Kava kava is an extract from the plant Piper methysticum that grows in several Pacific island chains. * It is a member of the black pepper family and goes by some other names: kava, kava pepper, kava root, kawa kawa, Intoxicating pepper, ava pepper, and tonga. * It has been taken by Pacific Islanders for many years due to its sedative properties on the mind and body however it’s also controversial due to its potentially harmful effects. We’ll talk about the different aspects of kava kava and see just how beneficial or harmful it can be for you.
How To Take-It’s available in several forms but is mostly consumed as a drink. To make the traditional kava kava drink, the kava kava roots and rhizomes are first ground up which is typically done by hand. * The paste is then blended with water to extract the kavalactones, filtered, and swallowed right away. * In the US and other western countries, solvents such as acetone and ethanol might be used instead of water. *
Benefits- The active components called kavalactones are found mostly in the root and rhizome (underground horizontal stem) of the plant. * The kavalactones are thought to help decrease anxiety and relax muscles, possibly by a mechanism similar to the benzodiazepine family of sedatives. They may also have effects similar to some antidepressant medications. However, it is important to note that neither of these benefits has been proven. *
Is It Safe?-Some forms of kava kava might cause liver damage. Because of this, kava kava has been banned in Germany, France, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada after 11 cases of kava kava-related liver injuries were reviewed and four of these cases resulted in death. Although there were reported cases of death, Pacific islanders have traditionally used kava kava and, while it has never been rigorously examined, there does not seem to be a higher occurrence of liver injuries there. *
Although Kava kava is popular among certain peoples in the world due to its calming effects and can easily be bought online, you should exercise caution by consulting your healthcare provider before using any amount of it. As always, please cpnsult your health care provider befpre making any changes to your dietary, exercise or medical regimen.