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Surviving Riyadh

What Are The Health Benefits Of Kava Kava?

What Are The Health Benefits Of Kava Kava?


Kava kava is a tree native to the South Pacific islands. What are the health benefits?

• Native islanders combine the root with coconut milk as a regular beverage for social occasions, celebrations, negotiations and resolving disputes! This beverage tends to make people more jovial and sociable. Kava kava is a most effective natural alternative to anti-anxiety medications.

• In addition to alleviating anxiety, kava kava is also used as a remedy for insomnia, depression and fatigue. Many people who use the root report increased mental energy.

• Kava kava, sometimes called kava, is a strong muscle relaxer and has the ability to relieve nervous tension. Its action is felt almost immediately, calming both mind and body, making it ideal for people who suffer anxiety or panic attacks. Some people find it very effective and they carry a bottle of the liquid extract wherever they go. Unlike alcohol and certain medications, kava kava does not impair mental function or result in drowsiness.

When using kava for anxiety, it is important to prepare the beverage cold, as heat destroys the compounds which make kava effective in anxiety. The root is most effective when soaked in cool coconut milk for several minutes before drinking.

• Kava has long been used by native islanders for a variety of arthritic and rheumatic conditions. Modern herbalists endorse this plant for these purposes.

• Kava kava contains germ killing components that are specific to urinary tract infections, effective in cases of cystitis, yeast infections and gonorrhea. Kava's strong diuretic properties make it useful in edema or fluid retention conditions.

• Other traditional uses include preparations for fungal infections, worms and other parasites and leprosy. Obesity and asthma are also addressed effectively with the versatile kava.

• Used as a compress, kava relieves a stubborn headache, while a warm tea of the root promotes beneficial sweating in cases of fever or colds.

As dosage should be regulated, many people find the standardized extracts most convenient. Most herbalists agree dosage should not exceed 200 mg of the standardized active compound (kavalactones) per day. A 200 mg capsule or tablet, taken three times daily yields just under 200 mg of kavalactones.

There have been cases where people took far more than the recommended dose and subsequently sustained liver damage. This has unfortunately brought the useful kava kava an ambiguous reputation, as some physicians and authorities were alarmed at these isolated incidents. Check with a naturopath or health practitioner before trying this remedy.

Keywords: kava kava, insomnia, anxiety, infections, medication

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