What is Kava and why do people take it?

You may have heard about this name earlier. As on knowing the aftereffects of alcohol and several dangerous drugs, the concern with an herbal remedy to deal with various conditions is at the top interest now.

And, kava is a more herbal remedy and natural supplement as a replacement of those vicious forms. So, what is Kava?

What is Kava

Kava (or kava kava) comes from the roots of the Piper methysticum, a member of the pepper family, which is a native ancient shrub to the Pacific Islands.

It is a popular social drink in the pacific culture and people take it by adding its paste into water or tea. For thousands of years, people living in the pacific regions like Fiji and Vanuatu are using it during social gatherings and cultural ceremonies.

Furthermore, the name “Kava” is derived from Tongan and Marquesan (Polynesian languages) which means “bitter”.

Usually, the drink is considered as non-alcoholic but psychoactive. The more favorable active components called kavalactones are the reason why kava works for best.

Other names of kava are, awa, kawa, ava, kawa kawa, waka, sakau…etc.


Earlier, a traditional kava drink was made by chewing or grinding and spitting out the roots of leaves. Later, they mix a paste into the water and brew. However, now this process is done by hands itself.  

Kava comes in different forms such as:

  • Powder
  • Tea
  • Capsules
  • Extracts
  • Liquids

Though, tea is the most common way to take this drink as it’s readily available. Liquid or extract should in minimal dose. Those who are not fond of the unlikely taste can go for capsule form.

Why do people take it

For centuries, kava has been used as a medicinal herb to deal with several conditions and ailments. Additionally, as a part of a ceremonial drink also to help with relaxation.

Although the researches are limited, it is said to be possibly effective for relieving anxiety along with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and stress symptoms and sometimes even insomnia.

People who drink it have also said to feel calm, relaxed and happy and ease the muscles.

Basically, kava is an alternative yet natural and herbal form of those deadly drugs. However, its effectiveness needs more studies to back its result.

Kava dosage

To be safe, you always need to be careful about kava dosage. The amount normally varies based on the type of kava, in what form and for what purpose you consume.

In general, studies suggest limiting the daily intake under 250 mg per day to avoid the unwanted risk factors.

However, kava is normally safe when it’s short-term and taken by considering all factors like any medical history, pregnant or surgery. Sometimes, its potential interaction with other medications creates hazardous issues.

Do not combine kava with:

  • Other alcohols or drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Serious medicines for your condition

Take an advice of your doctor before using kava if you’re already have liver problems or any other conditions for which you are taking medications.

Final Thoughts

Anything new with medical word is definitely require a medical supervision. Though, kava is believed safe and enjoyable beverage, make sure to visit a doctor before taking it.

Read the labels on kava products to confirm kavalactone percentage and if it’s made purely from the root and no other harmful parts of leaves.

Studies have mix responses to this drink and more analyses are still going on. So, be cautious for a few things before and you’re ready to safely enjoy the benefits of kava!