Friday, December 29, 2017

Kava: A Tropical Tonic with Mellow Effects

Kava--aka Piper methysticum (Greek for "Intoxicating Pepper")--is a root that grows in Fiji & other Western Pacific Islands.  It has depressant effects somewhat similar to alcohol or benzodiazepines yet uniquely its own.  Natives of these islands have used kava as a traditional intoxicant for centuries, gathering around in circles to enjoy "shells" of the liquefied root & share good vibes. 

Native Kava Drinkers

More recently, kava has grown in popularity in the U.S. & other inland nations, where it can be found in many forms ranging from tablets to powders & liquids.  There are even kava bars that serve the drink (usually for a greatly overblown price).  The effects of kava include relaxation, anxiety relief, sedation, "light" feelings in the arms & legs and numbness of the mouth.  Sometimes there's a feeling of giddiness & laughter.  There has been much debate about kava's potential for causing liver damage, but overall this is unlikely as long as:

- You don't already have liver disease.
- You don't combine it with alcohol, acetaminophen or other hepatotoxins.
- You ingest kava in moderation.
- You stop using kava immediately if you experience liver damage symptoms (yellowing of eyes or skin, severe itching, stomach pain, etc).

There are many places to buy kava online, and it comes in a number of forms.  My personal favorite is the Fiji powder or 10:1 powder extract.  This comes ready to use--just add hot water to create a tea.  Swirl Girl Inc has a special on kava 10:1 extract right now, which is where I purchased mine.  Kava.com is a really cool directory of vendors too. 

What's your favorite brand & way to ingest kava?

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