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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.

Kavalactones

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.

Conclusion

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. 

Regaining Physical and Emotional Balance With Kava

Physical and emotional balance is important in everyday life. As everyday stressors of life influence you, you start to lose this balance. Emotional balance is the ability to maintain equilibrium, especially during trying or challenging times. Once faced with emotional pain, it's common for individuals to experience physical pain as well. By maintaining this balance, not only will you be more susceptible to change, but your quality of life will increase as well. 

One way to regain physical and emotional balance is with the use of kava. Kava is root harvested from a plant native to Polynesia. While it’s known for it’s sedative effects, the combination of vitamins and minerals make it a great herbal treatment for a number of disorders.

 

How Kava Promotes Physical and Emotional Balance

Because of kava's many benefits, it is becoming increasingly popular. Many agree that the use of kava significantly helps to promote relaxation to regain this balance.

Here are a few of the ways that including kava extract as a part of a sensible diet and exercise regimen can ease and maybe even eliminate some of your physical and emotional woes. 

 

A Great Anti-Inflammatory

Many people who use kava report that it helps ease various bodily aches and pains. From the stress created on the back from sitting in front of a computer all day to minor aches in the legs, a daily dose of the extract is said to relax muscles and prevent cramping. A dose of extract in green tea or any other non-alcoholic beverage you enjoy will do the trick. Using kava can not only help to regain physical balance, but but doing so, it helps with emotional balance as well.

 

Easing Tension

People who have a lot of stress in their lives sometimes like to add kava extract to liquids or to take a dose using a spoon. One of the more commonly known qualities of kava is the sedative effect. The nice thing is that while it does help drain the tension and everyday stress away, it does not dull the mental processes. Thanks to that attribute, kava is a wonderful way to ease physical and emotional tension without getting that cloudy minded feeling. 

Regaining Physical and Emotional Balance With Kava | Root of Happiness

Helping With Everyday Stressors

People who suffer terribly from everyday stressors but don’t tolerate prescription medication well might want to try kava extract. Among those who prefer to manage their conditions using herbal supplements, the kava is often touted as a wonderful way to slow the mind racing that’s so common after a long day filled with stressors. This is because kava allows both the body and the mind to relax, without feeling sedated or groggy. It allows you to take deeper breaths, enjoy the company around you, and helps to promote deep relaxation. This relaxation in turn promotes physical and emotional balance when consuming kava.  

 

More Restful Sleep

Nothing is quite as maddening as crawling into bed and finding that sleep is elusive. For people who can’t seem to settle down and get to sleep, kava a half-hour or so before bedtime could help. Enthusiasts report that along with helping ease tension in the muscles, the extract makes it easier to stop replaying the days activities over and over in the mind and drift off to a deep and recuperative night’s rest. Because your mind, and your body is relaxed and at rest, you can enter a more soothing sleep with kava. 

 

Dealing With Mild Despondence 

There are many reasons why an individual feels despondent. The condition creates a sense of muted emotions, lethargy, and in general having no zest for life. It can be enough to make life pretty tough. Many people find that using kava to get through the difficult weeks and months after the event helps immensely. While it doesn’t make the pain go away completely, the emotional balance that the extract can provide makes it easier to cope, heal, and eventually be able to move on. 

 

Recovery From Surgery

Any type of invasive surgery does mean additional stress on the body. During the recuperative phase, there can be quite a bit of discomfort. Kava is used in a number of cultures to soothe the trauma the body recently experienced and ease that discomfort. With carefully measured doses recommended by a professional herbalist, it’s possible to enjoy some respite from the stiffness, general fatigue, and soreness while the healing process is underway. The improvement of physical balance helps to regain emotional balance as well.

Kava has many benefits, and they include physical and emotional balance. This in turn can help to ease everyday tension, promote greater sleep, and improve overall quality of life. 

As with any type of natural or herbal supplement, be aware that interactions with other herbs or prescription medication is possible with kava. Talk with a medical professional who is knowledgeable about those potential interactions. Know the signs that a negative interaction is taking place. Doing so enhances the odds that you will enjoy all of the benefits associated with kava. It helps to ensure you still get the most benefit from the other supplements or medications you take as well.

Vanuatu Kava Tradition: Nakamals

Vanuatu is in the South Pacific Islands and has been inhabited since 500 B.C. It is comprised of islands and islets with volcanic and mountainous regions.

Vanuatu relies on many forms of agricultural subsistence living including fishing and hunting. They make money through exporting certain agricultural products. One that is very popular is kava, taken from the root of the piper methysticum plant that is found throughout Vanuatu. Vanuatu kava tradition expands throughout centuries, and has greatly influenced the culture of today. We have adopted many of these traditions, including nakamals -- also known as kava bars. 

Vanuatu Kava Tradition & History

Kava is said to have originated in Vanuatu over three thousand years ago. Many believe that kava was initially popular because of its medicinal uses.

Harvesters clone parts of the piper plant families to form the piper methysticum plant. Travelers took strands of the plant to other islands in the South Pacific, each creating their own version of kava.

Vanuatu remains the leader in having the most varieties of kava. They have more varieties of kava than anywhere else in the world.

The use of kava can vary from islanders. Some think it's best to consume daily while other islanders, such as Malekula, associate kava with a cult of death.

There are also many legends surrounding kava.

Kava Legends

Varying legends exist and some are quite mythical. Some believe good kava was found by two sisters who were washing themselves by the ocean after gathering yams for food. The story states a sister touches the kava plant. Noting its pleasurable sensations, the sisters took the root and began to cultivate this new kava plant.

Other legends state kava was given by the Gods. They also include spiritual qualities or the mixture of spirit Gods and humans. The Vanuatu kava tradition and legends have been a part of Vanuatu culture for years. 

Southern vs. Northern Vanuatu

Historians claim the origin of kava began in Northern Vanuatu, specifically on the island of Maewo. This is spectacular, that all kava that exists today can be traced back to a single plant in Northern Vanuatu.

From this location, kava was then shipped to Fiji, where it was named Yaqona, and from there, to other islands. Some chose to keep the name kava, others chose to create their own name.

Most reports state kava did not originate in Southern Vanuatu. The residents of the southern part of the islands had to import the kava plant and learn its uses just like every other user in the Pacific.

In ancient times, both southern and northern Vanuatu kava tradition is similar. They prepare and drink kava in the most traditional ways, which includes chewing and spitting practices. The location where locals drink and celebrate with kava are also the same. These structures are nakamals.

Nakamals

In Vanuatu kava tradition, special huts were built in ancient times just for drinking kava. These are nakamals. You know them today as a kava bar

Traditionally, nakamals were built for chiefs and village leaders to meet and make important decisions. Every community in Vanuatu contains nakamals. While the shape and construction of the nakamal can vary, many have a similar A-frame style.

Some communities decorate nakamals to represent the community. Other nakamals remain simple with nothing drawing attention to its existence.

With a resurgence in the popularity of kava, nakamals are popping up all over the world.

Vanuatu Kava Tradition | Nakamals | Root of Happiness

Kava Today

Kava is extremely popular today, and not just in the Pacific Islands. Nakamals, or kava bars, are accessible in most major cities including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and many more.

Kava has so many benefits and people consume it for many different reasons. Some use it to achieve relaxation after a long day at work. Others use it to alleviate aches and pains.

Kava’s benefits also include mental alertness while feeling completely at ease. Muscles relax and an overall feeling of good will or happiness encompasses the person consuming kava.

Many people today are choosing to replace alcohol with kava. They do so because kava is a terrific way to relax and calm down after a long day at work, but without the hangover the next day. In addition, their mind stays clear.

While nakamals may look quite different in cities versus rural areas, they are consistent in in the fact that you will reach your desired effect easily.

If you wish to experience Vanuatu kava, you are in luck. You can purchase it from kava suppliers who work directly with Vanuatu harvesters. Or, you can visit your local kava bar for a low key, yet social experience.

10 Tips to Manage Kava Safety

Kava is an excellent product for those of you who need a little extra help relaxing at the end of the day. Drinking kava can not only help you feel calm, it can make you feel euphoric while still letting you maintain mental clarity.

Before you run out to the next kava supplier or kava bar, look at the kava safety tips below.

10 Kava Safety Tips

Kava has many benefits, however it is still important to understand how to use kava safely. These 10 kava safety tips will help you properly consume, and benefit from kava.

  • Do Not Mix With Other Medications
  • Use Kava Root
  • Understand Reverse Tolerance
  • Learn Your Dosage
  • Do Not Mix With Alcohol
  • Don't Mix With Other Herbs
  • Avoid Driving
  • Know How to Prepare Kava

Below, we go into detail about each of these 10 kava safety tips to ensure you have the best possible experience with kava.

10 Kava Safety Tips | Root of Happiness

Don’t Mix with Other Medications

If you are on prescription medications, avoid drinking kava until you have consulted with a physician. The reason is because kava can enhance the effects of some prescription medications. Sometimes, too much of something can be dangerous.

For instance, narcotics such as opiates have sedating effects. Kava also has sedating effects. If you take two potent substances together, you will become overly sedated and possibly unable to function. It's important to understand the effects of current medication, and how it will interact with kava.

Make Sure it is From the Root

Good kava is extracted from the root of the piper methysticum plant. It is harvested in the South Pacific Islands by farmers. They pound the root into a powder form and prepare it for shipping around the world.

To ensure kava safety, you want to consume kava that is prepared from the root. You will know if you consume bad or ignoble kava because you will experience nausea, headaches, even vomiting.

Know About Reverse Tolerance

Reverse tolerance may happen with beginner kava drinkers. It basically means you may not feel any effects the first few times you drink kava.

In some, kava needs to build up in your system before you begin experiences the full effects. This can take a few days or weeks. Don’t give up on kava, though. Once you start feeling the effects, you will realize it was worth the wait.

Not all kava drinkers experience reverse tolerance, and it's important to understand what this is before trying kava for the first time. If you do not feel the effects of kava after the first use, continue to be patient. 

Learn Your Dosage

Your kava dosage may be different than others. It is recommended to start with no more than 300 milligrams at first until you know how kava affects you. When you become a regular user, you will be able to adjust your dosage based on the effect you are seeking. To ensure kava safety, you want to learn how much kava to consume to reach your desired effects. Although it is extremely unlikely to become addicted or overdose, it's still best practice. 

Kavalactones are the components within the kava root that determine the effect you will receive. There are many combinations of kavalactones. Reactions can include relaxation, sedation, mental clarity, alertness, euphoria, and deep sleep, to name a few.

Do Not Drink with Alcohol

Many people compare alcohol and kava but the truth is, they are totally different. Alcohol alters your brain which impairs your thinking, judgments and overall decision-making skills. Alcohol can cause hangovers due to dehydration and sometimes due to drinking in excess.

Kava gives you a relaxed, euphoric feeling. It helps you become sociable without hindering mental abilities. In fact, you remain mentally alert while drinking kava.

Do Not Mix with Other Herbs

There are many great alternative medicines on the market today that are readily available. Benefits vary but each can have a positive effect on your body.

However, just because they are beneficial, does not mean you should mix them with kava. Make sure you are aware of the effects that your alternative medicines and how they may interact with kava. Talking to a naturopath may be a wise step to sure kava safety before using.

Do Not Kava and Drive

Kava gives you an excellent experience. It can help you sleep better at night and can make you feel euphoric. Kava boosts your mood while easing muscle tension. It helps you feel relaxed and calm.

All these are great benefits. However, they are not good if you get behind the wheel. Being overly sedated or sleepy and choosing to drive a vehicle is simply dangerous. Do not drink kava and drive.

Correct Preparation

If you choose to purchase kava in root form, there is a specific way to prepare it. In fact, in root form, there is only one way to prepare it so you receive the best effects.

For the last three thousand years, the root has been pounded into powder form. How you choose to pound it is up to you but quality suppliers offer tools to help you.

Once the root is pounded into a powder, wrap the powder in a kava strainer bag or cloth and dip it into a liquid. Most use water or coconut milk. Squeeze the mixture to strain the liquid from the mixture. What is strained is what you will drink.

For more tips and advice on drinking kava, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Asking questions gives you knowledge and helps with kava safety. This knowledge can help you determine if you are using good kava and at the right dosage for your desired effect.

The more you know, the safer your kava drinking experience will be.

Wellness Tips: Improving Your Well-Being with Kava

We live in a society where it is people are constantly working towards improving their well-being and health. When a person has a stress-related disorder, anti-anxiety medications are given by a doctor.

When a person has trouble sleeping or has insomnia, a physician is likely to prescribe a man-made sleeping medication.

Many medications prescribed by doctors to manage or improve well-being come with an array of side effects, leading to the need for additional medications.

Your overall well-being can be managed using alternative, all-natural herbs and treatments. One proven way is with the use of kava.

Below are some of the ways you can include kava in managing or improving your well-being.

Relaxation

Everyone today is stressed out and over stimulated by many career and personal responsibilities. For most, their day begins before dark and ends after dark, leaving only a few hours to wind down before going to sleep again.

Weekends are just as busy, running errands, visiting friends and family and catching up on household chores. When does anyone just take time to relax?

If you speak with most people, they will tell you they constantly feel stressed and overwhelmed.

Being able to relax is important for your overall well-being. A stressed mind and body can lead to physical and mental illnesses. The illnesses most associated with stress and tension include depression, anxiety, obesity and ulcers. These issues can lead to bigger issues.

Drinking kava at the end of your day, or sometime through the day, can reduce the symptoms of tension and nervousness. It lifts your mood and allows you to feel calm when everything around seems chaotic.

Sleep Improves Health

Sleep can mean the difference between having a good day and a difficult day. So many positive things happen during sleep, like restoration of any ailing parts of our brain and body.

Lack of sleep leads to poor moods, weight gain and lack of concentration. Sleep deprivation, over time, can have serious negative effects on the body and can hinder memory and lead to more stress on the body. This can lead to heart disease, diabetes and other physical illnesses.

Drinking kava before bedtime can help you get a more peaceful rest. Kava relaxes your mind and your body and allows you to drift into a deep sleep which in turn improves your well-being. When you wake up the next day, you do not feel groggy.

Relationship Building

Connecting with others has been proven scientifically to improve mental health. It gives you self-confidence and a sense of belonging, both of which boost our overall well-being.

Healthy relationships tend to lower stress, lower anger emotions and give you a support. This support helps you get through challenging situations. Research shows healthy relationships encourage you to develop better habits that can lead to longer life span.

Kava can help to enhance social interactions. It can relax you physically and mentally. It loosens you up so you can become more socially interactive.

Kava is a better drink than alcohol for social occasions. It relaxes you without altering your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Exercising the Mind

To improve well-being and stay healthy physically, it is important to stay healthy mentally. Making efforts to improve mental awareness can help you retain memory, concentration and focus.

You need a healthy mind so you can recognize any weaknesses that need to be improved. A healthy mind can help you maintain relationships, make important decisions, and make spiritual connections.

Kava was used in ancient times to allow leaders to receive messages from the Gods. It offers a relaxed physical state with a heightened mental awareness. Today, people rave about kava’s ability to increase mental awareness without having jittery feelings or hyper reactions from caffeine and other drugs.

Furthermore, taking kava before you practice meditation enhances your experiences and creates a much more beneficial spiritual time.

Exercising the Body

Not all exercise requires you to run to get a good workout. All forms of yoga can provide heart healthy workouts, making you sweat and work muscles just as well. There are many levels of yoga, Pilates, and any type of stretching can be a superior way to exercise your body. Similar to meditation, combining kava yoga can help you reach a deeper relaxation.

Bodybuilders report kava helps relax the muscles just enough to boost their workout. Muscle tension can hinder a workout. Using kava helps the muscles to relax so they can be stretched while also preventing overworking.

Drinking kava before you begin your workouts, whether bodybuilding or yoga inspired, can take you to a deeper level.

As you can see, kava can benefit your overall well-being in a variety of ways. Start managing your health today by implementing kava into your daily routine.

Understanding the Differences Between Kava and Damiana

Many herbs have similarities, including how they are consumed and the benefits they offer. While some, like kava and damiana are similar, they are not the same.

Every herb comes from a different part of the country and from various parts of the plant. Some are extracted from a root, like kava kava, while others are made from leaves, stems or flowers.

With such an easy access to herbs and alternative therapies, at-home users are becoming more like scientists. They mix and match herbs in hopes to produce a certain effect. This can be dangerous is the wrong herbs are mixed.

Some people are mixing kava and damiana. If you only use kava, then you know you do not need to mix anything with it for it to benefit you. Damiana users are claiming to need a little extra, so they mix it with kava.

These two herbs are quite different, from their origins to effects.

Origins

Kava is taken from the root of the piper methysticum plant found in the South Pacific Islands such as Hawaii and Fiji. It has been a well-respected plant in Oceana for thousands of years. It was first used before important ceremonies and rituals.

Kava is now enjoyed around the world. It can only be harvested in the South Pacific, making it more special than other plants.

Damiana grows sub-tropically in areas of the southeastern United States, specifically Texas. It can also be found in Africa and Mexico.

Damiana comes from the turneraceae plant family and is often called turnera diffusa. It is derived from the dried leaves of the plant.  It was also used before ceremonies and events. Damiana was traded among the Aztecs and Mayans and is still used today.

Damiana can be grown in your back yard if you are living in the right growing zones.

Chemistry

Kava contains kavalactones which determine the potency of the effects. Kavalactones have chemotypes that determine what types of effects it will deliver.

All damiana’s chemical components have yet to be identified. However, researchers do report it contains flavonoids, volatile oil, essential oils, and cyanogenic glycosides. It also contains tannin, arbutin, thymol and a little bit of phosphorous. These are not nearly all the components.

Effects

Kava is well known for its ability to relax the mind and body, while still allowing you to stay mental alert. Kava eases muscle tension and gives you an overall feeling of goodwill. Many report feeling sociable and in a great mood.

Kava is replacing alcohol around the world due to its ability to calm you down after a stressful day at work, without leaving you with a hangover.

Damiana is mostly known for its aphrodisiac effects. There is very little research on damiana so most of the claims of effects are from personal accounts. There are a few studies claiming damiana reduces tension and has a calming effect.

Other damiana users claim it is good for use as a laxative and digestive issues, as well as for cleansing the liver and bladder.

Benefits

Both plants are known for their relaxing and calming abilities. If you are feeling nervous, kava can ease this symptom. There are many benefits of kava, as it is also used to lift your mood when you are feeling sad, as well as help you get a good night’s sleep.

Both kava and damiana are associated with losing weight, according to some reports.

It seems odd that an herb can act as both a laxative and a sexual stimulant, but that is exactly what damiana claims it does. Its relaxant qualities are associated with easing menstrual cramps and asthma. It also has antiseptic qualities that help eliminate some infections.

How it is Prepared and Consumed

Kava tea is the most common way kava is consumed. If you are in the South Pacific, kava is prepared by pounding the root into a powder form. You then mix the powder with water and strain through a cloth. The liquid that is strained is what you consume.

Kava can be purchased in powder, liquid, capsules and even edible forms. It can be bought in ready mix packages that make it simple to use on a regular basis.

Damiana can be smoked as well as consumed. You can purchase the dried leaves and either smoke them or drink them in tea form. Or, you can buy infusions, tinctures or capsules.

Following the instructions offered on the packaging is the best way to take both kava and damiana.

Mixing Kava and Damiana

There are people who claim when they take damiana they don’t feel as strong effects as they would like. Instead of taking more damiana, they are choosing to mix it with kava.

People who use kava will likely tell you they do not need anything else mixed with their kava drink. Kava offers just the right potency for users to experience all the beneficial effects.

While it is unlikely to harm you, mixing damiana and kava can be done, but is not necessary if you are drinking kava only.

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.

Kavalactones

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

Overdose

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.

Fiji Kava Traditions: Yaqona

Fiji Kava, also known as Yaqona is traditionally pronounced Yan-go-na and is considered by natives to be a plant given to them by the Gods. It is also commonly called kava in the United States, or grog, throughout the Pacific Islands. Each region of the Islands has their own special traditions and cultural rites.

There are many legends surrounding the origins and importance of Fiji kava. From preparation to consumption, there are specific meanings and rituals for Yaqona.

Legends of Yaqona

Some legends in Fiji claim the God Degei created the plant to offer wisdom to the people. Other legends claim the plant sprouted from the grave of a Tongan princess who died of a broken heart.

This may be why for thousands of years, local villagers drink Fiji kava before important ceremonies and rituals. They also drink it to connect with spiritual guides.

Another fable associated with Yaqona is that when a Tongan King visited the island, one of the women villagers did not have anything to offer the king. She sacrificed her baby, serving it to the king after killing it and wrapping it.

The king did not like this and ordered for the baby to have a ceremonial burial. The story ends with the sprouts of the kava plant emerging from the grave of the sacrificed baby.

Whether any of these legends are true, they are embedded in the rich culture of Fiji.

Fiji Kava Ceremony - Bula | Root of Happiness

Culture of Fiji Kava

In Fiji, Yaqona is considered an important staple of the culture. It is what brings people together and gives everyone living there a sense of closeness and feeling of being connected to one another.

Kava ceremonies are held often, even in today’s Fiji. If you plan on attending a ceremony in Fiji, it is customary to take kava with you as a gift.

When welcoming someone to the village of Fiji, kava ceremonies are traditional. Some ceremonies can start early in the morning and extend well into the following morning. No one is required to stay that long. Many people come and go to the celebration.

Fijia kava gives everyone a feeling of goodwill and happiness towards each other. It is not considered rude to come and go as you please from the ceremony. This feeling of goodwill can last six hours or more. This is because of its chemotype properties.

Properties

Yaqona has distinct properties that allow a person to relax but maintain an open, clear mind. Yaqona is made from the root of the piper methysticum pepper plant. The plant contains kavalactones that contain ingredients that, when combined, offer relaxing effects.

There are thirteen kavalactone strands. Different strands produce various levels of potency. Yaqona is prepared so that it offers the best experience. It gives you a relaxing, sedating effect. Basically, you feel calm and your muscles become relaxed.

Your mind, however, remains clear. It is almost like you have an increased awareness. You are very mentally alert but at the same time you have a relaxed, happy feeling of goodwill towards others.

Yaqona is not made from the stems or leaves of the piper methysticum plant. In fact, anything made from the stems and leaves is ignoble or bad kava.

Ignoble kava can give negative effects to the user. These negative effects can include getting sick on your stomach. This feeling can last for several days.

Proper preparation of Yaqona is an important part of Fiji traditions.

Yaqona Preparation | Root of Happiness

Preparation

One person oversees mixing of Fiji kava, along with two others who are charged with serving and getting water as needed. They sit behind the tanoa, or better known as a wooden kava mixing bowl.

Before the mixer begins preparation, they will make a statement that tells everyone they are beginning the process. Most say they will respectfully make Yaqona for the chief.

The mixer then pounds the Yaqona root into a powder, mixes it with water, and extracts liquid from that mixture. It is then ready for inspection by the Chief’s herald.

If the herald feels the texture is not ready for consumption, he will instruct the mixer to make more Fiji kava. They continue to improve the drink until it is considered the right consistency and texture for the Chief.

Clapping and singing and dancing may take place during the preparation period, blessing and giving thanks to the Gods.

Consumption

On a rectangular mat, the tanoa is at one end and at the other is the village chief and his leaders. There is an etiquette to consuming kava.

When the Chief’s Yaqona is ready to be served, the herald will clap three times and announce the drink is ready. He then serves Yaqona to the Chief.

Coconut shells are used for drinking kava. They are filled and served according to importance within the community. Once the chief is finished drinking, others begin drinking the Chief’s Yaqona. However, they take drinks in order of importance to the village.

The most important leaders in the village drink first.

Clapping before during and after the Chief and everyone else drink Yaqona is an important process of consuming it. In between claps some may call out, “Bula”, which means “cheers”.

Fiji’s culture and traditions are still alive today. Yaqona is a very important part. Fortunately, today, everyone can enjoy the benefits of Yaqona. Fijian kava powder is widely available through reputable kava suppliers. And they can enjoy them daily, not just at ceremonies.

Fiji Kava Consumption Today

Benefits of Yaqona are that it contains a large amount of fiber, making it a healthy drink for digestion. It also gives you the positive effects that alcohol may give you, but without the negative effects of alcohol. For instance, you will feel relaxed, but will not have a hangover.

Also, you can feel happy and in a good mood, without losing mental clarity like you do when drinking alcohol. Long term use of good kava does not lead to damage to the body. Like alcohol on the other hand, that causes damage to several parts of the body.

You don’t have to travel to Fiji to try Yaqona. In modern times, Fiji harvesters have perfected the extraction process. They know how to package the root and ship it around the world. This allows suppliers in the United States to sell good kava to you.

You can enjoy Yaqona in the privacy of your own home or at a local kava bar, which are popping up around the States. With so much access to this amazing product, you can reap the benefits as soon as today. So, here’s to you!  BULA!

Kava Yoga: Benefits of Including Kava in Your Yoga Routine

According to the Yoga Alliance, 36 million Americans practiced yoga in 2016. This number is twice what it was in the previous four years. As yoga’s popularity increases, so do the reasons why people implement it in their lives. People are constantly looking for new ways to practice yoga, which is why kava yoga has emerged.

A few of the top reasons people engage in yoga is to better their health, reduce stress and because they enjoy it. Others start to lose weight, develop better habits and because they want to find ways to practice mindfulness to calm their minds.

Yoga offers all these benefits and more, and the popularity of kava yoga helps people to benefit more from yoga.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. It is meant to join or become a union. The union is between you and the spirituality side of your life. It is a practice that can connect you with something greater.

There are branches of yoga that aid in this connection. These include hatha, mantra, karma, bhakti, raja and jnana.

In ancient times, kava was consumed by the Chiefs and Leaders of a village to help them connect with the Gods. Kava was, and still is, revered due to its ability to overcome daily stressors.

The Chopra Center reports there are seven spiritual laws of yoga. These surround positive laws such as giving and receiving, intentions, desires and even karma. You can experience these through the physical and mental movements you make during yoga.

Yoga is comprised of stretching and breathing exercises, warmup positions, physical poses to exercise your body, and relaxation periods to allow the body to cool down.

There are both physical and mental benefits of yoga. It can teach you how to relax your body so that you can have better flexibility and balance. Yoga can also teach you to be aware of what your body needs, to pay attention to every part of the body.

Yoga is also a tool to build self-confidence, encouraging you to do more for yourself, whether socially or by yourself. It can even improve your confidence in how you practice and progress with yoga.

Many people surveyed reported they didn’t try yoga due to feeling like they were inadequate or not flexible enough to participate. Others thought yoga was for a certain type of people and they are "outside" that group.

What they should know, however, is that yoga is a practice that teaches you to be non-judgmental and welcoming to all. There are plenty of positive attributes of yoga.

Yoga’s Positive Teachings

Yoga is not only for the super flexible. Instead, it is to be used at any level of physical capabilities. You can simply do the poses based on how your body can move and bend right now in the moment. Your abilities will change over time. They may even change from day to day.

Everyone who practices yoga had a starting point where they were learning and not considered professional. Some stay in this beginning stage for lengthy periods. This is what makes yoga effective, no one must to move to various levels when they are not ready.

Yoga, according to the National Institute on Health, teaches you the power of the mind and how important it is to be healing the whole body. It teaches you that you are perfectly capable of healing yourself from the inside out. And when you do, it is empowering.

While yoga on its own is beneficial, when combined with kava it can produce even greater effects.

Why Engage In Kava Yoga

Kava is an herb that has been used for centuries. Kava is extracted from the root of the piper methysticum plant that grows in the Pacific Islands. The root is pounded into a powder and mixed with water. It is then strained.

The liquid that is strained is then consumed and the effects begin to appear almost immediately. Some report a tingling feeling on the tongue before they experience an overall relaxed manner.

Soon after, a person drinking kava can feel calm, in good spirits and with complete mental clarity. These qualities can enhance your yoga practices.   

How to Take Kava with Yoga

Before you begin your yoga exercises, you want to make sure you are in the right physical and mental state. Kava can help you reach this state of mind and body.

Plan to drink kava about one half hour before your yoga exercises. There are many ways to consume kava but the easiest is to purchase ready-mix kava or instant kava powder. With this form, you can simply mix the powder with a drink of your choice and enjoy.

When you start to feel the effects of the kava, such as relaxed muscles, happy mood and an overall feeling of goodwill, begin yoga.

Benefits of Kava Yoga | Root of Happiness

Kava Will Enhance the Benefits of Yoga

Kavalactones contribute to the effects kava has on a person. It can help to learn which combinations are best for you.

Stretching and warm up exercises are key to getting ready for yoga. Because kava relaxes your muscles, you will find warming up to be easier. You will be more flexible and can stretch your body further than without kava.

Kava helps you remain clear headed. This means you can focus on both your breathing and the needs of your body during yoga.

Kava helps to reduce mental worries. Yoga meets the same goals. When used together during kava yoga, you can reach this relaxed state even faster.

Building confidence and internal peace can lead to better relationships with friends and family. Combining kava and yoga can aid in this process.

Research has shown our thoughts and behaviors affect the chemicals and structuring of your brain. This is good news because if you learn to think, feel and act in a positive way, your brain will be positively rewired.

Both kava and yoga helps you to have positive thoughts, actions and feelings. When combined in kava yoga, training your brain to be positive is more easily accomplished.

You will then notice your outlook on life, the way you handle daily struggles and your relationships with others will begin to improve. Yoga is so much more than just a way to exercise. It can change your life for the better.

When yoga is combined with kava, the positivity within yourself and outwardly will increase and you will be able to enjoy the great life you deserve.

Common Misconceptions: Kava Liver Damage

There are several misconceptions about kava, a drink originating from the South Pacific Islands. Individuals and communities have been consuming kava tea for thousands of years without any known negative incidents. This alone should tell be enough to sustain kava’s positive reputation.

However, there are a handful of reports claiming kava is not as great as reported. Some even claim there is such a thing as kava liver damage.

But before explaining why kava liver damage is a big misconception, it is important to know exactly what the liver does, what damages the liver, and the real reason behind the controversy.

The Liver’s Job

The liver has many jobs. One of the most important is it cleans your blood. When you consume food and drinks, the liver processes these items and takes out the good stuff like nutrients, and sends it to the rest of your body.

Your liver also produces bile. This is important because it can help you store sugar, vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to the rest of your body.

The liver takes harmful stuff that you consume and processes it back through your bile or your blood so it can leave your body as waste.

When you ingest too much of a bad thing, your liver can show signs of damage. These symptoms can become severe if not treated.

Common Causes of Liver Damage

Alcohol is one of the most common things that damage the liver. Drinking too much of a toxin such as alcohol can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. This means your liver has scarring on it that cannot be undone. Cirrhosis can also from obesity and hepatitis.

Damage to the bile duct and if you have an autoimmune disease, you may be more susceptible to cirrhosis. There are even some medications that can damage the liver. For instance, taking too many over the counter acetaminophen and even some anti-depressants.

Up to 35 percent of heavy drinkers will develop alcoholic hepatitis. The abdomen can swell, skin can turn jaundice and you can experience fevers, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can linger for years and will eventually do enough damage it will cause scarring of the liver.

Alcohol abuse can cause the body to replace living tissue with nonliving tissue on the liver. There are other statistics on liver damage is from ingesting toxins.

Liver Damage Statistics

According to the American Liver Foundation, one to three million people have liver damage due to some form of hepatitis. Of the thirty million total Americans with liver damage, twenty percent have it because of fatty liver disease and ten to twenty percent of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis.

Liver cancer is the cause for over half a million deaths each year. Causes include the use of anabolic steroids, alcohol, obesity and even the over use of aspirin or ibuprofen type medicines.

These statistics, when compared to drinking kava tea, are overwhelming. However, they also help you realize how harmless kava really is.

Statistics on Kava Liver Damage

Many reports were published claiming there was a direct link to kava liver damage.  Even though for thousands of years not one Pacific Islander had any connection between the two and did not experience any liver damage when drinking kava.

The numbers vary, but there were a group of people who stated their liver damage was a direct result of taking kava. Some reports claim there were sixty reports and other research claims there were one hundred reports. However, it's not proven that the liver damage was due to drinking kava. The kava liver damage scare came after these reports.

There could have been many reasons for the damage, that do not relate to kava.

Many of these kava liver damage reports were put out by Swiss and German health officials who put a ban on kava. They have since reversed their decisions and released the ban on kava based on extensive follow-up research on the claims.

They found that the people claiming to be affected by kava were also taking other medications that may be the reason for the damage.

In the end, they found only one case worldwide in which kava may have affected a person’s liver.

The Truth Revealed

For thousands of years, kava has been offering relaxation to those who consume it. It also helps reduce tension throughout the body and gives you a calming feeling. It does all of this while maintaining, even enhancing, mental clarity.

You remain fully alert, yet experience a happy and relaxed mood.

The truth surrounding the complaints of kava liver damage were suspected to be caused by a batch of tudei kava being sold and distributed by suppliers who were simply interested in making money. Unlike noble kava, it is made from the stems and leaves of the piper methysticum plant.

To be considered "tudei", there are a couple of differences in the kava itself.

The first trait is that this variety of kava has a chemotype that starts with either a “25” or “52”. It also must have more flavokavains than kavalactones, a ratio greater than one.

Many have started using a simple color metric test to determine if kava is tudei or noble. If the color turns bright yellow, it is noble kava. If it turns any other color, it is tudei.

The misconceptions surrounding kava may not fade away anytime soon. But with certainty, it will remain a staple, used by those who seek calm and relaxation. Over time, after kava continues to help people, we should focus on its positive effects.