Kava

  • awa
  • grog
  • kava kava
  • kawa
  • lewena
  • sakau
  • waka
  • wati
  • yaqona
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What is kava?

Kava is the common word for the pepper plant, Piper methysticum. The root of the kava plant is used to make a drink which acts as a depressant and slows down the brain and nervous system.

Drinking kava is a traditional practice for many Pacific and South Sea Island communities, where it is used during cultural ceremonies, for medicinal purposes, and at social gatherings.

Kava may come in the form of the root of a plant, a brown liquid or powder, or may be added to capsules, drops or drinks.

The active compounds in kava are called kavalactones.

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Kava
Kava

Kavalactones

​Ingesting kava in amounts commonly used for traditional purposes is likely to be low risk for most people but prolonged use or combining it with alcohol or other drugs can be dangerous.

Short term effects

  • make you feel relaxed
  • make you feel talkative
  • numbness of the mouth
  • reduced coordination

Effect depend on..

The effects of kava depend on how much you ingest, how quickly you ingest it, whether you have eaten, your size and weight, your overall health and how often you use kava. 

It can also depend on how healthy your liver is, or whether you use kava with alcohol or other drugs, including medications. 

  • tiredness
  • muscle weakness
  • fatigue

How kava affects your body

Tap a body part to learn more of the effects kava places on your body.

Long term effects can include

  • weight loss and malnutrition
  • nausea
  • stomach upset
  • red eyes
  • impotence (men)
  • poor overall health
  • fatigue
  • low motivation

General information

Is kava a problem for you?

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