Kava Kava

Kava Kava Plant

Kava Kava Plant

Kava Kava Benefits

This herb is used to help one relax and communicate better with those around them. It has many additional medicinal properties, including it’s use as a diuretic, anti-anxiety aid, and to fight urinary disorders.

It’s also beneficial for fighting depression, fatigue, asthma, infections, arthritis and stomach upset. Taken in large amounts, the tonic induces a mild state of euphoria. While is does have sedative properties, it doesn’t induce the feeling of grogginess like prescription tranquilizers.

While Kava has been proven a useful treatment for anxiety and the feeling of nervousness, it is better used as an occasional remedy rather than daily.

Kava is very popular in Germany. Physicians there often prescribe Kava for anxiety before resorting to prescription medicines such as Valium. Kava has proven to be similar to Valium in it’s therapeutic effect.

The substance in Kava called kavalactone is what is believed to offer the anti-anxiety benefits of this plant. Unlike prescription tranquilizers, Kava leaves your mind sharp while it relaxes your body and relieves tension.

In a study conducted in 1993, researchers found that people using Kava for anxiety were able to perform the tasks that users of prescription anti-anxiety drugs are told to avoid, such as driving and operating machinery.

Kava is soothing to the muscles and is also used to treat headaches (This plant has the same effect of about two hundred milligrams of aspirin) and insomnia.

Another mostly unknown benefit of consuming Kava is for it’s anti-inflammatory effect on the urinary system. It has been used for Urinary tract infections and ailments of the bladder with some success. Kava is also relaxing to the uterus and is helpful to some women for relieving menstrual cramps.

Kava is popular with performers of music and also athletes. It helps to reduce nervousness of public performances and relaxes the muscles before an event. Since it enhances sociability, mental clarity and decision making, it can also be taken before important meetings of any kind.

In many countries, Kava is a popular alternative to alcohol. It is non-addictive and doesn’t impair the mind like alcohol does. It also lacks the violence producing effects of beer and hard liquor.

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Kava Uses

  • Treat anxiety
  • Treat stomach upset
  • Treat asthma
  • Treat infection
  • Treat arthritis and rheumatism
  • Lessen fatigue
  • As a diuretic
  • Treat urinary disorders
  • To help relax
  • Treat headaches
  • Treat cramps and muscle pain
  • Treat boils
  • Prevent infection
  • As a general strengthening tonic
  • As a mild sedative and tranquilizer
  • Treat insomnia

Scientific name

Piper Methysticum

Common names

Kava, awa, ava pepper

Where It Grows

This plant grows on the Pacific Islands

Which Part Of The Plant Is Used

Rhizome, roots

Kava Kava Roots

Kava Kava Roots

How It Works

Kava contains numerous active compounds, such as kavalactones and others. These substances allow the plant to be of benefit to people.

How It’s Used

Kava Kava can be made into a cold drink, hot tea or dried and ground and pressed into tablet or put into capsules.

Precautions and Side Effects:

Kava has been used for centuries without trouble. Some research suggests that ingesting this herb may harm the liver. NEVER TAKE THIS HERB IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR NURSING. Also may cause dizziness and dry mouth if taken in large amounts.

Description and History of Kava Kava

Kava is an evergreen shrub and member of the pepper family. It stands between six to twenty feet tall. It has thick stems, swollen nodes and very smooth, large leaves.

Pacific islanders have used Kava Kava for over 3,000 years as a ceremonial and social beverage. The name Kava means “bitter” in Hawaiian. It is said to enhance the communication between people. The rhizomes (small underground roots) were chewed or mixed with cold water to create a drink that would slightly numb the tongue, and enhance feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. Captain James Cook introduced the plant to Europe in the 1760s after encountering it on a trip to the pacific islands.

From that time on, Kava became extremely popular as a remedy for anxiety, nervous disorders, insomnia and to fight fatigue. It was often given to people suffering from nervous exhaustion and weakness.

Editor’s Comments

I often take Kava Kava to relax and unwind after a hectic day. It puts me in a good mood and helps me sleep better at night. I haven’t taken it in a while until I find out more about the possible damage to the liver I’ve heard about.

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Medline Plus – Kava Kava
Science Daily – Kava may harm the liver
About.com – Kava Uses

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