Anxiety disorders affect 19% of the US adult population, roughly 40 million people. Many adults prefer a natural remedy for anxiety rather than taking prescription medications. Kava is growing in popularity as a natural remedy for anxiety.
We’ll explain why kava is a popular remedy for anxiety, its benefits, and the best kava dosage for anxiety. If you suffer from anxiety disorders, you may want to consider kava as a natural alternative to your anxiety medications.
What is Kava?
A tropical plant grown in the South Pacific islands, kava is a traditional anxiolytic herbal remedy for Pacific islanders. Often brewed as a drink, kava may have a calming effect for those who take it. Kava contains an active ingredient called kavain that may affect a person’s mood receptors.
A recent study found that kavain is effective at alleviating anxiety because it modulates all receptors in the subunit composition and enhances the GABAaR function. But results are not definitive, and more studies are needed to substantiate these results.
Benefits of Kava for Anxiety
There are some natural benefits of taking kava:
- Feel relaxed, calm, and sometimes euphoric
- Increase dopamine levels
- Reduce stress level
- Increase coping ability
- Improve mood
- Reduce muscle tightness and heart palpitations
- Help get to sleep
- Less addictive than antianxiety and sleep medications
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Potential Negative Effects of Kava
Because kava elevates your dopamine levels, it may cause some negative side effects (if abused):
- Mild cramping and nausea
- Allergic skin reactions
- Acute Hepatitis
- Enlarged pupils
- Oculomotor equilibrium issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Slow reaction time and motor reflex impairment
- Liver damage or failure
These effects can last until the following morning. And one study found using kava and then driving can significantly increase your chances of being in a serious accident by four times because of the delayed response time.
Chronic Side Effects
For those who use kava chronically, they may experience the following:
- Weight loss
- Facial puffiness
- Blood in urine
- Decrease in proteins
- Movement disorders
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Increased red blood cells
When Should You Not Take Kava?
These people should avoid taking kava:
- Individuals with a history of liver disease or alcoholism
- People taking prescription medications
- Pregnant or nursing mothers
Because there aren’t enough studies on the side effects of kava, children and breastfeeding women should not take kava. Some research also shows that kava can interfere with the effects of some prescriptions. If you are taking any prescription medications, you should talk to your doctor first about whether it is safe to take with kava.
Is Kava an Effective Natural Remedy for Anxiety?
South Pacific traditional herbal medicine and recent studies validate that kava is an effective natural remedy for anxiety. The FDA recognizes kava as a dietary supplement but isn’t subject to the FDA’s labeling. Because of this, you’ll want to research the kava product before you buy it to ensure potency, safety, and effectiveness.
Kava Dosage for Anxiety
Depending on what anxiety disorder you are treating, your dosage may differ. The American Botanical Council recommends that adults take 60-120 mg of kava daily for no longer than three months. If you’ve never taken kava before, you should start on a low dose to avoid negative side effects. Then increase your dose until the desired result.
Recommended Dosage for Anxiety Disorders by Kava Usage Method:
- Kava Tea: 1 cup orally can be taken up to three times daily. 2-4 grams of kava root per 150 ml of water.
- Capsules: 60-120 mg orally per day
- Tincture: 100 mg orally, twice daily
Recommended Kava Dosage for Insomnia
Most people prefer tincture or capsule before bedtime. You should take 180-210 mg orally at bedtime.
Preferred Kava Dosage Methods for Anxiety
There are several ways to take kava for anxiety:
- Kava Tea: The most popular and traditional method, drinking kava tea is an easy dosage method. You can find kava tea in most health food stores. You should not drink more than three cups of kava tea per day.
- Kava Shot: A kava shot is a ready daily dose of kava that can be taken safely and effectively without too much fuss.
- Powder or Capsule: kava root powder can be mixed in a drink or inserted into capsules for easy dosage. Kava capsules do take longer to take effect because you have to metabolize them first, but you are spared the flavor if you don’t like the taste of kava.
- Tincture: For those who want a more immediate result, kava tinctures are a fast-acting method for absorbing the kava herb. With this method, you can easily control the dosage amount as well. Be warned; the flavor is quite strong, similar to a smoky whiskey.
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How Long Does the Feeling of Kava Last?
Several factors can affect how long you will feel the effects of kava, including metabolism, susceptibility, etc. But most people feel the effects for one to three hours once the kava is absorbed into the bloodstream. Some feel the hangover effect or grogginess in the morning when taken the night before.
Is it Okay to Drink Kava Every Day?
Yes. You can drink kava daily for anxiety but remember to stay within the recommended dosage guidelines of no more than three cups of kava tea per day. You don’t want to exceed 250 milligrams per day to protect your liver from damage or toxicity.
And you shouldn’t drink kava for more than three months. Drinking beyond three months can begin to develop undesirable chronic side effects. If you want to continue drinking kava after three months, you should talk to your doctor.
Kava is an Excellent Natural Remedy for Anxiety
For those wanting a natural remedy to reduce their anxiety, you may want to try taking kava. Kava’s long history of use and when taken in the proper dosage, it is a safe and effective alternative to anxiety medications.Related Link: Frequently Asked Questions