Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) is a member of the Piperaceae family. Kava Kava has been around for centuries in the South Sea although it is now just receieving media attention. The rhizome, root, and stem are the applicable parts of kava. The taste of the herb is pungent and numbing.
Research shows that the active ingredients in Kava Kava (kava pyrones) do in fact have a calming, sedative effect. They also appear to relax the muscles, relieve spasms, and prevent convulsions. At least two scientific studies have confirmed the herb's ability to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Kava Kava is used both orally and topically. It has been used for a long list of ailments. However, there are some health concerns. Kava has been associated with heptaoxicicty and long term use may contribute to poor health conditions. Be cautious when taking Kava Kava and use only the recommended dosage.
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Cautions Do not use Kava Kava if you are pregnant or nursing. Also avoid it if you have a depressive disorder; it can deepen a depressed mood.When first taking Kava Kava, you may notice a slightly tired feeling in the mornings. In rare cases, Kava Kava can cause an allergic reaction, a slight yellowing of the skin, gastrointestinal complaints, impaired or abnormal movement, loss of balance, pupil dilation, and difficulty focusing. Because of the possibility of visual disturbances, drive with caution while using this herb.