How to Use Kava

At Kona Kava Farm we are often asked how to use kava kava. We're pleased to say that we are always happy to answer this question! There are numerous ways to use kava, to enjoy it, and to ingest it. Personally, we love it best in a drink, pressed from freshly picked kava root: indigenous South Pacific Islanders will tell you that fresh kava root makes the best brew, one that often has a sweeter taste than kava drinks made from older dried roots. Kava researchers have also suggested that fresh kava root is richer in kavalactones, the active constituents in kava kava.

However, not everyone has the luxury of being close enough to land where kava is harvested in order to enjoy fresh kava root. The next best option is pure shredded or powdered kava root, available from our farm, direct to you.

Kava drinks should be prepared using cold or warm but never hot water, as the heat destroys the active kavalactones and other constituents in kava. One can make a refreshing cold kava drink by simply extracting the active constituents from the root into water.

Traditional hot teas don't work with kava precisely because heat destroys kava's active constituents. If you're unsure about how to use kava or about its preparation, it might help to think of a kava beverage as similar to iced tea: like iced tea, a kava drink is prepared as a cold water infusion, and must be allowed to steep for longer than hot infusions in order to extract its active constituents. Powdered kava mixes also work just fine, but make sure that any instant drinks use extracted kava and not just plain root; any kind of drink mix with plain root is worthless.

Be careful with traditional tea strainers when straining your kava drink; the mesh is not fine enough to hold in the kava powder, and too much will escape into your cup. That's why we sell reusable, fine muslin bags to use to strain the kava. You can also use an old T-shirt or any type of fine, woven cloth to strain your kava root. The brew is ready when the water has turned an opaque tan and has a slightly oily sheen, which is created by the presence of resinous kavalactones.

Once you have let your kava drink brew for a while, you can squeeze all the liquid out of your solid root material, and throw it away or compost it. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy your creation at night, before going to sleep, while spending time with a loved one, or even at a party with your friends. Once prepared, your kava drink will remain fresh in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Of course, many of us can't take the time to brew kava the traditional way, especially during the work week. Want to know how to use kava kava on the go? Luckily, there are a number of convenient kava products that can be used any time of the day! Kava capsules, instant kava powder mixes, and kava tinctures are all long-lasting forms of kava that are cost effective and easy to use. Kava tinctures are probably our favorite type of "instant kava": about 5 ml of kava tincture can be mixed into water or absorbed under the tongue for rapid relaxation*.

You can always pose a new question on our "Ask Makaira" section of our KAVA BLOG, and also check out Makaira's personal blog page, "Who's Makaira," where she shares with you interesting stories about kava use the world over, from her own personal experience to modern-day kava ceremonies led by well-known kava proponents, from diplomats to athletes, as well as the experiences of everyday people like us.

*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.