Vitamin supplements guide   Vitamins & health supplements guide

 
Kava kava quick review
Botanical description: prepared from the fresh or dried rhizomes and rootstocks of a robust perennial shrub, Piper methysticum.
Active constituents: kavalactones: kavain, dihydrokavain, methysticin, dihydromethysticin, yangonin, and desmethoxyyangonin.
Health benefits : relaxes muscles, relieves spasms, and prevent convulsions; used for treating insomnia, nervousness, relieving stress after injury.

Dosage: the American Herbal Products Association recommends to limit the kava intake to 300 milligrams of kavalactones per day.
Side effects : numbing of the mouth, unpleasant taste, nausea, headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
 
Kava Kava by Natures Sunshine
Kava Kava comes from the rhizome of the Piper methysticum plant (of the pepper family), indigenous to Polynesia and Indonesia. Kava kava is used to help reduce normal anxiety without impairing mental function. It may help promote more restful sleep in those struggling with occasional restlessness. Plus, it may help relax muscles. Each capsule contains 200 mg kava kava root concentrate. Click here for more information.
 

Kava kava


Kava kava is prepared from the fresh or dried rhizomes and rootstocks of a robust perennial shrub, Piper methysticum. Piper methysticum is a tropical shrub that grows throughout the Pacific Islands. This shrub produces large, green, heart-shaped leaves that grow thickly on the branches. It grows to an average height of 6 ft (1.83 m) and has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow to 10 in (25.4 cm) wide. The shrub grows best in warm humid conditions with lots of sunlight at an altitude of 500 to 1,000 feet above sea level. Kava kava is also known as awa, kava-kava, kew, tonga, ava, ava pepper, intoxicating pepper, kawa, kava pepper, kava root, rauschpfeffer, sakau, tonga, wurzelstock, and yangona.
 

Active constituents of kava kava


The main active ingredients in kava root are called kavalactones (kavapyrones). There are six main active compounds that account for 90 percent of the kavalactones: kavain, dihydrokavain, methysticin, dihydromethysticin, yangonin, and desmethoxyyangonin. Kavalactones have anti-anxiety, mild analgesic (pain-relieving), muscle-relaxing, and anticonvulsant effects. Kavalactones have a calming, sedative effect that relaxes muscles, relieves spasms, and prevents convulsions. Kavalactones also have analgesic properties that may bring relief to sore throats, sore gums, canker sores, and toothaches. The kavalactone content in kava roots can vary significantly from plant to plant depending on the growing, harvesting and processing conditions.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of kava kava


The active ingredients in kava kava have a calming, sedative effect. They also appear to relax the muscles, relieve spasms, and
prevent convulsions. Kava is very useful for relieving anxiety and the symptoms associated with it, such as nervousness, restlessness, and dizziness. Kava may be used as an alternative to prescription antianxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants. Kava can be used alone, or with St. John's wort, ginkgo biloba, or 5-HTP to relieve anxiety in those with mild to moderate depression. Unlike many popular prescription relaxation drugs that promote sedation, kava kava reduces anxiety but does not impair mental function or promote sedation. This herb is used for treating insomnia, nervousness, relieving stress after injury, for pains associated with nerve and skin diseases. Kava is effective for insomnia, particularly in terms of improving sleep quality and decreasing the amount of time needed to fall asleep. Kava kava is a strong diuretic that is beneficial in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. It can also relieve the heart palpitations and intense periods of anxiety associated with panic attacks. Kava has also traditionally been used as a painkiller. It is most often used for muscle pain and spasms.
 

Dosage and administration of kava kava


Kava kava is available in liquid form, as tinctures or extracts, and powdered or crushed in capsules or tablets. The American Herbal Products Association recommends to limit the kava intake to 300 milligrams of kavalactones per day. Daily doses delivering between 50 and 240 milligrams of the active ingredients are the customary recommendation. For treatment of mild to moderate anxiety, kava extracts supplying 120–240 mg of kavalactones per day in two or three divided doses are commonly recommended. For nervousness, restlessness, anxiety/stress reduction, take 45-70mg kavalactones 1-3 times/day.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Generally, kava kava has few side effects with the usual doses recommended. Possible side effects may include a numbing of the mouth, unpleasant taste, nausea, headache, drowsiness, and dizziness. Heavy use of kava is associated with kava dermopathy, a scaly eruption of the skin which is reversible by discontinuing its use. Kava has been associated with severe liver injury including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. Kava kava is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Kava should not be combined with alcohol since it may increase the effects of alcohol, especially sedation, which could be dangerous. And it should not be taken together with other substances that also act on the central nervous system, such as barbiturates, antidepressants, and antipsychotic drugs. People with Parkinson's Disease should avoid kava because of its effect on neurotransmitters. Kava kava should not be used for longer than three months.