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For thousands of years the kava kava root has been used by the people of the South Pacific as a folk remedy as well as a social and ceremonial drink
The kava plant is a shrub which grows in the South Pacific. It is part of the pepper family. The root is the part used for medicinal purposes. Traditionally the root was chewed or made into a beverage. Now you can find Kava in stores in capsule, pill, tea, and liquid form.
Kava is said to have sedating effects, reduce anxiety, reduce muscle tension, and produce analgesic effects. Its main use now in the United States and Europe is as an anti depressant, stress reliever, anti anxiety, and muscle relaxant.
The main parts of the kava root are called kava lactones. There are 6 kava lactones in the kava plant, demethoxy-yangonin, dihydrokavain, yangonin, kavain, dihydromethysticin and methysticin.
It is thought that kava lactones affect levels of neurotransmitters in the blood. Neurotransmitters carry messages through the body.
There have been several studies done on kava and they have found kava to an effective symptomatic treatment for anxiety.
There are some concerns about liver toxicity with kava use. There have been no studies to confirm this. Liver problems have been seen with excessive use, pre existing liver conditions, and excessive alcohol consumption.
As always check with your physician first if you have any chronic health conditions as there are several that kava can contribute to or exacerbate. Also check with your physician first if you take any medications since kava can interact with certain medications.
If your physician gives you the go ahead to use kava for control of anxiety and stress there are several forms in which you can find kava.
Yogi brand makes a great stress relief Kava Tea which is great for relaxation and calming anxiety. It is caffeine free, and is very soothing.
You can also find kava in supplement form as well.
Used properly in moderation kava can provide much needed soothing stress and anxiety relief.