Yo, what’s good fam? It’s ya boy, Dan, and I’m here to talk about Kava Kava. This herb has been around for thousands of years in the South Pacific islands, and it’s been used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. The dried root is mixed into a non-alcoholic drink that relaxes you, elevates your mood, and even has aphrodisiac qualities. It’s always enjoyed with a group, at after-work gatherings or bigger social events. Basically, Kava is lit.
Back in the day, Kava was one of the most popular herbal supplements sold in Europe and the US. Alternative doctors would prescribe it left and right to ease anxiety, sleep disorders, and mood disorders. But then in 2001, everything changed. All of a sudden there were concerns about its safety, and reports linked Kava use to liver damage. In Europe, Kava quickly became a controlled substance and sales stopped. But hold up, let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on here.
The history of Kava is super interesting – it’s closely tied with sexuality and sensual enjoyment. There are many tales about its discovery amongst the various people that inhabit the region, but most of them involve some sort of sexual encounter with the plant. The most popular tale goes like this: way back in the day, two sisters were washing wild yams along the coast of the islands now known as Vanuatu. Little did they know that a traveller had arrived a few days earlier with a special specimen of Kava and had hidden it at that very spot. As the sisters cleaned their yams, the Kava plant sprouted a new shoot and tickled the intimate spot of one of the women. She was pleasantly surprised and asked about where this sensation came from – and thus Kava was discovered.
At first, there were “lesser” wild varieties of Kava in use that sometimes brought happiness but other times gave people dull headaches. Using wild Kava was basically a gamble. Once the sisters’ Kava had matured, they shared it with the other villagers in their community and hailed it as true Kava: “If you drink from this Kava, you will never drink wild Kava again. This Kava will give you the greatest pleasure,” they said.
Obviously, everyone wanted to try it out. They selected a virgin from the village to prepare the Kava, which was then given to the men of the village. The men were overcome with immense pleasure from the Kava – they all agreed that this was truly what Kava should be like. From then on, the sisters used cuttings from their original plant to cultivate more Kava, which is now used around the world.
So why all the fuss about Kava? Recent reports have suggested that it can cause liver failure due to hepatotoxicity. As a result, Kava is now regulated in a number of countries. But there are two reasons why these reports are flawed. First off, only the roots of the plant are traditionally used to prepare the drink – the upper part of the plant including leaves are toxic and never used. However, some vendors looking to make extra cash sold these toxic leaves anyway. Some suppliers from Fiji reported that European companies bought up large supplies of these toxic leaves and stems – not cool.
The second point is that there was a study done by German-Swiss researchers analyzing 30 cases of reported liver toxicity caused by Kava – but guess what? Individuals who showed heavy alcohol use or prescription medication use were not accounted for in this study! Alcohol and medications are known to affect your liver – so if someone already has preexisting liver damage before using Kava, obviously things could go wrong. Basically, this study was super flawed but was still used as justification for banning Kava across Europe.
So is Kava safe? The herb has been used safely for thousands of years without any reports of toxicity. Only one single study has questioned its safety profile – and it was deeply flawed at that! If prepared correctly and no preexisting liver damage is present, there’s little evidence to assume that Kava is unsafe. Of course, like anything else you can abuse or use irresponsibly – but when used properly and in moderation, Kava is a safe way to relax and unwind.
There you have it fam – don’t be fooled by all that bad press about Kava! It’s been around for ages and has been enjoyed by people around the world without any problems until recently due to some shady practices by vendors selling toxic parts of the plant or pharmaceutical companies trying to take down an efficient herb off the shelves. So next time you wanna chill out with your homies or boo thang after work or at big events – consider trying out some Kava instead! Peace out!