Kava or Kava Kava, as it is more commonly known, is known across the world as a stress relieving agent. Used in the form of roots, this plant, hailing from the Pacific region, has been used in traditional medicine for more than 3000 years. The natural calming properties of this plant have made it very popular in the food supplement market. Available in the form of liquids, capsules, soft gels, tablets, and tinctures, Kava is also known for its analgesic and anesthetic properties.
What Is Kava Exactly?
Grown in the Western Pacific regions, Kava is also known as yaqona, awa, as well as sakau. Its scientific name is Piper methysticum. Kava is a root that in Greek means intoxicating! If you are into botany, then the following information might be of interest to you!
Health Benefits Of Kava
In ancient Greece, the roots of Kava were used widely for preparing a drink that was sedative in nature. Loaded with kavalactones, this product today is also known to provide various health benefits when consumed within the advised conditions. Read through to catch a glimpse of the health benefits kava has in store.
Being blessed with anesthetic properties, use of this root is known to result in losing body sensations for a temporary period.
Rich with innate analgesic properties, Kava root can be used to ease the pain experienced due to arthritis as well as muscle spasms. The chronic pain experienced due to fibromyalgia can also be relieved to a certain extent with the regular use of this root.
Muscle spasms are common in various medical conditions, including menstruation. Studies conducted on this root suggest that using Kava under such conditions can help provide relief from intense spasms.
4. Ideal for Treating Stress
A well-accepted natural sedative, Kava-kava can be used for treating people who are prone to chronic stress and depression. A natural tranquilizer, it helps in relieving the various symptoms associated with depression, including anxiety, restlessness, dizziness, and even nervousness. Studies have proven that the kava-kava root can provide relief to people subjected to palpitations triggered by panic attacks.
5. Helps Overcoming Addiction Challenges
Be it tobacco, drugs, or alcohol, overcoming any addiction is unarguably a mountainous task. Along with hastening the cessation process, the sedative and tranquilizing properties of Kava root also help in overcoming the withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction in a much better way.
6. Aids In The Treatment Of Urogenital Problems
Thanks to the antifungal, antispasmodic, and diuretic properties of Kava, the root of this plant has been used since time immemorial for the treatment of various infections affecting urinary bladder and urinary tract.
7. Aids In Faster Recovery From Stroke
Kava is well-known for its ability to restrict the brain area affected by stroke and ischemia. It indirectly ensures that the brain is not damaged extensively, paving the way for a faster and better recovery.
8. Natural Antidote For Insomnia
The tranquilizing and sedative properties of this root have been put to use by traditional physicians to help people suffering from sleep disorders. Those who are suffering from insomnia can make use of kava roots, within advisory conditions, for a better night’s sleep.
9. Helps In Treating Menopause
Menopause is one of the toughest stages in a woman’s life. She faces quite a lot of issues, physically and psychologically. This root is bestowed with antispasmodic, anesthetic, alterative, and sedative properties. The combined effect of all these helps women tide over menopause in a better way.
10. Potential Cure For Cancer
Studies conducted on this root have shed light on its potential role in treating leukemia as well as ovarian cancer. Kava root, being a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent, can be used along with nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, to ease the pain experienced during such conditions. Plus, the sedative properties of this root also induces sleep and a partial numbing effect, thus helping the suffering ones cope with the condition in a better way.
[Read: Natural Foods Cancer Patients]
11. Helps Overcome Addiction Challenges
Giving up any form of addiction is quite challenging. In addition to helping a person quit his addiction, the tranquilizing and sedative properties of Kava tea help combat withdrawal symptoms associated with the de-addiction process in a better way.
Interesting Facts About Kava Tea Preparation
1. A Soothing Cup Of Tea
Kava Kava, a native plant to Polynesia, is used in parts, specifically the roots, to make a relaxing and calming tea. Kava kava relaxes muscles, thereby ensuring better sleep besides reducing stress and making people more sociable. Surprisingly, Kava tea is also usually offered during important government meetings and weddings. It also is offered during other stressful events, such as demise in the family, to produce a calming effect on the nerves and thus reducing the chances of conflict.
2. A Cold Cup Of Kava Tea
The active and main ingredients of Kava Kava are usually destroyed at a high temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, when making Kava tea, it is recommended to use a thermometer, so as to make sure the temperature of the brew doesn’t cross 120 degrees F. This would help to keep the benefits of kava intact and unharmed.
One good option is to prepare large amounts of the tea. This can be done by putting the root powder or the roots in a crock pot with a liquid of your choice and then turning it on to a temperature of 120 degrees F or even less. Let the powder steep for about an hour. The cool tea can be consumed to enjoy its benefits.
3. Cream For The Tea
While learning to prepare Kava tea, you might discover that the use of a fatty liquid base, like soy milk, coconut milk, or cow’s milk, can increase the extraction rate as well as the strength of the tea. It has also been found that these liquid bases also improve the texture as well as the taste of the tea. Using water can increase the amount of time required to steep the tea.
4. Create The Perfect Brew
Once you have decided to heat the liquid base, add Kava root powder to the heated liquid and cover it with a lid. If you are preparing your tea in milk, steep the tea for about 30 minutes; or else you can steep in water for about 45 minutes. Once the tea has reached the required strength, avoid reheating. However, it is important to ensure the temperature of the liquid does not exceed 120 degrees F.
If you are making cold Kava tea, put the powder in a cold liquid and put it in the refrigerator overnight for an improved taste and effective results. Remember, it is very important to grind Kava root finely to extract all its benefits. Also, make sure you use a fine strainer, like muslin or coffee filter, to extract the powder from the liquid. This should be done prior to drinking the tea.
How To Make Kava Tea?
Every individual has a different recipe to prepare Kava tea. The common methods to prepare this tea include:
Method I – The Kava Tea Powder
Generally, Kava tea powder is easily available at local health food stores. There are many different types of Kava available under different brand names. Look for a good brand through trial and error.
The next step is to mix the powder in water. However, remember to remove the root powder before drinking. This can be done through a large teabag or by filtering the drink later. However, for those who like some extra fiber can leave the tea unstrained.
Finally, the amount of Kava powder is added to the drink according to your taste. More amount of powder means a more potent drink.
Method II – The Strainer Method
The initial step in the preparation of the tea by the strainer method begins with adding the Kava powder directly into the water and mixing it thoroughly. If needed, you can opt to use a blender for large quantities or use a spoon for preparing one cup.
Allow the Kava and water to mix for at least 10 minutes. During this time, allow the blender to have a couple of breaks. The next step is to filter the Kava using a strainer. It can be a wire mesh or cheesecloth. It is worth noting that coffee filters don’t work well for filtering Kava tea.
Method III – The Kneading Method
For this method, take a shallow bowl. Fill it with the desired quantity of water. Three cups or more is an appropriate quantity. Follow by placing a square cloth inside the bowl. Fill the clean cloth with the desired quantity of Kava powder. Then knead this Kava in the water. Make sure the powder doesn’t escape into the bowl. As the process is completed, pull the straining cloth out and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from it.
Method IV – Kava Teabags
Besides the powder, Kava tea bags are a great option to prepare tasty and effective Kava tea. It also is easy and saves time. Kava tea bags form the real crux of any Kava supplement. However, if you are not using whole kava root and a powder mix, capsule, or powder tea, try making sure the chosen supplement contains Kava extract and not just the dried and powdered root. This is because, without extraction of any form, plain powdered root might not be active physiologically.
Here is how you can brew Kava tea using Kava tea bags:
- Pour boiling water over 1-2 tea bags.
- Allow the bags to steep for about 5-10 minutes.
- It is highly recommended to use cool water, as water heated at more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit might degrade
kavalactones, thus reducing the effectiveness of the brew.
Who Should Not Use Kava?
Pregnant women, alcoholics, as well as those who are on medication are advised not to use Kava. Please check with your physician if you are under medications before you use this.
Side Effects Of Using Kava
Kava should NOT be used for a prolonged period of time. The sale and use of kava-kava are regulated in several countries because kava-kava can prove toxic in some cases and can result in chronic liver problems, scaly, yellow-hued skin, facial swelling, as well as shortness of the breath.
[Read: Stress Cause Dandruff]
We hope this post has helped you. Don’t forget to share your Kava tea recipe with us by commenting in the box below!
Latest posts by Nithya Shrikant (see all)
- 10 Healthy Homemade Protein Shake Recipes - March 31, 2015
- 20 Brown Rice Recipes – Healthy & Tasty - March 31, 2015
- 10 Harmful Effects Of Skipping Breakfast - March 27, 2015
- 10 Amazing Health Benefits And Nutritional Value Of Fava Beans - March 26, 2015
- 10 Simple And Delicious Mussels Recipes You Should Try - March 24, 2015