Kava root for stress and anxiety, side effects, safety, risks, toxicity and effect on liver
by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Kava is the term used for both the plant and the beverage made from it. The beverage is prepared from the root of a shrub called the pepper plant, Piper methysticum, found in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. The kava root is ground to a powder, and it has a brownish color. The brownish powder is then mixed with water and drank as a beverage, without being fermented. Extracts from the root are placed in capsules and sold as kava supplements.
Additional herbs and nutrients involved in relaxation, stress relief and anxiety reductions include Passion-Flower extract, tryptophan, 5-HTP, ashwagandha, lemon balm, theanine, and valerian. See the link at the top of this page for an index. I don’t recommend the use of kava in children or by teenagers. Kava should only be used by healthy adults, and only occasionally.
CAUTION: Kava is not the type of supplement, like vitamin C, that you take every day. At most use one kava capsule three times a week and take a full week off each month. In fact, it is preferable to use this herb no more than two times a week. Kava use on a daily basis may harm the liver in some individuals. In very rare cases, daily kava use can lead to severe liver harm that may result in total liver failure.
Some common feelings that most users report after taking kava either as a capsule or in liquid form:
-A state of relaxation, without feeling drugged
-Muscle tenseness is less
-Peacefulness and contentment
-More sociable, especially with the right company
-Mild euphoria, sometimes
-Mental alertness is often not effected, except on high doses
-Initial alertness followed by drowsiness which comes on after a few hours, so kava can be taken in the evening, a few hours before bedtime.
Kava kava is also available as a tea, root powder, coffee, and paste for topical use on mucous membranes. Kava powder can be mixed with other herbs used for anxiety or stress relief.
Kava side effects
Tiredness and decreased sex drive or sensation are some kava side effects that have been reported with frequent use. In the Pacific islands, daily consumption of kava kava liquid for several years or decades leads to a skin condition. A kava kava side effect from daily use is lowered sex drive. If you have a lowered libido from kava use, or for other reasons, consider Passion Rx.
WHAT IS KAVA-KAVA?
Source : http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/kava.htm
Originating from the South Pacific as a favorite drink of the Pacific Islanders, the plant known as Kava-Kava (Pipper Methysticum Forster) is a member of the pepper family. The brownish root of the plant, known as Waka, is sun-dried, ground into powder, and mixed with water to create the therapeutic drink known by the name of the plant, Kava Kava.
In the United States, Kava-Kava, also known as awa and yaquona, has been used for thousands of years by Pacific Islanders as a ceremonial drink, social beverage, and therapeutic elixir for relaxation and anti-anxiety.
Kava kava has also effective to soothe muscle tension as in PMS. Topically, kava kava has a alagesic effect.