What is kava?
Kava—or kava kava—is a root found on South Pacific islands. Islanders have used kava as medicine and in ceremonies for centuries.
What is kava extract?
Its active ingredient is kavalactone.
Kava has a calming effect, producing brain wave changes similar to changes that occur with calming medicines such as diazepam (Valium, for example). Kava also can prevent convulsions and relax muscles. Although kava is not addictive, its effect may decrease with use.Many use kava extract as sleep aid.
Traditionally prepared as a tea, kava root is also available as a dietary supplement in powder and tincture (extract in alcohol) forms.Nowdays kava extract is used in capsules and tablets.
What is kava used for?
Kava's calming effect may relieve anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness, and stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension or spasm. Kava may also relieve pain.
When taken for anxiety or stress, kava does not interfere with mental sharpness. When taken for sleep problems, kava promotes deep sleep without affecting restful REM sleep.
Kava may be used instead of prescription antianxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants. Kava should never be taken with these prescription drugs. Avoid using alcohol when taking kava.