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Kava Kava

(Piper methysticum)

Other Names:

awa, ava, malok or malogu, sakau, and yaqona

Range:

Non Native Plant

Family:

Piperaceae Pepper family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

Perennial Shrub

Height:

N/A

Leaves:

N/A

Stem/Trunk:

N/A

Root:

Taproot

Flower:

Season:

N/A

Appearance:

N/A

Seed/Fruit:

N/A

Miscellaneous characteristics:

N/A

Habitat:

Islands of the South Pacific

Parts Used:

Root

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

N/A

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

Traditionally a drink is prepared by a group of people chewing the fresh root and spitting the resulting liquid into a bowl or cup. This liquid is then consumed for its psychoactive properties. The cause of these psychoactive properties are the kavalactones contained in the root of the plant. This drink has been used in religious rituals, and for medicinal treatments much longer than recorded history.

 

Western societies typically use a 1:4 tincture prepared from the dried root and high proof ethyl alcohol. Aside from the hypnotic, nervine, relaxant, and sedative effects, this plant is a wonderful natural analgesic, or pain killer. This provides an excellent option for those who suffer from chronic uncontrolled pain. There are however some drawbacks to using this plant. The instances of dependency are well documented. Care must be taken when using this plant. Do not operate machinery, including automobiles, until you know how this drug will affect you. I have found that when taken on an empty stomach, the narcotic effects are greatly increased, and quite quick to take hold. However these effects are relatively short lived. It has been my experience that cognition returns quite quickly. The trick of using this drug medicinally is to find a dosage which will alleviate your symptoms without a reduction in cognition.

Medicinal Actions:

Analgesic, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Hypnotic, Nervine, Relaxant, Sedative, and Soporific

Photo compliments of: Hsz282 - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9841844

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Revised: 12/19/16 Living Afield