Kava Kava – Herbs For Alternative Medicine

KAVA KAVA (PIPER METHYSTICUM)

This herb is a member of the pepper family that grows as a bush in the South Pacific. Kava kava has been a feature of some South Pacific religious rituals for many centuries as a relaxant and to achieve a higher level of consciousness. Kava kava is the most relaxing botanical herb with exception of the opium poppy.

The active ingredients, called kavalactones, act on the stem and other parts of the brain to produce physical and mental relaxation and a feeling of well being.

While kava compounds do not seem to be addictive in the same way as alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs, the herb still must be used with caution.

Claims and Common Uses:

  • A mild narcotic that produces mild euphoric changes characterized by elevated mood, fluent and lively speech, and increased sense of sound
  • Great for treating insomnia, unlike other sedatives and alcohol, it doesn’t produce a morning hangover
  • Aids in the treatment of asthma, vaginitis, urinary infections, gonorrhea and menstrual cramps
  • Acts as a mild diuretic and an anti-inflammatory, therefore useful for gout, rheumatism, bronchial congestion, cystitis and prostatis.
  • An effective local anesthetic and pain reliever when applied topically as an ointment
  • Induces physical and mental relaxation
  • Has mild sedative and tranquilizing effects that is an effective remedy for nervous anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness
  • Non addictive anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicine
  • Improves concentration, memory, and reaction time for people suffering from anxiety
  • Relieves cramping due to spasms
  • Possesses anticonvulsant activity

Parts Used: Root and rhizome.

Preparations

Available in dry bulk, capsules, and tinctures. Used as powder, extract, and tonic beverage.

Side Effects and Warnings of Kava Kava:

High doses are considered to be greater than 310 grams/week.

  • Do not use if pregnant, nursing, or being treated for depression
  • Higher doses and long term use can lead to hypertension, reduced protein levels, blood cell abnormalities, liver damage, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, visual impairment, dizziness and dry and scaly skin.
  • Alcohol consumption increases the toxicity of the pharmacological constituents.
  • Can cause drowsiness. If this happens, lower your dosage or discontinue taking kava.
  • It is not recommended for those who intend on driving or where quick reaction time is required
  • May worsen Parkinson’s disease and should not be used by individuals with Parkinson’s disease
  • Can cause paralysis similar to local anaesthetics (Mouse model)
  • Do not take if you are on any other prescription medication
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