|This herb, a member of the pepper
family, grows as a bush in the South Pacific. Explorer Captain James
Cook, who gave this plant the botanical name of "intoxicating
pepper", first discovered kava kava. Kava kava has been used for
over 3,000 years for its medicinal effects as a sedative, muscle
relaxant, diuretic, and as a remedy for nervousness and insomnia.
The botanical has been used in parts of the South Pacific at traditional social gatherings
as a relaxant. The roots can be made into a beverage that is comparable to popular
cocktails in our culture. In Germany, kava kava is commonly used to reduce anxiety. Kava
kava was first mentioned in scientific records in 1886, and it is gaining popularity in
the US for its relaxing effects.
More recently, kava kava has also gained popularity with the natives of Hawaii, Australia
and New Guinea where it is also used for its calming properties. Kava kava has also
effective to soothe muscle tension as in PMS. Topically, kava kava has a alagesic
Recent clinical studies have shown that the herb kava kava is safe, non-addictive,
anti-anxiety and has been shown to improve concentration, memory, and reaction time for
people suffering from anxiety. Kava kava has been clinically demonstrated as a means of
achieving a state of relaxation without the adverse side effects.
Several lactones have been isolated in the kava kava root. Of the fifteen lactones
isolated from kava, there are six major lactones (kavalactones) known to provide it's
beneficial activity: kawain, methysticin, demethoxy-yangonin, dihydrokawain,
dihydomethysicin, and yongonin. All kavalactones are physiologically active, though it is
the fat-soluble kavalactones derived from kava kava resin that have the greatest effect on
the central nervous system. Kava kava also has a direct effect on muscle tension. The
activity of the kava rhizome is related to several arylethylene pyrones similar in
structure to myristicin, which is found in nutmeg.
Kava kava's primary use is as a relaxant and sleep-aid. It induces a feeling of
peace, relaxation, contentment along with a sharpening of the senses.
Kava kava is the most relaxing botanical herb known with exception of the opium poppy.
Pharmacological studies show kava kava's active ingredients, kavalactones, produce
physical and mental relaxation and a feeling of well being. It is an effective local
anesthetic and pain reliever when applied externally as a liniment. The relaxed state and
sharpening of senses also contribute to aphrodisiac effect.
Kava kava root is primarily used as a natural sedative and
sleep enhancement. Herbalists have traditionally used it as a remedy for nervousness and
insomnia. Kava kava is an effective relaxant able to induce a feeling of relaxation, peace
and contentment, along with a sharpening of the senses. As a sleep aid it promotes deep
and restful sleep. It is also a muscle relaxant that can help relieve cramping due to
NOTE: Do not use if pregnant, nursing, or being treated for depression.