Piper methysticum – Kava kava

 

The roots of a bush of the islands in the South Sea. Kava kava is the traditional inebriant there. There, where the too often irresponsible acting missionaries in their delusion, that they have to clear away a pagan rite, introduced alcohol, the use of kava has in some cases strongly decreased. As a result the health and social problems have drastically increased.

The kava potion is presently only on the islands of Fidschi, Tonga and Samoa in traditional use. Recently the use of kava gained popularity among the Australian natives; a positive development, since only few people on earth were destroyed to such an extent by the hard drug alcohol, as the Australian bushmen.

Use: The bark of the roots is removed and the roots are cut into small pieces. Around 15–30 grams are chewed, the massively produced saliva is spit together with the chewed root-pieces into a bowl with a bit of water. The result is left to stand for some time, strained and drank.

In modern times the root is ground, mixed with cold water and left to stand for around 24 hours. When using ground Kava-roots then ca. 10 to 20 g of the powder are already sufficient.

Before drinking the so prepared brew one may first strain it. The strongest and most pleasant effect is achieved by the chew-and-spit method. But Kava is also still effective when it is prepared as described in  the second method, especially if the powdered root is also drank.

Alternatively, 2 to 3 teaspoons of the ground root can be drank with milk or soy lecithin or extracted with alcohol.

Active constituents: Kava pyrones, a complex mixture of active substances, out of which 14 substances were so far analyzed.

Effects: Kava acts euphoriant in moderate doses, stimulating , relaxing, appetizing and aphrodisiac. Especially in the chewed form a feeling of joyful contentedness and deep relaxation takes place. Smaller doses act slightly relaxing and stimulating. Extremely high doses are soporific, only the most extreme doses can bring about a kind of hangover.

I consider Kava, despite its slightly unpleasant form of intake, as the ideal drug for all who believe that they cannot deal with their stress symptoms without chemical aid. Of course it is still better to learn to handle stress without using substances of whatever origin.

Most of all Kava presents the better alternative to the physiologically harmful and often addiction-causing benzodiazepines (like Valium, Librium, Tranxilium etc.) and other pharmaceutical tranquilizers.

Surely, Kava acts also pharmacologically and socially less harmful as often regularly drinking three or more glasses of beer, wine or booze in front of the TV during evenings. While alcohol often sets free aggression, Kava on the other hand acts on everyone compensative and causes a cheerful and peaceful mood.

The synthetic pure form of kavain, which is available in pharmacies without prescription, acts not nearly as comprehensive as the extract from the root. Extracts made from the root are also available in the pharmacy. Unfortunately, they are often considerably low-dosed.

Side effects: The kava potion tastes pungent, soapy and leaves a numb feeling in the mouth which lasts for about ten minutes.

Supposedly, it can come to scaly skin during long term intake of high dosages; some authors trace this back not to Kava, but to malnourishment or an unbalanced diet.

Psychological addiction to Kava is very rare, physical addiction was never observed. Giving up on Kava does not cause any withdrawal symptoms. The ages-old use of kava on the south sea islands moreover showed no harmful effects.

Suppliers: Kava is, as of now, no longer available in Germany and many other European countries. It seems that this natural alternative of the strongly addicting but profitable chemical tranquilizers had to be eliminated from the market. In doing so the BfArM (Federal Office for Drugs and Medical Products in Germany) did not flinch from using absurd cases as “proof” such as the liver damage of an 81-old (very understandable, nobody died ever before at that age, unless they had taken Kava!), who showed a verified liver cirrhosis as a result of abuse of alcohol that lasted for many years. In countries, in which Kava is habitually consumed as a socially accepted drug, an increased death rate due to kava-induced liver diseases was not noticed. Schulze et al. from the Faculty of Medicine, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, wrote in their study “Toxicity of kava pyrones, drug safety and precautions–a case study” the following summary: “Taken together, the withdrawal of kava pyrone-based anxiolytics appears to be an ill founded over-reaction given the lack of superior therapeutic alternatives. Neither the case evaluations presented by the BfArM … nor the complete rejection of proof for therapeutic efficacy of kava pyrone anxiolytics are scientifically well founded.” A total slap in the face of this seemingly arbitrary acting drug regulating bureaucrats in favor of some big pharmaceutical companies.

Miscellaneous: In the second part of the experience reports with Kava can be found.

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