Kava and Caffeine: Everything You Need to Know

Both kava and caffeine are often ingested for the impact they have on the body and mind. While they share certain commonalities, they have several dissimilarities. If you're interested in learning more about the differences between kava and caffeine – plus how they could potentially be used together – then this is the blog post for you!

What Exactly is Kava?

Kava, also known as Piper methysticum, is a native of the Pacific Islands and is a tropical plant with the scientific name Piper methysticum. The plant's roots are pounded into a fine powder and used to prepare a beverage that has been drank in traditional Pacific Island communities for millennia due to its calming and social effects. Kava is renowned for providing a sense of relaxation and relieving stress, as well as aiding with sleep. It is also believed to have modest analgesic (pain reducing) and mood-enhancing properties. Kava is commonly used as a beverage, although it is also available in pill form. Kava is non psychoactive, meaning it does not generate mind-altering effects similar to those of narcotics like marijuana or hallucinogens. 

Instead, it affects the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, notably those involving the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits the activity of particular neurons in the brain, thereby inducing a sense of calm. There is some evidence that kava may be beneficial in treating anxiety and insomnia, but additional research is required to validate these effects. Kava is usually regarded as harmless when used in moderation, while it can cause adverse effects like dizziness, nausea, and stomach trouble.

Related Link: Kava Plant Botany Guide for Kava Lovers

What is Caffeine?

Several plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, and kola nuts, contain caffeine naturally. Additionally, it is added to other items, including soda, energy drinks, and pharmaceuticals. Caffeine increases alertness and vitality by activating the central nervous system. It can also enhance physical performance, notably endurance, and stimulate the release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate all contain caffeine, which is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world. It is also available as a dietary supplement in tablet or capsule form. Caffeine can have both positive and harmful effects, depending on the quantity eaten. Caffeine side effects include jitters, nervousness, sleeplessness, and an elevated heart rate. Additionally, it can interfere with the absorption of certain drugs and exacerbate anxiety in sensitive individuals.

Related Link: What is a Kava Hangover? Symptoms & Treatment

Kava vs. Caffeine: Key Differences

While both kava and caffeine can impact the body and mind, there are significant differences between the two. One of the most significant differences is the consequences they generate. Caffeine is a stimulant that boosts alertness and energy, whereas kava is recognized for generating a sense of relaxation and stress reduction. The manner in which they are ingested also varies. Caffeine is available in a range of beverages, such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks, whereas kava is often consumed as a beverage. In terms of safety, moderate consumption of kava is generally regarded as safe, however it might cause adverse effects such as dizziness, nausea, and stomach trouble. In excess, caffeine can cause jitters, sleeplessness, and an elevated heart rate. Additionally, it can interfere with the absorption of certain drugs and exacerbate anxiety in sensitive individuals. A further distinction between kava and caffeine is how they are regulated. Kava is not regulated as a dietary supplement in the United States, but it is classed as a dietary ingredient and subject to the same laws as other dietary ingredients. Caffeine, on the other hand, is controlled by the Food and Drug Administration as a food ingredient (FDA). In terms of possible health advantages, kava has been examined for its potential to alleviate anxiety and promote sleep, though additional research is necessary to validate these effects. Caffeine, on the other hand, has been found to enhance physical performance and alertness, although excessive consumption might have adverse effects.

Interested in kava? Find some amazing kava drinks at Shot of Joy!

Preparing Kava

Kava is an ancient tropical root that has been consumed for centuries as an herbal tea, traditionally in South Pacific cultures. Preparing kava doesn't have to be complicated - all you need is kava root powder, a kava strainer bag, warm water, and a bowl or kava root drink bottle. Begin by filling the kava strainer bag with two to four tablespoons of kava root powder per 8-10 ounces of warm water (never hot). After squeezing the kava strainer bag in the warm water for 5 minutes, discard it and pour your freshly made kava into a bowl or kava root drink bottle. Enjoy its unique earthy taste! Remember that kava should always be consumed responsibly, as those who are pregnant, elderly, or have liver concerns should not consume it.

Have more questions about kava? Let’s get in touch!

Using Kava With Caffeine

Kava and caffeine are two substances that can affect the body and mind in different ways. Kava is a plant-based substance that is known for producing a feeling of relaxation and stress relief, while caffeine is a stimulant that increases alertness and energy. While both substances can have some potential health benefits, it is important to consume them in moderation and to be aware of the potential side effects. If you're looking for a relaxing drink that doesn't contain caffeine, kava may be a good option for you. Be sure to check out our site to try a pre-made kava drink today!

Related Link: What is the Strongest Kava? [Buyer's Guide]

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