As I prepare for our Hawaiian "Sacred Experiences" retreat taking place January 2014, I am eager to turn my attention to all things Hawaiian! It is no coincidence then that I have recently been inspired to recommend Kava-kava to several clients. I felt it timely to share some information on Hawaiian Herbs, and today specifically we look at Kava-kava. The info below is extracted from an article from Mother Earth Living.
This plant grows in moist, shady places in the tropics. Kava-kava, or simply kava, is used in Hawaii primarily as a ceremonial drink or for medicinal purposes. Healers pound the roots in a pot with a heavy pole, then soak the crushed parts in water to extract the active ingredients, most of which are mildly sedating lactones, which leave the drinker with a sense of euphoria and well-being. Kava lactones have a pain-relieving quality as well, which is why Hawaiian herbal healers recommend kava to treat headaches and back pain, often in combination with ginger, which they believe enhances kava’s action.
Traditional Hawaiian healers prefer the strong extract to powdered root in capsules. The effects of a strong extract of 'awa root are unmistakable. Shortly after ingesting the peppery-tasting brew, the drinker experiences a tranquil, contented feeling. Taken in large doses, kava may cause some loss of muscle control along with euphoria, but the mind remains clear. This makes it especially suitable as a ceremonial beverage, allowing participants to let go of anxieties and animosities without creating the loss of self-control that often accompanies alcohol consumption.
CAUTIONS: Extensive or continuous use of Kava-kava may be damaging to the kidneys and liver and should not be used by patients of Parkinson's disease.