Contrary to popular belief, Papua New Guinea has domesticated several cultivars of Papua New Guinea kava or “Kau” as it is called locally, from its wild predecessor Piper witchmanii. This cultivar is known as Madang Short, an "ISA" cultivar, which is renown throughout PNG and parts of Fiji for its piney taste and strong, relaxing, long lasting effects. Our Madang Short consistently tests between 9 and 11% total Kavalactones with a non-noble 254 chemotype meaning that it is high in Dihydromethysitcin (DHM), Dihydrokavain (DHK), which are 2 and 4 times the potency of their single bonded counterparts methysticin and Kavain. Kavain and DHK both have local anesthetic properties however DHM has a much stronger sedating and sleep-inducing effect. DHK has a relative analgesic effect stronger by dosage than that of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) making it useful for minor aches and pains. The predominance of DHK and DHM accounts for this cultivar’s more sedating and muscle relaxing qualities, its delayed effects, as well as the lassitude of effects (several hours) compared to noble daily drinking kava.
Our Papua Kava is also surprisingly low in Flavokavains for being a non-noble Kava. According to a recent report entitled, "Scientific and Legal Assistance for the Development of a quality and safety standard for kava production in the Pacific region," found on pages 48 and 49 HERE, ISA Kava from Papua New Guinea, although it is a non-noble chemotype, contains only 0.15%-0.2% Flavokavain B, which is only VERY slightly higher than Hawaiian Noble chemotypes such as Nene (0.12%) and Moi (0.10%), along with several other Noble Chemotypes from other Kava drinking regions. When you consider that you only need to drink half as many shells as many noble varieties, you will actually be consuming much less Flavokavain B than some of those 3% Nene or 4% Moi kava's that are floating around out there. If the reason for abstaining from non-noble kava is due to a concern over flavokavain intake, you are likely to consume less flavokavain from 2 shells of our Papua ISA than you would from having to drink 6-8 shells of some weaker varieties.
It is a popular misconception that they never had a kava drinking culture and that the only Papua New Guinea Kava that is to be found is undrinkable Wild Kava (Witchmanii). It has been well documented by early explorers of Papua that Kava drinking existed at the time of European contact in Madang as well as the Manus region in Lou, Buluan, Pam, Rambutyo, and the Fedarb Islands, as well as along the Rai Coast and some areas of the Ramu River and the Bagabag and Kar Kar Islands. From these Kava drinking regions of Paupa, several varieties of Papau New Guinea Kava have been domesticated including Madang Short, Madang Tall, Manus Green, Manus Pink, Manus Tall, Daru, among others.
This is to say that Papuans intentionally selected and planted these cultivars for the purpose of consumption over the course of thousands of years through a painstaking process of deliberate selection from either wild Piper witchmanii plants, or a very primitive domesticated Kava cultivar from Vanuatu that was brought early on in the domestication process. These cultivars are genetically Piper Methysticum and have been continuously planted and consumed from introduction until the present day.
This Papua New Guinea Kava powder is quite potent, lasts longer, and has a stronger physically relaxing effect profile similar to other non-noble cultivars such as Tudei and Isa. These effects MAY, but not always, last into the next day. If you’re looking for a light, social, heady, noble Kava experience, this is not the Kava for you. If, on the other hand, you’ve ever wanted to experience the strongly sedating effects of “ISA” Kava, this Papua New Guinea Kava powder an excellent opportunity to do so. As with any Kava, overconsumption can lead to nausea so we recommend mixing lightly and starting slowly with this cultivar, or mixing with a Noble daily drinking kava at a ratio of 20-30% to start out for those unfamiliar with its effects.