Monday, January 07, 2008

Kava Kava

If you do very much looking into herbal supplements and alternatives for medicine, then chances are you have come across an herbal supplement called Kava Kava. Used for centuries as a ceremonial drink in the South Pacific, Kava Kava found a popularity as a treatment for anxiety and insomnia. FDA concerns that the herb, which is a member of the pepper family, might be linked to liver damages seems to have been traced to the use of non-root parts of the plant in cases where it might have been the catalyst for the damage. Still, it is recommended that Kava Kava not be taken for extended periods and that it only be taken by healthy adults. For example: it is known that those with Parkinson's Disease will suffer more frequent "off" periods when they are consuming Kava Kava.

Kava Kava is illegal in some countries, with countries like the UK stating that "There is no evidence to support a safe dose of kava." - Medicines Control Agency, UK

The agency went on to state: "There is clear evidence linking kava-kava with rare cases of liver toxicity... Investigations have been unable to identify factors that would predict which individuals are at risk of adverse reactions."

Kona Kava Farm - www.konakavafarm.com - grows the most potent variety, and lists themselves as being organic certified for all of their kava products. They state that "We use ROOTS ONLY from our Kava plants. We have 90% lateral roots and 10% underground, making our Kava some of the most potent and safe available." This stance has come about because of the discovery through government investigations that substantial amounts of the aerial parts of the kava plant had been being exported to North America and Europe prior to 2002 for the production of commercial preparations. In the South Pacific, traditional use of kava calls for the stem peelings and leaves to be discarded. Only the rhizomes, which are extracted with water, are used.

I do not know how safe Kava Kava is, like the UKs Medicines Control Agency, I am uncertain on what a safe use for kava would be, so I encourage anyone with an interest in it to research the product thoroughly and consult your doctor on your risk factors for liver complications, then only purchase from a kava seller that you feel can be trusted to provide only non-aerial plant sections.

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