The Pros and Cons of Kava

Kava is the name of two shrubs related to the pepper plant. They are also called ava. They grow in Australia and the Pacific Islands, where the people have cultivated them for centuries. The Kavas are erect shrubs. They grow as tall as 5 feet (1.5 meters). The kava plant has round leaves and small yellowish-cream flowers. Kava is easy to grow in green houses. They are grown from the cuttings of the stem. The roots yield a juice called kavaic acid. The people of the South-Pacific use the juice to make a fermented drink that is called Kava, Ava or Kava kava.


Students of all ages get restless as the school year draws to an end. This happens to the most academic students also, resulting in frustration and bad results much to everyone’s dismay. Kava can be used in such cases to relieve anxiety, tension and stress. It calms you down and clears the mind. Kava if used instead of alcohol will help you relax and unwind minus the next morning’s hangover with a fresh and clear head to face the day.

Studies have shown that kava has anti-anxiety properties and improve concentration, reaction time and memory in people suffering from anxiety. Kava has been proved to achieve all the criteria of conventional anxiety medication without the side effects. It has also been found to act as a muscle relaxant. This combine with the other benefits has caused sportspersons to consume kava in mild quantities. Kava also relives menstrual cramping and pain associated with menopause and can also be used to treat urinary tract infections. Kava helps with stammering by contracting the blood vessels in the tongue, giving better muscle control which eases speech.

Kava does have its side effects. Dietary supplements containing kava extracts have know to cause liver ailments, causing them to be banned in Europe. The other side effects are very rare and depend on your genetic makeup. These rare reactions are limited to 2.5% of the test subjects. The severe side effects of kava are liver toxicity and failure, abnormal muscle movements, apathy, kidney damage, high blood pressure in lungs and blood in urine. When taken in conjunction with other drugs it is known to produce abnormal muscle movements. If you experience a stomach upset or rashes after consuming kava you are better off avoiding it altogether.

Kava can be purchased by the pound or in multiples or portions of it. To prepare the kava place it in a straining bag or cheesecloth. You can get straining bags from the same place you buy your kava from or from any supermarket. Put the powder (two spoonfuls per cup) into the straining bag and then immerse the bag into the container of water (hot) to steep. The fine kava particles will melt into the water leaving behind the coarse grit in the cloth. Massage the cloth with a spoon to help the process on. It’s ready to drink when the water turns a muddy brown color. If you think this method is too much of nuisance you could use a French Press with an additional filter paper.

Source by Linda N. Puglisi