What is kava kava?

kava kava is a tall shrub growing in the Pacific Ocean Island. This plant produces large, heart shaped leaves that grow densely on the branches. It has long, slender flowers that grow at the point where branches meet the stems.

What is kava kava?

kava kava is a tall shrub growing in the Pacific Ocean Island. This plant produces large, heart shaped leaves that grow densely on the branches. It has long, slender flowers that grow at the point where branches meet the stems.

 

kava kava roots of the plant  are used medicinally and resemble bundles of woody branches that are hairy. This shrub found in the Pacific islands has been used to make ceremonial drink over a hundred years. The drink made from Kavakava roots is normally consumed throughout the following regions.

  • Pacific ocean.
  • Polynesia.
  • Hawaii.
  • Vanuatu.
  • Melanesia
  • Micronesia

Its name (kava kava) is derived from Marquesan and Tongan. Other people normally call it; awa, sakau, yaqona.

Its roots are used in production of a strong, sedative and anesthetic drink which is normally consumed primarily to relax without causing any effect on the mental clarity.

The  roots  of this kava kava plant are usually chewed or ground into a pulp  after which , cold water is added so as to come up with a brew which has a social equivalency of  France wine that is normally served to guests and dignitaries visiting the islands of Pacific.

The active ingredients of this drink are called Kavalactones.

Scientific research shows that the people consuming this product based drugs and its dietary products are mostly likely to suffer from liver failure or Liver damage as a result of Hepatotoxicity which is caused by excessive consumption of this drugs.

Available Forms

In some countries, the whole kava roots are chewed for their medicinal value that they have. This is also available in liquid form, as a result of standardized extracts and in form of powder normally used to make capsules and tablets.

Consumption

Kava kava comes in form of dried extracts, capsules, tablets, or liquid drops. Simmering of its roots can also be used to make tea.

Since some people have managed to experience severe liver damage, even liver failure as a result of kava kava taking, it is preferred that the consumers should take it under the prescription by the doctor and people suffering from liver diseases as; Cirrhosis are advised never to take Kava.

Pediatric

It is advised that children should not be given kava kava.

Adult

Having known of the reports on liver damage. It is impossible to prescribe the dose in which kava kavaconsumption should be taken and this is important to take a dose under the supervision of the doctor. It is recommended to take a rest of 2 weeks if taken.

Possible Interactions

Never take kava kava without the supervision of a doctor, mostly if you are being treated for disease. Kava kava may interact with the following:

Anticonvulsants

 Kava kava normally increases the resulting effect of medications, such as phenytoin (Dilantin), that are used to treat seizures.

Alcohol

Do not consume kava and alcohol at ago. This increases the risk of liver impairment and also the risk of liver damage.

Anti-anxiety agents

Kava may increase the effects of CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines, used for sleep disturbances or anxiety (particularly alprazolam or Xanax), and barbiturates (such as pentobarbital) which are used for sleep disorders and seizures. These Benzodiazepines are:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)

Diuretics (water pills)

These drugs help rid the body of excess fluid. Kava can make the effects of these medicinal drugs strong, raising the risk of dehydration.

Phenothiazine medications

Kava kava may increase the side effects associated as a result of phenothiazine medications (often used for the treatment of schizophrenia), including chlorpromazine (Thorazine); and promethazine (Phenergan), which is used as an antihistamine.

Levodopa

There has been at least one report that kava may reduce the strength of levodopa, a medication used to treat a disease known as Parkinson’s disease. Kava should not be taken kava if taking any medications containing levodopa or if you have Parkinson’s disease.

Medications Metabolized by the Liver

Because it works on the liver, kava kava can affect the liver metabolization in terms of medications .This includes several medications so talk to your doctor about any medication you are taking before taking kava kava.

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