Kava Experience

Kava Kava offers wonderful benefits to the body and mind whether used as a dietary supplement for the management of daily stress*, or as a relaxing beverage to help you let go of the cares of the day. However, knowing how best to prepare kava in its powdered root form can be somewhat confusing, which is why we've offered up some tips below for making your first kava experience the best it can be!

Buying Kava: Knowing where to buy high-quality kava is the first step towards an incredible kava experience. You can find literally hundreds of kava vendors online, but not all are created equal. Look for websites that provide lots of information about their kava products and about kava in general: a reputable vendor will be eager to share information about their products, including their ingredients list and the percentage of kavalactones in their kava extracts. Choose products that list the kavalactone content as a percentage rather than a vague "5X" or "10X" label. Most importantly, make sure that any vendor you buy from offers a guarantee that their kava products are made only from the root of the kava plant, as the aboveground parts of the plant are not for human consumption.

Storing Kava: Store your kava powder and other kava supplements in a cool, dry place when not in use. Semi-liquid kava concentrates and kava paste products should be stored in an airtight container with a screw cap. A prepared kava brew can also be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. After that, it will often start to smell sour or "off" and should be discarded. One tip is to label kava with the date before you put it in the fridge so you know how old it is!

Preparing Kava: Making kava in its "instant" form can be as easy as mixing a powder packet into a glass of water, but if you want to experience a traditional kava brew, it will take a bit more time and effort. There are lots of kava recipes floating around the internet; below, we've chosen two that are both easy and fairly close to the way kava is still prepared in the South Pacific.

Blender Method: In a blender, combine 3 tablespoons kava with 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon soy lethicin or vegetable oil. Blend on high for 1 minute. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or one of our muslin bags into a carafe or serving bowls. While the soy lethicin or vegetable oil is optional in this recipe, we highly recommend adding it: the vegetable fat will act as an emulsifier to help extract the kavalactones into your drink. Some people like to add ginger to this recipe (make sure to strain the pulp!), or a sweetener such as honey or maple syrup.

Kneading Method: Place 1 cup kava in a muslin bag, an old T-shirt, or an unused paint strainer and tie the top closed. Place the kava in a bowl with 1 quart of water and knead the kava bundle through the cloth. As the resinous kavalactones and other active compounds leach into the water, your beverage should turn an opaque brownish tan and become slightly frothy. Pour off the brew into serving bowls and discard the kava bundle. You can also keep it to make a second extraction, but note that this will be less kavalactone rich than the first.

Relaxing with Kava: People use kava to unwind at the end of the day, relieve stress and muscle tension, and to address occasional sleeplessness*. As a calming herb that promotes tranquility*, kava is best enjoyed in a quiet environment such as your own home. Some people say that activities such as conversation and listening to music are enhanced with kava, and it's true that kava has been known to increase sociability* and make social situations more accessible for some people. However, since kava can also increase one's sensitivity to light and noise, to ensure the best kava experience it may be a good idea to avoid bright, noisy situations such as large parties or concerts.

Kavalactones are gentle on the body, and most people experience no side effects from kava kava. When trying kava for the first time, a small percentage of people may experience what feels like mild stoamch upset: this is actually the kavalactones in kava numbing the lining of the stomach. Although this is completely benign, those unfamiliar with the sensation may interpret it as nausea. Fortunately, this sensation usually goes away quickly as your body metabolizes the kavalactones. Taking kava on an empty stomach followed by a bit of water with lemon can also help to reduce sensations of stomach upset.

The other bugbear for some first-time kava drinkers is reverse-tolerance, meaning that one experiences little or no effects from kava. The fact is, some people don't respond to kavalactones until they have been exposed to them a few times. The best way to deal with reverse-tolerance is not to give up! Try kava a few times and the reverse-tolerance should go away. It can also help to add an emulsifier like soy lethicin to increase the richness of your brew.

At Kona Kava Farm, we believe the benefits of kava should be accessible to everyone. With these easy tips you'll be on your way to some wonderful kava experiences!

*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.