Kava is a drink from the South Pacific made from the roots of the Kava (also sometimes called “Kava-Kava”) plant, Piper methysticum, meaning “Intoxicating pepper.”
Effects of kavalactones include mild sedation and a slight numbing of the gums and mouth. Kava has been reported to improve cognitive performance and promote a cheerful mood. Kava has similar effects to benzodiazepine medications,without its bad side effect, including muscle relaxant, anaesthetic, anticonvulsive and anxiolytic effects.
There are several cultivars of kava, with varying concentrations of primary and secondary psychoactive substances.
Kava is consumed and prepared in various ways throughout the Pacific.
Traditionally it is prepared by either chewing, grinding or pounding the roots of the kava plant.
Kava's active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive.
Fresh kava root contains on average 80% water.
Dried root contains approximately 43% starch, 20% fibers, 10-15% kavalactones, 12% water, 3.2% sugars, 3.6% proteins, and 3.2% minerals.