Have you ever heard of kava kava, a plant native to South Pacific islands that’s praised for relaxing properties? Just like kratom, kava has centuries-long tradition as a natural herb that’s used for a variety of reasons. Some traditional uses for it are alleviating discomfort and relaxing the body and mind. Apart from having a cool name, kava is a plant that has a lot to offer! In the following paragraphs, let’s take a look at this plant and how to take it so you can maximize your experience!
What is Kava?
First off, kava and kava kava are the same thing!
As mentioned above, it’s a plant that comes from the South Pacific islands and has been growing there for many years. Fun fact: kava is one of few plants in the world that doesn’t produce seeds. That means that all kava plants today are copies of the very first, original plants. This is a process that requires lots of nurturing and caring in order to keep the species going!
Kava contains kavalactones which are the main, active ingredients. These ingredients interact with our GABA receptors found in the central nervous system, causing a mildly sedating effect when consumed. There are many kavalactones in the plant, but what research shows is that only 6 of these are dominant and create the plant’s chemotype. This chemotype helps in differentiating the strains of kava.
Depending on the structure of the kavalactones (the chemotype), we can divide kava in three categories. The categories are: heady, balanced, and heavy.
- Heady kava: this strain abounds with kavain and yangonin, two kavalactones that are responsible for producing feelings of joy and radiance. This strain is popular for daytime use, when energy or creativity levels might be low.
- Heavy kava: this strains contains a large amount of dihydrokavain, dihydromethysticin, and methysticin – three kavalactones that produce a ‘heavy’, sedating effect. Due to higher kavalactone composition, heavy kava is more of a night-time strain. We generally don’t recommend using it during the day. That’s so as to avoid feeling sleepy and drowsy.
- Balanced kava: like its name suggests, this strain falls right between the previous two strains and is considered to be the mildest, most balanced strain of all three. It’s great for both day and night use and won’t produce any significant effects like heady or heavy kava.
What are the Effects of Kava?
Although the type of strain greatly determines the effects, there are still some general properties of the kava plant that make it unique. The general effects are the following:
- Analgesic – good for alleviating discomfort and tension
- Uplifting – promotes and boosts good mood
- Relaxing – good for improving sleep quality and achieving sedation using a natural supplement
- Calming – amazing for stress-relief
What’s interesting about this plant is that although it promotes different effects, people say it’s not too stimulating nor too sedating. That makes it perfect for days when you need a boost without feeling spaced out.
Now that we know more about the three types of kava, you might be wondering how to take it. So, let’s shed some light on that subject too!
How to Take Kava
There are a few different methods you can use to take kava. Taking it is relatively simple and can be adjusted to different needs, as long as you pay attention to dosage. With that in mind, kava is usually available in capsule or powder form. The capsule method is pretty straight-forward. The powder form opens the door to more possibilities. The most common way to drink it is by preparing kava tea from the powder or roots. You could use the same method of preparation you would use to make kratom tea. Another convenient method of use are kava tinctures which are prepared by dissolving the plant in an alcohol base.
When it comes to the way it tastes, kava is not exactly popular for being tasty. This is an inconvenience that has caused many to search for a method of enjoying it without the unpleasant flavor. So, apart from these basic methods, you can also add kava to smoothies or other recipes. These options are especially useful for those who want to mask its earthy, almost bitter flavor.
Final Thoughts on How to Take Kava
We hope these few paragraphs helped you understand what kava is, how it works, and how you can take it! Much like kratom, kava can be a fantastic, natural alternative to some synthetic options available. It’s important to take it in safe, controlled doses.