Welcome to Drinking Kava
What is Kava?
Why are people drinking kava and what is kava? Kava is a root found in the Pacific. This root grows on several Pacific islands including Fiji, Hawaii, Vanuatu, and Micronesia.
The root grinds into a fine powder to create Kava drinks. Similarly, it’s perfect for cultural, religious, and medicinal purposes. Also, it has a long history of usage in the Pacific. Due to the location of these Pacific islands, drinking kava is now popular in Australia.
Why are people drinking kava?
Drinking Kava traditionally, was a religious and ceremonial affair. For example, in Fiji, Kava is the national drink. As a result, it is drunk often as part of the Yaqona Ceremony.
Similarly, in Vanuatu (the original location of the root), Kava was drunk in rituals. Furthermore, these rituals included powerful men and held in secret.
The traditions of drinking Kava are still relevant in some countries. However, Kava has evolved with a new purpose with these being some of the main reasons kava is drunk:
In Pacific countries like Vanuatu and Micronesia, it is a social drink. People gather in villages and enjoy a coconut shell to relax and discuss their day.
Also, Kava has various benefits for the mind and body. In countries like Australia and the USA it reduces stress and anxiety. Similarly, some people use Kava to help with sleep. Besides, kava is a great drink that provides peace and relaxation.
Why not eat ground Kava?
So why is this root drunk? The main reason is taste. Kava root, paste, and powder have an unpleasant taste. Also, consistency isn’t great. As a result, water is usually added to create the Kava drink. Consequently, this dilutes the taste somewhat and improves consistency.
Also, a drink is more social, this being one of the main aspects of Kava culture. After all, it is easier to sit in a group and enjoy several kava drinks.
The preparation of Kava has some interesting variations. As a result, different cultures have different processes. Two of the most notable preparation techniques are from Fiji and Vanuatu:
In Fiji, drinking Kava is part of the Yaqona Ceremony. First, the root its pound into a pulp. Then it is placed into a cloth sack and mixed with water. The resulting mixture strains into a tanoa (bowl). As a result, cups pass round the circle of participants. Finally, each person takes a drink.
In Vanuatu, drinking Kava is a communal affair. Traditionally, the root is pound into small pieces. As a result, people chew kava, and spit juices into a wooden bowl. Finally, the juice mixes with coconut milk or water and strained.
In other countries like the USA and Australia, less traditional methods are available. So, Kava is usually imported as a ground root or powder. This is because it is not grown in these countries.
The ground kava is used to create tablets or drinks. Before adding the powder to liquids, it is often strained to improve consistency. Here you can find some interesting kava recipes including cocktails and milkshakes.
Drinking Kava around the world
Kava root has different uses worldwide including the following:
Tinctures and supplements are generally a western method. In the Pacific, Kava is always drunk in a juice format once mixed with water. Furthermore, it is a social drink and enjoyed in groups.
Alternatively, in countries like the USA and Australia, Kava culture has evolved to suit more western tastes. In these countries it’s often ingested in a supplement form such as a kava tablet. It is also often made into tincture and used within the wellness space.
Also, Kava bars are increasing in popularity. These bars often serve traditional kava drinks. Also, they also experiment with new and exciting recipes. For example, kava combines with fruits to create smoothies. Alternatively, it creates fun cocktails.
What are the effects and side effects
of drinking Kava?
Physical effects of kava
Whilst the taste of Kava is not pleasant for everyone, the effects are fantastic. Standard side effects include:
Generally, you feel brilliant. Also, you enjoy an enhanced state of relaxation. Furthermore, higher doses instill a sense of euphoria. Some compare the effect to alcohol, without the debilitating impairments.
Health benefits of kava
Kava has many reported health benefits. These are due to the kavalactones present in the root. These same kavalactones are psychoactive and provide that great relaxed state of mind. Benefits of kava include:
If you suffer from anxiety, drink kava several times per day. As a result, you feel relaxed and the negative effects of anxiety disappear.
Alternatively, if you struggle to sleep, drink kava an hour before your bedtime. Consequently, you can fall asleep easier and enjoy a trouble-free sleep.
In addition, Kava is generally a great drink for relaxation. If you have had a stressful day, a tot of the drink helps. Alternatively, you can use it if you want to relax and chill with a group of friends.
Negative side effects of kava
The main reason why kava is so popular is its lack of side effects. In addition, drinking kava does not cause a hangover, unlike alcohol. However, you must understand the potential effects it causes including:
Warnings arose about potential liver damage. The U.S FDA has several case reports where liver damage has occurred. However and notably, the people all had other complications. For example, some had pre-existing liver disease. Alternatively, others had excessive alcohol consumption.
Essentially, there was no proof of a connection between Kava and liver based conditions.
Kava can cause drowsiness. As a result, don’t drink it when operating machinery or driving.
What is the legal status of Kava in Australia?
In fantastic news for all kava drinkers in Australia, kava is now LEGAL to be imported and sold. On Dec 1st 2021, the Australian government launched a permit import system as part of their Phase 2 kava trials.
This now means that kava became available throughout Australia as of late January 2022 when the first shipments started to arrive.
We highly recommend that you only purchase kava from reputable suppliers. Reason being is that they can clearly show the microbiological and variety reports of the kava they are selling. Moreover, avoid using Facebook and Gumtree to source kava. Using registered business’s with documentation on their kava stocks is the safest way to purchase and enjoy kava in Australia.
The following Australia kava websites supply documentation of their kava products and have a customer service chat line. Additionally, they also ship anywhere in Australia outside of the Northern Territory: