Kava kava - Piper methysticum (in the Piperaceae family)
Parts used: Root.
Taste/smell: Sharp, pungent, tongue numbing.
Dosage: Infusion: 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh + dry strength liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day in a little water.
Use: (a) Sedative, (b) Hypnotic, (c) Antispasmodic, (d) Analgesic, (e) Anti-inflammatory, (f) Mild anticonvulsant, (g) Anesthetic, (h) Antifungal.
Kava is used to relieve anxiety and stress, insomnia, muscle tension and asthma. Research has shown individuals are able to maintain cognitive function unlike most drugs given as a sedative or hypnotic. It is also used for fibromyalgia, acute cholecystitis, ureter spasms, pain and spasms associated with interstitial cystitis, tension headaches, attention deficit and hyperactivity syndrome and general pain from muscle spasms or inflammation.
Contraindications: Long term consumption of large doses can cause dry, pigmented, scaly skin, especially on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, forearms, back and shins. The rash will disappear when kava is discontinued. Large doses of more than 9 grams per day can elevate liver enzymes. This elevation is reversible with discontinuation of the herb. Kava is not to be used in pregnancy or nursing. It can enhance the hypnotic effect of alcohol.
Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.