13 August 2008

  • Kava-KavaA tall tropical shrub produces the Kava-Kava root.
  • Characterized by big leaves shaped like hearts that fill the branches.
  • Flowers blossom on the plant where the branches join with the stems.

Health Benefits of Kava-kava

  • The active compounds in Kava are lactones, which have antispasmodic, muscle-relaxing, and anticonvulsive effects; Kava can also thin the blood.
  • The herb is used for nervousness, insomnia, tension, stress, and agitation.

Contain-Mechanism of Action

  • Kavapyrones enable muscle relaxation by reducing convulsions. It also cause similar reactions in the brain to those caused by commercial drugs used to treat anxiety and depression.
  • The lactones in kava do not have negative effects on heart rate, thinking ability, breathing, or blood pressure. Kava does alter the amount of neurotransmitters in the blood. This is because kava stops re-absorption of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Higher blood levels of norepinephrine can aid in relaxation and lessen anxiety.
  • Kava also increases the number of attachment sites for gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), another neurotransmitter. An increased number of GABA sites can increase GABA activity resulting in sedation.
  • Kava’s helpful results could be chemicals in the plant work to stop monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B), an enzyme, from affecting levels of dopamine, another neurotransmitter. However, this process is highly unpredictable. MAO-B and dopamine both have separate functions on the body’s emotional stability, but the precise effects of kava-kava are still indefinite.

Dosage and Administration

  • Kava supplementations should have standardized kavalactone content.
  • 70 mg of standardized kava extract can be take three times daily for a total of 210 mg. One 210 mg dose can be used for insomnia.
  • A dose of 2-4 g as decoction can be taken to treat stress, insomnia, and anxiety as many as three times a day.
  • The decoction of made by boiling the herb in water.


  • People who are depressed should not take Kava, also contraindicated in pregnant or nursing women and in those with liver disorders.
  • Overuse of Kava can result in skin rash or weight loss.
  • Kava use for more than tree months should be supervised by a physician.
  • The herb should note be combined with alcohol, anti-anxiety or mood-altering drugs (including barbiturates), or levodopa.


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