Piper methysticum (kava or kava kava) is a plant that is grown in the South Pacific Islands. The root is used to produce a drink with sedative and anti-anxiety properties that fans say is capable of inducing relaxation and mental clarity. For over 3000 years, kava has been used in the islands for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes.

Fans say kava helps ease anxiety and stress, as well as help to induce a restful sleep. It “takes the edge off” and promotes sociability while helping to focus and concentrate.


The plant thrives in the islands of Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Pohnpei, New Guinea and Hawaii. No one knows exactly where the kava plant originated from however, there is strong evidence to suggest that Vanuatu is its origin. Captain James Cook was the first known encounter with kava during the voyage of 1768-1771. Captain Cook gave the kava plant its name of “intoxicating pepper.” Kava was prepared by pounding or chewing the root. In many areas virgin boys or girls were selected to masticate the kava, since they were considered to be pure and clean. The kava drink has many uses in the South Pacific Islands. Primarily it is consumed in ceremonies such as funerals and other religious events amongst tribe members however, it is also consumed in a social manner.

Kava began to make its way into the mainstream in the United States in the early 2000’s.


  • Kava is primarily used elevate mood, and relax muscles.
  • Some fans say kava calms nerves and/or eases stress.
  • Kava can also help dull pain that is associated with headaches and cramps.
  • Kava keeps the mind alert as the body relaxes.
  • Kava connoisseurs say that kava helps with restless sleep.


  • General rise in social behavior and well being
  • Reduces inhibitions and promotes sociability
  • Induces feeling of peace and contentment
  • Enhances mental alertness and concentration