A root found in South Pacific Islands that's traditionally prepared as a tea, kava (or kava kava) also comes in powder, tincture, and pill form. Kava is used to treat stress and anxiety. It brings on heightened focus and deep relaxation.

Here are three huge benefits that kava delivers.

1. Fights cancer

Kava root contains flavokavains, chalconoid phenols that have cancer-fighting properties. It can help to combat breast cancer.

2. Boosts the immune system

The flavokavains in kava contains also reduce inflammation and improve your immune response. Kava's anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anesthetic properties also help to alleviate pain caused by gingivitis, toothache, gum discomfort, and sore throat.

3. Calms you

Kava deeply relaxes you and relieves you of anxiety. Kavalactones, the main active component in kava root, have a sedative effect. Unlike medications, kava won't addict you, nor will it harm your heart rate, blood pressure, or sexual function. Kava may be used in place of such prescription medications as benzodiazepines and antidepressants.

4. Helps you get to sleep

Kava became popular in the US years ago for its ability to treat insomnia. What's more, it soothes body aches as well as mind and muscle tension, helping you get the rest you need.

Other facts about kava

• It usually comes as a drink

it involves chewing or grinding kava root into a pulp, and then placing the pulp into a porous sack. The sack is then submerged into water, and squeezing results in kava tea. Most people in the US, however, consume kava in capsule form.

• Claims that it harms your health have no basis

Many claim that kava can injure your liver; but research has shown that it does no such thing. In fact, it may help to protect that organ. Nevertheless, you should consult your doctor before drinking kava if you take certain medications in order to avoid any bad interactions. And if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use kava supplements.

• It gives you back your chill

Most people drink kava to relax, ease anxiety stress, and pain, get to sleep, and feel a mild "high."

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Kava forms

• Instant drink mixes

This is closest to traditional kava tea. You can make it in minutes. Be sure that any kava drink mix you buy is made with a kava root extract; plain kava root doesn't work. A quality instant kava mix should dissolve completely in water, leaving no residue.

• Capsules

Like the instant drink mix, a kava capsule should be made from root extract in either powder or liquid form. The supplement bottle should list the amount of kavalactones in the capsules as a percentage or in milligrams. These are the active components of kava that relax you.

• Paste

Essentially a semi-liquid kavalactone extract with a yellowish color and a consistency similar to that of cake batter, full-spectrum kava pastes contain all the kavalactones as well as other active components of the kava root. The paste can be consumed alone in small amounts or added to kava tea for a booster.

• Kava tinctures

This is the most common way to consume kava. Since kava contains 12% kavalactone, you'll need two droppers of a kava tincture to give you a full on kava experience. Avoid weaker kava tinctures that only contain less than 5% kavalactone content.

Forms of kava to avoid

• Kava gum

Kava gum is a gum infused with kava extract that is chewed to release the kavalactones over several minutes. It doesn't really work.

Kava tea

The prepackaged teas you find in stores contain only trace amounts of kavalactones, so you're likely not to notice any effects.

Use kava responsibly

You can't overdose on kava. But if you take a lot, you won't be able to drive a car for a while.

References

  1. "Kava Kava has Many Health Benefits and Uses," Natural News, October 26, 2009.
  2. "Kava's Health Benefits," Mother Earth Living, January 1, 1997.
  3. "Top 14 Beauty & Health Benefits Of Kava Kava — Its Uses & Side Effects," Effective Remedies, April 11, 2017.
  4. "What Are the Health Benefits of Kava Kava?," LiveStrong, December 27, 2015.

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