Natural Medicine Uses and Benefits of Kava Kava

Kava Kava, botanically known as Piper methysticum, is a wonderful plant with a very in-depth history. Because the benefits of Kava are so immense, it’s still in use today. 

Captain James Cook is the first person who brought Kava Kava back from the South Pacific, where it originated. He was a famous British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain for the British Royal Navy. He was most famous for three voyages between 1768 to 1779 through the Pacific Ocean, to New Zealand and Australia. 

Kava was first introduced into Western plant medicine by two French scientists–Theodore Nicolas Gobley (in 1860) and Gilbert Cuzent (a naval pharmacist in 1861). And, before all of this, Kava was traditionally used in Indigenous Pacific medicinal practices. 

The Benefits of Kava Kava

Kava is known as one of the most powerful muscle relaxants…but it’s so much more than that! It’s beneficial for relieving the pain of arthritic conditions, too. It can also calm nervousness and relieve insomnia. 

Another benefit of Kava is its ability to increase the flexibility of the motor units of our nervous system. This means it helps to relax muscle tension and structural alignment in the body. 

Curiously, Kava also has a history as a “social lubricant”...even better than alcohol! Back in the day, women were known to prepare the plant into a drink to make “the talk” easier. They had specific rules and etiquette around it. Women would make the drink for men as a prerequisite to discussing important issues. 

But, it isn’t even "how" it’s used that unifies the South Pacific Islanders (where Kava originated). It’s a “why”--and for this reason, it’s social impact is not abused nor are receiving parties ever taken advantage of, unlike how alcohol can be used in modern culture today. 

The Effects of Kava Kava on the Body

Kava is a talented herb, in that it can do so much for the body! Here’s a list of its primary uses.

  • Analgesic: Relieving pain
  • Antiseptic: Preventing infection
  • Antispasmodic: Preventing or relieving spasms 
  • Aphrodisiac: Stimulating sexual desire
  • Bitter: Stimulates secretions of the digestive system and encourages appetite
  • Diuretic: Increasing the secretion and flow of urine
  • Nervine: Strengthening the functional activity of the nervous system
  • Sedative: Soothing to body systems
  • Stimulant: Increasing sexual functional and activity
  • Tonic: Strengthening and restoring the tone of the certain systems

Isn’t it incredible all this simple plant can help with? 

Conditions Kava Kava Can Help

Because of the intense range of benefits of Kava, I have used it for a large variety of conditions over the years. These include: 

  • Anxiety & Panic Attacks
  • Chronic UTI’s
  • Female issues
  • Tight muscles
  • Nervousness
  • Rheumatism
  • Asthma & Bronchitis

Like any herb, it’s important to use it safely. There are many benefits to Kava, but it is best avoided if you have any of these conditions or situations. 

  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • Hepatic diseases
  • Renal disease
  • Bile duct obstructions
  • If you are taking barbiturates, benzos, antipsychotics, alcohol, or levodopa

Remember that our diets play a huge role in our health and should be our starting point, too. Think nutrient density, fiber, water and physical exercise!

Health can be complicated, especially when herbs are involved. So if you have any questions be sure to reach out to your ND, herbalist, or other practitioner. You can book a consultation with me here! We are happy to guide you. 

A Kava Product to Support You

If you find yourself with squirrely thoughts and anxiety at night, try this Sleepy Time Tonic. It’s a soothing blend of herbs designed to melt away the stress of the day, help you rest and stay asleep throughout the night. Our friend, Kava, is in it! Get it here


*For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. (Because why would we want to do that?)

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