Have you ever heard of Kava? You may have heard your friends say they have tried it in the past or that they have heard of it when they where in Florida, or possibly on a vacation to the Fiji Islands. However if you are in Midwestern community, such as Omaha, Nebraska you very well may have never heard of Kava before, and that would be completely understandable as most people are unfamiliar with what Kava is or what benefits the roots of the Kava plant have to offer us.
What is Kava?
Kava is a plant that originates in Pacific Island country’s like Polynesia, Hawaii, Vanuatu, and parts of Micronesia. Kava is in the Nightshade family of plants, other plants that belong to this family that you might be more familiar with are Tomato, Eggplant, Potato, Goji Berry, and some Pepper plants (this is what kava is related to). Kava can also go by the names of ‘kava kava’ ‘Kawa Kawa’ ‘Tonga’ & ‘Ava’; The scientific name for the kava plant is ‘Piper Methysticum’. The root of the kava plant is where the compound that provides you the benefits are stored in the highest density in the plant. The benefits to the human body that are provided by the kava plant come from the compound known as kavalactones.
How is Kava Used?
The rootstock of the plant is where the kavalctones are the most concentrated in the plant, and this is the part of the plant most used in the kava products that are available on the market. Once the plant is harvested the roots are taken from the plant and peeled and then typically crushed into a paste, that past is then mixed with water, strained and consumed. People have chewed on the plant to release the kavalactones and some still do where the kava plants grow naturally. Kava is most widely available in three forms; Capsules, Powder, or Micronized Powder. The kavalactones create a mild intoxicating feeling for the user. Many consumers of kava say they feel relaxed, happy, & calm while using kava. Kava is also being used for relief from sore muscles and the research is still being done for many other potential medicinal uses.