Tudei Kava

Although there is a lot of hype and rumor about Tudei Kava, the facts are out there and we want to help clarify some of the misconceptions surrounding this kava variety. Tudei (pronounced: Two-day) kava is a particularly strong form of the kava plant (Piper methysticum), grown in Hawaii and in the South Pacific. Tudei kava is also known as Isa kava or Palisi kava on the island of Papua New Guinea. On the South Pacific island republic of Vanuatu, where many different kava types are grown, Tudei kava is consumed only at ceremonial occasions and is not considered appropriate for everyday use. Because it is a very special, ceremonial strain on Vanuatu, the country has also prohibited the export of Tudei kava to foreign markets.

Varieities of Tudei kava such as Palisi and Isa are now grown in many South Pacific regions and as far east as Hawaii. However, the origin of the Tudei strain is still unclear: some vendors have even proclaimed that Tudei kava is actually a type of Piper wichmanii, the ancient wild form of kava that is still endemic to Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. So far though, no studies have come out identifying Tudei kava as Piper wichmanii, so we have to call "buyer beware" on this questionable claim.

What we do know is that Tudei Kava (like the Mahakea strain that we offer here at Kona Kava Farm) is known for its high kavalactone content and its stability when converted into root powders and various other extracts.  The Tudei kava plant itself is a hardy, fast-growing strain with dark green leaves that are sometimes covered in lighter green spots. Some studies have suggested that Tudei kava is especially high in certain kavalactones such as dihydromethysticin. It gets its name from reports that its effects may last as long as 'two days,' but the legend is larger than the actual truth.

There are many misconceptions about Tudei kava and the kavalactone triterpenes present in the roots, namely that kavalactones can cause liver damage. Recent studies conducted by the renowned German scientists Rolf Gebhardt and Mathias Schmidt have proven that kavalactones are safe and will not cause liver damage. Rolf and Schmidt used the colorimetric standard MTT assay, a test that uses a special dye to measure the enzyme activity of cells, to determine potential toxicity levels of a standardized kava extract. The researchers tested the six main kavalactones present in kava root (kavain, dihydrokavain, methysticin, dihydromethysticin, yangonin, and desmethoxy-yangonin) which are found in Tudei Kava as well as the Mahakea kava offered at Kona Kava Farm. These six compounds are the active constituents that should be found in any legitimate kava root powders, extracts, tinctures, elixirs, pastes and drinks. Unfortunately, many packaged commercial kava products available at your local health food store or pharmacy contain inactive filler ingredients and/or very low levels of active kavalactones and thus will not produce the desired effects associated with high-quality kava. These inferior products are part of what has given kava such a bad name.

Rolf and Schmidt concluded that when these kavalactones are taken there were no signs of cytotoxicity. In other words, the study proved that Tudei kava and other kava extracts were in no way harmful to the human liver, especially when recommended dosage levels were taken. In Rolf and Schmidt's own words: "liver cell toxicity in a relevant dosage range could not be detected for standardized" kava extracts.

(Read more about this topic on Makaira's Kava and Liver Damage blog post.)

So what does all of this mean for you? Basically, this means that if you are considering using kava, you can rest assured that, whether it's our effective Mahakea kava or the less active, but still widely-available Tudei kava, you can enjoy it with confidence.

Additional studies conducted by Yadhu N. Singh, found that the daily tradition of aboriginal South Pacific islanders consuming kava drinks that were frequently more than twice as concentrated in kavalactones as commercially available kava drinks resulted in no ill or adverse liver reactions throughout their lives. Makaira and her family have generations of kava drinkers who can attest to this as well.*

In conclusion, Tudei kava is as safe and effective as other varieties of kava. Aboriginal South Pacific islanders have been drinking strong kava drinks for thousands of years with no reports of adverse liver damage or other problems. Kava has been cultivated and refined over many years to produce the desired effects it is now so well known for, such as supporting daily stress relief and promoting relaxation. Although we formerly offered Tudei kava, our Mahakea kava is not only proven to be richer in kavalactones, but we also have the rare and unique kavalactone lineup of 4-2-6, which makes this often bitter root far more palatable and "sweeter" than any other variety of kava.* Enjoy with confidence and especially with all the benefits that this wonderful plant has to offer.*

*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.