Kava- What is it?
Kava, (Piper Methysticum) is a crop of the Pacific islands which is used to produce a drink with sedative, anesthetic, and euphoriant properties.
The name Kava is from Tongan and Marquesan ( a collection of East-Central Polynesian languages) and translates as “bitter.” It is consumed traditionally as a form of medicine. Pacific cultures use the kava drink during social gatherings and rituals.
The root of the plant is consumed as a drink for its sedative, anesthetic, and euphoriant
The kavalactones are the main compounds of kava drinks. Studies suggest that kavalactones are shown to; reduce anxiety, protect neurons from damage, and reduce pain sensations.
When taking Kava, compared to a placebo, it significantly decreased the severity of participant’s anxiety. This root is one of many natural ways that people use to alternatively combat anxiety.
Alongside combating anxiety, Kava has also been shown to dramatically help aid with sleep. The root is commonly used as an alternative to sleep medications due to its calming effects. A quality study found kava to be more effective than a placebo at improving sleep quality. This is because kava causes the dopamine levels in the body to rise, giving the user a feeling of relaxation and calmness.
The reason why Kava can be used to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, and help promote restful sleep is because of the kavalactones within the root.
Kavalactones are the main active ingredients that are responsible for the plant’s effects. These interact with the limbic system in our brain, the system that our brain associates with emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation.
The amygdala is the part of the limbic system that regulates feelings of fear and anxiety. Kavalactones have been shown to bind to the receptors in that part of the brain. This can easily explain why kava has the ability to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm. There is no single kavalactone within the kava root that is solely responsible for the effects. It is the combination of each of them that come together to give the drink its potency.
Kava is legal in the United States, and has been widely available for over 20 years! Many states even have local kava bars spread across the U.S. Countless people have been giving up their nightly glass of wine or whiskey for this root concoction. It has been categorized as an herbal supplement and is a part of many cultural traditions across Southern Pacific islands.
We recommend you try it for yourself and see what you think!
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