What is Kava Kava?
Kava is a tropical plant, traditionally grown in the Pacific islands. For over 3,000 years, its roots have been used to prepare a drink with unique benefits, which is also commonly called Kava or Kava Kava. To be more precise, Kava drink is an aqueous extract made from powdered Kava roots, which can be easily prepared by hand at home. So let’s talk about Kava the way it is made: essentially!
Effects of Kava Kava
Kava is famous for its relaxing effects. It brings deep relaxation for both: body and mind.
It is a natural remedy for stress, helps you regain your inner balance and improves your mood.
How? Let’s start with the head!
Kava’s active ingredients – kavalactones – affect our limbic system, which is active in the processes of regulating behaviour and emotional states such as contentment, pleasure, satisfaction or even euphoria. Kava has a positive effect on the amygdala and can therefore reduce tension and inner anxiety.
Kava’s soothing influence is mainly due to the increased GABA binding. The GABA system is the body’s main neurotransmitter, which can reduce overstimulation (specifically excitatory impulses).
How does Kava relax the body? Kava reduces muscle tension and has a local anaesthetic effect. This makes it an ideal choice:
- for people living under constant tension
- for women seeking natural relief from painful menstrual periods
- athletes (recommended as body relaxation after training, with the added benefit of anti-inflammatory effects – kavaina)
- for back pain sufferers (skeletal muscle relaxation).
In addition, Kava has antiseptic properties. It also intensifies diuresis!
Kava and healthy sleep – this is one of the most widely known benefits of Kava: Kava not only helps us to fall asleep, shortens the latency of sleep, but enhances the deep sleep phase. As a result, our sleep can not only be longer, but also healthier – regenerating the body and bringing a sense of sleep! You can read more about the effects of Kava on sleep here.
What are kavalactones?
Kavalactones are the unique active ingredients of Kava Kava. A detailed description of how kavalactones work can be found here.
Each variety of Kava has a different composition of active ingredients and, as a result, each has different actions and properties. It is primarily the composition of the kavalactones that determines whether one is dealing with heady Kava (stimulating positive energy, ideal during the day), heavy Kava (ideal for evening tranquillity and relaxation), or balanced Kava – with an intermediate effect between heady and heavy.
IMPORTANT: it is not only the composition of the kavalactones that determines the effect of the Kava, but also the percentage. In the Kavaha catalogue you will only find Kavas with a high kavalactone scale: a minimum of 12%, and in the case of DEEP CALM even 14%!
You will find information about the kavalactone scale on the packaging!
The best Kava? How to choose a Kava in 4 steps!
Summary: The composition of the kavalactones determines the nature of Kava’s effects. The kavalactone scale shows the intensity of Kava’s action.
If you are looking for a deeply relaxing heavy Kava – choose DEEP CALM, i.e. the famous Borongoru (one of the most appreciated varieties in the world). If you need a balanced type of Kava – we suggest PERFECT BALANCE, which is the classic Vula Kasa Leka!
The character of a particular variety is also influenced by cultivation. Kavaha offers Noble Kava from Fiji and Vanuatu, the most valued regions in Kava history and geography. Our bushes are grown for up to 5 years, giving the roots the right time to mature and take on their full characteristics.
And the most prosaic part of choosing Kava: the form!
Kavaha in Powder form is intended for traditional preparation, which involves hand-pressing the extract from water-soaked powdered roots. For the traditional preparation of Kavaha Powder, a safe bag (impervious to root particles) is required – the best is of course the Kavaha BAG.
Kavaha in Instant form is traditionally prepared Kava Kava from which the water has simply been evaporated. This ensures that the Kava does not lose its unique properties and is still completely natural. Kavaha Instant is simply added to water or your favourite beverage, stirred and ready to go!
A detailed description of both forms can be found here.
Kava Kava: only Noble roots
IMPORTANT: Whether you choose Kava from the Kavaha or from other sources, remember to choose only fine NOBLE Kava from suppliers who guarantee the quality and safety of the entire production process. If you come across wild-grown TUDEI Kava, you can expect severe nausea (for example). Even lasting “two day” (this is no joke!).
The choice of varieties, countries of origin, characters, compositions etc. may seem overwhelming, but… the whole charm of the Kava Kava world hides in the experimentation with the choice of roots. Depending on your mood, the season, your needs, your company and even your taste (every Kava tastes a little different). Feel free to experiment with flavour additions (fruits, milks, syrups) and forms (smoothies, cocktails), varieties and countries of origin!
Tips for beginners
- It is best to drink Kava on an empty stomach.
- A slight tingling of the tongue or lips is natural. It will pass immediately :]
- Do not mix Kava with alcohol or antidepressants. Kava is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women!
- The water for preparing Kava Powder should be warm, but not exceed 40 degrees Celsius – above this temperature the kavalactones may start to lose their unique properties.
- What is the correct dosage of Kava Kava? The recommended dosage is:
15 g per 250-350 ml of water – for Kava Powder
10 g per 250-350 ml of water – in the case of Instant Kava
- How to traditionally prepare Kava Kava can be found here.
- If you don’t feel the effect of Kava the first time – don’t be discouraged! This is because the action of Kava is based on the principle of reverse tolerance – read below!
Is Kava addictive? What is reverse tolerance?
Kava is not addictive! On the contrary: it works on the principle of reverse tolerance. The more often we drink Kava, the easier our body should react to its effects. Over time, we therefore need less and less Kava to reach a state of relaxation.
This is the opposite effect to alcohol. Another difference is that Kava does not interfere with cognitive functions and does not stupefy. It clears the mind and helps with daily functioning. Some varieties of Kava heady can even help with concentration or stimulate creativity. At the same time, Kava Kava works well as an alternative to alcohol at social gatherings: it brings relaxation, opens up, stimulates frank conversation and fun together.
Kava Kava Culture
The drinking ritual is an important part of Pacific island tradition. Festivals and tribal ceremonies began with Kava. It was used for religious and medical purposes. It was taken on the road and served to visitors.
Kava Kava not only has its rituals, but also its myths. Almost every region of the Pacific islands has its own ideas about the origin of Kava and its importance.
To this day, Kava is still an important part of the region’s cultural identity – in Fiji it is the official national drink, and in Hawaii it is the state drink! Kava is also still present in local medicinal practices – in Fiji, for example, it is used as a painkiller and to help with depression or anxiety.
Find out more about the tradition and culture of Kava here.