Overview

Kava is a beverage or extract that is made from Piper methysticum, a plant native to the western Pacific islands. The name "kava" comes from the Polynesian word "awa," which means bitter. In the South Pacific, kava is a popular social drink, similar to alcohol in Western societies. It is consumed as a beverage in ceremonies to promote relaxation.

There have been some safety concerns about kava. Cases of liver damage and even some deaths have been traced to kava use. Because of these reports, kava was withdrawn from the market in Europe and Canada in the early 2000s. However, in 2012 and 2015, the market withdrawals in Canada and Germany were lifted. These countries decided that there was not enough research to show that kava was the direct cause of liver toxicity in many of these cases. Kava has never been taken off the market in the U.S.

Kava is most commonly used for anxiety. Some people take kava for stress, restlessness, sleeping problems (insomnia), and many other conditions. But there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work ?

Kava affects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. The kava-lactones in kava are believed to be responsible for its effects.

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