A few years ago, when I visited a healer in Oahu, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a traditional dinner, which commenced with Kava, a cultural and social beverage of Hawaii. One of the men sat on the floor mixing this root with water. Though the taste was a bit bitter, I remember feeling very relaxed and a bit altered in fact!
Just this week I interviewed Julian Life, a raw food wizard passionate about healing stress on the central nervous through foods, and he listed Kava as the second food recommended to decrease stress and “open” us up.
There have been many studies on Kava to treat a whole host of ailments. In particular, one study found it to be as effective in treating anxiety as some prescription medications. It may also help with insomnia.
As mentioned, Kava is a root and can be purchased in premade tea bags or as an powder, herbal supplement form. I’d say for beginners, best to go with the pre-made tea bags. Gaia herbs also make preformed capsules to take as a supplement.
“Keep in mind, when trying out any new herb, it is best to try a little at a time and see how your body responds to it. Also, like any food, you can take too much. So, going a little at a time, getting to know the plant and how your body responds is the best and safest approach,” says Julian. And indeed Julian is correct, from a medical standpoint kava is an active supplement, so be sure to check if there are drug interactions with any prescription medications you may be taking. And it can damage the liver if too much is consumed.
I recommend drinking some Kava tea with honey in the evening to relax from a stressful day in order to unwind before bed. Drink slowly, pace yourself, and see how your body responds. Initially, I would not recommend drinking it every evening, it is best to enjoy Kava if you are feeling stressed, especially want to unwind, or if you are having difficulty sleeping. Enjoy!