Herbal Kava Combinations

Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in The Mind of Makaira | 5 comments

Herbal Kava CombinationsAloha Everyone,

Warm breezes are finally shifting the relative dim of the rainy season here in Hawaii. I find that this time of year always brings me a great deal more energy, inspiration, and excitement for the future. With this inspiration I often find myself trying to discover interesting new ways to do those things that I do every day, breathing new life in to old rituals to create a sense of shift, change, and growth in my experience.

As I’m sure you can guess, one ritual that I love to perform every day is the preparation and sharing of a delicious cup of ‘awa with friends and family. I never get bored of kava prepared in the traditional style – ground or pounded and extracted in to cold water, then served in a half coconut shell – but at this time of year I always find myself considering new methods of kava preparation.

A few months ago, one of our contributors asked me about other natural, traditional healing herbs that might be combined with kava in order to produce stronger or slightly different effects. Although I have come up with hundreds of different recipes and techniques for preparing kava over the years, I must admit that I had never before considered the potential of combining kava with other herbs.  However, with all of the recent news about the relative safety and/or danger of natural remedies, I have taken a new interest in traditional medicines other than kava, and so I became inspired to research and try out a few different kava-herb combinations!

Chili: I began my experiments after doing some research in to traditional kava combinations.  I discovered that in Polynesia, kava is often combined with chili pods to create a stronger beverage.

The chili idea seemed interesting, so I tried adding a dash of cayenne to my evening cup of kava in coconut water, and found it to be very pleasant indeed – the numbing sensation of the kava was increased somewhat and I experienced a heightened sense of relaxation, as well. Cayenne also has many beneficial health effects, so this combination is quite good for increasing overall health.

Valerian Root: Next, I decided to try combining my kava with a few other herbal preparations that I have been enjoying recently. I have some very nice valerian root tincture, which I added in to my kava beverage one night – this increased the calming effects of the kava tremendously, and I ended up sleeping better than I have in years, for a good ten hours straight! This combo makes a great solution for anyone suffering from insomnia – just try to stay awake after drinking this beverage.

St. John’s Wort: This popular herb is well known for lifting the mood and assisting with depression.  I took several capsules of a St. John’s Wort preparation along with my kava one day and found the combination to be very pleasant – the feeling was very relaxing, yet I was still stimulated and able to enjoy conversation and spending time walking around the farm with friends. I would highly recommend this combination for stress relief.

Damiana: I started taking this Mexican herb as a supplement a few months ago to help with hormone balancing, but had never combined it with kava. I prepared some damiana tea from dried plant material, let the liquid cool, and steeped my ground kava root in it. This combination was surprisingly effective and pleasant! When I drink damiana tea by itself I don’t usually feel much – perhaps a bit of relaxation and a slight mood elevation – but in combination with kava, a wonderful, confident, mildly cheerful and elevated feeling was created.  I felt a great sense of well-being but was also fully capable of functioning, focusing, working and socializing. This is definitely a combination I would try again.

Passion Fruit: Finally, I decided to see what would happen if I combined kava and passion fruit. I recently learned that passion fruit and passion flower act as MAOIs, meaning that they can enhance the effects of many other substances. Here in Hawaii, fresh passion fruit is everywhere, and it’s one of my favorite fruits, so I was eager to give the combination a try. I picked up some fresh passion fruit juice and blended it with some of our delicious Banana Vanilla kava drink mix and some soy lecithin in the blender. This created a delicious beverage that I must say felt a good deal more effective than the same amount of kava normally would. Even better than that, though, the flavor of the passion fruit seemed to almost completely cover the bitter, spicy flavor of the kava that many of our customers report disliking.

If you can’t find fresh passion fruit juice, you can also combine kava with a small amount of passionflower extract or tea for a similar effect. Passionflower supplements are easy to find at most health food stores. The yummy flavor won’t be there, but the enhanced experience should still be just as present!

These are all the combinations I’ve come across so far – I’ll let you know if I discover any more! One of my recent favorite herb-related sites is called Dream Herbs, and it contains a number of articles on interesting herbs that assist in dreaming. They don’t have kava on there (yet) but I’m interested to see how the other herbs discussed on the site combine with kava!

If you have tried any kava combinations that you love, please leave a comment and let me know about them! Remember to always be careful when combining kava with anything that has a negative effect on the liver (such as alcohol). Kava may increase the damaging effect of any such substance. Do your research before trying any combination, and start at a low dose to be safe. And, as always, have fun, relax, and enjoy the blissful experience that my beloved ‘awa and these other traditional herbal medicines have to offer!

Aloha no,

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  1. Aloha Phil,

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve decided to try kava! I hope you are able to find some that is effective for you. Have you tried our kava? I would recommend our 84% Kavalactone paste – it works very quickly and has a very obvious, strong effect. If you give it a try, let us know how you like it!

    All the best,

  2. I’ve been in the marine corp for 6yrs and have been on pills for like 4yrs. I don’t like them so I stopped using them. My friend started using kava and turned me to it. Where do you get you kava from? Every store I’ve tried (2 so far) have been bum kava. Got no relaxation feeling or anything whatsoever. Any advice would be appreciated.

  3. I would definitely suggest making some Kratom tea and then drinking some Kava as well. I have done this many times at regular amounts to be consumed.

  4. Dear Carol,

    That sounds like an amazing combination! I’m going to try that out as soon as I can get my hands on some Tamarind juice. Thank you! 🙂 Have fun trying out these other combinations – I certainly have been.

    Aloha no,

  5. I have found that blending the kava powder with Jumex Tamarindo juice (or any other brand) complements the spicy earthiness of kava without completely masking the essence. Thank you for these other great ideas.

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