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Kava, also known as kava kava, belongs to the pepper family and is found in the islands of south pacific. Used for centuries as a relaxation drink, kava is highly recommended for relieving anxiety and insomnia. Kava supplement is used for mood swings related to menopausal stage.

Kava composition

Kavapyrone, also referred to as kavalactone, is the active ingredient of kava. Other important ingredients of kava include kavain, yangonin, dihydrokavain and flavanones. Kava drink, which possesses psychoactive property, is prepared from the roots of kava. Kavapyrone is anxiolytic, analgesic and anticonvulsant and hence is used in treating a wide range of medical conditions. 

Health Benefits of Kava

Kava is not just a drink that the local preferred to have after a hard day's work. Tagged as a recreational drink, the shrub does more than that.  It has been hailed for its tranquilizing effect that aids in treating various health conditions.

Kavalactone, the active compound of kava, possesses psychoactive qualities, which function on the non-opiate pathways of the brain to treat anxiety. Studies prove that kava influences the brain wave activity in the same way as valium and hence is an effective alternate to prescription drug to cure stress.

The soporific effects of kava help to improve quality of sleep. It aids in reducing the time taken to fall asleep.

Kava is a boon to women in their menopausal stage. It improves menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, irritability and mood swings. Studies prove the role of kava in reducing anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness in women in menopausal stage.

The anxiolytic qualities of kava aid in the treatment of addiction to drug and alcohol. Kavalactones produce effects such as euphoria, talkativeness and relaxation that are similar to that produced by alcohol. However, it does not disturb your mental clarity. It does not cause hangovers as well.

Kava is effective for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD, which is a neurological disorder, affects the ability to focus. Signs of ADHD include hyperactivity, attention deficiency and impulsivity. Kava soothes the nervous system and promotes calm. The sedative properties of kava help to relieve stress, anxiety and nervousness.

Kava is a pain killer and is used to treat various types of pain including tooth ache and arthritic pain. Chewing the leaves of kava aids in relieving pain associated with sore throat and canker sores. The relaxant effect of kava helps to reduce pain due to muscle spasm.

The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of kava help to treat infections in the urinary tract. It prevents cyclooxygenase, which is responsible for synthesizing certain inflammatory mediators thereby affecting the physiological process.

The shrub is effective for asthma, particularly for attacks caused due to stress. Being a natural tranquilizer, kava is effective in calming the mind and alleviating stress.

Kava extracts boost concentration and promotes mental clarity.

Side effects of Kava

Some of the common side effects of kava include dizziness, stomach disorders, tremors, headache, vomiting and skin conditions. Over dose of the shrub may cause hair loss, poor appetite, chest pain, fatigue, dry and scaly skin, weight loss, severe kidney condition and liver disease.  

Those with liver conditions should avoid use of kava.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should refrain from using kava.

Those who are on prescription drugs need to consult their physician before use of kava as the shrub may interfere with the effects of drugs prescribed for certain medical conditions including anxiety and seizures.

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