What exactly Is Kava, anyway?
Kava is a relaxing beverage made from the roots of a tropical shrub. The scientific name of the plant is Piper methysticum, and it is a close relative of Black Pepper (Piper nigrum).
Where Is It From?
Kava plants are native to Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, and a few other small islands throughout the South Pacific. The Hawaiians refer to it as ‘awa, or ‘awa-‘awa, in Samoa it is ava, and in Fiji, yaqona.
why should I drink it?
The main purpose of kava is for physical and mental relaxation. Kava contains multiple types of kavapyrones and kavalactones, which interact with your brain to make you feel calm, relaxed, and happy. It is also thought to help relieve pain, prevent seizures, and relax muscles.
How Is It Going to make me feel?
Kava is neither intoxicating like alcohol nor stimulating like coffee. It has a 3,000-year-old reputation as a safe and effective way to promote a state of mental wellbeing, focus, and physical relaxation. Expect to feel calm, at peace, and ready to socialize.
sounds good to me! How much should I drink to feel the effects?
It varies from person to person. Research has shown that a safe and effective dose is between 70 and 250mg of kavalactones. We developed our drinks to contain 100mg of kavalactones per 4 oz. serving, so we recommend that first-timers start by taking a sip or two every few minutes. That way you can gauge your own personal reactivity and adjust your dosage accordingly. Plus, kava has a reverse tolerance effect, so the more frequently you drink it the less you will need to feel the effects!
That’s pretty cool… but wait, why is my mouth going numb??
Remember those kavalactones we mentioned before? That mixture of stress-fighting compounds acts directly on your nervous system, which results in a variety of sedative and numbing effects. The first few sips of kava can cause your lips and your tongue to tingle, and as you keep drinking you will start to feel your muscles relax too.
Is that safe?
Absolutely. Just remember that moderation is key. The recommended daily dose is no more than about 300 mg of kavalactones, and consuming more than that can potentially cause upset stomach and drowsiness. It is also best to skip out on kava if you are:
currently taking pharmaceutical medication, especially antidepressants
a pregnant woman or breastfeeding mother
Note: native Fijians will strongly disagree with this. They say drinking kava while pregnant is totally healthy and good for the baby’s skin!
suffering from a pre-existing heart, lung or liver condition
driving or operating heavy machinery at this very moment… in which case, stop looking at your phone/computer and watch the road!
frequently drinking large quantities of alcohol. Protect those livers!