The Kava herb is one of the most beneficial and controversial herbs around the world. It contains powerful cancer-preventing compounds but you should also be aware of its side effects.
Kava is native to South Pacific regions where it’s used to make a popular beverage. The plant has a bitter taste. In fact, the word Kava is derived from awa, a Polynesian term meaning bitter. The Kava root is used to treat headaches, depression, common cold, psychosis, anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), just to mention a few.
Benefits of the Kava Herb
1. Fighting Cancer
The Kava root contains flavokawains, which are active metabolites that have anticancer properties. Several studies were conducted to determine the toxicity of Kava, and to check whether it could effectively kill cancerous cells. According to the ensuing results, there occurred significant cell death. This led researchers to believe that Kava root could act as a chemotherapeutic and chemo-preventive agent.
A lot of research still has to be conducted before the Kava root can be used in anticancer medicine. However, the future looks bright.
2. Improving the Guality of Sleep
Back in the 1990s, Kava was used as a remedy for anxiety and insomnia. Sleep is vital for the normal functioning of the human body. However, almost 50% of the global population suffers from sleeplessness at one point or another. Herbal-based remedies, including Kava treatments, have become quite popular in the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders.
According to a study done by researchers at the University of Rochester, Kava tea provided some sedative effects and helped individuals to fall asleep.
3. Preventing Menopausal Mood Swings
Some clinical studies conducted in 2003 showed that Kava promoted pleasant moods and healthier feelings among menopausal women. More recent studies concluded that Kava also improved libido among women. Apparently, the Kava root can ease menopausal transitions among women by preventing intense hormone alterations within the body.
Many women are now preferring all-natural therapies to manage the symptoms of menopause. Kava is usually ground and packaged as Kava powder, which makes a very nutritious tea. Try taking Kava tea to enjoy these impressive benefits.
4. Boosting Immunity
The flavokawains contained in Kava possess strong anti-inflammation capabilities which prevent the onset of certain diseases in the body. A study revolving around the Kava root was conducted to determine how flavokawain A and B agents contained in this herb affected the immune system of some test mice. The mice showed normal behavior after the treatment was over, and there was no evidence of toxicity.
Researchers believe that the Kava root could help boost immunity in humans the same way. It’s better to choose Kava powder if you’re thinking of preparing some Kava tea. However, boiling the Kava root could also do the trick.
5. Reducing Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is a dangerous condition that is characterized by extreme psychological stress. It’s quite difficult to treat it in the long term. Kava root is contains non-addictive anxiolytic properties that can potentially treat anxiety issues.
Cochrane conducted research to ascertain whether Kava root could act as a natural remedy for anxiety. The results conclusively proved that Kava extract significantly helped to reduce anxiety. Although a few Kava side effects were reported, all were mild.
Worrying Kava Side Effects
High levels of Kava dosage have been found to have damaging side effects. These include:
1. Liver Damage
Some individuals have reported serious liver damage after taking normal doses of Kava root. Some reports even revealed that some individuals who took Kava for one to three months ended up requiring liver transplants while others lost their life. Some initial symptoms of liver damage are jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), excess fatigue and dark urine.
It’s important to consult a doctor before starting any Kava treatment. it is also a good idea to take regular liver tests.
2. Development of Scaly Skin Rash
Long-term consumption of Kava can lead to dermopathy, a condition that causes your skin to develop a scaly rash. Though scientists don’t quite understand the cause, it’s speculated that Kava interferes with cholesterol metabolism within the body. However, this condition is reversible once consumption of Kava ceases.
Here are the don’ts when taking any Kava dosage:
- Don’t take concentrated extracts of Kava root
- Don’t mix Kava with other prescription medicine
- Don’t drive after immediately consuming Kava
- Don’t take Kava in very high doses