Kava kava root comes from a tropical shrub. The herb is beneficial for stress and anxiety as well as several other disorders. The natives of the South Seas used the plant to brew an intoxicating drink. The plant contains kavalactones. These are natural chemicals which have a positive effect on mood and well being.
Most people will administer the herb in the form of kava kava powder, the dried herb in capsules. Kava kava tincture is also available. Kava kava root is approved for use in several European countries as an herbal remedy for stress and anxiety.
Benefits of kava kava include:
- Treating the symptoms of stress and anxiety. It is beneficial as it does not have the same effect on the heart rate that a prescription medication would have. It also does not impact brain function, respiratory function, or blood pressure. Kava root powder is also not likely to affect a person’s mood. The herb can reduce the symptoms of anxiety such as headaches, chest pains, and palpitations.
- A small dose can help increase awareness and brain function.
- Larger doses of kava kava powder can induce drowsiness and sleep. It was noted early on in its usage that after several doses of the supplement people would fall asleep quickly. Such high doses of the herb are not necessary to achieve the desired effect.
- Kava kava extract can be used to treat the stiffness and pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.
- Kava root can be used to ease jet lag, as it can help to sharpen the senses and provide a little extra energy.
- Some practitioners have used it to treat epilepsy.
- It is an anti-spasmodic so used to treat all kinds of muscle spasms, which can be beneficial for some digestive disorders and menstrual problems. This can also be useful for those suffering from asthma.
- The effect kava has on anxiety and stress levels is also beneficial for combating insomnia. Kava supplements are available which blend kava kava with valerian to relieve insomnia.
- The calming effects of the herb are useful when suffering from PMS.
- Kava kava tincture is also thought to be beneficial for infections of the urinary tract and bladder.
Kava Kava Side Effects
There have been some warnings against kava kava root causing liver damage. For that reason, anybody with a liver condition should consult a medical professional before embarking on a course of treatment with this herb.
Excessive amounts and prolonged use may cause other side effects of kava kava such as stomach problems or skin rashes. Anyone beginning a course of kava root should not drive or operate machinery until they are sure of the effect the herb has on them.
It is not advised for pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers. Kava can have an adverse effect on some prescription medications, so it is advised to seek the advice of a medical practitioner if you are taking drugs for a medical condition. Consumption of alcohol is not advised while taking kava kava.