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10 Things You Need to Know About Kava

Monday, July 9, 2018 16:06
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July 10th, 2018

By Dr. Edward F. Group

Guest writer for Wake Up World

A few years ago, my wife and I were on Hawaii’s big island and walking through a quaint shopping area when I noticed a small, hole-in-the-wall establishment that served kava. For the uninitiated, kava is a relaxing, non-alcoholic beverage made from the root of the kava plant, it’s popular in the Pacific islands. I’d heard of it but hadn’t tried it and figured it’d be a good opportunity. I walked up, paid $6 for a coconut shell of liquid that resembled dirty dishwater, and down the hatch it went. It didn’t take long before I was enveloped in a feeling of clear relaxation and realized why Polynesian culture appreciates it so much. Kava isn’t some big secret, but it’s not terribly mainstream on the mainland, so let’s take a look at the top 10 things you need to know about kava.

What Is Kava? 10 Must-Know Facts

1. What is Kava?

Kava, also known as piper methysticum, kava kava, and ‘awa, is a small shrub native to the islands in the South Pacific. The root and stems are made into a non-alcoholic, psychoactive beverage that has been used socially and ceremonially for hundreds of years in Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga. [1]

Kava is traditionally prepared by placing ground root and stem into a porous sack, submerging in water, and squeezing the juice into a large, carved, wooden bowl. Coconut half-shell cups are dipped and filled — punch bowl style. After drinking a cup or two a feeling of heightened attention combined with relaxation begins to come on. Although it is soothing, it is unlike alcohol in that thoughts remain clear. The flavor is largely inoffensive, but some find that it takes getting used to; it really depends on your preference for earthy flavors.

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