Kava comes from the Islands in the Western Pacific (not to be confused with Kratom). The Latin name is “Piper Methysticum”, which means “intoxicating” and “pepper”. Other informal name are: Awa, Ava, Yagona, Sakau, Seka, Malogu. The roots of the plant are crushed and made into a drink. It can be consumed, applied as a topical for skin diseases, canker sores, or toothaches. It has relaxing properties when consumed. Because it makes people drowsy, it is best to be consumed in the evening or before going to bed. If you want to know the differences, see kratom vs kava to get a full breakdown of the differences of Kava and Kratom.
Some side effects are: dizziness, headache, muscle weakness, numbness of the lips and face, and disorientation. It is potentially dangerous when taken with alcohol, anti-depressants, or cold medicine. It can very easily cause liver damage. People with liver disease should absolutely not take this. It spite of the side effects, people love this stuff because it is great for relaxation and getting rid of pain. Some people swear by it as far as a substitute for prescription or over the counter sleep aids. Not only that, it is a great anxiety reliever!
The plant itself is a tropical evergreen shrub. The Native Pacific Islanders are accomplished at making this medicine by hand. They take the root and crush it by hand and make a paste out of it. Then they mix it with water, strain it, and drink it. The medicinal active ingredients in Kava are called “Kavalactones”.
It is legal to buy and sell Kava in the U.S., partially banned in Australia, Canada, and The United Kingdom, and is completely banned and illegal in Singapore and South Africa.
The website www.drugs.com gives other names for Kava which are: Ava, Ava Root, Awa, Intoxicating Long Pepper, Kao, Kavain, Kavapipar, Kawa, Kawapfeffer, Kew, Lawena, Malohu, Maorikava, Meruk, Piper Methysticum, Poiver des Cannibales, Poivre des Papous, Rauschpferrer, Rhizome Di Kava-kava, Sakau, Tonga, Waka, Wurzlestock, Yagona, Yangona, Yaquon,and Yongona.
For the most part, Kava is used to relieve anxiety. It’s also used by some people, to help with stress, restlessness, jitters, social anxiety, and sleeplessness. There is minimal evidence to support this, but nevertheless, people put their trust in it. Kava works in the brain and central nervous system, so obviously, it would also be good for Alzheimer’s, Dementia, IBS, and Depression-Anxiety mix. You do not want to take it more than 6 months at a time. Sometimes people have needed liver transplants in 1-3 months of use. This is not typical, though. Most people who take Kava do not experience this extreme side effect. Nevertheless, if you take Kava, get liver function tests every 6 months. Some people claim that bad and careless processing, such as putting stems in the supplement instead of the pure root is what causes the liver damage. So, to be sure, get organic if you can.
There has also been some claims that it is good for Benzodiazepine withdrawal. It is possible that people with anxiety can become addicted to Kava, but it is not as potentially addictive as prescription medication.
Kava is not dangerous if taken properly. The dose should be between 140-300 mg. In the south Pacific, 80% of men and 20% of women take well over the recommended daily allowance in the United States.
Here is a list of mild side effects:
1. Dilated pupils.
5. Facial puffiness.
6. Blurred vision.
Here is a list of severe side effects:
1. Enlarged liver.
2. Increased red blood cell count.
3. Scaly skin.
4. Low lymphocyte levels.
5. Lower blood plasma levels.
The most come cause of headache from Kava is dehydration and Kava dependency when the Kava wears off.