5 reasons why Kava is good for you

Health and wellness encompass a wide range of topics from physical exercise to mindfulness. A key factor within overall health is one’s diet. The foodstuff entering your body is the fuel to energize your body temple. Your body is the vehicle to interact and experience life and if it is out of balance, one may find their life to be the same. With this in mind, a plant known as Kava could be a tool to enhance your life for the better. 

What is Kava?

Kava is a plant found in the Pacific islands that for more than 2,000 years, people have used for its natural stress and anxiety-reducing properties. Its ability to relax the body and mind is what makes this plant so coveted. The kava plant is traditionally served as a beverage, after condensing it to powder, but is more widely consumed as a supplement. 

Benefits of Kava

1) May decrease anxiety and increase relaxation: It has been proven that Kava contains kavalactones, which affect the neural pathways that promote sociability, while also lowering anxiety. A study published in 1997 examined the effects of kava extract in people with anxiety and compared to a placebo, it significantly decreased the amount of participants’ perceived anxiety. The researchers also found no side effects related to dependency, whereas these effects are common with other remedies often used to treat anxiety. Since this study, several other studies have demonstrated the benefits of kava on anxiety

2) Relieve pain and muscle soreness: Kava contains two natural pain relievers: dihydrokavain and dihydromethysticin.  This is why one may feel numbness in the mouth when drinking kava. Interestingly enough, these compounds may relieve pain when consumed, and may also relieve pain when made into a muscle rub. Making a kava paste and mixing it with oil creates a rub that can ease sore muscles. Other compounds found in the kava root and other parts of the plant, known as kavalactones or kavapyrones, have also been found to hold anti-convulsant and neuroprotective properties. Kava extracts have been used to significantly reduce chronic nociceptive pain, a type of pain that is felt when nerve cells are stimulated by harm to the body. Kava may help reduce orofacial pain, which is chronic pain that is found above the neck, in front of the ears, and below the centerline of the eyes and the area inside the mouth. Other proponents of herbal kava medication have been used to relieve joint pain, back pain, muscle spasms and migraine headaches. 

3) Improve sleep quality and combat insomnia: Individuals can drink kava before bed to wind down and go into a deep sleep as studies have shown that it influences GABA and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that promote relaxation. In one study of 24 participants, kava was found to reduce stress and insomnia, compared to the placebo. Another study concluded kava to be more effective than a placebo at improving sleep quality and reducing anxiety. Interestingly, kava’s effects on insomnia may stem from its effects on anxiety. Stress-induced insomnia is common in those with anxiety. Therefore, in cases of insomnia, kava may be treating anxiety, which may then help people sleep better.

4) Maintain mental clarity and awareness: Kava is great as well because it doesn’t impact mental clarity. A cup of kava will make you feel pleasantly relaxed, similar to the way a glass of wine or tea might, but you’ll be sharp mentally. Even heavy and long-term kava users show no decrease in cognitive function. A single dose of kava (300 mg) saw improved accuracy and performance in attention, visual processing, and working memory tasks in a group of 20 people.  In another trial of 12 people, participants took a kava extract of 200 mg, three times a day and experienced slightly improved performance in a word recognition task.

5) Social connectivity and community: In a group setting, individuals can feel relaxed and be able to have stimulating, intellectual, and spirited conversations. The South Pacific brew has been teaching its users for hundreds of years how to slow down, come together and enjoy the moment. In our fast-paced, technology-driven society, it is important to take advantage of the time we have with people we cherish the most. Kava is a tool to bridge people together and celebrate life with those around you, strangers or not.