Kava is said to have orgininated on the archipelago of Vanuatu, whose name means “The Land Eternal”. It has been domesticated throughout Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia). It comes from places referred to by many of us as “ Paradise,” including Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga and Hawaii where it is called Awa. This member of the Pepper family (Piperacea) has been used for centuries in different ceremonies promoting social, cultural and religious enhancement. The Natives revere this plant and its importance to them is much deeper than a mere medicinal effect for relaxation. Kava was used by eclectic physicians and physiomedical doctors practicing in the middle of the 19th century in North America as a genitourinary sedative and for pain associated with gonorrhea and other STDs. Kava was also used to treat a decreased flow in the glomeruli and for nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting). The native people of Oceania shared these uses as well as its use as a topical antiseptic and oral anesthetic, and to relieve the muscular pain from asthma and T.B. as well as whooping cough, headaches, stomach ache, and tooth pain.
The exact mechanism of action on the nervous system is unknown however it is likely that many phytochemicals in Kava, including kavalactones, contribute to the full effects of this herbal medicine. Clinical studies show great promise for Kava to support healthy lung tissue and as a supportive aid for the nervous system. Kava has a calming and relaxing effect on the body and is supportive during periods of occasional stress.
Uses of Kava Kava
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.