Here’s Why They’re Saying Kava is “Nature’s Xanax”

For those who experience acute anxiety, panic attacks or regular bouts of high-level stress, running the gamut of expensive therapies, medications and regular visits to the doctor can be expensive and time consuming.

What if you could purchase a natural, over the counter remedy that has been used for thousands of years and is far less habit-forming than man made pharmaceuticals?

Of course, it’s important to check with your medical practitioner before starting any herbal supplement and to do your own research.

The Difference between Normal and Abnormal Stress

These days, we tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to anything we deem even remotely uncomfortable, with a variety of choices in terms of medication and treatment.

Physical and psychological stress usually occurs as a natural response to any condition or circumstance which involves critical thinking, problem solving or dealing with other people.

Abnormal levels of stress can eventuate when we are exposed to either short-term or long-term, sustained periods of difficult or even dangerous situations, such as environmental hazards, alarming behavior and other threatening activities – whether real or perceived.

For example: many jobs involve finding solutions to problems and achieving goals, so stress is important to keep the impetus going and to maintain the status quo.

It becomes abnormal where the situations are elevated and unrelenting, with no end in sight or when heightened, precarious events place you in perpetual anxiety.

Natural Kava versus Man-made Xanax

When serious nervous conditions and high levels of anxiety become crippling, many doctors are likely to hand you a prescription for drugs like Xanax, which is known to alleviate symptoms but has a swag of negative side effects, like drowsiness, insomnia, headaches and weight fluctuations.

Also known as Kava-Kava root, with the Latin name of Piper methysticum, Kava has been used in the South Pacific for around 3,000 years in traditional and sacred ceremonies, after the roots are dried, ground and mixed into a concoction with water.

What is Kava?

image via wikipedia

Like Xanax, it has sedative effects and is known to be psychotropic. At the moment, Kava is legal in the U.S. and is sold in capsule form as well as tinctures in health food stores.

You can also sip the traditional tea in Kava bars where it’s served it as a recreational drink. Kava lovers say that it keeps the mind fresh while alleviating anxiety and lifting your mood, making stressful situations easier to handle.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Kava?

  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Scaly skin
  • Rashes
  • Liver injury

Of course, this depends on the dosage and how regularly Kava tea is taken. Tests are still being conducted and without a formal regulatory board, the medical field continues to deliberate.

When it comes to liver damage, some say that the toxic alkaloids found in the plant are sometimes accidentally mixed into the tea, so make sure that you find a reputable source.

How does Kava Work?

Containing compounds called kavalactones and kavain, which target the brain and bind to the same part of the central nervous system that benzodiazepine and alcohol does, Kava relaxes the body with euphoric effects when taken in larger doses.

Without negative effects such as brain fog, Kava melts away anxiety and replaces it with a feel-good sensation that even enhances mental focus, so you can continue in your everyday activities without worrying about crashing afterwards.

How Does Kava Taste?

Prepare for bitterness to the extreme, with an aftertaste akin to dirt mixed with licorice, according to those who either sip the tea or take it as a tincture mixed in water. It’s certainly not going to taste the same as some of the best delicate white teas, for instance.

Kava lovers will tell you that you drink it for the effects – not the taste – so you might want to consider taking the capsules if that’s a big factor.

Can Kava Get You High?

Some Kava drinkers claim that it can cause mild hallucinations and can bring about a high much like cannabis, although you’d need to drink quite a lot to get even close.

It’s more likely that taking Kava will mellow you out, with a relaxing effect that sneaks up on you, rather than hit you with a powerful punch.

Stress melts away and dealing with difficult people and situations becomes easier while under the influence of Kava. Similar to a sedative, Kava acts like a muscle relaxer but it keeps you mentally alert.

An active compound called Yangonin is probably the reason Kava adherents say it can get you high, seeing as it affects the brain in the same way cannabis does.

A third compound is called Desmethyoxyyangonin, which increases dopamine levels and is responsible for the euphoric sensations.

While Kava can curb social anxiety and put you in a relaxed mood, it’s safe to say that checking with your doctor when taking it regularly or if you take other medications is the sensible option. After that, give it a try and see for yourself, seeing as natural supplements are usually better for you.