Is Kava Safe?

Did you know that over 40 million American’s suffer from anxiety and stress? With the increasing awareness of the uses of complementary and alternative medicine (“CAM”) in all of its varieties, such as herbal remedies and dietary supplements, it is not surprising that the use of CAM’s continues to increase at such a high rate. Many search the world wide web looking for natural solutions for relief of stress and anxiety. Many find KAVA.

Kava kava (Piper Methysticum) is a member of the black pepper family and native throughout the islands of the Pacific. Kavalactones(active ingredient) have been shown to relieve anxiety and pain and to relax muscles. Kava’s characteristics have prompted numerous researchers over the past 130 years to investigate this ceremonial and medicinal plant for its biologically active constituents. The efficacy of kava does not stem from a single substance but rather from a mixture, a blend of several kavalactones. The kavalactones are non-sedating muscle relaxants. Kava is gentle and does not promote boisterous behavior or aggressiveness.

Kava is a safe, effective, and natural treatment for stress, anxiety and insomnia, as well as a host of other physical and psychological ailments.

In August 2007 American Family Physician, the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, published an article on “Herbal and Dietary Supplements for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders.”

They concluded that:

St. John’s wort, valerian, and omega-3 fatty acids have little therapeutic value for anxiety disorders, and their use should be discouraged.

But they recommended kava. Not only that, they gave it the highest quality-of-evidence rating: A. They said, Short-term use of kava is recommended for patients with mild to moderate anxiety disorders who are not using alcohol or taking other medicines metabolized by the liver, but who wish to use “natural” remedies.

According to the American Botanical Counsel, in 2001, kava ranked ninth in sales of all herbal dietary supplements sold in mainstream retail markets, with total mainstream sales of approximately $15 million. This statistic did not include sales in health food stores, multi-level marketing companies, mail order, or sales by health professionals, which account for an additional $15million, or more.