The pepper family includes the tall plant known as kava, which has the scientific name Piper methysticum. Kava is native to the Pacific islands. Pacific Islanders have long used kava in the context of rituals to induce a feeling of calm. The word “bitter” may be found in the kava name in the Tongan language.
In certain cultures, the root of the plant is employed in the preparation of drinks with a sedative effect ranging from mild to moderate. It is also reported to induce a state of euphoria in its users. Kava side effects is used in certain traditional societies in a manner analogous to how alcoholic drinks are drunk in the modern world.
Advantages to One’s Health
In addition to its usage for ceremonial and recreational purposes, kava is often prescribed by alternative medicine practitioners as a natural anxiolytic (a substance that reduces anxiety). People who have insomnia may also find that it helps them get better sleep, and it often does so with fewer adverse side effects than prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.
Kavalactones are the names given to the chemicals found in kava root that are thought to possess mood-altering qualities. To this day, a total of 18 unique kavalactones have been discovered. There hasn’t been much study done to determine their particular mechanisms of action or to see which chemicals are more active than others.
There is a growing body of research that shows kava might help treat anxiety; nevertheless, there is still some debate on how effective medicine effects of kava are.
Kava was assessed as an “effective symptomatic therapy option for anxiety” according to a review of studies published in 2002 that included seven clinical trials and 645 patients. Even though the researchers considered the impact “modest, “the analysis concluded that kava was beneficial.
The majority of the research that has been done on the effectiveness of kava as a treatment for insomnia has been conducted on animals. It is speculated that a particular form of kavalactone known as kevain may be responsible for the sedative effect that the medicine produces.
Potentially Adverse Effects
The consumption of kava is still the subject of debate. Some people feel that kava may be used safely for the short-term treatment of anxiety; however, others argue that the possible hazards far exceed the potential advantages of using kava during pregnancy for this purpose.
Side effects such as dyspepsia, mouth numbness, rash, headache, sleepiness, and vision problems are prevalent even when the medication is used for a short period. There is a possibility that catastrophic results might arise from usage over an extended period.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States issued a warning to the general public and medical professionals regarding the potential for kava use to cause harm to the liver in March of 2002.
Six case studies have shown a connection between kava and liver damage, which may lead to hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver failure, and even death.
A correlation was found between a pre-existing liver condition, high kava dosages, and significant alcohol consumption in several of these individuals. It is unknown if the liver toxicity was caused by kavalactones, impurities present in low-quality extracts, or the organic solvents (such as acetone or ethanol) utilized to manufacture kava extracts and supplements at this time.
Things to Think About
If you want to consume kava for either recreational or therapeutic reasons, there are a few things you need to take into consideration before beginning:
The influence that kava has on the nervous system is not entirely understood. As a result, it should not be used in patients suffering from severe depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
People with Parkinson’s disease should avoid consuming kava since it can make their symptoms even more severe.
Kava may prevent your blood from clotting. People with diseases that cause them to bleed excessively should not take it. To avoid severe bleeding during surgery, you will need to discontinue using kava at least two weeks before the procedure.
Kava may make you sleepy and impair your judgment, reflexes, and visual acuity. It can also blur your vision. You should not consume kava if you want to drive a vehicle or handle heavy equipment.
People who suffer from alcoholism, liver illness, pulmonary hypertension, low blood pressure (hypotension), or renal disease should steer clear of kava.
Because there has been a microscopic study on its safety, kava should never be given to minors and should never be taken by pregnant women or nursing mothers. A few pieces of research have indicated that kava may easily be transferred from mother to child through breastmilk.
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