Benefits of Kava for Relaxation

Benefits of Kava for Relaxation

Kava is made from the root or stump of the kava (Piper methysticum) shrub.

Use of kava has grown popular in the United States over the past two decades and we get a lot of people who are seeking an herbal preparation to help them relax. 

So, can kava really help you to relax and unwind? Here are a few things you need to know about kava. 

According to University of Maryland

Kava kava (Piper methysticum) has been used as a ceremonial drink in the Pacific Islands for hundreds of years. 

The roots are chewed or ground into a pulp and added to cold water. The resulting thick brew, which has been compared to the social equivalent of wine in France, is offered to guests and dignitaries visiting the Pacific Islands.

In addition to its ceremonial uses, kava is best known for its relaxing qualities. Kava is said to elevate mood, well being, and contentment, and produce a feeling of relaxation. Several studies have found that kava may be useful in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and related nervous disorders."

Anxiety

A number of clinical studies, though not all, have found kava to be effective in treating symptoms associated with anxiety.

In a review of 7 scientific studies, researchers concluded that a standardized kava extract was significantly more effective than placebo in treating anxiety.

Another study found that kava substantially improved symptoms after only 1 week of treatment.

Other studies show that kava may be as effective as some prescription antianxiety medications.

According to one study, kava and diazepam (Valium) cause similar changes in brain wave activity, suggesting they may work in the same ways to calm the mind.

A 2004 study found that 300 mg of kava may improve mood and cognitive performance. That is significant because some prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, such as benzodiazepines (like Valium and alprazolam or Xanax), tend to decrease cognitive function.

Additionally, Dr. Axe writes about kava benefits, noting that: 

 "Flavokawains extracts have been found to possess potential anti-inflammation properties. One study hoped to find agents that can enhance the functionality of the immune system without disturbing the homeostatic balance while determining the toxicity and immunomodulatory effects of flavokawain A and flavokawain B, agents found in kava root, on Balb/c mice. Based on the results, all mice were observed normal after the treatment period, and it seemed as though it did not cause any toxicity."

 Image credit:  Dr. Axe

Image credit: Dr. Axe

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