Kava Herb - Uses And Side Effects
A kava drink is a popular beverage in the South Pacific islands, reportedly because it makes people feel tranquil, sociable, and euphoric. Historically, island women chewed the leaves and root stalks of the kava plant into a pulpy mass, spat the contents into a bowl, and mixed them with water, coconut milk, or other fruit juices. After straining the mixture, they served it at weddings, births, funerals, and other ceremonial rites of passage.
Now, the plant is ground and pulverized instead of chewed. This modern version of the kava cocktail probably isn't as potent as the earlier one, because chewing is thought to enhance the effects of the plant's active ingredients.
Kava comes from the dried root of Piper methysticum, a member of the black pepper family (Piperaceae). This large shrub with broad, heart-shaped leaves is native to many South Pacific islands. Although kava is a depressant, it isn't fermented, doesn't contain alcohol, and is neither an opiate nor a hallucinogen. It doesn't seem to be addictive either, although some people may become psychologically dependent on it.
An indigenous shrub several feet high, leaves cordate, acuminate, with very short axillary spikes of flowers, stem dichotomous, spotted. The natives prepare a fermented liquor from the upper portion of the rhizome and base of the stems; it is narcotic and stimulant and is drunk before important religious rites. The root of the plant chewed and mixed with the saliva, gives a hot intoxicating juice; it is mixed with pure water or the water of the coco-nut. Its continued use in large doses causes inflammation of the body and eyes, resulting in leprous ulcers; the skin becomes parched and peels off in scales. Commercial Kava rhizome is in whitish or grey-brown roughly wedge-shaped fragments from which the periderm is cut off about 2 inches thick; the transverse section usually shows a dense central pith, surrounded by a clean ring of vascular bundles, narrow and radiating, separated by broadish light-coloured medullary rays. Fracture starchy, faint pleasant odour, taste bitter, pungent, aromatic; it yields not more than 8 per cent of ash.
Common doses of Kava
Kava comes as a drink prepared from pulverized roots, tablets, capsules, or extract. The dose usually depends on how much of a component called kavapyrone the preparation contains. Most studies used 70 to 240 milligrams of kava pyrone daily. One study used 90 to 110 milligrams of dried kava extract given three times daily to treat anxiety. Doses of freshly prepared kava beverages average 400 to 900 grams weekly.
Uses of Kava herb
Kava is the most relaxing botanical herb with exception of the opium poppy. Pharmacological studies show kava kava's active ingredients, kavalactones, produce physical and mental relaxation and a feeling of well being. Specifically, kava may help to :-
Side effects of Kava
Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of kava:
Continuous heavy use of this herb can cause:
Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Don't use kava while drinking alcohol or when taking:
Important paints to remember
What the research shows
Limited evidence from a few small studies supports kava's use in treating anxiety, stress, and restlessness. Long-term heavy use of the herb can cause significant side effects. More testing must be done to establish appropriate kava doses and evaluate the herb's benefits.
Other names for Kava
Other names for kava include ava, awa, kava-kava, kawa, kew, sakau, tonga, and yagona.
Products containing kava are sold under such names as Aigin, Antares, Ardeydystin, Cetkava, Kavasedon, Kavasporal, Kavatino, Laitan, Mosaro, Nervonocton N, Potter's Antigian Tablets, and Viocava.
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