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Mother nature has solutions to all our problems. From food, shelter to medicines, nature has everything for us. Kava kava is one such medicinal boon for us, which is a natural pain and stress reliever.
Kava or Piper methysticum, is a plant native to islands of the Pacific Ocean. Derived from the Polynesian word “awa,” which means bitter, kava is famous for its sedating effects, which is why it is consumed as a calming drink for anxiety and pain disorders.
Kava is a tropical evergreen shrub with heart-shaped leaves and woody stems. Due to its sedative, anesthetic, and euphoriant properties, kava has become a cultural and social drink in the world.
Benefits of the kava plant
Kava is consumed in various ways by people across the globe. Some take it orally to calm anxiety, stress, and restlessness, treat sleeping problems (insomnia), urinary tract infections (UTIs), pain and swelling of the uterus, venereal disease, menstrual discomfort, and to increase sexual desire. While some, apply it to their skin for curing skin diseases including leprosy, to promote wound healing, and as a painkiller. It is also used as a mouthwash for canker sores and toothaches, for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs, epilepsy, psychosis, migraines and other headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), common cold and other respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, muscle pain, and cancer prevention. But, it is the most and best consumed as a beverage.
How is kava drink prepared?
The recipe for kava drink is as follows;
The kava root is ground into a fine paste, which was traditionally done by chewing the roots and spitting them out, but now is typically done by hand. It is then mixed with water, strained and consumed. Another way to intake it is by preparing kava root tea, in which kava root powder i.e. made from the dried kava roots are added into boiling tea.
How does it act as a pain and stress reliever?
Consumption of kava extracts contains active ingredients are called kavalactones, which account for 3–20% of the dry weight of kava root. They possess pain-relieving and anti-anxiety properties that affect the brain and other parts of the central nervous system similar to alcohol, making one feel calm, relaxed, and happy.
Various studies have been carried out on people with anxiety disorders to understand the kava root effects. It was found that kava root had a small but significant impact on reducing anxiety symptoms.
Similarly, the kava root is an effective natural remedy for pain. They relax muscles and provide a calming and soothing effect from the state of pain and discomfort.
Limitations of Kava usage
Kava is available in various forms, as kava tea, liquid, capsules, but the dosage of all must be within 250 mg according to the experts as, beyond that, it can cause side-effects. The range of 70–250 mg is considered to be an effective dose of kavalactones. Consumption of kava must also be avoided during pregnancy and breast-feeding, depression, liver problems, Parkinson’s diseases, surgery, etc.
Although kava kava is an herbal remedy, it must be used as per the dosage limit as only then it will work effectively as a pain-relieving and anti-anxiety solution.