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Kava Kava - Uses and Benefits

Botanical: Piper methysticum.

Family: N.O. Piperaceae

Kava is the most relaxing botanical herb with exception of the opium poppy. Pharmacological studies show kava kava's active ingredients, kavalactones, produce physical and mental relaxation and a feeling of well being. It has also been used in the treatment of ailments of the genitourinary tract including vaginitis, gonorrhea and menstrual cramps.

Kava is a diuretic and an anti-inflammatory, thus useful for gout, rheumatism, bronchial congestion, cystitis and prostatis. It is an effective local anesthetic and pain reliever when applied externally as a liniment. The relaxed state and sharpening of senses also contribute to aphrodisiac effect.

The root of the plant chewed and mixed with the saliva, gives a hot intoxicating juice; it is mixed with pure water or the water of the coco-nut. Its continued use in large doses causes inflammation of the body and eyes, resulting in leprous ulcers; the skin becomes parched and peels off in scales.

An herb is a plant or a part of a plant used for its aromatic or flavor properties, or for its medicinal/therapuetic value. The herb kava is definitely not used for flavoring, that is for sure.

Uses for Kava:-

The important uses of kava are as:-

  • anxiety and depression
  • insomnia
  • to relieve fatigue and to increase energy
  • Genito-Urinary tract disinfectant for urinary and reproductive organs infections
  • as a cure for rheumatism
  • for asthma
  • for worms and parasites, a common problem in tropical climates
  • for obesity
  • as a poultice for headaches
  • as a warm sweat inducing tea for the treatment of colds and fevers
  • topically for various skin diseases including fungal infections and leprosy

Dosage of Kava:-

Because of its relative safety, the effective daily dose of kava is wide ranging from 70 mg to 200 mg of kavalactones, which are recognized as the major biochemical anti-anxiety constituents. To promote a deep restful sleep one should take a dose of from 150 mg to 200 mg. approximately 20 or 30 minutes before retiring.


Follow the package directions. Standard dose is 300 mg in divided doses. Kava can be taken as a capsule, pill, tincture, or tea.

Side effect:-

Side effects associated with kava appear to be mild and infrequent. Some reported adverse effects include allergic skin reactions, dizziness, drowsiness, restlessness, stomach upset, and tremors. Long term use at high doses may cause flaky, dry, and yellowish discoloration of the skin, hair loss, partial loss of hearing, and loss of appetite. Like alcohol, kava may also have intoxicating effects and should not be taken before driving. In addition, when taken together with kava, alcohol increases the risk of toxicity from this herb.


Side effects from Kava are rare. Excessive use may result in sedation, eye irritation, upset stomach, fatigue, yellowing of skin, impairment of motor reflexes , and judgment .

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