Kava Kava Root

When most people refer to kava, they are actually referring to the root of the kava plant. The kava root is where most of the active constituents (kavalactones) lie, and the highest quality kava extract will only utilize pure kava root. You want to steer clear of kava that utilizes stems and peelings, as they will not produce the desired effects. At Kona Kava Farm, every single one of our products is made with only the kava root, harvested from our all-natural organic family farm, and from plants at least 4 years of age to ensure maximum strength.

All across the South Pacific, kava root is used in a ceremonial fashion, a practice that dates back thousands of years. Today in Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu, drinking kava functions as a greeting for guests, as a component of tribal negotiations, and as part of social evening get-togethers. In centuries past, the practice of drinking kava kava beverages was surrounded by layers of ceremony and protocol. For instance, many South Pacific cultures had rules governing the order in which participants could drink kava: the chief drank first, followed by any honored guests, the person who had prepared that night's kava brew, and the chief's wife. Drinks made from certain strains of kava kava root could only be consumed by royalty, priests, and high-ranking advisers. Happily, kava drinking is a much more relaxed and informal activity in the South Pacific today: locals often invite foreign visitors to join them for an evening at the nakamal -- the gathering place where kava is served up -- and visitors may even find themselves the honored guests of the occasion!

Items used in the preparation of the kava root have included shells, bowls, mortars and various drinking vessels throughout the ages. Large, round wooden bowls frequently featuring carved legs often in the shape of a human, are to this day used in ceremonial preparation of kava. In Samoa, these wooden bowls are called "tanoa". Strings made of coconut fiber are used to attach cowrie shells to the kava bowls of the chiefs for magical protection. The king's vessel, or the "wa ni tanoa" as it's known locally, is decorated with gold cowrie, the symbol of the ruler's office. As kava became a more popular beverage worldwide, "tanoa" gradually came to mean any drinking vessel used specifically for kava. However, each region of the South Pacific has its own variation of this important drinking vessel.

In Fiji they use halved coconut shells as drinking vessels, and often the resin residue of the drink clings to the inside of the coconut, giving its sides a glasslike finish. This layer is often scraped off and ingested as an especially sought-after form of kava. On Hawaii and the other Polynesian islands, ritual kava drinking vessels are made from calabash gourds.

For those who are interested in preparing kava traditionally, try our powdered kava root. The strain of kava root that we use is called Mahakea, and it is known for its especial strength. This strain of kava possesses the most sought-after 4-2-6 Kavalactone chemotype, and is available in quantities of .5 pound, 1 pound, and 1.5 pounds. Basic dried kava kava root takes a little more effort to prepare, but for those who want to experience the most authentic kava drink possible, the extra work is worthwhile! To get the most out of dried whole kava kava, the root must be shredded or pounded and left to soak in cold water for about 1 to 4 hours. This steeping process allows for a better extraction of the root's active kavalactones.

If this all sounds a little elaborate, don't worry! Plenty of quicker kava options exist for people on the go. Whether you use our tasty kava chai or the regular powdered root, all you need to do is strain the blended mixture, and enjoy! Your kava drink is an excellent way to start the day, or a soothing way to cap it off. If you have a social event to attend, try drinking a kava beverage beforehand and see how much more relaxed and sociable you'll be!*

*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.