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Kava Kava: Benefits, Usage, & History

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More and more these days, the old ways are resurfacing and becoming the new trends. Across the globe, we’re seeing a resurgence of traditional uses for ethnobotanicals, due to scientific research emerging and confirming the wisdom of ancient times.

Among the handful of medicinal plants and herbs making waves in modern times is Piper methysticum — also known as “kava kava” or simply “kava.”

For generations, South Pacific tribes took advantage of the positive effects of kava, especially in regards to its relaxing and euphoric properties. Now, with science on our side, we can freshly delve into the preparation, properties, and, most importantly, the benefits of kava as we understand them today.

What Is Kava?- infographic with an overview of the kava botanical and why it's important.

What Is Kava?

Kava is native to the South Pacific, and it grows with abundance in places like Hawaii, Fiji, and the Samoas. Like much of the vegetation in such locations, it is a leafy green plant that prefers the loose, moist, rich soil of the jungle to, say, the hot sand of Phoenix.

The botanical name of kava, Piper methysticum, is Latin for “intoxicating pepper,” as it comes from the same family as other pepper plants and vines. Unlike kratom powder, it is not the leaves of the plant that are picked, but the root which is harvested. The root is then peeled, washed, cut, ground, and then either dried into a powder or strained into a liquid.

Thanks to modern research, we know that the benefits of kava root come from over a dozen kinds of kavalactones, which are a subset of bioactive alkaloids.

For those of us who are NOT experts in biochemistry, “bioactive” means having an effect on a living organism. “Alkaloids” are nitrogen-based organic compounds that occur naturally in plants and animals. And “kavalactones” were named after the kava root — not the other way around. The name “kava” actually comes from the Polynesian word “awa” which means bitter. 


Overhead shot of lush tropical rainforest

What Does Kava Do?

Although much of the experiential data is anecdotal, new studies are showing a number of benefits associated with kava. While there are certain factors to consider, such as the biodiversity of the plant, this research is very encouraging in regards to the potential kava holds as a natural remedy to certain ailments.

The primary benefits of kava may include:

  • Relief

The aforementioned kavalactones work on the body’s central nervous system, and kava effects are said to include muscular relaxation, in addition to temporary relief from discomfort.

  • Mood Boost

Studies have shown correlations between kava and mental relaxation as well. Certain kavalactones are thought to calm neurons in the brain, which not only decrease feelings of stress, but can also boost your mood.

  • Relaxation

Bearing in mind that the research devoted to the connection between kava and sleep is limited, there is some evidence to suggest that kava may help relax the body in preparation for sleep. It is believed that this effect comes as a result of a specific type of kavalactone, called kevain.


Is Kava Safe?

Most research has explored the benefits of kava. Unfortunately, there is still a lot to learn about this plant and the full effects it can have in human wellness. Since the ethnobotanical industry is still unregulated, there are things to be on the lookout for when shopping for kava.

Not all vendors have foundations of high-quality like Kratora, so it’s important to research the vendors you’re working with. Vendors should proudly highlight the tests they do on their products and offer you information about where and how their products are harvested. If you have questions about any ethnobotanicals, reach out to the team for more information on the benefits of kava kava.



The Importance Of Information and Quality

The best thing to do in the meantime is to do your homework, stay informed, and keep up-to-date on the latest science and developments surrounding kava kava’s effects. Fortunately, our blog is aimed at providing just such recent and relevant information.

If you’d like to find out for yourself about the benefits of kava, why kava was so rooted in the traditions and ceremonies of indigenous cultures, make sure that you choose a vendor you can trust. At Kratora, we’ve worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to ensure the premium quality of our natural products. Try our Kava 30% Powdered Extract, shipped same-day right to your door if you order before 3pm ET, Monday-Friday, or before 1pm ET on Saturdays.
Shop our wide collection of organic kratom, kanna, and other ethnobotanicals today!

Want to learn more about kratom quality and value? Start here:
Why Buying Cheap Kratom Can Be Dangerous

Author Bio


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Colleen is a part owner of Kratora along with her brother David. Kratora was founded in 2013 by David with Colleen joining the team later in 2017. The siblings were born and raised in the Bay Area and spent most of their professional years working in Silicon Valley. Their interest in botanicals began in the early 2000s as they cared for a sick family member and quickly grew into the passion that formed Kratora.

Colleen and the team at Kratora are dedicated to providing the best quality botanicals on the market along with the best customer service. They believe their loyal customers are what makes Kratora so special! Over their many years in business it has always brought them joy to work with their customers and see how botanicals are changing lives for the better.

Kratora’s vision is to help their customers live a better life by consistently providing the highest quality, safest, and purest botanicals on the market. Colleen and her team specialize in regular kratom, kratom extracts, liquid kratom, even kratom gummies — plus a lot of kratom alternative products. Kratora is always looking to expand their product line while remaining true to their high standards.

Colleen believes in transparency between the Kratora team and the expert farmers in South Asia which is why they follow Fair Trade policies. Without these farmers, Kratora would not have any products to sell. As part of Colleen’s commitment in providing the highest quality botanicals, Kratora invests highly into third-party lab testing for all of the products they sell.

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