Despite all the advances and conveniences that we now enjoy in the modern 21st century, we can’t safely say that life is perfect.
In fact, conditions like General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, are one of the most common ailments, affecting up to 18 million Americans, and requiring medical evaluation and even treatment.
With those kinds of numbers and more stresses in our everyday lives, it’s no wonder that people are concerned with finding ways to fight anxiety.
Fortunately, nature always provides, and there’s one natural remedy that has been gaining a lot of ground in recent years: kava. So what is kava, and why is it garnering all this attention? Read on to find out!
A Tropical Solution
The local name of this substance is Kava Kava, and it is a plant that grows predominantly in the South Pacific, on island chains like Hawaii, Fiji, and Micronesia. Despite growing in a tropical environment, this plant requires a lot of shade, and substantial human intervention in order to spread, reproduce and grow.
For over 3000 years, kava has been heavily used among South Pacific residents as both a special concoction for religious ceremonies, as well as part of formal events and other gatherings among indigenous peoples.
One of its most recognized traits among island people was elevating those who consume it to a “higher level of consciousness.”
More pragmatically, however, it was generally also regarded as an herbal remedy, for anxiety treatment. Island residents often used kava to sedate, relax, or even help people get a better night’s sleep.
Throughout the South Pacific it was widely respected for its reputation as one of the better natural supplements for anxiety. But was there any actual sound, scientific reason for this?
Once Western science put this plant under the magnifying glass, that’s when real, hard facts started to emerge.
The Facts about Kava
When actually put through analysis and rigorously supervised trials and experiments, kava, it seems, lives up to its reputation.
The results of multiple experiments comparing subjects given kava to subjects given a placebo showed measurable, positive responses to using kava for anxiety. In some ways, kava behaves like an all-natural sedative, earning it the nickname of “nature’s valium.”
Those same experiments found that while it produced sedative-like results, it was one of the better natural supplements for anxiety when it came to not reproducing the same negative side-effects as synthetic solutions, like valium.
However, while these trials indicated that kava works, they did not reveal why kava works. So more research will be needed to isolate the exact substances and components in kava that are getting these results. Right now, the presence of kavalactones is a popular target of theories surrounding the efficacy of this substance.
That’s not to say, however, that kava is a 100% completely harmless substance. As with anything in life, taking too much of a good thing can turn it into a bad one, and kava is no exception. It’s important to note that there have been some findings that associate heavy kava use with liver damage, similar to alcohol.
This effect is further reinforced by the fact that kava, when consumed with alcohol, significantly increases the risk of liver damage.
So, as with many substances that abound in nature, careful consideration is the key. It’s never a good idea to overdo anything, whether that is liquor, chocolate, synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals, or even all natural remedies like kava.
How to Use Kava
You don’t need to observe the various island rituals if you want to enjoy the benefits of kava at home. Even if there are no nearby stores that sell it, kava is still comparatively easy to get now thanks to the online shopping experience.
Remember, as with the introduction of any new substance in your body, that you may want to consult with your doctor before taking action. This precaution is especially necessary if you’re already taking other medicines since there’s always the possibility of an interaction between the new supplement and what you’ve already been prescribed.
Kava can be taken in a few different forms. The traditional method of consumption is to drink it, although the flavor of kava itself may not be to your liking.
Kava can be mixed into or purchased in a tea form, can be consumed as a pure liquid or tincture, and can be bought in powder, capsule, or pill form if you’re looking for other ways to ingest it.
While natives of the South Pacific don’t really keep track of the precise dosage of kava they consume, you’ll probably want to. The safely recommended dosage is about 250 mg of the active ingredient kavalactone.
Of course, if you’re getting your natural supplements for anxiety in pill or capsule form, then you don’t have to worry. Just follow the recommended daily dosage on the label, as safe amounts have already been allotted.
Also, keep in mind that because kava does have some sedative properties, you should be more careful planning your activities after consuming it. Don’t undertake any actions that may require heightened awareness and alertness, such as driving. This effect is one of the reasons why kava is often taken as a sleep aid.
You should also be aware that for some, there is the possibility of an allergic reaction appearing on the skin for some kava users. This response is known as kava dermopathy, and fortunately, it is a temporary condition. If you notice your skin is feeling itchy, dry, or scaly around the neck, face, or head, you may be reacting to kava and should reduce your intake.
Kava is just one of many natural supplements for anxiety that help you to lead a more relaxed, productive, and happy life. There are plenty more supplements and techniques for anxiety treatment that can improve your daily experience.
If you’d like to know what they are and learn more about what they can do for you, then sign up for our weekly articles! Learn about natural health supplements with more convenience and confidence!