Kava Alternative

At Kona Kava Farm, we believe kava is one of the gentlest and most beneficial herbs you can take, and we can't imagine relaxing with anything else at the end of the day. Yet we know that a few people may be unable to take kava, either because of a medical condition or allergy, and would benefit from knowing about a kava alternative. These are other herbs that have relaxing effects on the body and mind*. Many kava alternatives also have long histories of use in the West, so they're time-tested to be gentle on the body. Always consult a physician before starting any herbal supplement if you use any prescription medications, are pregnant or nursing, or have an existing liver condition or are at risk of developing one.

Valerian: The name valerian comes from a Latin root meaning "to make strong", which could equally refer to the strong smell of its root: some people have compared the aroma of valerian to the smell of stinky socks! Despite its pungent odor, valerian has maintained a positive reputation over centuries as an herb that can naturally support calm* and healthy sleep patterns*. A valerian supplement can be taken 1-2 hours before bedtime.

Lemon Balm: At one time, lemon balm had a reputation as a "cure all" in European herbal medicine. The distinctive, lemony flavor of lemon balm's green, serrated leaves has made this herb a natural favorite in cooking. It is also taken as a bedtime tea, sometimes in combination with valerian.

Chamomile: Chamomile tea is probably one of the most well-known herbal teas worldwide. Though commonly used to encourage healthy sleep*, chamomile is so gentle that it can be taken any time of the day. As a tea, it has a wonderful, apple-like flavor that can lift your mood all by itself!

Passionflower: Named for its showy purple and white flowers, passionflower has been used in its native South America as a stress-reducing herb* for centuries, if not millennia. The flowers are the part used in herbal supplements and teas to promote relaxation.*

Damiana: This may be our favorite kava alternative on the list, as it is similar in many ways to our favorite South Pacific root! In Mexico, damiana leaves have long been made into a tea with reputed relaxing* and aphrodisiac* effects that is especially popular among Mexican women.

Hops Flower: Yes, this is the same hops used to flavor beer, but you don't have to drink alcohol to make use of hops' benefits. The flowering cones of the female hops plant have been used to encourage healthy sleep patterns* since medieval times, often by placing a sleep pillow full of dried hops flowers under one's pillow. Today, you can easily order dried hops flowers, tinctures, or capsules online; we recommend the capsules, because straight hops brewed into a tea is quite bitter.

Ashwagandha: This ancient Ayurvedic botanical is also known as the "winter cherry" for its bright reddish orange fruit, and has been used in India for a variety of applications. Ashwagandha is classfied as an adaptogen, meaning an herb that may regulate the body's reponse to stress over time. Ashwagandha may also encourage calm while improving mental focus*, making it ideal for use in situations where you need to concentrate.

Maca Root: We love maca so much we established an entire line of maca products on Kona Kava Farm! An Andean tuber distantly related to the turnip, maca is the second adaptogen on our list: maca root is thought to improve stamina* (and possibly enhance libido*) in humans, and features in our Bee Pollen Energy Shot, designed to give you long-lasting energy without the jitteriness or crashes associated with caffeine. Maca root is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols essential to maintaining a healthy body, and it tastes great too--rich and sharp with a hint of butterscotch.

Velvet Bean: The velvet bean pod (Mucuna pruriens) is another Indian botanical traditionally used in Ayurveda to naturally support the libido*. Researchers know today that velvet bean seeds contain L-DOPA, a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine that helps one regulate mood and experience feelings of enjoyment*.

To us, the best part about these kava alternative herbs comes when you combine them with the relaxing power of kava in synergistic blends. For the vast majority of people who can safely enjoy kava, herbal blends represent a fresh and interesting way to explore kava's benefits. At Kona Kava Farm, we sell two unique products that combine our strong and ultra-smooth Mahakea kava root with some of the most relaxing herbs available*.

First of all, there are our Kavalovetone capsules, which contain a blend of 30% kavalactone extract with liquid extracts of damiana, ashwagandha, valerian, maca root, velvet bean, and other relaxing herbs. Kavalovetone capsules are already Top Sellers at our shop.

We get so many questions about whether or not Kava can be used as an alternative medicine, and although we have countless stories on the positive effects of Kava, we are limited by the FDA in what we can say.

We can quote the statistics in Europe where Kava is often prescribed as medicine instead of Prozac, but we cannot offer any medical advice in relation to Kava whatsoever.  For my family, there is no greater natural medicine for so much of what ails us than kava.  We have never been afraid to give it to our own children because 3,000 years of moderated use has never resulted in any health issues for anyone in my family or with our friends either.

It's difficult to NOT listen to the mass media, especially with voices as loud as the major pharmaceutical companies, but the plain facts will always remain:  Kava is an integral part of our family and our culture, and as been for as long as any of us can remember.  We rely on Kava as an alternative medicine and as a natural medicine, but once we became a state in the United States of America, everything changed, including what we were able to say about this safe and sacred plant.

In fact, what was strange to see, was so many large corporations jumping on the "alternative medicine" wagon, offering Kava in mass-manufactured capsules and pills to an unsuspecting public.  We've seen so many brands and types of Kava being offered on store shelves, but NONE of them actually have any resemblance (at least in my humble opinion) to the true nature and effectiveness of Kava.

If something is to be considered as an alternative or natural medicine, it had better be effective, especially when people's health is in question.  And again, I cannot and could never offer medical advice, nor is any Kava product we offer intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, the importance of its effects in our family and are culture are undeniable.  I can't count the number of stressful times that Kava has come to the rescue.  I can't count the number of times it has helped excitable, unruly children to calm down enough to listen to reason.  And the list goes on.

Anyway, I should get off my soap box for now (Although I never get off my soapbox on my blog called "The Mind of Makaira"), and let you continue exploring our family farm and everything that we have to offer.  It's all made with love and lots of sunshine, of course! - Aloha no, Makaira


"I know you told me that you don't offer your kava as medicine, but I can't thank you enough for freeing me from a world of prescription medication!  I have severe sleeping problems, and sometimes can't get to sleep for 2-3 days.  This has caused me all kinds of health problems, especially because of the numerous medications that I have been given.  They all left me feeling groggy, or they had side effects, but Kava not only helps me sleep, it helps me to feel happier and more relaxed as I am drifting off to sleep as well.  Thanks, Makaira for believing in what you do enough to deal with all the rules." Linda, San Diego, CA

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease.