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Has anyone ever tried Kava Kava for anxiety?, in tincture, pill form or otherwise.


I have tried valerian years back, but that did not help. Lately I have been experiencing terrrrrible anxiety! It is really awful. Any suggestions at this point from anyone especially people who know how terrible this can be would be welcome.



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I like valerian tea at night. Before bed. Helps with sleep.


Take high doses of Vit. B. I take Super B Complex. Directions say to take one a day. I take 2 every morning and if I feel particularly anxious, then I'll take another 'whenever', and if it's real bad I'll take 2 at night also. This seems to be more of a long term fix-not a quick fix. I've only been taking this for a couple of years. Off and on for the first. Now-RELIGIOUSLY!


Have not heard of this-Kava Kava. ??? Curious. Will have to check it out.

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I love Kava Kava! legal too!


anxiety... we all have it to some degree or another, and as Mothers we have to work through it... we have to be the kind of person we want our children to grow up and become.


You know.. lead by example. If I want brave children I must be brave, if I want children that are fearful, all I have to do is be fearful.


And better living through better chemistry helps!!!

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Here's some good information on kava:




Kava is the term used for both the plant and the beverage made from it. The beverage is prepared from the root of a shrub called the pepper plant, Piper methysticum, found in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. The kava root is ground to a powder, and it has a brownish color. The brownish powder is then mixed with water and drank as a beverage, without being fermented. Extracts from the kava root are placed in capsules and sold as kava or kava kava.

Additional herbs and nutrients involved in relaxation include 5-HTP, ashwagandha, passionflower, and valerian.


How Will Kava Make You Feel?

Having talked to quite a number of kava users, recommended it to patients, and having taken it myself, I have discovered that not everyone reacts exactly the same way to this herb. This is due to the fact that each one of us has a different biochemistry. Furthermore, different products on the market may have different amounts of constituents within them, depending on the time of year of the harvest, which island it's from, how's its processed, etc. The form of kava, whether liquid, tincture, or capsule, may also make a difference on how you feel, or how quickly you feel the effects. However, most of the time, the effects are noticed within an hour or two.


As a rule, the following are some common feelings that most users report after taking kava kava:

A state of relaxation, without feeling drugged

Muscle tenseness is less

Peacefulness and contentment

More sociable, especially with the right company

Mild euphoria, sometimes

Mental alertness is often not effected, except on high doses

Initial alertness followed by drowsiness which comes on after a few hours, so kava can be taken in the evening, a few hours before bedtime.


Kava kava Root Research Update

Composition and biological activity of traditional and commercial kava extracts.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Sep 10;322(1):147-52.

For centuries the South Pacific islanders have consumed kava (Piper methysticum) as a ceremonial intoxicating beverage. More recently, kava in capsule form has been made available to the Western consumer. Several cases of liver harm have been reported following consumption of the commercial preparations. A detailed comparison of commercial kava extracts (prepared in acetone, ethanol or methanol) and traditional kava (aqueous) reveals significant differences in the ratio of the major kavalactones. To show that these variations could lead to differences in biological activity, the extracts were compared for their inhibition of the major drug metabolizing P450 enzymes. In all cases (CYP3A4, CYP1A2, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19), the inhibition was more pronounced for the commercial preparation. These results suggest that the variations in health effects reported for the kava extracts may result from the different preparation protocols used.


Kava treatment in patients with anxiety.

Phytother Res. 2004 Apr;18(4):297-300.

In several clinical trials, mainly conducted with a dose of 300 mg kava extract per day, kava has been employed successfully for the treatment of anxiety disorders. The goal of this placebo-controlled double-blind outpatient trial was to obtain more information on the dosage range and efficacy of a kava special extract WS 1490 in patients with non-psychotic anxiety. 50 patients were treated with a daily dose of 3 x 50 mg kava extract during a 4-week treatment period followed by a 2-week safety observation phase. In the active treatment group, the total score of the Hamilton anxiety scale (primary efficacy variable), showed a therapeutically relevant reduction in anxiety versus placebo. Kava extract WS 1490 was well tolerated and showed a safety profile with no drug-related adverse events or post-study withdrawal symptoms. It can be concluded that the applied 150 mg kava extract per day is an effective and safe treatment of non-psychotic anxiety syndromes in the described population.


Hepatic injury due to traditional aqueous extracts of kava root in New Caledonia.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 15:1–4

Traditional aqueous kava extracts were the most probable cause of hepatitis in two patients presenting with markedly elevated transaminases and hyperbilirubinemia. A consequent survey of 27 heavy kava drinkers in New Caledonia showed elevated gamma glutamyl transferase in 23/27 and minimally elevated transaminases in 8/27. We conclude that not only commercially available, but also traditionally prepared kava extracts may rarely cause liver injury. The increased activity of gamma glutamyl transferase in heavy kava consumers in the presence of normal or minimally elevated transaminases is probably not a sign of liver injury, but rather reflects an induction of CYP450 enzymes.


Treatment of anxiety, tension and restlessness states with Kava special extract WS 1490 in general practice: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind multicenter trial.

Phytomedicine. 2003 Nov;10(8):631-9.

The efficacy and tolerability of 150 mg/d Kava special extract WS 1490 were investigated in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind multicenter study in patients suffering from neurotic anxiety. 141 adult, male and female out-patients received 50 mg kava or placebo three times a day for four weeks, followed by two weeks of observation. During treatment the total score of the Anxiety Status Inventory (ASI) observer rating scale showed more pronounced decreases in the kava group than in the placebo group. Although the results show consistent advantages for kava over placebo in several psychiatric scales and indicate significant improvements in the patients' general well-being, the differences versus placebo were not as large as in previous trials which employed 300 mg/d of the same extract. Kava was well tolerated, with no influence on liver function tests and only one trivial adverse event (tiredness).


Kava-Kava extract LI 150 is as effective as Opipramol and Buspirone in Generalised Anxiety Disorder--an 8-week randomized, double-blind multi-centre clinical trial in 129 out-patients.

Phytomedicine. 2003;10 Suppl 4:38-49.

An 8-week randomized, reference-controlled, double-blind, multi-centre clinical trial investigated Kava-Kava LI 150 in Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). METHOD: 129 out-patients received either 400 mg Kava LI 150, 10 mg Buspirone or 100 mg Opipramol daily for 8 weeks. At week 9, subjects were seen to check for symptoms of withdrawal or relapse. CONCLUSION: Kava-Kava LI150 is well tolerated and as effective as Buspirone and Opipramol in the acute treatment of out-patients suffering from GAD.


Kava Email questions and comments

Thank you for a VERY informative website. I have taken Kava occasionally for depression. I suffer from SAD and adult ADD. It really helps with the calming overall, and seems to help me sleep through the night. (With ADD there is a tendency to wake up and channel surf a couple times a night!).


I have been taking four 217 mg tablets of kava kava complex per day for a few months now and have noticed a diminished sex drive and erections that either are not full at the start or diminish after a short time. This is not the normal situation for me. I am sixty five and in good health.


Just want to add that my libido has been all but eliminated since taking Kava. Might be a good herbal for prison inmates. I do not find this reduced need to be a problem as it can be a wonderful relief to be free of a very strong sex drive for awhile. Many of my male friends have mentioned that sometimes they wish they could get a break form nature's desire to make more of itself at their almost constant expense.....it's a kind of serenity. ( Also a great drink for my 18 Yr. old daughters boyfriends!) Thanks for a great rundown...


Q. If kava may cause liver damage would it be helpful to take milk thistle with it?

A. Perhaps, but I do not know at this time if kava does cause liver problems what the mechanism of that damage is, and whether milk thistle would help. The best approach is not to take kava too frequently.


Q. I've been taking kava on and off for a three years at higher than average doses. The kind of doses that get one "buzzed". Originally I started using kava in capsule form, and then moved to a milled

product that was mixed with warm water and literally caused me to vomit. Later I prepared my own brew with raw kava powder, but kept most of the pulp aside - the traditional method. Well, about a year ago I noticed my face getting really red the day after ingesting kava. I took a year or so off, and recently brewed some more. The next morning I noticed the same reaction - and analyzed my symptoms more closely: a very red face, including scalp, ears, throat and neck. The redness felt warm and was most significant on the facial area of the nose and cheeks, but actually extended on to my upper chest (collar bone area) upper central back, and a bit of an itchy feeling on the chest area. I came across this information recently : The long-term use of kava has reportedly lead to "kawanism", which is characterized by dry, flaking, discolored skin; reddened eyes; a scaly skin rash; puffy face; muscle weakness; blood abnormalities; and feelings of poor health.

A. We are familiar with a skin reaction that occurs in the Pacific islands in people who drink kava daily for many years. However, since your kava reaction occurred even after a year of absence on repeat exposure, it is difficult to say why it happened, perhaps a kava allergic reaction did occur. It's an interesting case history.


Q. I have been prescribed beta blockers to take during a flight, as I suffer panic attacks during these. Can I also take Kava Kava at the same time to reduce my anxiety. I do get very anxious before flying.

A. As long as the dosages are kept low, and you have no medical problems or taking other medicines, the combination should be okay. Propranolol, a beta blocker should be limited to 40 mg when combined with 70 mg of kavalactones. Also, get approval from your private physician before using this combination.


Q. Does kava reduce the effectiveness of the birth control pills?

A. I am not aware of any studies that indicate kava reduces the effectiveness of birth control pills.


Q. Does Kava affect serotonin levels? I have read that it might be dangerous to take Kava with SSRIs, due to the potential of serotonin overdose syndrome, though I have done so with no noticeable ill effects.

A. Kava does not seem to influence serotonin levels to any significant degree as would, of course, 5-HTP. However, one should always be cautious when combining herbs and pharmaceutical drugs, and dosages should be kept as low as possible.


Q. I was wondering if it is safe to take Kava while pregnant. I was taking one Kava capsule daily prior to my pregnancy. Once I found out I was pregnant I stopped taking it, however I am now 30 weeks pregnant and have been feeling quite a bit of anxiety lately.

A. The safety of kava has not been evaluated thoroughly in pregnant humans and to be on the safe side, it would be best not to take it although you may consider consulting with your obgyn doctor regarding the occasional use of this herb such as a few times a month in case the anxiety is severe enough to otherwise necessitate the use of pharmaceutical medicines. Kava, in this case, would be a good alternative to these drugs.


Q. I just bought a bottle of 30 capsules of Kava kava from GNC. I notice this stuff is pretty popular. I plan on using it quite sparingly to improve my mood when needed...I noticed that the bottle I bought is 1000mg capsules. This seems a bit much, I notice one's online are 150 and 250mg's. The directions say use 1 to two a day. I certainly don't plan on using it everyday. Probably not even once a week, depending on how it works for me maybe 3-5 times a month.

My question is is 1000mg's too high I notice on the back it says per serving 250 mg of kava kava root extract 4:1 (like I know what that means??)

A. It should also say on the bottle what percent kavalactones it contains. For instance, it has 250 mg of kava root extract, and most kava products are about 30 percent kavalactones (the active constituents), hence you would be getting about 75 mg of kavalactones. Any range between 50 and 100 mg of kavalactones per pill is usually adequate to help induce relaxation.


Q. I have read that you should not drink alcohol when taking it. Does this mean none at all or is a glass of red wine with my evening meal still safe?

A. A glass of wine should be fine, as long as you are staying at home and not driving and not making this a regular habit.


Q. About a couple of years back, I took Kava almost every day, about 60 mg/day for 6 months. I did not cycle it at all. I took it to cope with anxiety related premature ejaculation. I have not taken Kava in the last one-and-half years. But in the last one-and-half years I have also noticed a drastic drop in libido, and a recent visit to the endocinologist and a hormone assay revealed secondary hypogonadism. Could a long term use of high doses of Kava caused my pituitary to shut down?

A. It is unlikely that kava shuts down the pituitary gland (this hasn't yet been reported in the medical literature) but little is known about the long term effects of this, and many other herbs and supplements. Hence, cycling (i.e. taking breaks) is important. It is possible though, that kava can anesthetize nerves and reduce sexual sensation, but this would be temporary.


Q. After years of insomnia and bad side effects from Buspar I have been enjoying an increased quality of life beyond belief on the kava herb. However i note in your books some concern about the long term effects. I hope to continue on no more than 70mg per day with week breaks once a month. Also i will try to substitute with other anti anxiety herbs periodically as you suggest. Should one receive regular liver/kidney tests ?

A. Since the recent news about the possible connection between kava and liver damage, it would be cautious to take kava less frequently than you mention. A regular CBC and metabolic panel that includes liver and kidney function tests is a good idea. But taking long breaks is the best thing to do.


Q. Does kava have any addictive qualities?

A. Most everyone who uses kava does not find it to be addictive. However, there may be rare individuals who have have a tendency to overuse it.


Q. I have been reading about how this herb Kava can help reduce anxiety and promote more social behavior. I am someone who has a very difficult time with giving oral presentations, I get so nervous in fact that I have since refused to do them, as a result my school work has at times suffered. However, I was wondering if a herb like kava would help me with this problem, for example, if I were to take a kava pill on the day I am supposed to give a presentation? Would this perhaps lower my anxiety to a degree that I wouldn't mind the fact that I am standing up in front of a large group of people?

A. Kava may help in this situation, but in my experience a small dose of 20 to 40 mg of the pharmaceutical medicine propranolol works better.


Q. Is there a downside to taking kava to help me sleep?

A. Kava does not induce sleep consistently and you may have to, with trial and error, find the best time to take it in the evening. Some people sleep better taking kava in the early evening, while others do better taking it an hour or two before bed. It also depends on the product.


Q. Is Kava safe for an insulin-dependent diabetic? I have not been able to find an answer to this question and think it would be useful for your readers.

A. Probably, if used only occasionally, but no studies have been done. It would be worthwhile to try this herbal anti-anxiety agent while being monitored by a health care provider.


Q. Does kava raise the serotonin level as does 5-HTP?

A. Kava does not seem to influence serotonin levels to any significant degree.


Q. I have been taking kava for anxiety for about 1 1/2 months (a dosage of 6 pills/day at 250mg/pill). I have also been taking a sleep aid that contains 5 htp, choline, valerian, and melatonin. I have recently learned that I am going to have gallbladder surgery. Is there any chance of any of these nutrients reacting with the anesthesia and if so, how long will they stay in my system? I also take a long list of other nutrients including coq10 and vinpocetine. Can any of these react with the anesthesia? Thank you!

A. These nutrients should be out of your system within a few days. So, just stop taking them a few days or better yet a week before surgery.


Q. I have been taking kava for about three months and have found it really helpful in easing my anxiety symptoms. However, I have also found that it has made my insomnia worse. I tend to wake up during the night for one or two hours, or else if I sleep through the night I will wake up very early in the morning. It feels as if I feel more energetic and alive on kava, which is good, but this also continues through the night leading to restless and interrupted sleep. I take one 150mg tablet, giving 45mg kavalactones, with breakfast. I want to take the lowest dosage possible but is it possible Has anyone else reported these effects?

A. I would be surprised taking kava in the morning is influencing your sleep at night. Sometimes when people take kava near bedtime it could interfere with sleep but I can't really see how taking it in the morning would do that. Try some kind of physical activity during the day, such as a walk for at least 30 minutes. Exercise helps one sleep better at night.


Q. My boyfriend is 43 and been drinking kava tea and taking kava pills for reduced anxiety. He is now experiencing problems ejaculating. Do you think this could be a side effect of kava kava. Previously he was on celexa and experienced the same problem.

A. It's quite possible that taking too much kava can reduce sexual performance.


Q. What is the current info on testability of kavalactones (or other related chemicals) from kava consumption? I have had reluctance in prescribing without confirmed knowledge of a negative drug test in individuals routinely tested.

A. Kava or kavalactones are not measured in routine drug tests.


Q. I purchased a kava extract with 30% kavaclotones..and on the label it says kava dietary supplement. Did i get the wrong one if it says dietary supplement cause its been an hour and i dont feel a thing. please help me.

A. You purchased the right product. Sometimes the effects come on after taking kava a few times or a higher dose.


Q. I plan to try some Kava herb and would like to know the half-life of this product. Any information you may provide would be appreciated.

A. I'm not sure exactly what the half-life of kavalactones are, but the clinical effects, i.e., what you will notice, only last a few hours.


Q. Can you put the liquid kava kava in a cup of regular tea, juice or water?

A. Yes, but kava kava does not taste that great.


Drinking and driving with Kava

California prosecutors are cracking down on kava -drinking motorists who are driving under the intoxicating influence of the kava herbal tea. Following their first successful conviction in June, San Mateo County prosecutors have filed three other cases, after about a dozen motorists had been pulled over in recent years. Kava herb, while not considered a drug by federal health officials, is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a nutritional supplement that can be used to relieve anxiety. The June conviction is believed to be only the second successful one in the country, following a 1996 case in Utah. In the pending cases, motorists have admitted to drinking between 10 to 20 bowls of the bitter tea, which comes from the kava root, a member of the black pepper family.


KAVA dosage -- 100-200 MG (30 TO 55% kavalactones) one to three times daily. Kava kava extract is available in various extract potencies. Kava plant is grown is grown in many islands, including Vanuatu kava, Fiji, and Tonga.


Kava kava is also available as a kava tea, raw kava root, kava coffee, and kava paste for topical use on mucous membranes. Kava powder can be mixed with other herbs used for anxiety or stress relief.


Q. What do you think of kava tea?

A. Some people like kava tea or kava juice, for me kava herbal tea is too bitter to drink, I prefer kava root as a capsule to swallow without having to taste the kava. Plus, kava can numb the oral mucosa. I have not tried kava kava coffee or a kava drink although they are popular at kava kava bars in the Polynesian islands where people have a kava drink and hang out at a kava lounge.


Q. I read a kava kava warning about liver problems. Is this a kava kava side effect ?

A. There were a few reported cases of kava kava side effects involving the liver a few years ago but there has not been any further cases reported since then. As long as kava is used no more than 3 times a week with a week off each month, I think kava is safe at this dosage and frequency of use.


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  • 6 years later...

Haven't used Kava Kava for several years, and then only periodically. After reading some of the warnings on prescription meds, I would wonder if anything is really "safe" if taken over long periods of time and if not taken properly. Drug abuse is just as bad as herb abuse?

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  • 7 years later...

Hi, I have been drinking Kava for Anxiety for over 10 years. It has greatly helped me in my daily life and especially in the evenings.. Prepared the traditional way with a straining cloth its very effective. Its also really important to get your Kava from a reliable source. I have been getting mine from an online vendor for years. https://www.thekavaroots.com/ and find they really know their stuff.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I keep Kava Kava and Valerian both in my refrigerator.  Seldom use it but it's there if I want it.  Also keep the Valerian tea that I buy from the Amish store.  The Kava Kava I use is NOW brand.

I have since learned (and it's true) Catnip tea is very calming...just the opposite for cats though!  I've often fixed myself a up of Catnip tea to just relax before bed time. I've studied herbs and spices for many years and have always turned to them long before I buy OTC's...and keep both set back.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi I have been using kava for over 40 years. I was a teenager when I actually started drinking kava back in Fiji Islands. Migrated to Canada but did not find good quality kava Many were available but none came close to the kava we used to drink in Fiji.

In Canada kava is considerd a natural health product and it requires health Canada licence and a NPN number to be imported or sold in Canada  which gives  assureance that the product we drink is safe.

 Finally found a company from Surrey British Columbiaselling kava online and they carry only approved Kava  products with a NPN number.

The company URL is https://kavalinkonline.com.

They have a good quality kava in various sizes and a very good customer service.

Hope this helps anyone struggling to find good kava powder

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:wave: Shalendra.  Welcome to Mrs. S.  Thank you for that info.  I’m sure it will help to find reliable supplies of Kava.  :bouquet:

  • Like 1
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Welcome to the forum Shalendra.   Have you tried St. Johns Wart? They say it is really good. Not heard of Kava before but will check it out.  It's good to know all your options as it gets harder to find things or get the good quality like we used to get.

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  • 6 months later...
On 3/11/2023 at 11:49 AM, snapshotmiki said:

No kidney  issues?  That's the one side effect that  concerned me 

No Kidney issue and no liver issue yet but dont know in future.

I make mine less concentrated and  strain it twice. It keeps me very alert all day long, helps sleep well and wake up very fresh.


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