking Kombucha, then it IS affecting your liver- it IS a liver toxin- don't try to talk yourself out of it. If it's making you feel great, then you may very well be able to continue with it without any problems. But if you have ANY liver issues, or if you are taking meds, I would recommend that you cut it out immediately.
Also, in response to Tracyvision and others, I will repeat what I said in an earlier post: The "buzz" that some people get is due primarily to THEANINE, which is listed on the bottle. The alcohol may enhance this but the theanine is the primary buzz-giver here.

I find it hard to believe that the theanine itself, which is present in Plain Old Tea, is the primary mover behind the "buzz" feeling. It is most likely a synergistic effect between the alcohol and the various acids.

Like I said, the stuff I brew generally has little to no alcohol content, and therefore none of that "buzz". I've tested its alcohol content both experientially and empirically.


The usnic acid may be the cause of the liver-toxic effects; it has been found to cause liver problems in other supplements.

Usnic acid is or was a popular supplement for bodybuilders. I have no idea why, must have theoretically optimized some whosit muscle building pathway or something. Or perhaps it was for fat loss -- usnic acid has been used as a weight loss supplement with liver-failure-inducing effects.

So of course a bunch of muscleheads overdid it and wound up on the emergency room table with half their liver gone.

It's highly debatable whether there's much usnic acid present in kombucha at all, since it's named after "usnea", an epiphytic, light-loving variety of lichen... not anything like the kombucha culture. It's not even close to being in the "top ten" of kombucha acids, and it really depends on the environment and medium in which the culture was brewed.


However, note that the KOMBUCHA MUSHROOM itself, as well as the tea, are HEPATOTOXINS.

The kombucha mushroom is not a hepatotoxin. It's a mass of symbiotic micro-organisms.


If you do not have a compromised liver, then it is possible that the (over rated and over-hyped) benefits, such as they are, MAY outweigh the risks for you.

Some people see huge benefits from drinking kombucha. Some people just get the "kick" and enjoy it. And some people are probably better off without it -- it's not like fermented things are necessary (or even recommended) in the human diet.

Kombucha is just one of those things that will drive you to become much more in tune with your body, whether you end up being "aligned" with it or not. So even if someone decides they aren't benefiting from kombucha, or they feel worse because of it, it's better to have had the experience than to have avoided it completely out of fear and misunderstanding.


Believe me, I am as upset as anyone about this news; being one of those who got a "buzz" from the Kombucha, I have been addicted to it and love it more than most. Still, I have definitely felt the ill effects to my liver and this cinches it- I have to cut it out.

Or, perhaps you were starting to feel the detoxification effects. Most people with a lot of built-up "junk" experience headaches and nausea as detox symptoms when starting kombucha. Just something to consider.

Most of the products of the kombucha organism are acids produced in the human liver itself, or they are found in our diets in other places. Acetic acid is the top product. This is the "stuff of vinegar"; you can find it in everything from white vinegar to red wine.


In summation- if you have noticed an ill feeling after drinking Kombucha, then it IS affecting your liver- it IS a liver toxin- don't try to talk yourself out of it. If it's making you feel great, then you may very well be able to continue with it without any problems.

Now if only people would take that kind of advice when it came to everything else in their diet...


But if you have ANY liver issues, or if you are taking meds, I would recommend that you cut it out immediately.

Yes, I agree. Western drugs and holistic therapies don't typically mix, particularly when it comes to diseases of the liver. Just a quick quote: "You're more likely to find contamination in a cup of coffee than in a cup of properly prepared kombucha." --Dr Samuel Page of the FDA
Hey, venix, sorry to be so blunt, but you are a complete idiot and you have no idea of what you speak. I suspect that you are affiliated with a Kombucha producer and are fearful of losing revenue. Your post had so many holes in it I don't even have time to address half of them. First of all, you clearly did not do any research before responding to my post. If you had, you would have discovered that yes, Kombucha IS a hepatotoxin. Just because something is natural does not make it safe. You say of the buzz:

"It is most likely a synergistic effect between the alcohol and the various acids. "

The "various acids"??? Cause a buzz??? Try again, hon. These acids do not cause a buzz. It is the theanine, primarily, combined with the small amount of alcohol. Some people just do not notice the buzz and some are very sensitive to it.

Second, I said that it might be the usnic acid which is the hepatotoxin. The fact that Kombucha IS a hepatotoxin is not up for debate here- it has been proven now, in clinical tests. But I guess you did not bother to check out the link I provided, or to Google it yourself.

Then there was this: "Or, perhaps you were starting to feel the detoxification effects. Most people with a lot of built-up "junk" experience headaches and nausea as detox symptoms when starting kombucha. Just something to consider."
OK, I really think this lie has been stretched to the breaking point. First of all, these symptoms ARE NOT detox symptoms. I've done a million detoxes and I know what they feel like. Acute liver pain and severe nausea and headaches are not detox symptoms. Second, I don't HAVE "a bunch of built-up junk in my system"... I am a VEGAN who eats only raw, unprocessed, organic foods!!! Oh yeah, I really think half a bottle of Kombucha is going to cause more of a detox than a thorough cleansing program. Right.

I found this part of your post particularly amusing: "The kombucha mushroom is not a hepatotoxin. It's a mass of symbiotic micro-organisms." WHAT??? Just because it is a mass of micro-organisms means that it can't be toxic?? Hmmm... I believe that the other deadly poisonous mushrooms and toadstools are also masses of symbiotic micro-organisms... how is the Kombucha mushroom somehow immune to the possibility of being toxic? Did you know that there are THOUSANDS of species of toxic mushrooms?? Kombucha is only one of them.

KOMBUCHA IS A HEPATOTOXIN- GOOGLE IT YOURSELF.

I am just so incredibly tired of people who are more interested in promoting their own agenda, or their own ill-informed self-delusions, than they are in pursuing the truth. From colon-cleansing to Kombucha, I've about had it with these types. 

Enough with the hatin' already..what is a HEPATOTOXIN and is it bad or good?
thanks for all the info venix and violetrinity, you both make some excellent points.

like I've posted, I've never had a buzz from synergy, so I've been drinking the stuff like it's the nectar of the gods, one or two a day. And now it seems that kombucha, like many things in life, may be too good to be true. I did google kombucha and hepatotoxin, violetrinity, and came up with some uncomfortable results.

I developed a lung condition similar to asthma last year from forest fire smoke that rolled through here last summer, and have been paying very close attention to my diet, eliminating everything that could be taxing my system so it could focus its energy on healing.  It never occurred to me that my beloved kombucha could be one of the things I should eliminate (one of the results I found said kombucha has been linked to pulmonary edema, or fluid buildup in the lungs, definitely not a good thing for someone like me with a lung condition and a long history of allergies, and taxing your liver isn't good for anybody who's healing). While I've never noticed any negative effects, I'm definitely hooked on the stuff. Ironic as it seems, that's often a sign that you have a sensitivity, or even an allergy, to a particular food.

Given this new information I'm going to wean myself off it and see how I feel (you're right venix, we should always pay attention to how our diet makes us feel!). I'm not going to quit cold turkey, I think that can be hard on the system, but I'm definitely going to be making my way to a kombucha-free diet.

geez, first I had to give up coffee, now kombucha? {sigh}
From Wikipedia:

Roussin suggests, however, that another compound in Kombucha may have health benefits: D- glucaro- 1,4 lactone, otherwise known as glucaric acid. This compound serves as an inhibitor of the beta- glucuronidase enzyme, a bacterial product from the gut microbiota that can cleave the glucuronic acid conjugates. The activity of this bacterial enzyme has the effect of cleaving the glucuronic acid conjugates and sending bodily wastes back into circulation, thus increasing the exposure time before the waste is ultimately excreted. Therefore, the active component of kombucha likely exerts its effect by preventing bacterial disruption of glucuronic acid conjugates and increasing the detoxification efficiency of the liver.
***
People, Chinese medicine is thousands of years older than western medicine and has come up with MANY surprising cures and effective treatments.  I wouldn't dismiss Kombucha -- recognized in China for THOUSANDS OF YEARS as healthful as unhealthy just yet.  Realize, the soft drink industry here in the U.S. is EXTREMELY rich, powerful, deceptive and LOSING MONEY from the Kombucha craze.  IF IT WAS A PROVEN HEPATOTOXIN IT WOULD HAVE NEVER PASSED THE NECESSARY FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION TESTS TO BE APPROVED!  Wake up and smell the coffee you "know it alls" -- you don't know as much as you think and the same industry that will tell you cigarettes aren't that bad (and package them to attract insecure teenagers) will try to tell you that a healthful drink is bad for you.
Hey, venix, sorry to be so blunt, but you are a complete idiot and you have no idea of what you speak.

Thanks, I try.


I suspect that you are affiliated with a Kombucha producer and are fearful of losing revenue.


I only wish I had that problem.


Your post had so many holes in it I don't even have time to address half of them.


You also apparently didn't have time to do any research that didn't match what your doctor told you.  Then at least you would have found out what kombucha really is.  Which, by the way, is something you probably should have done before you even started drinking it.


First of all, you clearly did not do any research before responding to my post.


Hehehe, if you only knew.


The "various acids"??? Cause a buzz??? Try again, hon. These acids do not cause a buzz. It is the theanine, primarily, combined with the small amount of alcohol. Some people just do not notice the buzz and some are very sensitive to it.

Do you get the same buzz from drinking regular tea mixed with .5% to 1.5% alcohol?  If so, then we have a basis for study.

Like I said, I believe it's mostly the alcohol causing this effect.  My kombucha (home brew, not commercially bottled or anything) has less than .01% alcohol in it, by design.  No alcohol, no buzz.

However, the kombucha "buzz" is totally unlike that of other alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, etc.  So here is where I do some intuitive guesswork, because I have not found an answer based on logical deduction or on science for the cause of the buzz.

If you can produce the same "buzz" effect from drinking pure unfermented green tea, which is high in theanine, mixed with a small amount of alcohol, then I will consider your argument.


Second, I said that it might be the usnic acid which is the hepatotoxin. The fact that Kombucha IS a hepatotoxin is not up for debate here- it has been proven now, in clinical tests. But I guess you did not bother to check out the link I provided, or to Google it yourself.

The funny thing about this forum thread is that, currently, there are no results in Google for "kombucha is a hepatotoxin".  It appears that this statement has never been made before on the internet.

But now, calorie-count.com will be the top result.  Just something to ponder.


OK, I really think this lie has been stretched to the breaking point. First of all, these symptoms ARE NOT detox symptoms. I've done a million detoxes and I know what they feel like. Acute liver pain and severe nausea and headaches are not detox symptoms.


I'm sorry you're in so much pain.  I didn't realize you yourself had a liver condition when you posted.

You must be tired of hearing people describe your symptoms as detox.  Headaches and mild nausea are normal for maybe 2 days to up to a week... liver pain and severe nausea are not.


 Second, I don't HAVE "a bunch of built-up junk in my system"... I am a VEGAN who eats only raw, unprocessed, organic foods!!! Oh yeah, I really think half a bottle of Kombucha is going to cause more of a detox than a thorough cleansing program. Right.


You'd be surprised.  Do you eat unsprouted nuts?  Commercially packaged dried fruit?  Non-organic produce?  Any mangoes at all?

K-tea really does have scientifically backed detoxification products in it.  Glucoronic acid is the most significant one, which is a pre-product of bilurubin in the human liver that binds with metabolic waste products to carry them out of the system.  The intake of glucuronic acid has been shown to increase the amount of bilurubin produced by the host.



I found this part of your post particularly amusing: "The kombucha mushroom is not a hepatotoxin. It's a mass of symbiotic micro-organisms." WHAT??? Just because it is a mass of micro-organisms means that it can't be toxic?? Hmmm...


You can't call a mass of organisms "a hepatotoxin", it's just not a logical statement.  That would be like calling certain probiotic supplements on the market which contain multiple bacterial strains "a hepatotoxin".


I believe that the other deadly poisonous mushrooms and toadstools are also masses of symbiotic micro-organisms...


Nope.  Those are single species.


how is the Kombucha mushroom somehow immune to the possibility of being toxic? Did you know that there are THOUSANDS of species of toxic mushrooms?? Kombucha is only one of them.


(1) Kombucha's not a mushroom.  It's a collection of bacteria and yeasts.  The name "mushroom" is a term of convenience, not a taxonomic label.

(2) The species of bacteria and yeasts in the SCOBY ("symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts") vary from region to region, from tea to tea, from climate to climate.  They're encouraged or discouraged based on a huge number of factors.  Read this scientist's description of what he found in two very different kombucha cultures.

(3) It's not "immune to the possibility of being toxic".  It's just that the SCOBY itself is not itself toxic.  Its PRODUCTS may be toxic, but the bacteria and yeasts themselves -- which are already found in the human intestinal tract and in other foods we eat such as bread, beer, wine, and miso -- are not themselves toxic.


KOMBUCHA IS A HEPATOTOXIN- GOOGLE IT YOURSELF.


I did.

It looks to me like you did the google yourself and only read the first few lines of every result... hence your reliance on the usinic acid connection.


I am just so incredibly tired of people who are more interested in promoting their own agenda, or their own ill-informed self-delusions, than they are in pursuing the truth. From colon-cleansing to Kombucha, I've about had it with these types. 


My only agenda revolves around having an honest dialogue based on a core of knowledge as a real starting point.  If you can't be bothered to actually know what you're talking about before you attempt to rebut me on points such as "kombucha is a mushroom", then there's no real hope of a good dialogue.

IF IT WAS A PROVEN HEPATOTOXIN IT WOULD HAVE NEVER PASSED THE NECESSARY FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION TESTS TO BE APPROVED!

Oh, if only that were true.

The FDA doesn't exactly have the best track record.

Everyone needs to rely on their own judgement, knowledge, and intuition to stay healthy and sane.  That's the scary part *and* the liberating part about living in this world.
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