Sunday, May 04, 2008

Is kava good for you?

from w
Here in Australia many migrant Islanders continue to drink yaqona or kava as it is usually called, though these days I don't think it can be imported anymore. However passengers are still allowed to bring in about 2 kilos. Someone said it can be bought for $100 a kilo which is outrageous. It shouldn't be more than $30.

I found a website where the writer analysed the benefits etc. of drinking kava and here are the writer's conclusions.

Overall, Kava-Kava is harolded (sp)throughout the World Wide Web as a herbal remedy for anxiety and stress and a natural alternative to sedating prescriptions. However, consumers must scrutinize the claims made concerning Kava-Kava, considering the central purpose of the majority of the sites. Although a few sites are merely for informative purposes (;;, the other Kava sites mentioned above sell products through the online market. Profit possibly motivates exaggerated and unjustified claims concerning the benefits of Kava-Kava among many advertisers. Therefore, when considering the validity of Kava-Kava claims and the efficacy of Kava as the much-needed alternative to prescription psychiatric medications, the focus must be upon the medically documented reviews and clinical studies. However, in the case of Kava, studies, reviews, and meta-analysis confirm the most prevalently asserted benefits of kava extract treatment. By means of statistically sound methods including double-blinding and placebo-controlling, the studies unbiased demonstrate the effectiveness of Kava as an anti-anxiety treatment free from the adverse side effects of addiction and cognition impairment associated with other anxiolytic drugs. However, consumers must still scrutinize advertisements. Many of the more dramatic claims concerning emotional well-being and quality of life are most likely exaggerations and merely advertising enticements. Unlike anxiety which lends itself to testing due to well-developed and widely-accepted tools such as the Hamilton Scale, variables such as peacefulness and quality of life are difficult to accurately test in a scientific and medical setting and are therefore unsubstantiated claims. In addition, as with almost all medications, there are minor adverse side effects to Kava usage, such as skin irritations, rashes, and stomach irritation. Nonetheless, Kava-Kava appears to be a reliable herbal remedy that could be useful in the reduction of stress and anxiety. By providing a safer and beneficial alternative to prescription psychiatric medications, Kava-Kava could be the solution to today?s problems of stress and anxiety.


nzm said...

Well - all I know is that when I've had a few bilos full of grog, I feel pretty laid back and unstressed!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello NZM,
Some kava tastes fine, but at other times it is stale or mixed with something. I only have one or two bilos at a session as I don't like it myself. I wonder what is the real effect of several rounds on a person who has to drive a car in Melbourne. Kava doesn't come up in the testing by police. One Fiji guy from Geelong wound all over the road after drinking kava and the police tested him and came up with nothing. No, it wasn't Peceli!

Picky Eater said...

Interesting conclusions ... "the studies unbiased demonstrate the effectiveness of Kava as an anti-anxiety treatment free from the adverse side effects of addiction and cognition impairment associated with other anxiolytic drugs"

Really! Has anyone checked communities in all the major kava-drinking Pacific countries? Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa? Addiction is a very serious facet of kava consumption. And I'm sure the Public Service Commission (or any medical general practitioner) in Fiji could talk about the cognitive effects.

These scientific studies are fine ... but are they ignoring a wealth of social and historical data available in the traditional consumption zones? And what doses are they testing with? And over what period of time?

As demonstrated by our host's story, kava can be taken in doses large enough to pose a real danger to others.

However, the telling factor is usually found by examining the people waving these 'studies' around. They are generally trying to make money, or else trying to excuse irresponsible social behaviour.

I have yet to see a conclusive kava study that adequately covers both the chemical and social aspects of kava consumption.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Picky Eater,
Yes it sounds like they did they study without noticing the cultural contexts and use and abuse of kava in Pacific communities. Taking kava kava tablets or similar is a different context to the all-night sessions that mean the next day no work can get done. Is kava drinking (outside ceremonial uses) a way of escaping responsibilities and hard work?

Anonymous said...

I think kava can supliment VB (Victoria Bitters) slogan "For a hard earned thirst" with

"For a hard days work relax with me" kava

Anonymous said...

In Vanuatu, the end of the work day sees most workers, expats and the ni-Vanuatu, relaxing quietly and having meaningful conversations about work etc. This is a far cry from the traditional alcohol drinking holes. The Kava drinking expat community in Vanuatu should take part in these studies, I believe they have found a good alternative to beers at the local pub after work.


Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Mr/Ms Anonymous from Vanuatu! There are always arguments about kava, the use and misuse of it. I have heard that the kava in Vanuatu is very strong. One Fiji guy - a Methodist minister - a friend of Peceli's, slept for two days after drinking it!
I certainly agree that it can be central to a good discussion group and does not have the awful and sometimes violent impact of the abuse of alcohol.

Anonymous said...

to peceli and wendys blog...
look do you have a problem with our culture???? because kava drinking is part of our life style and our life style is part of our culture so why dont you STOP critizising and play your culture..we are doing our part
anyway thanx for your understanding

anxiety treatment said...

"Anxiety is an outcome of fear. There can be many ways to treat anxiety in a natural way.

Some natural anxiety remedies to look into are St.John's Wort, SAMe, L-Theanine, and Tryptophan. There's also cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and programs like Panic Away and The Linden Method, to name a few. Hope this helps!"