Kava - What is it & How to use

What is it?

  • Kava is native to the islands of the South Pacific and is a member of the pepper family.
  • Pacific islanders have used kava in ceremonies to bring about a state of relaxation.
  • Today, people use kava as a dietary supplement for anxiety.
  • The root and underground stem (fresh or dried) are used to prepare drinks; they are also made into extracts, capsules, and tablets.
  • Kava supplements may have a small effect on reducing anxiety, but they have been linked to a risk of severe liver disease.
  • Differences in dosages used, preparation methods, and study designs have resulted in mixed conclusions about kava’s usefulness.

Safety Concerns

  • In March 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned health care providers and the public about the risk of liver damage associated with kava.
  • Combining kava with alcohol may increase the risk of liver damage.
  • Long-term use of high doses of kava has been associated with dry, scaly skin or yellowing of the skin.
  • Heavy consumption of kava has been associated with heart problems and eye irritation.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.