Common Names: Kava Kava, ‘Awa (Hawaii), ‘Ava (Samoa), Sakua (Pohnpei), Yaqona (Fiji)
Scientific Name: Piper Methysticum
Common Uses: Treat stress, anxiety and insomnia Kava Kava has been portrayed as a potential healing agent for a number of health problems, from asthma to urinary tract infections to menopausal symptoms. In many cases, the claims are exaggerated or no scientific evidence exists to prove them, according to eMedTV. Anecdotal evidence of the health benefits of Kava Kava abound, however, so the herb might be worth a try. Always discuss it with your health provider before taking any herbs or supplements, especially if you’re also taking prescription drugs or if you have allergies or a medical condition.
*Warnings: Pregnant and lactating women should not take kava kava, as the effects of the herb on babies and children has not been studied. According to eMedTV, people with liver disease, allergies or Parkinson’s disease also should avoid Kava Kava. Kava might make depression symptoms worse, so shouldn’t be taken by people suffering from clinical depression. Kava Kava also can cause involuntary body movements such as twitching of the eyes, tremors and neck spasms. No long-term studies exist on the benefits or dangers of Kava Kava. According to Natural News, long-term use might cause skin rashes and headaches. However, it also might help keep anxiety under control over the long term. Kava has been used for centuries without trouble. Some research suggests that ingesting this herb may harm the liver. NEVER TAKE THIS HERB IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR NURSING. Also may cause dizziness and dry mouth if taken in large amounts.
Origin: This plant grows on the Pacific Islands.