Kava kava root or piper methysticum, originated in Fiji and used globally in the food industry. All kavas are generally known for their ability to promote calmness, relaxation an a sense of well-being without diminishing mental clarity.
Used in ceremonial beverages in different cultures.
In magic practices it may used in spells for astral work, protection when traveling, success, and as an aphrodisiac.
In powder form to be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark place.
Watch us discuss Kava Kava @25:15
Medicinal uses of kava
In 2003, products containing kava were banned in most European countries, because of concerns about its possible toxic effects on the liver. In Australia, all products containing kava were temporarily withdrawn, following the death of one person from liver failure.
This restriction was withdrawn after a review by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in 2005. As a result of that review, products with standardised amounts of kava, such as in supplements and teabags, are available in Australia.
Products with kava can be used for stress, anxiety and insomnia. If you are thinking about taking kava for medicinal purposes, be sure to contact a healthcare professional first.
Problems from long-term use of kava
In the long term, kava use can cause a wide range of problems including:
- breathing difficulties
- visual changes, including sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- slight alterations to blood cells, including white and red blood cells, and platelets
- liver damage
- compromised immune function
- kidney damage
- contact dermatitis – causing scaly, flaky rash on the skin
- appetite loss, leading to malnutrition and weight loss
- loss of drive and motivation
- worsened symptoms of pre-existing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Kava withdrawal risk is low
There is no evidence to suggest people who regularly drink large doses of kava become dependent. Because of this there doesn’t seem to be a risk of withdrawal if a person suddenly stops taking kava.