Photo Credit: Jay Darnell
Like the acai berry and coconut water, kava is on its way to superfood stardom. Kava, a well-known herb from the South Pacific, is sometimes confused with java, or thought to be a combination of coffee and fruit. However, it is a root that has quite the opposite effect of coffee, and benefits those who are suffering from anxiety or depression.
Photo Credit: Katypics
Kava Can Be Calming
Kava is a root found on the Southern Pacific islands and has been used as a medicine for healing and in tribal ceremonies for centuries. It is known to have a calming effect on the mind and body, producing wave changes similar to sedatives like valium or xanax. It can also relieve pain, muscle tensions and even spasms and is mostly prepared as a tea or as a dietary supplement.
It’s also been said to assist in a more deeper sleep and aiding those who suffer from restlessness. Further health benefits include the treatment for asthma, urinary tract infections and even menopausal symptoms. Scientific research has even concluded that Kava’s effectiveness is in terms of neurotransmission and sends those feel-good vibes we as humans need to ward off stress and depression.
Finding and Using Kava at Home
Traditionally chewed or crushed to form a liquid, Kava can now be commonly found in capsules, teas and liquids and now more and more restaurants, tea houses and herb shoppes are offering this beneficial ingredient as a drinking tonic.
Seeing how Kava originated in the South Pacific as a social tonic, it’s no surprise it’s becoming popular among the masses. People gather after work at Kava bars to have a few shells of kava. Kava’s natural relaxing effect helps people open up about important matters.
Photo Credit: Luigi Guarino
Kava in Moderation for Safety
Just like anything we consume, moderation is key. The only concern with using Kava is the amount of consumption. The liver is mostly at risk, but only when consuming high doses of Kava. Daily herbal supplements have shown zero side effects. Just remember to use Kava, like anything else, in moderation. Further, scientists have advised that Kava shouldn’t be used in conjunction with other medications, or with alcohol or women who are pregnant. It would be wise to consult your health care provider before starting a Kava regimen. And be sure to start off slowly, in case you may have an allergy to the root.
Whether you are suffering from muscle fatigue, insomnia or depression, Kava could be your miracle supplement. Unlike typical pharmaceuticals that treat these conditions, Kava is not addictive and doesn’t have the multitude of side effects found in prescription medication. Add that with the social and ritualistic aspect of this historic tincture and you may well be on your way to a new found happiness.
Scientists have advised that Kava is not to be used in conjunction with other medicines, alcohol or by pregnant women. As with anything new, it is still recommended to consult a health care provider as your first point of call.
Kelly Wilson is a freelance writer with interests in how superfoods and kava root products effect health and wellness.