Kava exhibits advantages of herbal drugs – The author

Kristen Brainard

kbrainar@uccs.edu

Editor’s Note: This article is for educational use only. It should not be relied on for medical advice or a substitute for treatment. Always consult a doctor with any questions about your health.

A root that is native to the western Pacific Islands has found its way into the United States and brings beneficial medicinal properties with it.

Kava is becoming increasingly popular because of its physical and mental health benefits. Studies have shown that it can help with weight loss; help users manage pain; and reduce anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Katerina Clouthier, a PPCC student and native Colorado jumper, said she discovered kava from a friend. According to Clouthier, from that point on, Kava changed her life for the better.

Clouthier said she has severe generalized anxiety and likes kava because it is a natural alternative to anti-anxiety medicine that she had been on all her life before discovering it. She attributes her ability to socialize in groups and decreased anxiety to her kava consumption.

Kava even took root here in Colorado.

Downtown Colorado Springs is home to Ohana Kava Bar, a coffee shop-inspired kava eatery that serves the root in many forms. Ohana serves kava as lemonade and as a normal powder-water mixture. Ohana also serves other wellness drinks like wheatgrass, kava shots, and immunity boosters.

Guests usually relax and enjoy the benefits of kava in the company of others. For those looking to pay homage to the Pacific Islands, the bar also serves kava in the traditional ceremonial bowls.

In the Pacific Islands, kava was used as a ceremonial drink, often at weddings and birthday parties, while in the United States it is most commonly used for medicinal and social purposes.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, kava comes from a leafy plant in the pepper family. The root is ground into a powder and mixed with water to make a drink that is then consumed.

Kava is most commonly enjoyed as a drink and induces feelings of relaxation and numbness, so the root is used for pain and anxiety. Its effects are similar to those of marijuana or anti-anxiety drugs.

College can be a stressful time for many, and kava could be the solution to the anxiety and stress of classes and exams. Next time you need relaxation or relief, consider kava.

A kava plant. Photo courtesy GaiaHerbs.com

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