Kava kava is an herb that is native to the Pacific Islands. It has been used for centuries by these cultures because of its sedating and euphoric effects. When used properly, kava kava can be a good herb and safe. In moderate amounts, it has a low level of toxicity. In large amounts though, it can harm the liver. The liver toxicity increases if the extract is made with organic solvents or poor quality product, so you really have to make sure that you are buying it from a safe, reputable source.
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Is Kava Kava a Good Herb?
In research studies, kava kava was found to be more effective than placebos for treating anxiety. This amazing herb has been used for insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression. Herbalists sometimes use it to help headaches, ADHD symptoms, muscle pain and chronic disease syndrome. It is said to help urinary tract infections and menstrual discomfort. Some people use it as a mouthwash to help toothaches and canker sores.
In one study, this herb was found to reduce tumor size and lesions in prostate cancer. The active metabolites in kava root may also have anti-cancer properties. Kava root can boost the immune system through its anti-inflammatory properties.
More commonly, this herb is used for better sleep and anxiety. It is excellent at helping to sooth an anxious or stressed out mind. One of the reasons kava root became popular in the West is because of how it supported quality sleep. Because of its sedative effects, this herb is great at soothing insomnia and giving you a restful night’s sleep. Plus, the herb offers amazingly vivid dreams that are easy to remember when you wake up.
When you take kava kava, it provides a sense of relaxation and well-being. You feel happy and unconcerned by the stresses of daily life. As a result, you feel a deep sense of contentment from this mood enhancer.
Is It Safe to Use?
There have been reports of liver toxicity and damage from using kava kava. After the reports came out, researchers criticized some of the way the data was collected. Many of the cases of liver damage occurred in alcoholics or people who abused prescription drugs. In other cases, they were taking prescriptions correctly, but the medication had liver side effects.
People have been using kava kava for thousands of years with little to no problem. Studies by the World Health Organization, the Australian government and the New Zealand government concluded that there were unlikely to be any long-term effects of the herb.
With that said, no herb is good to take in large quantities over the long term. In addition, poor-quality kava root can cause problems. If the manufacturer dilutes the herb, processes it with harsh chemicals or uses solvents in the process, it can cause damage to the body. To be safe, only buy from a reputable distributor or a respected herbalist. When you use kava kava, stick to safe amounts and do not use it over the long run.
So, Is Kava Kava a Good Herb?
The general consensus is that kava kava certainly has its benefits, although there can be too much of a good thing. Like any herb, consult with your doctor and/or a skilled herbalist before using it. If you want to learn more about herbology, check out our affiliate, the Herbal Academy. They offer courses on herbalism as well as an The Herbarium Membership for Herbalists where you can find a wealth of herb-related resources.