Where do the unique properties of Kavaha come from? Can nature help us find harmony and inner balance? The answer lies primarily in the roots of Kava and the action of its active ingredients, kavalactones. And to answer it even more precisely: in their cooperation. It is the specific composition of kavalactones – the natural chemotype – that determines the way they affect our body.
Each type of Kava is characterised by a different composition and concentration of active ingredients, so the better we know their natural properties, the more accurately we can choose Kava based on our needs and preferences.
As research shows, kavalactones actively affect the limbic system, i.e. processes involving the brain and other parts of the nervous system, responsible for regulating the entire range of behaviours and emotions. Kavalactones increase the feeling of serenity and pleasure, and even euphoria. They reduce anxiety, tension and aggression whilst also limiting the generation of defensive reactions caused by, for example, everyday stress.
However, each type of kavalctones works differently. Of the eighteen known types, six can be distinguished as the most important – the most responsible for the properties of the best types of Kava. Those are:
Their numbering is not accidental. It is used for the scientific determination of the Kava root chemotype. Each type is defined by a series of six digits reflecting the concentration of kavalactones it contains, from highest to lowest. For example, VULA KASA LEKA from Fiji (the place of origin also determines the composition of kavalactones) has the chemotype 463251. This means that the highest concentration is kavain (the first digit of the chemotype is 4), the second is methysticin (6), and then yangonin (3) etc. It is commonly accepted that the chemotypes of the best Kava types indicate in their initial two or three digits: kavain (4) and dihydromethysticin (5) or methysticin (6).
How does the Kava chemotype translate into its real effect? As we mentioned at the beginning, only the complete composition of complementary kavalactones provides a unique and holistic effect. However, research on individual ingredients allows us to identify their most important properties and, on this basis, to estimate the nature of a given type of Kava. Let’s look at them in order.
Desmethoxyyangonin (1) promotes the emission of dopamine and serotonin, supporting the feeling of happiness and even euphoria. It does not disturb the clarity of mind.
Dihydrokavain (2) mainly helps to relax. It affects GABA receptors, which play an important role in the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Yangonin (3) and kavain (4) have a soothing and calming effect on the central nervous system. They have a positive effect on healthy and regenerating sleep.
A characteristic feature of dihydromethysticin (5) and methysticin (6) is, on the other hand, promoting the emission of more serotonin.
The intensity of kavalactones determines the way Kava works on our body. The chemotype with a predominance of kavain (4) is best suited for consumption during the day, when we lack energy and a positive attitude for everyday tasks. The predominance of dihydrokavain (2) fits perfectly in the evening, when we are looking for calm and rejuvenating sleep.