When you think “micronized”, you may think it means tiny or minute. And you are on the right track. Micronized means a product has been broken down into small, fine particles. Micronized kava, then, means kava broken down into small, tiny pieces. So fine that it is more often considered to be a powder, a ready-mix type of product. Meaning, you can simply stir it into the beverage of your choice and drink.
Learning the history and makeup of micronized kava can help you make a good decision as to whether you want to purchase kava in this form.
Origin of Micronized Kava
Kava has been used for centuries. This has been great in terms of measuring any positive or negative effects of kava.
In the beginning, kava was created by crushing or pounding the root of the piper methysticum plant. The pounded root was then mixed with spit or water and strained into a separate bowl. The strained mixture is what is consumed.
In more modern times, so that people around the world can enjoy kava, it has been further processed to preserve its quality.
Freshly harvested kava roots retain their effectiveness for only about three or four days. This makes it hard for people around the world to access quality samples. Therefore, this changed the processing method.
Now, kava root is dried, then ground into powder form that can be shipped around the world while keeping quality at the forefront.
3 Components of Micronized Kava
Even when kava is ground into a fine, micronized powder, there are components that can be easily seen and distinguished. The components are mostly seen in medium ground kava but can also be found in micronized kava.
All positive effects of kava come from the roots of the plant, not the stems or leaves.
- One component is the root flesh. This is soft material from the plant. Typically, it is in a powder form.
- Another component is the skin of the root. The skin of the root is darker in color are not as noticeable before you mix the powder with water. But once mixed, the darker skin will become more evident.
- A third component is makas, which some users choose to remove from their powder mix.
What Are Makas?
Makas are hard fibers. For a few people, drinking these hard fibers can cause an upset stomach. Not everyone is affected by makas but those who are, take an extra step in the micronization process of kava to make sure they are removed.
Makas can be easily seen in the ground powder. They are tiny clumps of fibers. With the right kava strainer, they can be easily removed.
Some have reported that when they remove makas from their powder, there is a considerable difference in the weight of the powder. The weight can be almost cut in half in some instances.
Fortunately, you do not have to worry about removing makas yourself. That’s because you can purchase makas-free micronized kava. The work has been done for you so that all you must do is mix with your beverage and enjoy.
How Makas are Removed
Makas can be removed. You can choose to remove the makas in the beginning, right after harvesting the kava root. Or, you can remove the makas once the kava roots have been made into a powder and dried.
When makas are removed soon after the root is harvested, it is easier to get most of the makas out without wasting any other parts. Removing makas during harvest also makes it easier to continue processing kava into micronized kava.
While this may be the best way to remove makas, it is not very cost efficient due to the extra labor involved.
Another way to remove makas from kava involves separating the makas from the dried powder that includes the root skin and flesh. This can usually only be done once the kava is in powder form. It is a more difficult way of removing makas.
With this method, it is almost impossible to eliminate all the makas. But the more makas you can remove, the better the kava.
Some claim the makas-free micronized kava, rather than the simple micronized kava, is more potent. This may be due to the kavalactones within the components of the kava root.
Kavalactones in the Components
Each component (root flesh, skin, makas) contains kavalactones. It is kavalactones that create the relaxing and calming effects offered by drinking kava. There are many kavalactones, creating hundreds of combinations that each create their own level of potency.
It has been reported that the skin of the kava root has the highest kavalactones, followed by the flesh. Makas have the least amount of kavalactones among these three components.
The affects you feel from drinking kava tea will give you an idea of its quality. There are other ways to determine quality of the kava you purchased.
One way to determine the quality of your micronized kava is to check for makas. If you look into your mixture and notice hard bits or flakes of makas floating on the top, your micronized kava is said to be of less quality.
If you have ever experienced drinking fresh kava, meaning straight from the ground to a mixture, then you have experienced the best quality kava. You would have tried it in the South Pacific where it is grown. Once you know the original taste and texture of kava, you can compare all processed versions of kava to the original.
The kava you purchase that is most like the original kava you drank is the one with the most quality.
These facts about micronized kava almost make it seem like we are discussing instant kava. There are many similarities. With both you can mix in your beverage and drink.
Instant kava is a bit more refined, however.
With instant kava, micronizing is taken to the next level, making the kava even smoother, with less texture and particles when the drink is prepared.
Micronized kava may cost a little more than other types of kava powders but it is worth the money. The extra cost represents the extra time and labor put into processing the kava so that it is more enjoyable and easier to use.