Kava kava (Piper methysticum) is a tall shrub that grows in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Long time, kava has been prescribed as an effective natural healing for insomnia, anxiety and back pain. Kava was named by the explorer Captain Cook, who chose a name that meant “intoxicating pepper.” In the South Pacific, kava is a popular social drink, similar to alcohol in Western societies.The roots and underground stems are the parts of the kava plant that are used to make supplements.
This plant, is used to calm anxiety, stress, and restlessness, and treat sleep problems. The major active ingredients in kava kava root are named kavalactones. Kavalactones, are documented by research to effect the brain’s limbic system, a deep center involved in your emotional responses, according to a 2002 report by Dr.Hyla Cass. Other effects from kavalactones include mild sedation, increased cognitive performance, pain reduction and muscle relaxation. There have been at least 11 placebo-controlled studies of kava kava, involving a total of more than 700 human. Most found kava beneficial for anxiety symptoms.
The majority of findings shows that specific kava extracts (standardized to 70% kavalactones) can lower anxiety and might work as well as prescription anti-anxiety drugs called low-dose benzodiazepines. According to one study, kava kava and diazepam cause parallel changes in brain wave activity, suggesting that they may work in the same ways to calm the mind. In 1988, the Alternative Medical Review reported that four of the lactones in kava possess important analgesic and anesthetic property via non-opiate pathways.
A typical dosage of kava when used for therapy of anxiety is 300 mg daily of a extract standardized to contain 70 % kavalactones. The typical dosage for insomnia is 210 mg of kavalactones 1 hour before bedtime. Clinical trials have reported that doses of kavalactones 60 to 240 mg/day are effective. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) suggests taking 100 mg to 200 mg of kava kava two to four times daily for a few days only.
Kava kava may cause side effects such as allergic skin reactions, dizziness, drowsiness and restlessness. If you have liver illness, consume excessive amounts of alcohol or take some drugs that may harm your liver, you shouldn’t take kava extract. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer warning stating that 11 patients who used kava supplements had experienced total liver failure and subsequently undergone liver transplants. Kava kava has been banned from the market in Germany, Switzerland, and Canada, and several other countries are considering similar action. But, a published in the September 2006 edition of Phytomed indicates that German and Italian researchers believe dangers associated with kava are unfounded.