The Mind of Makaira

Kava Roots Are Serious Business

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in The Mind of Makaira | 0 comments

Kava Roots Are Serious Business

We take bringing you the best Kava we can grow and/or source as seriously as we have taken Kava as a business in our family for many generations.  We take great pride in the Kava we offer, partly because it’s the same Kava that we take ourselves on a daily basis.  That means we treat every customer as we would treat ourselves automatically!  If we were interested in “cashing in” on the next Kava craze; we’ve already been through several of them, and we’re still here, doing the same thing we’ve always done. We’re far less interested in making some knock-you-on-your-pants Kava product, than we are in providing you with a consistent Kava experience time and time again.  We carefully craft our Kava in fully FDA-compliant facilities that follow strict GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standards set out by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States Federal government.  What this mostly means for our customers is that our Kava is the safest Kava available on the market, while also being the most pleasurable Kava you can find as well! Our Kava has become known as “Happy Kava” and that’s no accident.  From the first moment we harvest mature roots from our prized Mahakea cultivar of Kava, to the Kava that we carefully source from elsewhere in Oceania; we’re often there pulling the roots out of the ground ourselves.  We want to see and smell and feel the kava while it’s still a living energy in the ground it’s nourished in. And just because the Kava looks and smells and feels right; that’s not good enough for what we ultimately bring to our customers.  To anyone here at Kona Kava Farm, there’s fewer things that bring more joy to any of us than to not only be there when Kava roots are carefully harvested, but to enjoy the very first cup of Kava from those roots. This is when we get our first sense of what the Kava will be like, and whether it’s something we want to eventually bring to our treasured customers.  Anyone who’s experienced fresh Kava roots will tell you that nothing compares to a Kava drink made from freshly-harvested Kava roots.  So, unless we feel that “kick” and that initial rush of stress-melting energy as any anxiety we have dissolves away, we don’t go any further. And, rest assured, we have never even considered harvesting anything other than Kava roots.  Virtually every report, including the extensive study by the World Health Organization, has concluded that any occurrences of liver damage from Kava were because of unscrupulous manufacturers who used stems and leaves in their Kava products.  We harvest only lateral and underground roots, and never go anywhere near stems or leaves of the Kava plant! If you want a full story on the True Side Effects of Kava, head on over to Kava.com. But when we do; that’s when the long journey from farm to your package of Kava truly begins.  If it’s Kava that we harvest ourselves in Hawaii, then the trip is much shorter.  If it comes from somewhere in Oceania, such as Fiji or Vanuatu, then the first order of business is to carefully prepare the Kava for export, following strict regulations set up by the United States and any consumable products, especially when they’re plant-based products such as Kava root.  This is a difficult, and paper-laden process that can take a couple of weeks to properly prepare.  This is where experienced Kava exporters are worth their weight in gold, as the effort involved in simply getting Kava into the United States...

Read More

Is Your Kava GMP Kava?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Featured, The Mind of Makaira | 0 comments

Is Your Kava GMP Kava?

We’ve always felt that assurance of quality was of the utmost for our treasured and loyal customers.  As part of that commitment to quality, Kona Kava Farm became a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) compliant company from the farm to your table several years ago as the new, far stricter rules came into being for small businesses in 2011. What does GMP do for you?  It assures a minimum of quality in all of your dietary supplements, as any manufacturer, distributor, and retailer has to agree to follow a very strict set of procedures for all aspects of providing you with the Kava products you love.  In fact, GMP procedures are the very manufacturing procedures that pharmaceutical manufacturers have to follow.  This includes extremely strict standards down to the amount and type of particles in the air of a clean room where products are actually manufactured. We start by testing every single harvest of Kava that comes out of the ground for contaminants, pathogens, metals, and bacteria.  This is done in a certified testing facility such as Chromadex; specialists in testing raw materials and finished goods for all kinds of industries. We then re-test that product when it arrives at our USA holding facility, where it remains in quarantine until the lab confirms it’s safe for release.  It’s here where we do all of our extra testing, including Total Kavalactone Content and Kavalactone Lineup of each and every one of our Kava products.  When we say that our Kavalactone 30% Capsules are a very “happy” 2-4-6 lineup, it’s not a guess.  It’s because we know exactly what the lineup is, from 1-6, as well as the exact Kavalactone percentage.  Our Kavalactone 30% Capsules are actually manufactured from Kavalactone 33% Powder, but we always underestimate to ensure our customers are never disappointed with the quality of the products they receive. Once the Kava root is released from the initial holding facility, that’s when the fun begins!  That’s when it gets portioned out for the manufacturer into Kavalactone 70% oil, which then gets crafted into several Kona Kava Farm products, including our Kavalactone 55% Paste, and our Full Spectrum 55% Paste; two of our All-Time Top Selling products here at Kona Kava Farm.  Or, it’s made into our Kavalactone 33% Powder that turns into Instant Drink Mixes, capsules, and other products. Mind you, every step of this process is carried out in a GMP Manufacturing facility, ensuring safety and transparency in the process that is painstakingly documented and traced every step of the way.  Down to the sterility of the product, anything that touches the product (never human hands!), to the packages they’re placed in and even the bands used to heat seal each product for your protection; Kona Kava Farm has taken the time and expense to ensure you get a consistent, quality, legal product that contains the exact dosages that are spelled out on each and every label for each and every product. And here’s an easy test to know if your Kava is manufactured in an FDA-compliant GMP facility; does it have Supplement Facts on the back?  Does it clearly list the contents of the package?  Does the package give you contact information regarding who to call in case of issue or emergency?  Does it contain less than 290mg of Kavalactone per serving (hopefully much less), and 290mg of Kavalactone per a total daily total intake of Kava?  Is there an Expiration or a Best By date on the package, so you know when it needs to be used up by? Do you know if your Kava ever gets...

Read More

Cultural Uses of Pepper Plants

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in The Mind of Makaira | 0 comments

Cultural Uses of Pepper Plants

Aloha everyone, and I hope this post finds you well! It’s a hot, dry midsummer in Hawaii, and as always, I’m grateful to have plenty of quenching ‘awa on hand to refresh me after a hard day of work on the farm! Long-time visitors to this blog know that besides all things kava, one of my foremost passions is reading and research; I still take every opportunity to educate myself on the history, botany and culture surrounding this wonderful plant and its origins. One thing that’s been on my mind recently is the connection between kava and its botanical relatives in the pepper genus, Piper. No species of plant or animal exists in a vaccum of course, and kava is no exception: there are over 2,000 species of peppers scattered around tropical areas of the world, including possibly the most popular spice of all time, black pepper. So I got to wondering: are there other pepper species with cultural uses as broad and significant as those of kava? The answer took me on a fascinating journey into South and Southeast Asia, where peppers have found their way into food, medicine and social settings for hundreds of years! First of all, it’s important to establish what kinds of peppers we’re talking about. I’m writing about peppers that belong to the genus Piper, not the hot chili peppers from the Americas, which are grouped under the genus Capsicum. Although the two genii are related and both have medicinal and cultural uses, I wanted to only look at species closely related to kava kava—otherwise I could literally end up writing a book rather than an article! All right then: Piper is a genus of climbing vines found in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. Pepper vines usually have heart-shaped evergreen leaves and may bear fruit or flowers, although kava is sterile and can be propagated only with human help. Also interesting, while we harvest kava for her wonderful roots, most pepper species are valued for their fruits or occasionally for their leaves. Black pepper, the most popular condiment in the world, is made from the dried and ground fruits of Piper nigrum, the black pepper vine. Piper nigrum: Those of you who go out of your way to buy whole peppercorns probably know that although black pepper is the best known type of pepper, several different condiments can be made from Piper nigrum fruits. Black peppercorns consist of the whole dried fruit (the seed plus the outer skin), while white peppercorns have had the outer pericarp, or flesh, removed. Red and green peppers are also made by pickling the ripe or unripe pepper grain. Though it’s now ubiquitous, at one time pepper was so in demand and heavily tariffed in Europe that sneaky merchants would sometimes adulterate ground pepper with linseed, mustard, flour or sago. Some even traded fake peppercorns made out of oil and clay with a bit of cayenne added—yuck! Most people don’t think of black pepper as a health food, but research has shown that piperine—the compound in black pepper that gives it spice—increases the absorption of several nutrients from food, including vitamins A, C, and the B complex, selenium, beta-carotene, and curcumin. Black pepper has also been used directly as a stimulant and medicine for all sorts of digestive ailments, such as nausea, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, and dyspepsia. It’s thought that black pepper works to stimulate the digestive tract by acting as a mild irritant to those tissues, which is why pepper is eliminated from the diets of people about to undergo abdominal surgery. As...

Read More

Providing The Best Kava Around

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Featured, The Mind of Makaira | 0 comments

Providing The Best Kava Around

KAVA ALERT: KONA KAVA FARM NOBLE KAVA This post was actually originally an email response to another forum person who felt it appropriate to take a sliver of knowledge they gained to both challenge the quality of the products we work so hard to provide, and to infer that there’s some behind-the-scenes conspiracy going on at Kona Kava Farm and KavaDotCom.  Instead of responding via email each time, this post will serve to answer what is a predictable tone and inappropriate request by this very exclusive minority (6 at most out of literally hundreds of thousands of Kona Kava Farm and KavaDotCom customers). Why even give them space on even one of our posts? Even though we personally know the immense commitment to quality both Kava companies provide, it can still hurt when just a few others try to undermine decades of effort on our part to bring you Kava of a safe and verifiable quality.  We didn’t make it to the top by scamming people; we made it to the top because of our personal care of every one of our treasured customers, because of our passion for the Kava and Kava information we provide, as well as the FDA-compliant, GMP manufactured products that adhere to the strictest of safety protocols. And no, a few disparaging remarks don’t hurt our business; the rare times they’ve happened, we’ve actually seen a SPIKE in sales!  So, any time these rare events happen, it’s an opportunity for us to share what we do here at Kona Kava Farm and now over at KavaDotCom as well.  That makes us very happy as we don’t often toot our own horn! When we say that 2 teaspoons of a Kava extract will contain 95mg of Kavalactone, or when we say that our Kavalactone 30% Capsules actually are manufactured from a Kava extract that contains 33% total Kavalactone, with a lineup of 2-4-6; we’re not guessing.  We’re simply looking at our data sheets from our testing lab, as well as the meticulous manufacturing records that are kept every step of the way. One of the current main themes is Vince Lebot’s Colormetric Kava Test.  This test has been used to get an idea of the possible cultivar of Kava, especially in relation to whether it’s a Noble variety of Kava root or Tudei Kava.  Mr. Lebot’s test has no actual scientific basis; a point he points out himself.  I’ve been informed that he wishes the test wasn’t being used in the way it currently is.  And, he even admits himself that there are exceptions to his test that render it relatively useless for making any real judgments or drawing any conclusions that people have then used as a basis for making disparaging remarks that hurt other real, live business owners and their sometimes-struggling companies. Oddly enough, without fail, we have personally received these kinds of disparaging remarks only from Kava forum members, who we feel, have been unfairly targeting and consciously hurting both Kona Kava Farm, KavaDotCom, and a few other Kava suppliers or information providers we are friends with.  Although acknowledging them only typically empowers and emboldens them, we felt we should at least devote one article regarding this issue to remind our hundreds of thousands of happy customers how much we really do care. With the Tudei Kava test, especially in relation to our Mahakea Kava, we know there are exceptions to the “It must be Tudei Kava!” rule that seems to have been arbitrarily decided on a Kava forum or two.  As we stated above; Vince Lebot knows there are exceptions.  We...

Read More

Yummy Recipes with Our Organic Maca Root!

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in The Mind of Makaira | 1 comment

Yummy Recipes with Our Organic Maca Root!

Aloha, dear readers, and I hope this article finds you brimming with energy to face everything the summer will bring! Of course, even as the days get longer and warmer, I know not all of us feel as vigorous as we’d like; the stress of managing our daily affairs and busy schedules can leave even the most enthusiastic people in need of a pick-me-up! That’s why I thought it might be time for a change of pace. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you already know that kava kava has many wonderful benefits for reducing that daily stress load and helping one to unwind… but what about those times when you want more energy, to leap into your day no holds barred? Enter the humble maca root: unlike artificial stimulants and energy drinks that can be loaded with sugar and who knows what sorts of preservatives, our maca root is totally organic and chock full of nutrients that can give you natural, sustained energy, all without the burnout associated with caffeinated beverages! Sometimes called Peruvian ginseng for its similar adaptogenic effects on the human body, maca (Lepidium mayenii) is a South American root vegetable in the radish family Cruciferae. In the area where it grows around Lake Junin in Peru, maca root has traditionally been consumed to improve energy, stamina, and sexual function, and an interesting recent study actually does corroborate maca’s potential as an aphrodisiac [1]! Maca is a true superfood in the nutritional sense: it contains high levels of vitamins C, E, and the B complex; essential minerals such as selenium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, and magnesium; amino acids; and enzymes known as glucosinolates [2]. All of these can contribute to sustained energy by fulfilling your body’s nutritional needs! Raw vs. Gelatinized Maca Root: There’s a lot of buzz today around the “raw food” diet; its many advocates claim that eating raw delivers vital nutrients that are broken down by cooking. Maca is no exception to this craze, and indeed it actually may be easier to get raw maca powder than heat-treated, or gelatinized, maca powder. However, both forms actually have their benefits, so you might want to research them to make a purchase that fits your needs: Gelatinized maca root has undergone a treatment that combines heat and pressure to remove most or all of the starch from the root [3]. This results in a more nutrient-dense product since the finished powder now has a greater concentration of compounds relative to starches. It may also be easier to digest for people who have trouble digesting starches or sugars. However, the glucosinolates in maca root may be destroyed or depleted by this process. In contrast, since it hasn’t been exposed to heat, raw maca root retains the full spectrum of compounds, including glucosinolates. It also contains more starches or sugars, which may be helpful if, for example, you want to use maca as a supplement in a body-building routine. Some people recommend buying both gelatinized and raw maca powder and alternating them for maximum benefit! I find maca powder easy to work with and extremely versatile in both sweet and savory recipes. Below are a few selections of easy and delicious recipes with maca root powder, which you can buy over at Kona Kava Farm in both its ultra pure raw form, and as a yummy maca “krispy” extract that has the texture of Rice Krispies. Try both in recipes to find your favorite! Basic Maca Smoothie: Ingredients: 1 ½ cups almond or coconut milk 1 tablespoon maca root powder 1 banana 1...

Read More

The Strange Case of Fake Kava

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in The Mind of Makaira | 0 comments

The Strange Case of Fake Kava

As any long-time reader of this blog knows, I am constantly on the lookout for any news stories about kava kava. I have been blessed to learn so much about kava kava’s traditional uses outside of my home islands, the developing research on her health benefits, and her emergence at long last as an accepted herbal medicine among many Western health practitioners. Yet in all the years I’ve been reading and writing about kava, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a story as surprising as the curious case of fake kava which I’m about to relate to you all below. 1996 was an exciting year in many ways: we were counting down not just to the end of the (Western) century but also the millennium, and many changes already seemed to be afoot—including the introduction of a safe and natural herb for relaxation and anxiety relief into the world market. I don’t have to tell you readers that that herb was my favorite plant in the world, kava kava! Of course, as kava became more and more famous, other less salubrious enterprises also began to take notice; specifically, those looking for the latest “herbal high” or some other such nonsense. Now, you know me, readers: I have never and will never represent kava as a “herbal high” or any such frivolous designation. Kava kava is a sacred elixir among my people, used with the utmost respect to improve our health and well-being as well as the harmony of our communities. Unfortunately, during its heady emergence into the world market, some people misrepresented kava in just the way described above, and that is where the curious case of fake kava comes into play. The details were reported in the Society for Science-Based Medicine’s quarterly newsletter [1] in 1997: David Bricker, a California chiropractor, was fined $2000 and sentenced to three months in prison and three months in a halfway house for sickening over 100 partygoers at a Los Angeles “rave”-style New Year’s Eve party that drew more than 10,000 guests. In an attempt to establish himself as a source of “party drugs”, Bricker was giving out free samples of cherry, orange and lemon-flavored liquids which he claimed contained an extract of kava. (Already I was disgusted just reading this story. There’s a world of difference between partaking of kava at a family gathering, ceremony, or even a friendly bar where the root is prepared with care and respect, and knocking back a mysterious liquid in the belief it will get one “high” for the purpose of partying. Forgive me my little aside, but this report really struck a nerve with me. All right, back to the story!) However, as he was unable to obtain kava extract in time for the party, Bricker had substituted the industrial chemical 1,4-butanediol, a chemical relative of GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid). Although some people use GHB or, more rarely, 1,4-butanediol as a recreational substance, both chemicals have serious safety concerns associated with them. They have the potential to cause central nervous system toxicity, coma, respiratory depression, and even death at too-high doses. Yikes! In contrast, kava does not cause central nervous system depression, mental fogginess, or affect breathing. Bricker knowingly substituted a dangerous chemical for kava kava, and 100 partygoers fooled by his scheme suffered harm as a result. If this story doesn’t illustrate the pitfalls of trying to market kava as a “legal high”, I don’t know what does! I found myself wondering, what is 1,4-butanediol and what possessed Bricker to substitute it for kava? Well, it turns out that 1,4-butanediol is a pro-drug...

Read More