Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum), also known as kava pepper, is an exciting herb that has gained recent popularity in United States. Kava has been used in the South Pacific for over 3,000 years. Kava is a relaxant and sleep aid, able to induce a feeling of relaxation, peace and contentment, along with a sharpening of the senses.
Kava is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract very rapidly so its effects are felt almost immediately. According to scientific studies, Kavalactones act less by inhibition of neuromuscular transmission than by a direct effect on muscular contractility. Kava’s muscle-relaxant properties are similar to those of potent tranquilizers as they both act on the central nervous system. Double-blind, placebo controlled studies conducted in 1991 show Kava to be a modern means of achieving relaxed states without side effects.
Increased cognitive function has been observed with Kava use according to a recent article in the Journal Neuropsychobiology. Unlike sedatives, Kava improves mental function instead of dulling the brain. And unlike alcohol or sedatives, according to a study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology it would be extremely difficult to build up a tolerance to Kava.
A dose of 100 to 150 ml of Kava can induce sleep within 30 minutes. No aftereffects are noted at this dose. Kava is obviously not recommended for those who intend to drive or conduct any activity which requires fast reaction time. Kava Kava use is also contraindicated during pregnancy or nursing and in cases of depression. Use of Kava Kava may increase the effects of alcohol, barbiturates and other psychopharmacological agents.