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. 

Knowing Your Kava Dosage: How Much Should You Consume?

It is not likely the natives of the Pacific Islands track their kava dosage as they prepare a drink. Over time, they have developed the ability to know just how much kava works for them.

The trial and error process may be the best way to find out exactly what kava dosage is right for you too. Just like anything else, many factors go into creating the right dose. Factors such as weight, how much you have eaten before you consume kava, and how long you have been drinking it.

You will also want to take your reasons for taking kava into consideration. Are you trying to sleep better, reduce tension or just for recreational use?

But for those of you who prefer to be told a specific amount to try when first becoming a kava user.

There are general guidelines you can follow regarding a proper kava dosage. These guidelines have developed over time and no one is quite sure where they originated. However, they can be found on packaging when you buy from a quality supplier.

Kava Dosage General Guidelines

On packaging and from reports, the recommended kava dosage is no more than 300 mg a day. That means if you want to enjoy kava throughout the day, you can break the dosage down to meet your needs. If you drink it three times a day, each cup will have 100 mg of kava.

Other reports create a dose using one heaping tablespoon of kava for every half a cup of water. Because kavalactones are the reason for the affects you feel after drinking kava, it is important to determine the percentage in each serving.

General guidelines will tell you to avoid taking kava if you are on prescription medications such as anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. It is also important to know which type of kava you have, noble or ignoble.

Noble kava is good kava that produces positive mental and physical reactions. Ignoble kava, on the other hand, is banned for export because of its negative side effects.

Ignoble kava is made from stems and leaves, not roots, of the kava plant. This type of kava can cause you to experience nausea, vomiting and if used long-term, has been connected to toxicity in the liver.

Noble kava is taken directly from the root of the kava plant and offers many positive effects for the user. Obtaining noble kava is easy if you find a superior kava supplier who is certified by the American Kava Association.


The active ingredients that create the symptoms associated with kava come from kavalactones. These are extracted from the kava root. They consist of thirteen strands and when combined, create varying affects.

It is good to purchase your kava based on the percentage of kavalactones you receive per serving. Quality kava percentage can range from three to twenty percent kavalactone, with twenty percent producing the strongest affect.

For a light kava dosage, look for a kavalactone percentage of between fifty and seventy milligrams. The higher the dose you consume, the faster the affects appear. It can take between twenty and thirty minutes for you to begin seeing results.

The average kava drink can last between three and six hours, peaking around the third hour. If you consume too much kava, you could feel affects for ten or more hours after consumption.

Reverse Tolerance

Sometimes kava can create a strange affect, or lack of affect, for those who are just beginning to consume kava. It is called reverse tolerance.

Reverse tolerance refers to the inability to feel the effects of kava during your first time, or first few times, of use. Some say a person needs a build-up of kava in their system before you can feel the full effects of kava.

For each kava drinker, reverse tolerance will be different, if it happens at all. Two people can consume the exact same amount of kava for the first time. One may experience the feel-good sensations associated with kava, while others may feel nothing.

Kava Dosage | Root of Happiness


There have been no known overdose deaths associated with drinking kava. In over three thousand years of consumption, there have not been any deaths related to drinking too much kava. That is significant.

But just because no one has overdosed, it doesn’t mean people have not had too much kava.

Drinking too much kava can cause you to feel more sedated than normal. Drinking too much kava can sometimes cause you to have a groggy feeling the next day. Not necessarily like a hangover from alcohol, but still fuzzy headed and tired.

What is Your Goal?

To determine the right kava dosage for you, it can be good to decide what you want to happen. Which of the many benefits do you wish to achieve?

For instance, if your goal is to get a good night’s sleep, you may want to take between 150 and 210 milligrams of kava. If you want to stay awake but want to relax from a hard day’s work, you may want to consume 100 milligrams of kava or less.

If you are looking to relieve tension, 300 mg of kava are recommended for consumption. It has been noted that those who drink kava on a consistent basis often have two or three drinks a day, with each ranging from 100 to 300 milligrams of kavalactones in each drink.

How to Take Kava

If you are not one who likes to drink tea, taking a kava capsule could be the best option. Supplements are pre-measured doses that make it easy for you to consume.

If you prefer drinking kava tea, purchase kava from a supplier who has a good reputation for providing noble kava. Noble kava has the best combination of kavalactones and is extracted from the best strands of the piper methysticum roots.

Kava also comes in a paste form, in liquid drinks, and even as candy.

Drink kava for at least four weeks before deciding if it is right for you. It can take this long for your body to adjust to kava. After a month, you should be noticing the full effects and benefits of kava. These can include relaxation of muscles, an overall happy feeling, and mental awareness.

Many people drink kava daily and experience only positive results. It is a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day. It is a much better option over drinking alcohol, which alters the mind and can cause long-term damage and even addiction.

Kava does just the opposite, even when used regularly. Finding the right kava dosage for you can be a fun learning experience. For thousands of years people have been finding the best dose on their own. With no known overdoses, damage or negative effects, finding the kava dosage for you can be achieved without worry.

Can You Get a "Kava Hangover"?

Kava has been noted as being a good replacement drink for alcohol. This is because kava can give you the relaxed, happy feeling people often seek from alcohol. And it gives this feeling without losing mental clarity. In fact, drinking kava enhances mental clarity, unlike alcohol that alters your thinking, judgments, speech and even movements.

Because of this recommendation, people have questions about kava and its effects.

One of these common questions is if you can get a "kava hangover". Hangovers typically occur the day after drinking. Alcohol can also do damage to the body.

The more alcohol consumed, the worse the hangover effects. Therefore, people tempted to try kava want to know if it will cause a kava hangover too.

The best way to answer this question is to first learn about hangovers.

What is a Hangover?

Hangovers include a cluster of symptoms. These symptoms can include nausea, dehydration, digestion problems, headaches and even feelings of weakness. These symptoms can range in intensity from mild to severe.

Hangovers usually go away once you drink fluids, eat a healthy meal or take a few headache pills. Most hangovers make you feel like you need to stay at home and recuperate for a day. Most people with a hangover can still function at work or school.

Reports show many people in the workplace show up for work despite having a hangover. The reduction in productivity due to hangovers can cost billions of dollars each year.

If symptoms are severe, seeing a doctor may be necessary. Severe hangovers can interfere with your ability to function.

Alcohol Hangover

Alcohol can produce negative effects on the body.

Hangovers are typically associated with drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, any type of alcohol. Types can include wine, beer and liquor.

All these types of alcohol cause dehydration because they cause you to urinate more than usual. Dehydration can lead to hangover symptoms such as nausea and excessive thirsts.

Alcohol can expand blood vessels, creating headaches. It can also create more stomach acid that can lead to nausea, pains in the stomach area and even vomiting.

Another effect of alcohol can be drowsiness. In a strange twist, alcohol also reduces the quality of sleep you get. Lack of good sleep can lead to feeling exhausted, irritable and groggy.

Alcohol can inflame your immune system, leading to a lack of concentration and appetite loss. Alcohol can influence brain and gut chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which explains the depression you can feel when you have a hangover.

It also messes with your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar drops, you can feel shaky and weak.

Kava Hangover

Negative side effects from kava are not common. The positive effects far outrank any negative effects associated with drinking kava. Drinking kava in excess is more likely to cause negative effects than if you drink in moderation.

Kava is considered a diuretic, but mixing it with coconut water may help ease the symptom of dehydration, usually associated with diuretics. Using a drink mix with electrolytes helps replenish any nutrients and fluids lost while drinking kava.

Kava increases the effects of medications. So, if you are on a medicine that causes you to urinate a lot, you are already on a diuretic. Therefore, expect kava to increase the dehydration effects. It is best to avoid drinking kava until you talk to your doctor.

You also need a lot less kava to reach your desired effects, unlike alcohol. And when drinking kava, you know when your limit has been reached. The less you drink, the less side affects you will notice.

Often, those who drink alcohol exceed their limit, causing them to be even more dehydrated had they stopped drinking earlier.

All in all, you can not experience a "kava hangover" from drinking kava.

Can You Get a Kava Hangover - Root of Happiness

Tudei Kava vs. Noble Kava

There is a type of kava gives effects that may last longer than other kava. 

Tudei kava comes from crushed leaves and stems of the piper methysticum plant, not from the roots, where noble kava derives.

Noble kava is made from the roots of the piper methysticum plant. The roots are pounded into powder form and dried for storage and shipping. If you can use fresh root, you will experience kava at its best. However, kava in other forms can still give you the relaxation you seek.

How to Avoid Negative Kava Effects

There are many ways to avoid negative side effects from kava.

Only drink the amount of kava you need to give you the calm, relaxing feeling you desire. There is no need to drink kava in excess.

Do not drink kava with alcohol. Alcohol creates many negative effects, including hangovers. Both are sedating and if you mix them, and these can become problems.

Do not mix kava with prescription medications. Kava increases the effects of medications and not in a positive way.

Purchase quality kava. Find a supplier who is certified through the American Kava Association, verifying the kava sold to you is legitimate. You make good efforts to avoid unhealthy food products. Do the same when picking your kava.

After drinking kava, eat a healthy meal and drink fluids such as coconut oil that has electrolytes.


Most kava drinkers do not report having a "kava hangover" after drinking kava.

Some recommend drinking kava instead of alcohol because of the mental clarity a person maintains while consuming kava. Also, drinking alcohol does not allow you to get a good night’s sleep. Without good sleep, you are more likely to have a hangover.

Kava allows you to be more open socially without behaving inappropriately like when a person drinks too much alcohol. Kava does not affect your judgment.

What to Know About Kava Supplements and Products

You may have been hearing a lot about kava lately. Kava supplements and products are in demand and are becoming popular around the world for many reasons. 

If you are interested in trying kava for the first time, there are a few guidelines to help you get the most from your experience. Knowing what you are about to put into your body is one. Knowing why you want to use kava is another.

Other guidelines include where to try kava for the first time and in what form should you try it. Keep reading to find out more about these guidelines so you can enjoy kava supplements the way they are meant to be enjoyed.

What is Kava?

Kava is extracted from the root of the piper methysticum plant that grows in the South Pacific Islands. Farmers harvest the plant and take only the best parts of the root for consumption.

There are some farmers who try to provide kava of less quality.

To avoid receiving poor kava supplements and products, make sure you are buying only noble kava from reputable suppliers. Noble kava is the highest quality kava available. It is legal to export, unlike other types of kava root products. Types of kava are often broken down into specific groups.

In fact, there are over 100 varieties of kava root. Each is made of compounds that create the affects you feel when drinking it.

What Makes Kava Work?

Kavalactones are the compounds found in kava supplements. These are the ingredients that determine the intensity of the drink. Combinations of kavalactones produce different effects. Sometimes the higher the kavalactones, the more uplifted your mood can be.

Other combinations can produce higher levels of sedation.

For your first-time use, it is suggested you pick a product with around 200 milligrams of kavalactones.

Some suggest even starting out with less, perhaps around 100 milligrams, and increasing once you know how it will affect you.

Before you decide exactly how much kava to take, it is important for you to determine why you want to take it.

Why Take Kava Supplements?

You may have just one reason for trying kava or you may have several reasons.

If you get nervous when in social situations, kava can help relax you. Consuming kava makes you feel calm without losing mental clarity. Even more, you have an overall good will towards other people.

This can lead to positive social interactions.

Kava helps promote and maintain relaxation. It has been proven to have a calming effect, reducing everyday tensions.

The body releases negative hormones due to you feeling overwhelmed, and can ultimately create negative reactions. These may include showing signs of aging earlier than expected, gaining unwanted weight and feelings of frustration.

Your reason for taking kava will determine how much kava you take and what dose will work best for your need. It may also help you decide how to take kava.

How to Take Kava?

Kava comes in many forms. There are kava supplements, powders, concentrates, and even lotions and oils. For your first time using it, you have several options.

To get the most authentic experience, powdered kava may be the way to go. With the powdered kava, you will have to do a little bit of work to extract the kava to drink.

Learn how what your kava dosage is. After deciding your dose, you will mix water with kava powder in a blender. Once blended, you will need to strain the liquid from the mixture. It is this mixture you will drink. After about a half hour or less, you will feel relaxed and happy.

The easiest way to take kava is in the form of capsules or instant mix. There is no other work for you to do, just take the capsules as directed. Or, quickly prepare the instant mix and consume.

The most time-consuming method involves starting with the root itself. You will need to extract kava from the root by pounding it down into pieces. Once in pieces, then you mix it with water, strain the liquid and then drink the strained liquid.

Even though it is the most time-consuming method, starting with the root gives you the full experience of preparing and enjoying a kava drink.

Where you buy your kava is just as important as how you drink it.

Where to Get Kava?

Kava is accessible online from many suppliers. It is also available in kava bars and in alternative nutrition stores. There are characteristics of a supplier you can research to help you make your decision as to where to get it.

Read reviews of the companies who supply kava. See what others are saying about their experience with each company. Get feedback from customers. Ask the company for references.

Doing just a little bit of research can tell you a lot about the supplier. Find out where they get the kava they are selling to you. Do they source directly from kava farmers who pride themselves on extracting the best kava?

Find out what type of kava the supplier provides. Noble kava is of the highest quality, from the best strands of the kava root. Farmers make special efforts to extract noble kava that is to be sold to the public.

Are the suppliers certified by organizations such as The American Kava Association? How do they test the products they sell to the public? How are they regulated?

As a first-time kava consumer, it is up to you to gather as much information as possible.

Choosing the right kava to drink for your first time is just as important. Do your research, make a choice, and enjoy the experience.