FAQ's About Kava
Kava is a powerful plant-based stress relieving, Nootropic drink from islands in the South Pacific that has been highly regarded for 3000 years as a safe, natural alternative to drugs and alcohol.
Q. How is kava prepared traditionally in the islands?
Traditional kava is prepared by placing the ground root powder into a strainer bag and kneading it in a bowl of cold water, in which the root’s active ingredients are released and the water is then consumed. Traditional kava has always been the only form that provides the full therapeutic effects, because it retains the complete spectrum of active constituents that make up the full living essence of the plant.
Q. How does kava work in the body?
The therapeutic effects of kava are due to a combination of its most active compounds, called kavalactones (not to any single substance or compound), as well as many other supportive constituents that are present in the traditional kava preparation from the islands. These compounds naturally modulate key receptors in the brain, which gives them the ability to gently enhance the activity of the body’s main pleasure chemicals dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Because of its natural chemical composition, kava is able to illicit all of these effects without driving the body out of balance and leading to toxicity, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Q. How does kava make you feel?
Kava has effects comparable to alcohol, but without the side effects and drunkenness. Connoisseurs describe the experience as a calm, focused, enhanced state of natural sobriety. Kava can bring about significant mood boosting, cognitive enhancing and anxiety relieving effects. This provides users with increased productivity and relaxation at the same time. It also allows users to loosen up and connect easier during social interaction.
Q. Can kava relieve anxiety?
Kava has become most famous historically for its anxiety and stress relieving properties. Certain forms of kava have been demonstrated in scientific studies to be an adequate safe and effective anxiety-reducing alternative to anti-anxiety benzodiazepine drugs without the addiction factor.
Q. Can kava improve sleep?
Because of kava’s powerful effects on enhancing the calming chemical known as “GABA” in the body, it has also become well known as one of the most effective sleep supporting agents found in all of nature. Kava’s profound effects on enhancing sleep have been documented by anthropologists in the South Pacific for decades. These effects have also been consistently demonstrated in scientific studies over the years as well.
Q. Can kava boost mood?
Kava has historically been used by South Pacific Islanders as a safe, natural alternative to alcohol, because it can bring about significant mood boosting effects, which can substantially enhance social interaction. This ability of kava to enhance mood and sociability is believed to come primarily from its effects on dopamine, which is the body’s main pleasure chemical.
Q. Can Kava enhance brain function and creativity?
Kava brings about a state of calm focus and mental clarity. This calm focus is generally referred to as an Alpha state, which is known to be the optimal state of mind for accessing maximum creativity and one’s ability learn new information. For this reason, kava is becoming extremely popular as a powerful nootropic (cognitive enhancer) for studying, working or to enhance creativity. Many scientific studies have demonstrated positive effects on cognitive function. This primarily occurs through kava’s effect on dopamine, the brain’s main pleasure chemical that also plays a central role in mental focus, motivation, and memory recall.
Q. Does kava have neuro protective properties?
In the world of science we refer to kava (in certain forms) as an extremely powerful neuro and tissue protective agent. This simply means that it is not only able to calm the nervous system and reduce the acute symptoms of stress, but it has also demonstrated the ability to protect the brain and body from the downstream damaging effects that stress, trauma and toxicity have on the entire system. Kava has been shown to illicit these protective effects through a vast array of different mechanisms that extend far past its natural benzodiazepine like action. Many studies have shown that kavalactones exhibit actions very similar to common anti-epileptic drugs that protect the brain from seizure induced damage. In other words, kavalactones seem to help calm down the inflammatory storm that ensues after a significant injury or insult to the brain.
Q. Does kava have anti-inflammatory properties?
In recent years, kava has also started gaining attention for its effects on pain and systemic inflammation. Studies have shown that kava has action very similar to over the counter NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
Q. Does kava contain potential anti-cancer properties?
There are now a large number of studies that demonstrate multiple mechanisms of the anti-mutagenic action of certain types of kava. One kavalactone in particular called Yangonin was shown to activate a pathway called AMPK that significantly increases cellular autophagy, leading to a reduction in senescent cells. Many other supportive mechanisms have been demonstrated as well.
Q. I have heard that seed oils might cause inflammation, why does KAVAPLEX contain a form of sunflower oil?
It’s true that most seed oils like sunflower on the market are inflammatory, due to them being oxidized through poor manufacturing techniques that involve high heat and grinding that pulls oxygen into the oils and oxidizes them, turning them into an inflammatory substance. However, with the sunflower seed oil found in our KAVAPLEX oil formula (that we use for its lecithin content that acts as a carrier for the kavalactones) we use a patented hydraulic pressing method that involves no grinding and never heats the seed oil above 88 degrees Fahrenheit when pressing, leaving the structure of the seed oil’s lipids completely unoxidized and fully intact. We verify this through a specific type of comprehensive lab analysis called lipid per-oxidation testing. When left intact the undamaged parent omega 6 fatty acids found in sunflower seeds not only act as a great carrier for better absorption of the kava, but they are also some of the key lipids that help to build and maintain healthy cell membranes throughout the body. So most seed oils on the market are in fact damaging, but when they are undamaged they are a great fat to consume in the right amounts.
Q. Can kava assist in fat burning and keto adaptation?
Kava in and of itself is an excellent tool to use during fasting/intermittent fasting/keto adaptation because of its ability to suppress appetite, lower cortisol and accelerate fat burning and autophagy. This has been demonstrated with specific forms of kava in many scientific studies.
Q. Can kava enhance the effects of coffee and MCT oil?
Yes. It has recently been discovered that there is an incredibly synergistic effect between coffee, kava oil, and MCT oil that when combined drastically amplifies the effects of all three and seems to take fat burning to a whole new level. Kava also adds an extra mood and nootropic (mental clarity) kick to coffee, while taking away the jitters that some get while drinking it.
Q. Can kava be used as a safe, non-drug alternative to micro dosing psychedelics?
Kava holds promise as a side effect free, practical and legal alternative to micro dosing psychedelic compounds like Psilocybin and LSD. Users can get similar effects such as increase creativity and introspective thinking while maintaining complete sobriety. For this reason, kava is known to help individuals process past unresolved trauma gradually overtime by allowing them to reflect on these events from a place of complete emotional safety. Many experts believe that kava will have huge implications for conditions like PTSD in the future.
Q. Are all kava products on the market the same?
No. Similar to other plant compounds like cannabis, there is a massive spectrum of different strains and forms of kava that can vary drastically in terms of their quality, potency, purity and overall effects profile. Most kava products on the market only provide a small fraction of the therapeutic value of kava prepared traditionally in the islands.
Q. What are the most effective and safe forms of kava?
Most kava currently on the market does not actually even meet the standards to be classified as true kava. In order to be classified as true kava, it must be prepared with the same process through which kava has been prepared traditionally in the islands. Traditional kava has always been the only form that provides the full therapeutic effects that kava has become so famous for. It is also the only form that has been fully demonstrated to be safe for long term consumption. Therefore most products on the market are not considered true kava but instead kava-like products that carry almost none of the same effects as traditional kava.
Most of these “kava-like” products are also denatured through chemical solvent extractions and many are contaminated with mold, mycotoxins, industrial chemicals, low grade kava varieties, and non-root aerial plant parts that are not safe for human consumption.
Q. How important is proper strain selection when it comes to kava?
There are over 200 different varieties of kava, all with varying effects due to slight differences in chemical properties. There are 2 main categories that kava strains are classified by. The first is by their overall effects profile. Just like with cannabis, some strains are classified as daytime oriented and accentuate more of kava’s nootropic and mind activating effects. Other strains accentuate more of kava’s sedating qualities and are classified as evening or night time use strains. However all strains of kava contain the general spectrum of anxiolytic effects that the plant has become most famous for, but just to varying degrees and potencies.
Kava strains are also classified based on their tolerability. Some strains of kava are very potent, aggressive and can be a little harsh on the system. For this reason, these strains are only reserved for acute medicinal use. Other strains a bred specifically to have very smooth effects that are well tolerated by virtually everyone and used daily over long periods of time. This class of strains is referred to as noble kava, which is the highest quality kava available.
Q. Daily use kava varieties vs. non- daily use kava varieties?
Although there are hundreds of strains of kava, there is one main class of strains that have been proven out to be virtually 100 percent side effect free for long term daily use, both through scientific studies and a 3000 year history of safe use by indigenous islanders. This class is referred to as “noble kava”. Noble kavas are the absolute highest quality of all kava cultivars. In fact, these are the only varieties that the islanders will consume daily due to their very smooth yet potent nature. Most non-daily use strains are referred to as “tudei kava varieties”, which are traditionally used only for acute medicinal purposes in the islands and are virtually never consumed daily due to their extremely high intensity and possibility for potential side effects. So unless you have a more extreme acute medical circumstance, it is recommended to only purchase and consume lab tested, noble kava varieties
Q. What makes TRU KAVA products different from most others on the market?
At TRU KAVA we produce the highest quality, contaminant free kava products on the market. All TRU KAVA products are made with 100% Certified Noble Kava varieties and are free of Heavy metals, pesticides, and mycotoxins. They are produced using solvent free, low temperature extractions, capturing the full effects of traditional kava in a palatable ready to use form for the modern world.
Q. What is the optimal starting dosage for TRU KAVA products?
The recommended dosage range for individuals just starting kava is 1-2 droppers full (of KAVAPLEX OIL) 1-2 times daily or 1-2 TRU KAVA shots 1-2 times daily. These are standardized to approximately the equivalent of 4 ounces of traditional kava drink (containing 2 tablespoons of dry root) for each dropper full of oil or each single shot.
Q. Are TRU KAVA products tested for kavalactone content?
Because TRU KAVA products are all full spectrum in a whole food form, there is no concern or need to standardize them based on isolated total kavalactone content to demonstrate potency. Total Kavalactone content alone is not an accurate predictor of potency with traditional kava. It is the entourage effect between all of kava’s many active constituents (which cannot be fully measured) that dictates potency. However, we still test for kavalactone content and ratios to provide to our customers upon request in order to give a general idea of the overall effects profile of each product. Other kava-like products on the market (solvent extracted isolates and concentrates) need to be standardized (in terms of kavalactone content) as these isolated constituents can potentially cause side effects in high dosages due to them being denatured.
Q. Is kava safe to consume regularly?
When consuming noble kava made through traditional preparation methods, kava has been well known as a safe daily tonic in south pacific islands for over 3000 years. However, anyone researching kava for the first time will most certainly find websites, blogs and articles that claim kava drinking is bad for the liver and your health. The origin of these claims is research that was done over 15 years ago in Switzerland and Germany that led to kava drinking being banned in those countries. And that ban was reversed in 2015 after a growing body of new research has invalidated these incomplete early research findings. This new research has shown that cases of liver toxicity attributed to kava actually occurred only in extremely rare instances when individuals consumed contaminated kava products (toxic above ground aerial parts of the plant), non-noble varieties or kava extracts that were denatured through solvent extraction. Also, most of these few cases of Liver toxicity occurred when these poor quality inedible kava parts were consumed in conjunction with other drugs and medications known to negatively affect liver function.
Q. Is kava addictive?
Kava has been shown consistently in published studies to be non-addictive. Unlike other substances, drinking kava is not habit forming and you will not build up a tolerance to the effects of drinking kava, causing you to need to drink more each time. In fact, the exact opposite has been shown. That the beneficial effects of a drink of kava can be felt even more when it is drank on subsequent occasions, bringing about cumulative effectiveness over time. This is because of the distinctive way that kava affects the brain. Kava has actually been shown to be a tremendous anti- craving agent for individuals seeking to get off of illicit drugs (such as benzodiazepines) and alcohol.
Q. Can kava reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol?
Kava has been shown to be an excellent anti craving agent for those suffering from drug addiction and dependency. It is well known to reduce withdrawal symptoms when coming off of alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other illicit substances.
Q. Can I drive after taking kava?
Kava has been consistently shown in studies to not impair fine motor skills necessary for driving. However, in very large dosages (well above our recommended daily doses) It may cause drowsiness and may therefore temporarily impair the ability of some individuals to drive. As a precaution, we do not recommend anyone operate heavy machinery or drive a motor vehicle after exceeding the daily recommended dosing.
Q. Can I use kava if I’m drinking alcohol or taking medications?
It is generally not recommended to mix kava with alcohol, although there is no known contraindication when high quality traditional kava is used. If you have any medical condition or are taking ANY medication we recommend consulting your physician before drinking Kava.