What is Kava Kava?

What is kava kava? `Awa or kava (Piper methysticum), is a member of the pepper family Piperaceae and has widely been used by South Pacific societies for more than three thousand years. In many of these societies, the term "kava" means bitter, sour or sharp.

The first well-known encounter of Europeans with kava kava was during the first voyage of Captain James Cook in 1768-1771. J.G.A. Forster, a botanist on Cook's ship, is credited with giving the plant its binomial, Piper methysticum, which means "intoxicating pepper". Kavalactones appear to produce a wealth of effects in people who use kava. Because of the botanical's complex biological activity, kava kava is difficult to categorize in simple terms. The South Pacific herb has been described by researchers as a hypnotic and sedative.

In South Pacific societies where social use of kava kava is prevalent, users commonly experience a mild elevation in mood, lively speech and an increased sensitivity to sound. As a medicinal botanical, kava is reported to reduce anxiety, relax muscle tension, produce analgesic effects, act as a local anesthetic, and have a potential antibacterial benefit. kava kava has been used for more than a century as a treatment for gonorrhea, vaginitis, leucorrhoea, nocturnal incontinence and other aliments of the genitourinary tract. Kava kava also is said to be a diuretic, useful in the treatment of gout, bronchial congestion and rheumatism.

What is kava kava used for? Its primary uses in the United States and Europe, however, are to provide a boost in mood, as a stress reliever and muscle relaxant. Kava kava also is gaining popularity as a sleep aid. Several European countries have approved kava kava for the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia and restlessness on the basis of extensive pharmacological data and positive results in clinical trials.

Hawaiian Kava Kava

Hawaiian kava kava species are gaining the reputation of being one of the strongest kavas available with twice and sometimes triple the amount of kavalactones compared to many of the varieties found elsewhere in the world. There are several theories as to this phenomenon, but none to be proven as of yet. One theory is that when the Hawaiians first brought their kava kava cultivars to the islands as their canoe plants, they choose the best of the best. The isolated nature of Hawaii has possibly enabled the kava kava to maintain its original form, which can no longer be found throughout the planet. Theoretically, it never underwent the mutations that created new and sometimes less kavalactone-rich species of kava kava. Perhaps, Hawaiian kava kava mutated into it's own unique rich species. We will never know as the species found in Hawaii is not found anywhere else in the world. Another theory is that Hawaii's kava kava is the first being cultivated with the implementation of the latest research and fertilization. The third and growing theory is higher exposure to sunlight and the lack of pesticides and herbicides will accentuate the growth as well as increase the kavalactone levels. In any case, the revitalization of this ancient Hawaiian plant variety is a wonderful event.

Our Varieties

Mahakea kava kava is a variety of kava kava with dark green stems with purple nodules and surrounding spots. Purple strips running up the stem. A light powder with a yellowish tinge. Very little aroma and almost sweet tasting. Highly recommended for relaxing sore muscles and bad backs, there are many other broad based uses for kava. Surprisingly effective with a very nice calming effect. Name is from Mahakea, Kau, Hawaii. Sister of the spotted Makea.

Chemo type 426315 or Kavain, DHK (Dihydrodavain), M (Methysticum), Y (Yonin), Demethoxyangoin, Dehydrometysican.

Approximate Kavalactone levels- 13.0

Honokan'iki is variety of kava kava with long internodes. Stems are greenish yellow, sparsely speckled with dark raised spots and erect growing habits. Taste is very smooth and almost sweet. Root is deemed very kavalactone rich. We have a private reserve of this treasured kava kava. If you are interested, please inquire.

Chemotype-463251 or Kavain, M (Methysticum), Y(Yonin), DHK (Dihydrokavain)
Dehydrometysican, Demethoxyangoin
Approximate Kavalactone - 14.1