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What is Kava

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Kava is a tropical evergreen shrub with large heart-shaped leaves and woody stems that grows naturally in Pacific Polynesia. Its thick roots are mashed or ground and then made into tea/juice by adding water and squeezing and filtering the kava pulp using cloth as a filter.  A member of the black pepper family, kava's active property are the kavalactones found in its roots.  When consumed, kava relaxes the body and mind while maintaining mental alertness and focus.  For many centuries, the pacific islanders have regarded kava with much respect for its spiritual and medicinal effects.  Drinking kava promotes a mellow euphoric experience while the mind stays clear and content.  Many drink kava to promote better sleep with no "hang over" effect and waking the next day with a refreshed feeling.  Kava is also amazing for treating ailments like migraine headaches and cramps.  Kava is also a positive natural alternative to drugs and alcohol. It has a long history of ritual and recreational use in Pacific Polynesia and is now a common herbal product used to reduce anxiety, stress, insomnia, and to improve one's mood. 

Botanical Name:  Piper Methysticum

Origin: Vanuatu (over 3,000 years ago)

Common Names: Kava, kawa, kavain, intoxicating long pepper, tonga.

Common Uses: Kava is typically made into a drink that is consumed primarily as an aid to relax the body and mind with purportedly not affecting mental clarity. 

Qualities & Properties: Holistic, Anti-anxiety, analgesic, anticonvulsant, euphoric

Kava Ceremonies:  Kava is not an uncommon sight at special occasions such as the welcoming of a guest, commerce negotiations, religious ceremonies, and even weddings. Traditionally, Kava was drunk in a circle around the Kava bowl. The order in which Kava was drank depended upon the social rank of the men in the circle, the Chief getting the first sip. Before the participants drank the Kava, a toast was made to health and life in the form of clapping and chanting.

Each culture has its own rituals surrounding Kava. For example, In Vanuatu, kava is drunk only in the evenings after sunset. The Vanuatu-style preparation of kava is known to be strongest and best in the world. The men of the village would gather in a house designated for drinking the beverage while virgin women prepared it for the men. The Kava house served the same purpose as a tavern in western culture. It was a place to discuss the happenings of the tribe including politics, conflicts, and upcoming events. It is interesting to note that only virgin women could prepare the beverage for fear that impure women would contaminate the ritual.

Dose:
We recommend that you limit you intake of kava tea/juice to 32 oz. per day (2-3 shells). A single shell serving of kava tea/juice can contain anywhere from 150 to 500 miligrams of kavalactones depending on the method of preparation (ratio of kava root to water and the volume of the kava per drink).  Successful human clinical studies show that a daily dose between 150 and 300 milligrams of kavalactones is effective. The participants of the clinical study showed consumed anywhere from 500 to 2,500 milligrams of kavalactones per day for years at a time without any apparent ill effects. 

Warning:  Kava should not be consumed by persons under the age of 18, or if pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs. Do not exceed recommended dose (32 oz. of kava tea per day or 1500 milligrams of kavalactones). Excessive consumption may impair ability to drive or operate heavy equipment. Not recommended for consumption with alcoholic beverages. The chemical and toxicological properties of our Kava have not been fully investigated nor approved by any agency such as the FDA.

More information about Kava can be found on the following links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava

 

Recommended Readings: [For those who desire to learn more about kava]

Brunton, Ron. The Abandoned Narcotic: kava and cultural instability in Melanesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Freund P. and M. Marshall. "Research Bibliography of Alcohol and Kava studies in Oceania: update and additional items." Micronesia 13 (1977): 313-317.

Marshall, M. "Research Bibliography of Alcohol and Kava studies in Oceania." Micronesia 10 (1974): 299-306.

Pollock, Nancy et al. Canberra Anthropology vol. 18, nos. 1 & 2. (1995): 1-182. Special volume with various articles devoted to "The Power of Kava." .

Singh., Y. N. Kava: a bibliography. Pacific Information Centre, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1986.




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