There are some BIG safety concerns about kava. Many cases of liver damage and even some deaths have been traced to kava use. As a result, kava has been banned from the market in Europe and Canada. This ban has hurt the economies of Pacific Island countries that export kava. Despite health concerns, kava has not been taken off the U.S. market.
Some people take kava by mouth to calm anxiety, stress, and restlessness, and to treat sleeping problems (insomnia). It is also used for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs, epilepsy, psychosis, depression, migraines and other headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), common cold and other respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, muscle pain, and cancer prevention.
Some people also take kava by mouth for urinary tract infections (UTIs), pain and swelling of the uterus, venereal disease, menstrual discomfort, and to increase sexual desire.
Kava is applied to the skin for skin diseases including leprosy, to promote wound healing, and as a painkiller. It is also used as a mouthwash for canker sores and toothaches.
Kava is also consumed as a beverage in ceremonies to promote relaxation.
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