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Friday, February 13, 2009

Kava kava - herbarl aphrodisiac

If you have had the chance to visit Hawaii or one of the other islands in the South Pacific, there's a good chance you've come in contact with Kava Kava. Kava is an essential and integral part of life in the Pacific Islands often thought of as one of the most precious gifts from the Earth. Not only is it a pleasant drink that can be a safe alternative to alcohol, but Kava Kava has been prescribed as an effective folk remedy for anxiety, insomnia and back pain.

Kava kava ( Piper methysticum ) has been used as a ceremonial beverage in the Pacific Islands for thousands of years. It is believed to have originated in Melanesia, and been drunk for hundreds of years by native islanders.

The roots are chewed or ground into a pulp and added to cold water. The resulting thick brew, which has been compared to the social equivalent of wine in France, is typically offered to guests and dignitaries visiting the Pacific Islands.

In addition to its ceremonial purposes, kava is perhaps best known for its relaxing qualities. Kava is said to elevate mood, well-being, and contentment, and produce a feeling of relaxation. Several studies have found that kava may be useful in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and related nervous disorders.

Reports linking kava with liver damage has prompted regulatory agencies in Europe and Canada to warn consumers of the potential risks associated with this herb, and even to remove kava-containing products from the market. Based on these and other reports in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer advisory in March of 2002 regarding the "rare" but potential risk of liver failure associated with kava-containing products

Kava Root (the only part of the plant that is used) is largely employed as a celebratory drink much in the same way that alcohol is used in the West. It helps mark momentous occasions such as weddings, public festivals, political powwows and holidays, and it is even used in ceremonies honoring the dead. Unlike alcohol, kava does not produce or stimulate aggression. It does not condemn the user to a dreaded hangover, unlike alcohol. Alcohol literally kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, and Kava, when properly harvested, has never actually hurt anyone. Kava has even been known to help reduce alcohol consumption!

Many people find other uses for kava, including many medicinal ones. It's interesting to note that kava has been shown to help ease anxiety, depression as well as producing a restful sleep. It is used by athletes, businessmen and diplomats to help "take the edge off" and focus concentration. Widely prescribed throughout Oceania and Europe to treat hyperactivity in children, it has also been used to aid children who have difficulty sleeping on occasion.

Much disinformation has been spread concerning kava and liver toxicity. The truth of the matter is an unscrupulous German manufacturer of kava supplements at the turn of the century used the tops of kava plants in a batch of their supplements, thus setting off a chain reaction of liver toxicity and failure in people internationally. Unfortunately, unjustified bans on kava subsequently spread across the world.

The best way to make sure you get safe and effective kava is to know where your kava comes from. Do your research. Support the small farmer. Make sure your kava is organically grown and that any supplemental kava used in your products contain only the kava root. Do not believe misleading studies that have been refuted, or any opportunistic lawyers who dedicate websites to "ambulance chasing" kava users. All in all, kava is a proven relaxant with thousands of years of history and safety in use behind it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kava

Q: Is it addictive?

Kava has not been shown to be physically addictive. It has been used safely for over 3,000 years, without any reported withdrawal symptoms whatsoever.

Q: What does kava do?

• Relaxes muscles
• Calms nerves
• Creates a general feeling of well-being
• Induces a feeling of peace, relaxation and contentment
• Enhances mental alertness and concentration
• Has historical use as an herbal aphrodisiac
• Reduces inhibitions and makes people more sociable

There are many, many more properties of kava, so read on!

Q: Can I take it anytime of the day?

In the South Pacific, drinking kava is mostly used for ceremonial, recreational and social purposes. Kava is consumed at the end of the workday, and the ritual of kava preparation and drinking provides one with both an opportunity for individual meditation as well as a social time. with inhibitions alleviated.

In our hectic, modern society "kava time" is anytime. The fact that kava does not slow one's mental capacity that allows it to be used during the day especially when we find ourselves anxious or in stressful situations like:

• Going on a date
• Visiting the dentist
• Giving a presentation
• Attending a party
• Business meetings
• Enhance athletic abilities
• Boarding a plane
• Taking an exam

And for the most part, kava is best consumed after work when the kava's delightful, pleasurable, relaxing effects can be experienced while one is able to relax into a happy, peaceful state with complete mental alertness. When kava is taken before bedtime, it induces a restful sleep and encourages a refreshed feeling upon awakening.

Q: Does kava have side effects?

Kava has no side effects when taken in moderate doses, although its abuse can lead to health problems. A study of heavy abusers in the South Pacific showed evidence of shortness of breath, dry scaly skin, and slight alterations in red and white blood cells and platelets. The reports of liver damage have widely been dismissed - it was one irresponsible kava manufacturer which used the poisonous tops of the kava plant in one of their products that lead to the liver damage. Even the country that hosted the study (Germany) has repealed their ban on Kava Kava because it has been proven a safe and effective herbal product.

Q: How much can I drink? Can I overdose on it?

The most significant anti-anxiety studies show that an effective daily dose of kava is 70-210 milligrams of kavalactones. The amount of kava to take depends on your purpose for using it and your individual sensitivity to the effects of kavalactones.

Death or severe illness from exclusive use of kava has not been reported in any medical literature.

Q: Is it safe?

Whenever you first try a new medicine, herb or supplement, it is always best to start with low dosages and build up. Kava, if used appropriately, can reduce the stress in our daily lives, as well as alleviate the amount of anxiety one might anticipate becoming exposed to, such as in a stressful negotiation. Studies show the occasional use of kava presents no health problems. Years of use in Germany have produced no reports of troublesome drug interactions as well.

If you have any questions or concerns about your health or possible interactions with prescription medications, simply consult your doctor.

Many people find other medicinal uses for kava kava. It is interesting to note that kava has been shown to help ease anxiety and depression, as well as help induce a restful sleep. It is used by athletes as well as businessmen to help "take the edge off" and focus concentration.


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