Piper Methysticum, known more commonly as kava, is a type of pepper plant that’s known as the “intoxicating pepper.” It originates in the Pacific Islands where it’s used for religious rituals as well as recreational use.
However, kava is now used around the world for both the high it can give you as well as the many health benefits. But what exactly is kava? How do you take kava? Is it safe? Will it get you high?
We’ve compiled a list of 6 facts that will answer all these questions and more.
What is Kava?
Let’s start with a quick review of what kava root is. Kava, as we mentioned, is a part of the pepper family. It originates in the islands of the Pacific.
Both the stems and the roots of the kava plant are stewed to make a kava drink. The kava drink is unique because it will make you feel both relaxed and attentive at the same time without the negative muddled thoughts that are normally associated with illegal drugs or with alcohol.
1. Kava Can Help Reduce Anxiety
One of the most well-known benefits of kava is the relaxation and the reduction of anxiety. Other treatments for anxiety can include addictive prescription drugs along with the not-always-legal cannabis.
Kava is a non-addictive treatment that has been clinically shown to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. While long-term studies have yet to be conducted, the many results showing the effectiveness of kava for treating symptoms of anxiety are exciting.
2. Kava Can Reduce Drug Cravings
Over 21.5 million Americans have battled, or are battling, some type of addiction or substance abuse problem each year. Many drugs, including prescription medications, cigarettes, alcohol, and other recreational drugs, can be addictive and dangerous.
Reducing and overcoming drug cravings is an essential part of beating addiction and getting clean. However, drug cravings can be intense, and many people suffer from withdrawal symptoms and cravings that cause them to go back to using.
That’s where kava comes in. Studies have shown that when people with addiction use kava, they had a significant reduction in drug cravings. They also reported less of an overall desire to use their drug of choice, whether that was tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, or even heroin.
3. You Shouldn’t Mix Kava With Prescription Medications
There are a few drawbacks to kava including that you should be careful when using it along with prescription medications. This isn’t unique to kava; you should be careful whenever you use an herbal supplement or medication along with other medications.
There are potentially dangerous drug interactions that can occur when you mix certain herbal therapies with traditional western meds. Before you begin using kava, speak with your doctor about potential interactions to avoid negative symptoms or interactions.
4. Kava Can Be a Sedative or a Stimulant
This is a unique feature to kava that makes it so great: depending on the type of kava you ingest, you can get different effects.
Certain types of kava root will give you more of a stimulant effect, similar to caffeine or nicotine. It can make you feel more alert, euphoric, energetic, and socially relaxed.
There are other types of kava root that have more of a sedative effect, similar to alcohol and certain strains of marijuana. This type will make you feel calm, relaxed, less anxious, and sometimes even sleepy.
Many people tend to experience both of these types of effects at one time, which makes this such an interesting way to feel high. You’ll get the feeling of euphoria that many people are searching for without having to deal with addiction, hangovers, or feelings of anxiety.
5. Kava as an Insomnia Treatment
Since kava is great at calming anxiety and promoting relaxation, many people find that it is effective for treating insomnia. And insomnia is not an uncommon issue: the Sleep Health Foundation estimates that 1 in 3 people have at least mild insomnia.
Lack of sleep due to insomnia can lead to irritability, trouble concentrating, high blood pressure, chronic stress, and even increase your risk for chronic illness like heart disease and diabetes.
Kava root promotes better sleep without the dangerous addictive qualities of other sleep aids (like barbituates) can have. Kava helps you go to sleep happy and calm instead of anxious and restless.
6. Kava and Fighting Cancer
And last, but certainly not least, is one of the most incredible parts of this natural plant medicine. While you’re feeling relaxed and euphoric from a kava drink, you can also be fighting off cancer and tumors.
Flavokawains are a type of compound found within the kava root. These flavokawains have been shown to have anti-cancer properties and can help your body fight off malignant cancer cells.
The compounds found in the kava root are also able to help fight oxidative stress, which is one of the roots of cancerous and abnormal cell growth.
There has also been exciting research specifically with the effect of kava root on prostate health. A 2015 study examined mice with induced prostate cancer growth. Mice who were treated with kava root extracts and compounds saw a reduction in the size of tumors found in the prostate, along with a general reduction of cancer risk.
Important Kava Facts: Bottom Line
Kava is well-known in regions of the Southern Pacific as well as for herbalists and those who tend to shy away from Western medicine. But it can be, and is, useful for all kinds of people.
Whether you’re looking for a legal way to get high, a plant medicine that can help fight off anxiety, or just a fun new thing to try with your friends, then kava is a great choice for you.
Check out our website for more legal ways to get high and other natural high information.