Kava

Also indexed as:Piper methysticum
Kava: Main Image © Steven Foster
Botanical names:
Piper methysticum

Parts Used & Where Grown

Kava is a member of the pepper family and is native to many Pacific Ocean islands. The rhizome (underground stem) is used in modern herbal preparations.

Caution: Kava should be taken only with medical supervision. Its safe use is not established.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

A nonalcoholic drink made from the root of kava played an important role in social ceremonies in some Pacific islands, including welcoming visiting royalty and at meetings of village elders. Kava was valued both for its mellowing effects and to encourage socializing. It was also noted for initiating a state of contentment, a greater sense of well-being, and enhanced mental acuity, memory, and sensory perception. Kava has also been used traditionally by healers in the Pacific islands to treat pain.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.