Kava is a medicinal plant that grows throughout the Western Pacific region. The root of the Kava plant, or Piper methysticum (which translates to ‘intoxicating pepper’) is typically used by cultures in these areas to make a tea that has sedative, anesthetic, euphoriant, and entheogenic properties. In plain language? It relaxes you, soothes any pains, and makes you happy – and may make you feel as if you are one with the universe.
The use of Kava in Pacific Ocean cultures for spiritual and social enhancement goes back centuries and was looked down upon by Christian Missionaries because of it’s similarity to alcohol intoxication. These days, Kava has become so popular that Dave Asprey (of Bulletproof fame) actually suggests consuming Kava rather than alcohol to more closely follow his dietary guidelines. Long-term us of alcohol can lead to disease causing inflammation in the body. But with the rise of ‘Kava Bars’ in North America, replacing alcohol with Kava has become easier and easier.
But high quality Kava is a must. The stems and leaves contain poisonous alkaloids. Cheaper Kava may contain these parts of the plant so avoid alkaloid poisoning by buying from a reputable source. If the Kava you take is made only from the root of organic, sustainably grown Kava you’ll never have to worry about toxic alkaloids. Kava should not be combined with psychotropic medicines – these are used to treat psychiatric disorders and include antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Kava can also enhance the effects of alcohol so, always be mindful of this if planning to combine the two.
Kava creates the ultimate state of relaxation. How does it do that? Kava contains kavalactones. These compounds go straight to the section of our brain that controls worry and stress. Kavalactones muffle any of its signals so you feel relaxed, happy, and anxiety-free. Kavalactones also increase cognitive performance. Kava users report experiencing enhanced visual acuity, seeing brighter colors, and more ease in conversation. In fact, there are a growing number of people who take it specifically to deal with social anxiety, reporting a feeling of safety and ‘heart-opening’ that allows them to connect more effectively with new friends as well as loved ones.