Kava (the grinded root of the plant) has been used in the pacific Islands for thousands of years. Folklore of the region claims that the son of the sun god was the first being to cultivate it and show the natives its uses. It is still used as a pathway of spiritual connection today in many island regions. Currently Kava is very popular as a stress reliever but it is very helpful for other ailments as well. The main bioactive phytochemicals in kava kavalactones which act on the central nervous system to improve mood, sedation and sleep pattern and possesses other overall numbing properties. Here are the main four widely accepted benefits I have personally experienced while consuming kava in moderation (cold brewed).
Alternative to Alcohol- Kava is mostly viewed as a safe alternative to alcohol in that it can numb the mind and increase feelings of social comraderie. One major advantage to Kava is that there are virtually no calories in the root. This makes for less unneeded sugar and virtually no chance of a hangover.
Anxiety- Numerous studies have been conducted showing the calming properties of Kava. It is regarded as a natural relaxation supplement in the United States with sales growing almost every year. Patients reported feeling less stress and less fear while drinking kava root teas and capsules. One recent 6 week double blind study on 75 people diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder found that 26% of the kava group were classified as remitted compared with 6% of the placebo group. This gave a kava participant a 333% greater chance of remittance over a placebo participant.
Insomnia- Kava has been shown to improve sleep quality and also cut down on the time needed to fall asleep.
Muscle relaxer- The kavalactones exhibit strong numbing quality and are used as an overall muscle relaxer and pain reliever for muscle spasms.