Kava Kava

There's so much information out there these days on kava kava that it can be daunting just to know where to start when learning about this marvelous South Pacific healer. That's why we at Kona Kava Farm have created this article as a "primer" on all things kava kava! It will help you get a basic idea of what kava is both as a plant and a beverage, how it has been used, and what benefits it can offer as an herbal supplement in terms of relaxation and stress relief*. Or, if you've researched enough and want to cut right to the chase, check out the listing of our favorite kava products at the bottom of the page!

Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) is a large climbing vine with green, heart-shaped leaves and a woody root that is harvested to make the kava beverage. Probably native to the archipelago of Vanuatu or possibly New Guinea, kava kava is now grown all over the South Pacific and is completely reliant on humans for its propagation, which is done through cuttings or by splitting the root bundles. Kava is a member of the pepper family Piperaceae, which accounts for the slightly peppery taste of the drink. Other names for the kava plant include ava (Samoan), sakau (Pohnpei), yaquona (Fijian), wiald koniak (Papua New Guinea), and 'awa (Hawaiian).

The roots of the kava plant contain a class of compounds called kavalactones (formerly kavapyrones) that are unique in the botanical world. Kavalactones are lipid-soluble organic compounds--meaning they dissolve in fats--that have biological activity in the body. Kava contains at least 14 identified kavalactones, six of which occur in high concentration in the root: kavain, yangonin, dihydrokavain, desmethoxy-yangonin, methysticin, and dihydromethysticin. These six kavalactones are thought to be responsible for kava kava's calming and muscle-relaxing effects*.

As kava has grown in popularity as an herbal supplement, so has its reputation for promoting calm, stress reduction, muscle relaxation and improved mental focus* in users. In the South Pacific, kava is sometimes called the "peace plant" due to its ability to promote accord and harmony in communities. The drink is consumed to consecrate special occasions such as birthdays, coronations, marriages, funerals, and the welcoming of guests to a village. Traditionally, a kava brew is prepared by soaking the dried or fresh kava root in water, then kneading or pounding it with water in a bowl to create an opaque tan or brown drink with a slightly oily sheen and an earthy, peppery taste.

Kava has been grown in the South Pacific so long that different countries have their own varietals. Some of the most famous varieties of kava include Isa and Borogu (both from Vanuatu), Tongan white kava, and Hawaiian varieties such as Mo'i, Nene, and of course, our own treasured Mahakea kava! Each kava varietal will have its own unique taste and appearance; our Mahakea kava brews to a rich tan color with a smooth, surprisingly sweet taste (due to our blend of 90% young lateral root and 10% vertical root), with very relaxing effects.

In the West, kava supplements are used to reduce stress, nervous tension, relieve sore or tight muscles, and simply to unwind at the end of the day. Many people find kava to be a great help when it comes to preparing for potentially stressful or demanding situations, such as plane trips, public speeches, presentations, meetings with the boss, dates, and more. This gentle herbal supplement will give you the calm focus* you need to make the most of the demands of modern life while maintaining a relaxed, grounded attitude.

The best part is that as kava catches on in the marketplace, consumers have more high-quality supplement options to choose from. Kona Kava Farm carries a variety of kava products that provide both convenience and effective results: try our kavalactone 30% capsules, Kavalovetone capsules, kavalactone pastes, or Instant Kava Mixes and see for yourself! We also offer kava powder, kava root chips, and whole dried kava root for those who want the traditional kava experience. There's a kava product for every taste at Kona Kava Farm!

*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.