Understanding Kava Chemotypes

Understanding Kava Chemotypes

If you have experienced kava or are thinking of consuming kava, you may also be wondering what makes it so great. You may be interested in learning just how kava works on the brain and the body and why. To do this, it's important to understand kava chemotypes.

Learning about kava chemotypes can help you understand exactly which strands of kava to drink based on the specific affects you desire.

What is a Chemotype?

Chemotype simply means the types of chemicals that can be found in a plant. In this instance, chemotypes are referring to the piper methysticum plant, in which kava comes from.

Chemotypes are important because they help you determine the difference between two plants that may look identical, but offer two totally different effects.

The first few kavalactones that make up kava chemotypes determine what effect the kava can offer.


In piper methysticum plants, kava chemotypes are differentiated by kavalactones. These are the chemical compounds that make up the chemotypes in the kava plants.

When kavalactones are soaked in water, their psychoactive elements are released. When consumed, a person can experience relaxation while maintaining mental clarity.

To date, there have been eighteen kavalactones identified. However, only six of give the beneficial effects to those who consume it. The order in which they combine determines the effect they will give the user.

It can also help you determine which part of the South Pacific harvests that specific chemotype of kava.

Thereare six different kavalactones that make up kava chemotypes.

Kava Chemotypes | Root of Happiness

Six Types of Kavalactones

Desmethoxyyangonin is labeled with a “1”. Brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin increase when triggered by the kavalactone desmethoyyangonin. It can make you feel happier, even giving you a feeling of euphoria. It does this without interrupting your ability to focus and maintain attention.

Dihydrokavain is “2” in the list of kavalactones. This component enhances GABA chemicals in the brain. Gaba is responsible for enhancing immunity and relaxing you during periods of feeling overwhelmed.

Yangonin is listed as “3” and Kavain is “4”. These can work on the central nervous system to produce relaxing and calming effects. These also help you get a good night’s sleep.

Many believe that Kavain is one of the best types of kava to mix for drinking. Meaning, kava powders with the number “4” in the first two or three numbers identifying the chemotype will likely give you the best effects.

Dihydromethysticin is “5” and  Methysticin is “6” in the lineup of kavalactones. Both increase serotonin chemicals in the brain. Many of the best kava varieties include either dihydromethysticin or methysticin in the first few numbers of the lineup.

Depending on the order of the kava chemotypes, you can feel anywhere from slightly sedated to a deep sleep to a relaxed socially happy effect. Each chemotype has distinctive characteristics and knowing the difference between them all can help prevent any surprise effects.

Chemotype Characteristics

Chemotypes can also tell you where a plant was harvested. For example, kava chemotypes that begin with a “4” and “6” are usually Hawaiian kava. This means that Hawaiian kava has kavain and methysticin. From there you can determine that this strand will help you feel relaxed but also make you interested in socializing due to feelings of being happy.

In Vanuatu, the chemotype sequence mostly likely begins with a “2” and a “6” or “5”.

It can be quite beneficial for you to determine which physical and mental affects you want to have before drinking kava. Then you can narrow down your choices by using island varieties that meet your expectations.

Kava Chemotypes to Avoid

When choosing kava, stick with the noble varieties. Stick with those that have the numbers “2”, “4” or “6” in the beginning of the chemotype variety.

Keep in mind there are tudei or bad kava varieties out there. Knowing the best kava chemotypes before you make a purchase can help you find the best kava for you.

Tudei kava can give you negative interactions such as hangovers, nausea and vomiting that can last a couple of days. It has an initial strong effect which some people like, until they begin to feel the negative after effects.


It doesn't have to be a guessing game when you buy kava. It is a natural herb that when used appropriately, can offer you a wonderful experience, both physically and mentally.

Whether you want to relax and unwind for the day alone, or want to ensure a happy attitude while hanging out with a group of friends, choose the right chemotype to get the desired effect. 

Older post Newer post