Feel Free kava drinks

Kava Supplement Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

Reviewed by Erin Berthold

Content was updated for relevancy and accuracy on 3/13/24.

Kava kava, derived from the South Pacific plant, Piper methysticum is known for its rich history in ceremonial practices and traditional medicine. Centuries of kava use and cultural significance has led to a growing interest surrounding its potential health benefits. Kava kava, commonly known as just kava, has become increasingly popular for its mood elevating and stress relieving properties. Below, learn more about kava's potential benefits, or jump straight to the section most relevant to you:  

  • Kava's Lasting Benefits
  • Dosage Information
  • Kava Supplements and Its Many Forms
  • Kava Side Effects
  • Safety Precautions and Drug Interactions

Top 5 Kava Supplement Benefits 

A long unsung root from a South Pacific plant, kava boasts many potential benefits that indigenous people have harnessed for hundreds of years.[2] Traditionally made into a paste or brewed into tea, kava has found its way into a diverse range of products, including drinks and capsules. With the convenience of travel-sized bottles, we think it’s worth highlighting four of the most powerful benefits of kava supplements.

#1 Kava Can Help with Occasional Anxiety

feel free anxiety relief

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, providing a calming effect on the mind and the muscles.[3]

So how does kava help with occasional anxiety? 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.[4]

Next time you find yourself experiencing a fight-or-flight response without any immediate danger, consider reaching for kava supplements to soothe your nerves and help you feel more relaxed.

#2 Kava Can Aid Poor Sleepers

Kava supplements offer more than just anxiety relief. The presence of kavalactones in kava can also contribute to promoting restful sleep. By taking a dose before bedtime, you may find yourself drifting off to sleep more easily. 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.

While most of the research on kava's impact on sleep is currently limited to animal studies, its potential effect on reducing stress indirectly aids in improving sleep quality. 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

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Kava is said to lift your mood and make you more social. Initially used in ceremonial settings, kava can offer many socializing benefits.

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 or have occasional social anxiety, 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.[6]

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.

#5 Kava May Boost Your Mood and Cognitive Function

Kava has also been linked to improvements in mental health, particularly through its calming effect on the mind. Research suggests that kava can positively influence mood and cognitive function, offering a natural way to enhance mental well-being and clarity.[4] This benefit stems from kava's ability to reduce occasional stress and anxiety, which in turn can boost your overall mood and cognitive performance. 

Kava’s Lasting Benefits

feel free 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:

  • Liquids
  • Powders
  • Capsules
  • Teas 

These forms have various advantages of which we’ll discuss below:

  • Liquids – Perhaps the simplest way to consume, 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.
  • Powders – Kava powder offers a quick and easy way to enjoy kava's benefits. Powder can be conveniently mixed into water, juices, or smoothies, allowing for flexible consumption and precise dosage control. This form of kava consumption, although not entirely tasteless, offers plenty of versatility and customization when combined with additional flavors.
  • Capsules  Are kava capsules effectiveIn short, absolutely! A capsule 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.  

Dosage Information

Now that you know how long kava lasts and different methods of consumption, how much kava should you take?

Dosage can vary based on the form of kava being used (tonic, powder, capsule, or tea), the product, and individual factors like weight and tolerance. It's important to start with a low dose to gauge your tolerance. General medical advice often suggests starting with doses between 70 to 250 mg of kavalactones, the active compounds in kava. However, it's important to carefully read product labels and, ideally, consult a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate dosage for your needs and circumstances. Always prioritize safety and start with lower doses to see how you react to kava.

Potential Side Effects of Kava 

Although kava has some amazing benefits, it is important to understand the potential adverse effects of consuming kava such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach Problems
  • Fatigue
  • Liver toxicity

When kava is ingested, it inhibits the liver cytochrome 450 enzyme- which is used to metabolize drugs- creating a higher potency. When mixed with certain medications, consuming kava affects liver enzymes and interacts with the medication, which can cause liver damage. 

Safety Precautions and Drug Interactions 

Avoid taking kava if you are prescribed any of the following types of medications [9]:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Phenothiazine
  • Diuretics
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Medications metabolized by the liver

Additionally, do not consume kava if you [9]:

  • Have liver problems
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are under the influence of alcohol

Another safety issue that may arise with kava use includes adulteration or mislabeling of kava products. When lower-quality parts of the kava plant are harvested and consumed, it can pose a risk to liver health. However, studies revealed liver damage primarily occurs in individuals with pre-existing liver problems or those taking medications that affect the liver.  To ensure you safety, talk to a healthcare professional  about ingesting kava supplements beforehand.

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 occasional stress and unease, and Botanic Tonics’ feel free kava capsules are crafted with kava extract and other an herbal supplement blend that can support relaxation, rejuvenate your mind, and soothe your soul. 

 Plus they’re caffeine, alcohol-free, and sugar-free. 

 Enhance your lifestyle with Botanic Tonics.

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1. Britannica. Kava. https://www.britannica.com/topic/kava

2. 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/ 

3. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Kava for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Review of Current Evidence. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29641222/ 

4. Human Psychopharmacology. Enhanced cognitive performance and cheerful mood by standardized extracts of Piper methysticum (Kava-kava). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15181652/ 

5. MedlinePlus. Caffeine. https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.htm 

6. Neural Regeneration Research. Neuroprotective properties of kavalactones. https://journals.lww.com/nrronline/Fulltext/2015/10060/Neuroprotective_properties_of_kavalactones.8.aspx 

7. 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 

8. 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 

9. Mount Sinai. Kava kava. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/kava-kava

About The Author

Erin Berthold Botanic Tonic

Erin Berthold, PhD

Erin Berthold is the R&D Director at Botanic Tonics. She holds her PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Florida. There she studied the interaction potential between mitragynine and cannabidiol, two compounds from complex natural products. She is passionate about developing creative and alternative options for individuals suffering from substance use disorders.

Erin earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011. Prior to going back to obtain her PhD, she worked in manufacturing, quality control, engineering, and quality assurance roles across regulated industry at pharmaceutical, medical device, and dietary supplement companies.

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