Kava Effects on Brain Explained | Botanic Tonics

Kava Effects on Brain Explained | Botanic Tonics

Reviewed by Jamal Bouie

Prepare to embark on a captivating journey into the world of kava—a traditional herbal beverage with roots that trace back centuries to the Pacific Islands. Derived from the sacred Piper methysticum plant, this extraordinary beverage has played a pivotal role in social gatherings, cultural rituals, and cherished ceremonies in lands like Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Hawaii. Today, the kava root is used in kava tonics, capsules, and other products, providing a potent punch of mood-boosting properties. 

While you may already know about the benefits of the kava plant for mental health and well-being, you may still be wondering, “How does kava affect the brain?” In this article, we will be walking you through how kava affects the brain, its potential side effects, and how to incorporate this herbal remedy into your routine.

Potential Benefits of Kava on Brain Health

Occasional Anxiety

Kava has gained recognition for its potential to alleviate symptoms of various mental health conditions. Studies suggest that kava may help reduce occasional anxiety symptoms, making it a promising natural aid for individuals with generalized anxiety disorder or anxiety-related disorders.[1]

Occasional Stress

Kava has demonstrated anxiolytic properties, which means it may help reduce occasional anxiety and occasional stress levels. Scientists believe that components found in the kava root interact with receptors in the brain, which help promote a relaxed mood  and a sense of calmness.[1]

Cognitive Function

Research has shown that kava might have a positive impact on cognitive function. It has been suggested that the kavalactones (active analytes) in kava may improve attention, focus, and memory. With that being said, further studies are needed to fully understand the full effects of kava on cognitive function.


Many individuals struggle with sleep disturbances, and kava has been explored as a potential aid for insomnia. Some studies show  kava may also help improve quality of sleep and promote a more restful night's sleep. However, like with any sleep supplement, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using kava as a sleep aid.[2]

See related: Does Kava Help You Sleep?

Potential Side Effects of Taking Kava

Now that we’ve covered the kava effects on the brain, let’s dive into the potential side effects. As you can see, kava has numerous potential benefits, however,  it's still crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with its use as well. Some individuals may experience adverse effects. This is more probable if the individual has consumed kava in excessive amounts (over 3 liters a day) or in combination with certain medications.[3] Possible side effects of kava may include:

Liver Issues 

There have been rare cases of liver toxicity associated with heavy and prolonged kava use (over 3 liters a day). It's important to use noble kava varieties and follow recommended usage guidelines to minimize the risk of liver damage. It’s critical that you go for a noble kava variety as there are many strains and types of kava on the market. If you have existing liver problems or are taking medications that affect liver function, it’s highly recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before adding kava into your routine.

Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Some individuals may experience mild gastrointestinal issues like stomach upset, nausea, or indigestion. These effects are generally mild and subside with time but can vary from person to person. If you are consuming kava and begin to experience these problems, take a break and let your body rid itself of your symptoms. 

How To Take Kava

If you're considering incorporating kava into your routine, it's important to understand how to take it safely and responsibly. Here’s some tips on how to take kava.

Recommended Usage

First things first, follow the recommended usage guidelines provided by the kava company. Start with a low dose of kava extract or kava tea and gradually increase if needed and no negative symptoms are present. Additionally, it's recommended to take breaks from kava consumption to avoid developing tolerance or dependence. At Botanic Tonics, the recommended serving size for our feel free tonics is 1 oz and up to 2 servings a day which is equivalent to a half a bottle of feel free.

Finding a Trustworthy Kava Product

At Botanic Tonics, we strive to deliver high-quality kava products and are completely transparent in our practices. Our kava products are sourced from reputable suppliers and adhere to strict quality standards, ensuring all of our kava root products are both safe and effective.

Kava has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for relaxation and various health benefits. While it shows promise in addressing anxiety, stress, and cognitive function, it's essential to approach kava consumption with caution. Be mindful of potential risks, follow recommended usage guidelines, and consult a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. If you’re looking to experience the calming effect of kava, consider shopping for our kava capsules, tonics, and products from Botanic Tonics.

Remember, kava is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and individual experiences may vary. By doing your research and choosing quality kava, you will be able to reap the full benefits of this mighty herb. 


  1. Tzeng YM, Lee MJ. Neuroprotective properties of kavalactones. Neural Regen Res. 2015 Jun;10(6):875-7. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.158335. PMID: 26199594; PMCID: PMC4498339.
  2. Thomson N Urquhart B. Review of the misuse of kava among Indigenous people. Mt Lawley, Western Australia, Australia: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, Kurongkurl Katitjin: Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, Edith Cowan University; 2009
  3. National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health. Kava 2016 [16.11.2020].

About The Author

Jamal Bouie Botanic Tonic

Jamal Bouie

Jamal Bouie is an accomplished professional with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Biomedicine at Salus University. Jamal has worked in several industries; he began his career in pharmaceutical manufacturing and transitioned to the cannabis industry, where he specialized in analytical testing and manufacturing, playing a vital role in ensuring product safety and compliance. Now, Jamal has turned his attention to the dietary supplement field, combining his scientific acumen with his passion for health and wellness.

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