When over half of Americans report that they experience stress during the day, it’s no surprise so many of us reach for the comforts we have at hand: Junk food, alcohol, and the respite offered by our screens.
We know these measures do not provide long-lasting relief, but sometimes they’re all we’ve got.
Or are they?
Turns out, safe, natural, and short-acting remedies do exist for people hoping to divest from their screens and other unhealthy means.
One example is kava kava. Extracted from the South Pacific plant, Piper methysticum, kava kava, commonly known as just kava, has deep roots in traditional medicine and ceremonial applications. Today, its potential benefits—as a mood elevator and a stress-aid—are making it a go-to alternative.
Unlocking Kava’s Manifold Benefits
A long unsung root from a South Pacific plant, kava boasts many potential benefits that have been harnessed by indigenous populations for hundreds of years. Kava root is traditionally turned into a paste and mixed with a liquid. Other traditional kava plant uses also include kava tea. Today, there exists a variety of kava products on the market, such as drinks and capsules.
Now that it’s widely available in travel-sized bottles for on-the-go consumption, we think it’s worth highlighting four of the most powerful benefits of kava supplements.
#1 Kava Can Help with Occasional Anxiety
Do pre-exam jitters get you drumming your pencil on the desk? Does the thought of a challenging meeting ahead keep you snoozing your morning alarm? We all know what it’s like to experience worry about responsibilities on the horizon.
Fortunately, kava supplements may quell those fears thanks to kava’s high content of kavalactones, a particular compound that passes through the bloodstream, relaxing the mind and the muscles.
So how does this type of herbal remedy work in regard to stress and occasional anxiety symptoms? Over the past twenty years, numerous trials and studies have shown that while kava might not be strong enough to ward off the long-term effects of generalized anxiety disorder, it can be used over shorter (4–8 week) periods to support feelings of wellbeing and calm.
In other words, the next time you’re feeling that fight or flight response kick in and there are no lions or tigers in sight, reach for kava supplements to help soothe your nerves.
#2 Kava Can Aid Poor Sleepers
The kavalactones in kava may also support restful sleep. A dose before bed may have you nodding off at the flick of your overhead light switch. Given the effect of screens, around-the-clock emails, and news headlines, we think this is one of the most exciting benefits of kava supplements.
That said, much of the research on kava’s effects on sleep is limited to animal studies. At the same time, kava’s potential effect on stress may indirectly promote sleep by zapping worries and stimulating feelings of tranquility.
In other words, think of kava as a kind of night watchman for your mind, locating and quietly eliminating intrusive thoughts and feelings of unease.
#3 Kava Can Aid Socialization
Pressured into attending an office happy hour but don’t want to imbibe? This is a common problem for many people who are trying to decrease their alcohol intake for health or wellness reasons.
But the challenges of not drinking in a culture where alcohol is heavily marketed, often inexpensive, and available almost everywhere can be overwhelming even for stalwart non-drinkers.
This is where kava supplements can help. Initially used in ceremonial settings, kava can offer many of the benefits that alcohol can provide—without the grogginess, sour stomach, and headaches of hangovers.
Similarly to alcohol, kava can help decrease feelings of fret and fear. It can also support elevated moods that some people liken to a buzz. If you struggle to open up socially without alcohol or simply find the feeling of a drink in your hand helpful, a dose of kava can clear the way to better hang with the gang.
Perhaps that’s why there are numerous kava bars throughout the country.
As a final note, we feel it’s worth adding here that kava and alcohol should not be mixed. If you’re bringing kava to an event where alcohol is present, make sure to pick your lane and stay in it.
#4 Kava May Help Protect Against Inflammation
Kava consumption has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory effects. These effects may be minimal, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth discounting.
Think about it. Millions of people try to incorporate leafy greens, nutrient-dense berries, and fatty fish rich in omega 3s solely because of these foods’ anti-inflammatory properties. Sure, a single portion of broccoli might do little to combat inflammation in the body, but when eaten weekly over a lifetime, the benefits can start to add up. The same case can be made for the kava plant and its anti-inflammatory effects.
Kava’s Lasting Benefits
We’ve chatted at length about some of the wonderful benefits of this ancient root. The next question is, how long does kava last?
While effects can linger depending on your weight, dose potency, and how often you take kava, we find that kava can generally induce good vibes and faintly pleasant sensations for between three to four hours.
This relatively narrow time frame makes kava ideal for those seeking a burst of focus or a short-term period of heightened mood.
Kava Supplements Come in Many Forms
Kava comes in a few different forms, including:
These forms have various advantages of which we’ll discuss below:
- Liquids – Perhaps the simplest way to imbibe, liquids are pre-mixed by manufacturers so you can skip the ratios and percentages in the morning. These liquids are often laced with other plants or supplements that can help with productivity, focus, or relaxation. They’re also easy to throw in your bag for later.
- Capsules – Are kava capsules effective? In short, absolutely! Capsules can be incorporated into drinks, shakes, and smoothies or simply taken on their own. Unlike tea, high quality kava capsules are generally taste-free, offering a clean and quick way to ingest this supplement without too much hassle. For consumers who may not enjoy drinking kava tea, capsules are a great alternative to reap the benefits of this type of herbal remedy. They also make dosing a breeze, as their contents are consistent from day to day.
- Tea – Easy to brew quickly, kava teas are often laced with other herbs or supplements—such as ginger, cardamom, or essential oils—that can aid in relaxation or overall health. While the effects of kava tea usually feel great, they don’t always taste great. For some consumers, the flavor can’t be effectively masked in tea, no matter how much peppermint, cinnamon, and spice is added.
You can also learn more about the differences between kava pills vs drinks to discover the product you like best.
Elevate Your Mood and Improve Your Focus with Botanic Tonics
It’s no secret that stress—with its concordant negative health effects—is on the rise around the world. While there may not be much we can do about these problems as individuals, there are ways we can mitigate some of the occasional anxiety that accompanies feelings of insecurity and uncertainty.
Safe, effective, and perfectly legal, kava can offer relief from stress and unease, and Botanic Tonics’ feel free kava capsules are crafted with kava and other natural plants that can support relaxation, rejuvenate your mind, and soothe your soul.
Plus they’re caffeine, alcohol, and sugar-free.
Enhance your lifestyle with Botanic Tonics.
The American Institute of Stress. What is Stress? https://www.stress.org/daily-life
Britannica. Kava. https://www.britannica.com/topic/kava
Rolling Stone. Kava: Inside the All-Natural High That’s Sweeping America. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/kava-inside-the-all-natural-high-thats-sweeping-america-125828/
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Kava for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Review of Current Evidence. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29641222/
Human Psychopharmacology. Enhanced cognitive performance and cheerful mood by standardized extracts of Piper methysticum (Kava-kava). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15181652/
MedlinePlus. Caffeine. https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.htm
Neural Regeneration Research. Neuroprotective properties of kavalactones. https://journals.lww.com/nrronline/Fulltext/2015/10060/Neuroprotective_properties_of_kavalactones.8.aspx
Chemical Research in Toxicology. Dihydromethysticin (DHM) Blocks Tobacco Carcinogen 4-(Methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)-Induced O6-Methylguanine in a Manner Independent of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) Pathway in C57BL/6 Female Mice. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.chemrestox.6b00203
Eater. Meet Kava Tea, a Prescription-Free Alternative to Xanax. https://www.eater.com/drinks/2015/7/23/9017651/meet-kava-tea-a-legal-psychoactive-alternative-to-alcohol