Kava is an herbaceous plant used frequently in herbal medicine to treat anxiety and insomnia. It is native to the South Pacific islands, and its root has been used ceremonially, recreationally, and medicinally for centuries. Consuming kava extract produces a feeling of mild euphoria, and is known for its relaxation and anti-convulsant effects. In Western culture, it is commonly prescribed by herbalists and alternative medicine practitioners for all types of anxiety disorders.
Aside from the strong anecdotal evidence available for the use of kava-kava extract, there is also a growing body of scientific studies which back its efficacy for the treatment of anxiety. A recent study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews states that kava extract is an effective symptomatic treatment for anxiety, and is relatively safe for short term treatment.
Another study published in a 2002 edition of the scientific journal, Life Sciences, found that kava is very effective in treating anxiety without causing a loss of mental acuity. It is shown to have minimal negative side effects and may even cause positive effects, such as an increase of cognitive processing and reaction time. According to the study, kava-kava is non-addictive and well tolerated by most patients.
The active ingredients that make kava extract so effective against anxiety are kavalactones which are found in the plantí»s roots. They have the ability to improve mood by increasing dopamine levels. It is unclear exactly how this process works. However, when an individual consumes kava-kava in any form, the kavalactones affect the neurotransmitters, or chemicals that carry messages between cells, in the blood.
To remove tension and stress
To cure worry and lossing sleep
To ease muscular tone.