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Kava kava: what is it, what is it for and how to take it

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The kava kava, also called Kawa kawa or Kava, is a medicinal plant that is widely used in traditional medicine to treat cases of anxiety, agitation or tension. Your scientific name is piper methysticum You can find them in natural products stores, online stores and even in certain supermarkets.

This plant has some very important active substances that are known as kavalactones, which according to some studies, apparently act in a very similar way to some anxiolytic drugs, regulating the action of the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain.

In this way, kava kava can be an excellent natural treatment option for cases of anxiety and agitation, before opting for the use of drugs. However, in order for it to be used correctly and in safe doses, its use must be guided by a naturopath, phytotherapist, nutritionist or other health professional specialized in the use of medicinal plants.



Although the exact mechanism of action of this plant is not known, however, several studies indicate that the kavalactones of the Kava kava have a very similar function to that of the benzodiazepines, which are the main group of drugs used in the treatment of anxiety .

This means that the plant manages to join the brain receptors of the neurotransmitter GABA, improving its action. As GABA is primarily responsible for inhibiting the central nervous system, allowing the person to relax, feel less anxious and less anxious, this plant has a powerful calming effect.

Similarly, some studies indicate that Kava can be used in cases of convulsions, as one of its kavalactones, the kavaína, has antagonistic action in the sodium channels, which generates the stabilization of the electrical action of the neuron.

The used parts of the Kava kava are its rhizomes, which is where the highest concentration of its active substances is found. There are several ways to use this plant:



  • Supplement (capsules): This is the most effective way, as it uses a more concentrated extract of the plant’s active substances. To use it under the supplement form, it is ideal to consult a phytotherapist; however, the generic dose indicated is normally 60 to 120 mg per day in the case of extracts with 50 to 70% concentration of kavalactones;
  • You: The rhizomes of the Kava can also be used to carry out, without embargo, in this form of use it is not possible to know completely what is the concentration of active substances. However, it is recommended that 1 teaspoon of Kava kava rhizomes be placed in 500 ml of water, soaking for 10 minutes. After, remove from the fire, paste, dejar etibiar and take 2 to 3 times a day or in the moments when you feel greater anxiety, for example.

The ideal is always to consult a phytotherapist or a health professional specialized in medicinal plants, their use, doses and treatment time may vary according to each person and their clinical history.

Discover other natural options to control anxiety.

The main secondary effect of the use of Kava kava is the emergence of serious injuries in the liver. However, the only studies carried out on this effect were carried out on people who also had other habits that could have affected the functioning of the liver. In this way, even though the true effect of Kava on the liver is not known, it is recommended not to exceed the dose of 120 mg per day.

Kava kava is contraindicated in embarassed and lactating women, as there are no studies on its safety during these stages of life. In addition, those people who suffer from liver diseases and those who are undergoing treatment with antihypertensive drugs should be avoided, at least without the indication of a health professional.

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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