Kava kava: Uses, Side effects, Benefits, Interactions
Australian Kava Co | Kava kava: Uses, Side effects, Benefits, Interactions

Australian Kava Editor

There are several intoxicating plants like kava in the Pacific Islands. Tongan and Marquesan dialects use the word kava, which means “bitter,” to refer to the plant.

Other names for the kava plant include Awa, sakau, Seka, and malok or malogu.

Note: None of the texts written in this article is a piece of medical advice. Please, contact your medical doctor before taking any kava beverage, supplement or extract.

Kava Kava or “Kava

Australian Kava Co | Kava kava: Uses, Side effects, Benefits, Interactions

Kava is a traditional herb or intoxicating plant consumed as a drink or in capsule form, used by Pacific islanders to produce a drink that induces relaxation, and relief from an anxiety disorder, restlessness, and insomnia.

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You could see people calling it kava or kava kava. Whatever name you choose to use, they are the same.

Kava Table of contents

Below are what we will discuss in today’s kava article:

Overview of kava kava (kava plant)

The Piper methysticum plant yields kava. It’s a common beverage for ceremonial relaxation in the South Pacific.

The Polynesian word “awa,” which signifies bitter, originates from “kava.”

Kava plant effects are attributed to kavalactones, which are contained in the plant. 

Kava plant is a popular treatment for stress, anxiety disorder, benzodiazepine withdrawal, insomnia, and a slew of other ailments are all treated with kava.

Kava kava has been related to liver damage and, in some circumstances, death. People with liver disease should avoid kava because it can cause liver damage. 

In Europe and Canada, kava was pulled off the market in the early 2000s. Nonetheless, most governments have permitted kava to return to the market after examining the facts.

In the United States, kava was never removed from the market.

What is kava?

Kava is a traditional herb or intoxicating plant consumed as a drink or in capsule form, used by Pacific islanders to produce a drink that induces relaxation, and relief from an anxiety disorder, restlessness, and insomnia.

A euphoric, sedative and analgesic beverage made from the kava plant’s shrub, called “Kavalactones‘ are the main compound’s active components responsible for the effects.

The “British charity Cochrane” did a study and found that kava was more likely to help with short-term anxiety than a placebo.

A “low level of health risk” is determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) for a moderate intake of kava kava in its traditional form.

Toxic effects, such as liver damage, may happen if you use kava extracts made with organic solvents or eat a lot of low-quality kava products.

Australian Kava Co | Kava kava: Uses, Side effects, Benefits, Interactions

Are you looking for where to buy kava in Australia?

You can buy kava in Sydney. If you want purchase kava in bulk, you can as well buy kava in wholesale in Australia.

A short history of kava kava

According to Wikipedia, Kava originated in either New Guinea or Vanuatu by seafarers. After interaction with the Austronesian Lapita civilization in eastern Polynesia, kava expanded over the rest of the island chain. Unlike other Austronesian groups, it is unique to Oceania.

While kava has made it to Hawaii, it has not yet made it to New Zealand, where it cannot grow. Many Austronesians outside of Oceania have stopped chewing betel leaves because of kava use.

According to Lynch (2002), kava means “bitter root” or “powerful root [used as fish poison].” This word comes from Proto-Oceanic kawa, which means “bitter root” or “powerful root.”

Learn more about Kava powder vs. Kava pills.

Kava medication might cause dizziness, drowsiness, and blurred vision

Dizziness and tiredness may occur due to drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana. 

Liver disease may also be exacerbated by excessive alcohol use. If you’re using marijuana, talk to your doctor about it. 

Some kava drinks include sugar and liquor. If you have diabetes, alcoholism, or liver problems, check caution before using kava.

Consult your pharmacist for advice or healthcare provider on using kava medication. 

Recommended: Kava recipe: Learn how to make kava in 10 minutes

Interactions of kava kava

Please remember that this publication does not cover all possible medication interactions, and it’s not a piece of medical advice.

If you take medicines that interact with kava, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing severe adverse effects.

Your doctor and pharmacist will appreciate having a complete list of all the medications and herbal supplements you use, as well as their dosages, to help you make a decision. 

If your doctor and pharmacist know all the medications, they’ll be able to do their jobs better.

Medication altered by the liver interacts with kava.

The liver breaks down some medicines, and kava might affect how quickly the liver breaks down these medicines. If kava affects how the liver breaks down drugs or medications, that will cause an adverse health effect.

Kava changes how medications interact, and its interactions with other drugs often intensify the side effects. Please be cautious and contact your medical doctor if you take kava with anything.

Below are some of the medications that interact with kava abnormally:

  1. Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates
  2. Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates
  3. Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) substrates
  4. CYP2D6 substrates 
  5. CYP3A4 substrates

A list of medications that interact poorly with kava can be found here and can affect how the liver breaks down this medication, raising the risk of potential liver damage.

Kava and ethanol do not mix.

It’s possible that drinking kava and alcohol together might harm the central nervous system. 

  1. It may increase the chance of adverse effects. 
  2. It includes tiredness and mood swings, which are possible.
  3. Kava may also be harmful to the liver. 
  4. Taking kava alongside alcohol may raise the risk of liver disease.

Recommended for where to buy kava in Australia:

Kava Kava regulation

Most nations still allow the use of kava beverages and kava root extracts, and kava is classified as food or a dietary supplement by government bodies.

Let’s see how kava is regulated in our country, Australia.

Kava regulations in Australia

The National Code of Kava Management governs the kava supply in Australia. As long as it’s a kava root or dried-form kava, international travelers 18 years and above visiting Australia can carry up to 4 kg of kava in their luggage.

The kava limit for each person in Australia was set at 2 kilograms and later increased to 4 kilograms in December 2019.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration recommends taking no more than 250 mg of kavalactones.

In Australia, larger amounts of kava can be imported with a permit for medicinal or research uses. 

The commercial importation of kava kava began on December 1, 2021.

Kava FAQs

Many Australians believe buying kava is difficult, but it’s not. The truth is that you can buy kava in Australia without issue if you partner with us.


Can I use Kava in Australia? Is it illegal to use kava in Australia?

Yes, you can use kava in Australia. Purchasing kava in Australia is easy with us. There has been no law change that prevents the use of Kava in Australia. So, you can use Kava kava in Australia. Note: If you are in Western Australia, you can use kava kava, but it’s regulated.

What are Kava drinks made from?

An extract of the “Piper methysticum plant” is turned into a drink or extract called kava.

In the South Pacific, kava drinks are made from fresh kava roots. Sometimes, kava drinks are made from dried kava when the fresh root is unavailable.

Where can you find support for Kava usage in Australia?

You can get assistance by calling any of the support lines below if you are in Australia;

Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Australia – Tel. 1300 858 584

Counseling Online – Call 1800 888 236 for expert drug and alcohol counseling.

For more information about kava, visit our kava blog.






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