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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.

5 Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Tension

At the end of each day you can feel the tension of the day in your body. It may appear as a headache or pain where your neck meets your head. It may appear in your lower back as a tightness that burns when you bend. The “it” is tension and it can ruin your day. Because of this, people are now trying different relaxation techniques to reduce this tension. 

Tension is usually caused by everyday stressors. It leads to dull aches and pains and can even make the area of tension sore to touch. When you are psychologically overwhelmed, your muscles and joints can become rigid. You may even notice your jaw or fists clinched more than usual. Or, your body moves more with the pent-up energy. For example, many people find themselves rocking or moving their legs and feet.

Poor posture and even some medications can cause tension in the body.

Fortunately, there are many relaxation techniques reduce tension and you don’t need medication to do it. Below are our favorite relaxation techniques that allow you to become less tense.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Being aware of how your muscles feel while they are both tense and relaxed can help reduce tension. In theory, progressive muscle relaxation blocks stress.

This is one of the most popular relaxation techniques, and has been used since the 20s. In the late 1920s progressive muscle relaxation was founded at Harvard University. Since then this method is by many to alleviate pain caused by tension.

It is a two-step process in which you tense your muscles, focusing on the process of tensing. Then, you visualize the release of tension in the same muscles. This process makes you aware and more in tune with what your body is telling you it needs.

Benefits of progressive muscle relaxation include the lowering of blood pressure, feeling calm, helping with sleeplessness, and overall stress reduction. 

Guided Imagery

Relaxation Techniques: Guided Imagery with Kava | Root of Happiness

For this technique, people focus on pleasant images to replace negative feelings. You can perform guided imagery on your own, or it can be led by a practitioner or a recording. Most people prefer to be led by a professional.

The theory behind this technique is that you can train your mind to concentrate and to relax. There is a guided imagery technique for each of your senses. These include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory.

Engaging as many senses as you can during guided imagery will benefit you more when reducing tension. You can use the power of the mind to reduce tension and heal problems within the body.

Guided imagery can also help you prepare mentally for major life events. It can also help you quit negative habits like smoking or over-eating. It allows you to be calm, even during life stressors.

Mindful Meditation

Better known as mindfulness, this type of meditation can improve general health, improve mental clarity, and help you to feel calm. There are many research studies showing the benefits of mindfulness for relaxation techniques.

It can help you cope with worry, reduce aggression and improve social and relationship skills. Mindfulness helps you regulate emotions so you can find peace and calm and ultimately, a reduction of tension.

The American Psychological Association claims mindful meditation improves memory and focus, and reduces psychological distress that can lead to tension and its negative effects.

Spirituality

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, spirituality gives you an advantage when trying to reduce tension. It allows you to meditate with a sense of understanding and purpose.

Spirituality can have many definitions. Depending on your faith, it can mean anything from connecting with a higher power to becoming one with nature. Whatever the definition, it can have benefits for relaxation techniques when trying to reduce tension in the body.

The National Institute of Health reports spirituality has a positive connection in physical and emotional well-being. They even note that spirituality can be a great coping tool. In fact, modern therapists are finding ways to help clients use spirituality in the healing process.

Kava

Kava has been used for thousands of years, with its origins in the South Pacific. It makes you feel relaxed and calm. Other characteristics of kava are that it makes you feel sociable, with an overall feeling of good will towards others.

It has been a tradition to drink kava before ceremonies, rituals and important meetings.

Kava can take an already one of the most popular relaxation techniques for reducing tension. When consuming kava before progressive relaxation, you can concentrate better on tensing and relaxing each of the muscles in your body.

Kava is one drink that when consumed, provides you with relaxation while also enhancing mental clarity. This benefit makes kava a great asset for both guided imagery and mindfulness. When you drink kava tea, you can achieve a higher level of relaxation.

Calming the mind becomes easier with kava.

Kava, since its origin, has been used for spirituality practices. Drinking kava would open the minds of the leaders who would speak to the Gods and receive important messages. It is true that kava settles the noise and distractions in the mind so you can experience complete mental awareness.

Other Relaxation Techniques

These five relaxation techniques are just a few examples of how to reduce tension. Others include acupuncture, acupressure, and all forms of yoga. Massage therapy is becoming more popular and rather than wait until there is a physical issue, people are getting massages for preventative therapy.

When you combine kava with any of these methods, you have better chances of increasing the beneficial outcomes.

To begin mixing kava with your preferred relaxation techniques, you first need to find a supplier of noble kava. Anyone can purchase from reputable online kava suppliers. It is best to pick suppliers who are members of the American Kava Association and undergo verification processes.

Suppliers have made using kava before relaxation techniques easy. They have instant varieties that you can simply mix with your drink of choice and enjoy. Some of the best kava suppliers are even formulating their own pre-made kava drinks.

No matter which kava you choose to use, it helps you to better reduce tension when you pair it with your favorite relaxation methods.

The Origin of Hawaiian Awa

Pronounced “ah-vah”, which means bitter, awa it is known as the Hawaiian kava drink. Hawaiian awa has many different names, depending on the region in the Pacific Islands and the cultural background. Many know it as kava around the world.

It is called yaqona in Tonga, ‘ava in Samoa, sakau in Pohnpei, and malok in Vanuatu.

Hawaiians have called it awa since it first came to Hawaii thousands of years ago. Awa, in the beginning, was mostly used for religious ceremonies. Certain Gods are associated with the use of Hawaiian awa, offering blessings to crops, hunting, fishing and even unions between families.

Today awa is used for medicinal reasons as well as a social and ceremonial drink. It is used to ease tension and alleviate pain.

The meaning of awa in Hawaii is just as storied as its journey.

How Awa Came to Hawaii

As Pacific Islanders traveled and settled in various parts of the South Pacific, they would take their most important plants with them. This type of plant was originally known as canoe plants.

Awa is extracted from the root of the piper methysticum plant, or pepper plant.

During all the traveling and the years of moving through the Islands, the Hawaiian awa plant lost its ability to reproduce through seed. The Hawaiian natives found other ways to grow it. They used the stems and leaves to propagate the plant.

They would mix and match different strands of awa to create different chemotypes. If they liked the effects, they kept it. If they did not like the effects, they quit growing that version. They spent much time mutating the plant until they found the most noble versions.

Eventually, thirteen noble strands of Hawaiian awa were created that are of the best quality and still available today.

Thirteen Strands

There are distinct differences between the thirteen noble strands of awa. The hardest strand to find of Hawaiian awa is called hanakapi’ai. It has purple nodules and spots all along the tall plant. Another strand is called hiwa and it is a smooth stalk with black color.

Honokane iki is a tall green plant with few spots, while kumakua has internodes. Other strands include mahakea, mapulehu, mo’I, nene, opihikao, pana’ewa, papa ele ele, pap ele ele pup u, and papa kea.

Each of these strands has special characteristics that local farmers know well. Depending on the effect they wish to have, they know exactly which plants to harvest.

It has been noted that only the most common strands can be used by most people. The rarer strands of Hawaiian awa are reserved for chiefs and village leaders.

Traditional Hawaiian Awa | Root of Happiness Kava

Preparing Awa Root

There are specific ways to prepare awa to drink. Harvesting the root after a rain makes it easier to remove from the ground. There is a specific traditional preparation of kava.

Most tea is made using the fresh root of the plant. Sometimes the root is sundried and used later. It is chopped into small pieces and pounded into a powder like form. Awa is then mixed with water and strained. In the beginning, awa was chewed to mix with saliva, then spit into a bowl.

The strained liquid is what Islanders consume. Sometimes the awa is put in a kalabash and warmed over hot stones, then cooled again before drinking.

Mixing the awa with water is what makes the kavalactones potent.

If drinking kava is not for you, try the supplement or capsule forms of kava. Or, you can visit a kava bar and have the drink prepared by the experts.

Hawaiian Awa Effects

Awa has kavalactones that start with the number four, letting you know it will give you the euphoric and pleasing effects. Other Pacific Island cultures prefer the effects of sedation and relaxation. Hawaiian awa makes you feel relaxed, but at the same time gives you energy and mental alertness.

It is refreshing and can stimulate the body. In addition to having a spiritual element, awa is used for to relieve tensions and everyday pain.

Awa is often used daily by many Hawaiians to wind down from the day’s stressors. It is the perfect replacement for alcohol because it offers you relaxation but without the mind-altering effects alcohol causes.

Awa also makes you feel sociable and in a positive mood when hanging out with your peers. Yet it does not make you act silly or aggressive like alcohol tends to do on occasion.

With awa, you know when to stop drinking it. When you begin feeling calm and happy, you do not have a desire to continue drinking awa. This too is unlike alcohol, with which many people do not know when to stop drink it.

There are specific ways to consume awa to give you the most benefits.

How to Drink Awa

Once the tea is prepared and ready to drink, it is customary to say a brief prayer of gratitude. Traditionally, the shells of coconuts are used as cups. Special awa bowls are designed and created for modern use.

When drinking awa, you do not want to just sip it. It has a bitter taste and most Islanders prefer to gulp it and then chase it with something more flavorful. Some people use bananas or sugar cane as chasers.

Some of the awa remains in the cup and can be poured on the ground, offering a thank you.

There are certain cultural protocols to follow when drinking Hawaiian awa.

Hawaiian Awa Council

The Hawaiian Awa Council was established to assist awa farmers in the growing process. They help farmers maintain the highest quality awa available. There are also awa task forces, awa development council and a protection committee.

The Hawaiian Awa Council makes sure that every cloned awa plant is done in the right condition with the right techniques. They do so by employing top researchers and top kava leaders from around the world. They spend a lot of time educating others on noble kava, its history and its future.

As you can see, Hawaiian awa is extremely important to Hawaiian history and culture. This can be carried over into modern times, even though the method of ingestion has changed.

Awa can now be bought around the world through vendors and online suppliers. It is offered in dried root form, powder form and in the popular instant mix. It is also offered in supplement, liquid and even candy forms.

However you choose to consume awa, you are sure to enjoy the relaxing effects that Hawaiians have enjoyed for thousands of years.

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.

Conclusions

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.

Kava Meditation: 5 Ways Kava Can Enhance Mindfulness

Meditation has been used for many years to help a person reach a state of calm and relaxation. Meditation connects the mind, body and spirit and allows you to be fully aware of your senses and your body’s needs. As kava gains in popularity, many people are using kava meditation to enhance their meditation practice and practice minfulness.

There are certain factors that contribute to an effective meditation. For example, a quiet space where you can sit comfortably and where there are no distractions. The position in which you sit is also important. It is recommended you sit in an upright position either on the floor or in a chair. If this is not comfortable, however, you can lie down or find a position that is right for you.

Science has been able to prove there are benefits of meditation. It has been shown to help people reduce the tension they feel related to life stressors. Meditation also reportedly improves mood and thinking.

There are many types of meditation including: concentration meditation, walking meditation, mindfulness, Tai Chi, Qigong, and transcendental.

Meditation helps connect the brain and the body to improve health.  Reduced blood pressure, pain relief and other physical symptoms can be addressed using meditation.

To get the most out of your meditation, some people drink kava tea before they begin a session. Kava has a long history of benefits and it can enhance mindfulness and meditation practices. Below are the most common benefits of kava meditation.

Preparing the Body

Meditation goals or intentions include being calm and relaxed. When you can keep your body calm, you can improve your physical health. This is because when you are calm, you are reducing stress in your body. Stress has many negative effects and harms the body and mind.

It has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and negative mental health. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol in your body which is a known cause of weight gain. It makes it hard for you to lose weight, even when you are actively trying.

Stress can lead to depression and anxiety and negative attitudes. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle and one ailment leads to another.

To prevent this type of stress on the mind and body, you can practice meditation. One way to ensure you are calm while meditating is to engage in kava meditation by enjoying kava before your practice.

Kava has been known to provide relaxation for centuries to those who consume it. What makes kava so great is that you become relaxed, but not lethargic. Your body is calm but you still have enough energy and motivation to have a great meditation.

Kava Meditation | Root of Happiness

Eases Tension

Muscles can store tension. Tension in the body can make nerves more sensitive and can prevent nutrients from feeding the body.

The whole point of meditation is to ease all tension and relax your muscles. During meditation, depending on how deep you transcend, your body will begin regenerating itself. Blood circulates through your body and provides it with a good supply of oxygen.

Tension can cause physical aches and pains. But with meditation, you can feel these aches and pains slip away as your body relaxes. Kava meditation helps your body slip into deeper relaxation, allowing you to meditate successfully.

Drinking kava tea before you meditate can assist and speed up the process of easing tension in the body. For about three thousand years, people have been drinking kava to help them with physical and emotional tension.

Positive Mood

Kava is known to give you an overall feeling of good will. It makes you feel happy and takes away any negative emotions. Therefore, kava is used consistently before major events like weddings and negotiations.

A positive mood can improve how your body functions. It can reduce tension and the negative effects of stress. It improves memory functions in your brain.

Mindfulness meditation can help you focus on eliminating negative thoughts from your mind so you can reach a positive state of mind. It can help improve brain function and has been shown to control mood swings. By mixing mindfulness with kava meditation, you will be able to have a very positive experience. One that is relaxing and repairing your mind.

Positive Mood and Minfulness With Kava | Root of Happiness

Clear and Focused Mind

Concentration meditation is associated with being able to clear the mind and get it ready for meditation. Heart centered meditation is also used to clear the mind and help you focus on the energy center of the body, the heart region.

One of kava tea’s top qualities is the fact that it allows you to be calm but with mental clarity. It gives you a sense of being completely aware of your body, your surroundings and your thoughts. Some claim to feel hyper-aware, the most aware they have ever felt, when drinking kava.

Mixing kava and meditation is a terrific way to stay focused on your physical and mental states of being. You will be able to distinguish between outside distractions and push them aside, allowing your body to repair itself.

The more you can do this, the better.

Can Be Taken Regularly

Meditation is an activity that needs to be done at least once a day. Just five to ten minutes a day for beginners can make positive changes in the body. The key is to build up how long you meditate over time.

If you can only meditate for one minute to start, that is okay. Take that minute to clear your mind of the day’s thoughts and the noise taking place in your mind. Then slowly add a minute the next time you meditate.

Kava meditation may help lengthen the time you meditate because it allows you to feel focused, relaxed, and at peace.

Fortunately, kava can be consumed every day without a fear of addiction or negative impact on the brain or the body. The mental clarity and alertness you get from drinking kava can make meditating easier for you.

Today, kava is consumed daily by both the Pacific Islanders and people around the world. There are even kava bars being established so you do not have to even worry about mixing the tea yourself.

All you must do is enjoy the tea and combine its effects with your meditation practices. You will find the benefits to be rewarding.

The Significance of the Kava Bowl

What may seem like a simple wooden bowl to some, the kava bowl has deep rooted meaning in traditional kava drinking.

Various cultures within the Pacific Islands have similar respect for the kava bowl. Small factors may change among cultures, like the name of it or how many legs it has. But overall, it adds significant value to the process of drinking and sharing kava.

Origin of the Name

For centuries, natives in the Pacific Islands have been drinking kava before ceremonies and rituals. Kava is prepared using the root of the piper methysticum plant, a member of the pepper family. The kava root is pounded into a powder and then mixed with water.

In ancient times, preparation was done by young women who would chew the root, mixing it with their saliva, and spitting it into the bowl.

The bowl, then being referred to as the kava bowl, is then passed around in a specific order and etiquette set forth by the villagers. For example, the bowl belonging to the chief of the village is usually the one passed around at the event.

Tanoa is the local name for kava bowl. It is the name used most often by Pacific Islanders. Others call it a laulau.

They are made from a single piece of wood, usually from the ifilele tree that has a reddish-brown color. Hardwood trees are the most commonly used among all the cultures. After the bowl is carved, it is soaked in water for a long while so that it doesn’t smell like wood. Tanoa are always similar in shape.

Significance of the Kava Bowl | Root of Happiness

Shape

Kava bowls are usually round or elliptical. The rims are shallow and it sits on several legs. The number of legs can range from four up to twenty or more. Some elliptical bowls do not have legs at all.

Elliptical bowls are usually used by families. The round and often larger bowls are used for groups at ceremonies or rituals. The round bowls were usually owned by chiefs and it was quite an honor to be drinking from them.

The bowl itself varies in size but is consistently shallow. It would be rare to find a kava bowl deeper than six inches.

A suspension lug is seen on all kava bowls. It rests between a pair of legs and usually forms a “v” shape or a “t” shape. Legs are short, measuring up to four inches. The legs are usually larger at the top and narrow at the bottom.

Holes are often drilled in the suspension lugs that allow a cord or some kind to be strung through two holes. This cord is used for hanging the bowl in between uses.

Carvings and Decorations

Kava bowls used by natives are simply made, without carvings and decorations. When the islanders realized tourists wanted the more ornate versions, the native islanders capitalized and began producing colorful, decorated bowls to sell to tourists.

Originally, tourists were charged by the number of legs on the kava bowl. In more modern times, kava is consumed using a variety of cups and bowls. However, wooden bowls are still used today when drinking kava before, during or after ceremonies and rituals.

Rituals and Ceremonies

Drinking kava involves a certain etiquette, complete with chants, prayers and body movements. A prayer blessing must occur over the kava bowl and drink before consuming it. The blessings are then followed by two or more claps, which are the villager’s way of showing respect.

Those who will be drinking kava will then receive a bilo, or a brown cup made from the shell of a coconut.

Often, the leaders of the village will drink first and then pass the kava to the next person. Each person will clap and say, “Bula” before they drink and clap several times after they take a drink.

Kava is consumed before important ceremonies and events. Most believe kava is a spiritual symbol, allowing those who drink kava to be able to communicate with the spirit gods. There are many who debate this theory, however, saying that it calls up demons instead.

During the preparation of the kava, dancing takes place. There may also be dance like movements performed by what some call the protectors of the Tongan royal family.

Kava traditionally has been known as a drink that brings people together socially and for good outcomes. It represents the resolutions of problems, seeking peace to restore goodwill among all.

Complimentary Tools

The kava bowl is often accompanied by a cup and a strainer. The strainer is used after mixing water and kava root powder to gather the liquid remains of the mixture. The cup is often made from the shell of a coconut and is used to scoop kava mixture into the bowl.

These can be substituted with more modern-day utensils, or you can purchase kava in ready to use mixes supplied by wholesalers.

Suppliers and wholesalers can also supply you with a modern bowl. If you are seeking a used, well-worn bowl, you may have to search online for antiques and collectibles. Traditional style strainer bags and coconut shell cups can also be found for sale online.

Kava making would not be as important without the kava bowl. It is this bowl that holds the liquid that represents the meaning behind each ceremony or ritual.

The kava bowl is just as necessary as the actual kava root used to form the liquid stored in the bowl. Of course, anyone can drink kava from any type of vessel. But the traditional methods of drinking kava clearly value the use of the bowl.

The bowl has changed over the last three thousand years. From a simple hand-carved wooden bowl to plastic or metal, they have adapted for the times. While you can still purchase traditional style bowls, most people today opt for modern drinking cups.

The key behind the kava bowl is the sharing that takes place among all men and women participating in the ritual. It is the camaraderie, the connection and the gathering of a group where everyone wants to feel happy and sociable.

The kava bowl, because it is passed around and shared, helps people make that connection and begin spreading cheerful good will for all.

The Best Kava Drink Recipes

Kava is known for many great benefits. Taste, however, is not one of them. Fortunately, there are many ways to consume kava that make it flavorful without losing any of its effects. One way is to create delicious kava drinks to enjoy. If you plan on making drinks yourself, here are our favorite kava drink recipes to choose from.

From the original kava drink recipes of the Pacific Islanders, to new kava shakes, smoothies, and juices, there are kava drink recipes to meet every need. 

Original Kava Drink Recipes

You may be the type who wants to experience kava in its most original form, even if the taste is bad. You are not alone. Many prefer to drink kava without masking its flavor.

Unless you are currently in the Pacific Islands with access to the roots of the piper methysticum plant, you will need to purchase noble kava root powder.

This powder comes directly from the kava root plant. However, it has been pounded and crushed before packaging it and shipping it to you. This keeps it fresh for exporting it around the world.

These original kava drink recipes involve mixing kava powder with water in a kava strainer. Use your hands to knead the mixture, combining the water and the kava. The liquid created from mixing the kava and water is strained into a separate bowl. The strained liquid is what you will drink.

In these original recipes, nothing is added to strained kava. 

Chocolate Kava Milk Shake

To get your chocolate fix, use this recipe for a thick milk shake. You will need kava powder, coconut milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and ice.

If you are using kava powder, you will need to prepare it before mixing it into a shake. Add ¼ cup of kava powder to a kava strainer, preferably, but if you do not have a kava strainer, you can substitute it with a cheesecloth or nylons.

Dip the kava in water and then squeeze out the liquid into a separate bowl. Combine the strained kava liquid with 14 ounces of coconut milk, ¼ cup of cocoa powder, a few tablespoons of sugar and ice. Blend well in a blender then serve.

This recipe is delicious, and allows the person drinking it to feel relaxed, while masking the traditional flavor with chocolate and coconut.

Micronized Kava Soda

If you love sodas and the fizziness of the drink, try this kava soda using micronized kava powder. The below recipe is great for sharing with several other people.

Take one bottle of lemon-lime soda, four tablespoons of lime juice, and 8 tablespoons of micronized kava powder. Pour all ingredients into a large bowl and stir frequently. Keep chilled.

Because you are using micronized kava, there is no need to strain the kava beforehand.

Instant Kava Fruit Juice

If you are searching for a fruity drink to serve cold on a muggy day, try this recipe.

This is one of the most simple kava drink recipes, and is perfect for any juice lover.

Mix one bottle of ginger ale with a cup of fruit juice. The juice can be any type you prefer, from strawberry to pomegranate to grape juice.

Add one or two tablespoons of instant kava powder. Then squeeze in half of a lime. Stir frequently and serve chilled or over ice.

Banana Kava Smoothie

Using instant kava powder, you can make this delicious tropical smoothie. You will need crushed ice, a banana, instant kava powder, honey and coconut milk or almond milk.

Place about half a cup of ice into a blender. Add a teaspoon of instant kava powder, a whole banana, and a couple of tablespoons of honey for sweetening. Pour your choice of milk on top of the ingredients. Blend well and serve.

You may also add other fruits such as pineapple or mangos for an even more tropical flavor. Or, for a more decadent taste, add peanut butter before blending to get a chocolate banana peanut butter relaxant.

This kava recipe really allows you to add your personal taste and style to it!

Ground Kava Smoothie

Kava Drink Recipes | Root of Happiness

You can also make smoothies using ground kava. But you will need to strain the smoothie mixture and re-blend to get the right texture. The recipe below gives you steps to make this drink.

Put equal parts ground kava and your favorite milk in a blender. People often put ¼ cup of each. Then add 1 ½ cups of orange juice.

Blend for several minutes. Using a kava strainer or filter of some kind, pour the mixture through the strainer and into a separate bowl.

Put the strained liquid back into the blender.

Add ice, a banana and other fruits you like, blend until you reach the smoothie texture of your preference.

This seems like one of the more difficult kava drink recipes, but don't be hesitant to try it out! You can always switch out ground kava for instant or micronized kava powder as well. 

Instant Kava Yogurt

If you prefer the thickness of yogurt and want to use instant kava to create a dessert you can eat, try this recipe.

Simply choose your favorite flavor of yogurt. Then, add one to three teaspoons of instant kava mix. You can mix and eat at this point, or you can add honey, granola or cinnamon for even more added flavor. Stir well and enjoy.

Kava Root Latte

This is a great alternative to your ordinary coffee drink. Just add 1 cup of almond milk, 1 teaspoon of instant kava powder, and a teaspoon of maple syrup. Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat on top of stove until hot. Do not let it boil.

Then blend in a blender or with an immersion blender until frothy. Serve and enjoy. You may also want to add a pinch of cinnamon on top of the froth for extra flavoring.

From kava chai teas to kava Kool-Aid, there are many  kava drink recipes, and many ways to enjoy this calming, all-natural root. Kava bars are popping up all over America and offer you a large variety of kava drinks. From teas, coffees, shakes and smoothies, you can get a drink prepared fresh for you right there on the spot.

Kava is even being used in food and candy recipes. Just like any other herbal root, it can be mixed into your favorite recipes. The common trait among most kava recipes seems to be how it is served, cold.

You can even use kava to replace an alcoholic drink. Kava is never to be mixed with alcohol, however. This would be dangerous due to the high sedative like results you would encounter.

But if you wanted to use kava instead of alcohol, you can expect much more positive results. The kava library offers low and highball kava recipes.

You can also make drinks like a tom Collins or screwdriver or any other mixed cocktail. Simply substitute the alcohol with a teaspoon or two of instant kava powder.

Some reputable kava suppliers are developing a kava mixed drink add-in that comes in a bottle and is ready for use.

No matter how you choose to use your kava, you are sure to enjoy the effects it offers. Each of these kava drink recipes can ease tension, relax your muscles and make you feel calm with a sense of goodwill and happiness.

So go ahead, start trying new kava recipes today.

Common Questions About Kava - Answered

Kava has been used for centuries among both native Pacific Islanders and others around the world. To be more specific, kava can be dated back to 3000 years ago when the regions within Oceana discovered the root that derives from the pepper family.

When something has been around for that long, it is natural for questions to be created by those who know little about kava. As with all questions, they start can grow over time into large falsehoods.

It is important to correctly answer these questions whenever possible so that people who can benefit from kava are informed and not afraid to use this product.

You probably have quite a few questions regarding Kava, and we're here to answer them.

Is Kava is Addictive?

To be addicted to something it means you are physically unable to stop using the product. It also means you will experience withdrawal symptoms, some severe, that make it almost impossible for you to quit.

For example, those addicted to opioids have often reported when they try to quit taking the drug, they experience nausea, vomiting, flu like symptoms, cramps, muscle spasms and much more.

They even report that their brain will not let them focus on anything other than their drug of choice. Being addicted means you continue using a drug despite negative consequences. This means that even when people get arrested, lose jobs, lose homes, and even drive away family members, they continue to use the drug.

There have been no reports, in the centuries of its existence, of anyone becoming addicted to kava so much so that they could not stop using it. In fact, regular users of kava report they do not even have withdrawal effects when they stop using kava.

There have been some reports that kava can aid in preventing cravings for those in recovery.

Common Questions About Kava, Answered | Root of Happiness

Is Kava similar to Alcohol?

Kava is nothing like alcohol. Kava is extracted from the root of a natural plant in the South Pacific Islands. The only thing kava is processed with is water.

Alcohol, however, is processed by allowing yeast to break down the sugars from fruits and grains. It is broken down through fermentation into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Alcohol alters the mind, interferes with a person’s judgment and can cause damage to the brain. Alcohol also makes you have slurred speech, staggered walk and hangovers.

Alcohol has also been linked in many studies to liver damage that leads to death. Alcohol can cause ulcers and damage to the esophagus.

Kava does not alter the brain in any way. It allows you to feel relaxed and calm but retain full mental clarity. It has never been shown to damage the brain or cause your speech or body to change the way it normally performs.

Can overuse of Kava cause liver damage?

Kava has not been reported to damage any parts of the body. For a brief period, a small group of people reported liver problems after drinking kava. While they were harmed, it was not by superior quality kava. 

This misunderstanding bruised the reputation of kava for a while. In recent times, with the truth being spread and myths being dispelled, kava is regaining its popularity.

A 2015 report stated a link between kava and liver toxicity is rare at best. The question surrounding kava and liver damage was exaggerated heavily and is considered by many to be a misunderstanding.

The truth is that ignoble kava, or that made from stems and leaves, was exported under false pretenses. Someone trying to make quick money exported bad kava. These less than quality versions of kava did cause damage to some people who ingested it.

The number of people who were effected were less than one hundred. That number is minute when you consider the millions of people enjoying kava every day.

There have been no known reports of liver damage among the Pacific Islanders who have been drinking kava for centuries. Therefore, the answer to this question is kava is safe to drink.

If your source for kava is reputable and are using noble kava strands only (taken from the roots), then you will be fine enjoying a drink of kava.

Doesn’t Kava taste terrible?

Some people enjoy the taste of fresh kava while others do not. Taste varies among users. But just like other herbs, the taste can be enhanced by combining it with juice or other flavoring methods.

There are some companies that sell kava candies and palate cleansing chasers to help those who do not enjoy the original taste. You can also mix kava with other beverages.

Many people choose the mildest kava to consume because it is also the mildest in flavor.

Experimenting with your fresh kava can take some time and effort but once you find the method that enhances the flavor of your kava, you will be able to enjoy the drink even more in the future.

Is Kava hard to purchase?

Many people have a misunderstanding about the accessibility of kava.

The fact is that kava, taken directly from the root of the piper methysticum plant, does not last for long after it is harvested. That is, unless it is pounded and ground and dried to form a powder that can be shipped internationally.

Suppliers of kava buy the product from reputable farmers who are insistent on providing the best kava powder.

It was rumored that kava was banned for export. This is only true for ignoble kava.

Ignoble kava is made from the leaves and stems of the kava plant. This processing method is used by farmers who are only out to make a quick dollar. They produce and sell this type of kava in a way that is illegal.

Noble kava, or kava with high quality, is legal for export.

To make sure you get the best quality kava, make sure you purchase from quality suppliers. You can know they are quality suppliers because they are transparent with their practices and they welcome questions from consumers.

They are also certified by the American Kava Association, who makes it a point to ensure suppliers are providing kava in its best form.

Now that these common questions have been answered, it’s time to enjoy your cup of relaxing, calming kava.