Search Term: " kava root "
Kava Roots Helps Those Suffering From Anxiety
Anxiety is a common mental disorder. Many treatment and preventive tips are available for these illnesses. For those who want to avoid prescription drugs, consider trying kava root as an alternative.
kava root has been used for:
Another common uses of kava root is for the improvement of sleep quality and pattern, and the relief of general body malaise, asthma attacks, insomnia and menopausal symptoms.
What Is Kava Root?
December 19, 2012 03:53 PM
kava root or piper methysticum is a kind of shrub that can be found all throughout the South Pacific islands. Locally called as kava kava, this plant is a close relative of black pepper. Its shrubs have woody roots or rhizomes that contain medicinal properties. People in the South Pacific islands use kava mainly during traditional ceremonies and they have been using this herb as medicine for centuries already.
Traditionally, kava is prepared as a tea or an intoxicating ceremonial beverage. But nowadays, it now comes into several forms such as capsules, extract forms, liquids, tablets, and even topical creams. One of the main benefits of kava is that it promotes relaxation.
Calming effects of kava
Its calming effects are due to a substance called kavalactone. It works almost exactly like a mild sedative and muscle tension reliever. Taking supplements with kava root induces sleep without the hangover effects. Because of that, kava root can help a person sleep easier.
Additionally, the quality of the sleep is also improved. Kava can also elevate the mood of a person promoting the sense of well-being and satisfaction. Kavalactone has calming effects as it can interfere with the brain activity by slightly stimulating the brain waves which eventually make people feel better. Kava is definitely not addictive but its effects may decrease with regular use.
The calming effects of kava root can relieve anxiety, restlessness and some other stress-related symptoms like muscle tension and spasm. Another active compound that naturally occurs in kava is the flavokawain B which is known as a cancer-fighting property. Other potential benefits of kava root include treatment for ADHD or attention deficit disorder, depression and migraine. When applied topically, kava creams and lotions hastens the healing ability of the skin and treat several skin diseases like leprosy.
If taken improperly, kava supplements can only bring about adversarial effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, gastrointestinal issues and tremors.
Nevertheless, kava can still be very beneficial most especially if taken properly.
Kava root and its health benefits
October 18, 2012 07:51 AM
Also known as the intoxicating pepper, or botanically Piper methysticum, the kava shrub has for thousands of years been known to have health benefits from its roots. kava roots have been known to provide relief from stress and physical ailments. With its origin in the pacific, now the kava root is known all around the world for its continued success in providing the mind and body with concentration and relaxation respectively.
The kava root contains a chemical component called kavalactone which when induced creates a relaxing feeling to the mind and body thereby treating stress and insomnia. Other health benefits of kava root are treatment of asthma, migraines and headaches, depression, gout, urinary tract infections, prostate inflammation and even reduction of pain in joints for rheumatism patients.
Recent researchers have proven that the kava root is effective in treating leukemia and cancer of the ovaries as well as having the effectiveness of modern painkillers. It is recommended that you seek a medical expert's advice before you start using kava roots and no alcohol or other drugs should supplement it.
Fight Anxiety Disorders Naturally
December 14, 2010 04:27 PM
Do you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder?
Before considering how to test for anxiety disorders and discussing natural supplements that can help we should first discuss what anxiety disorders are - what the term means and if there are degrees of anxiety disorders as there are of depression and stress. First, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress and it is anxiety that makes you worry about the consequences of not studying for an exam - so you study. It focuses you on problems so that you will be more likely to solve them, and helps you to perform better whatever you are doing. However, it can get out of hand and these positive mental processes become negative anxiety disorders.
With some people, anxiety becomes a dread of situations that were once everyday occurrences and can make your life a misery. Here are some forms of anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Its symptoms include excessive sweating, worry, headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and tension in your muscles. It can lead to substance abuse and deep depression if left untreated.
These are three typical forms of anxiety, but how do you test for anxieties? Here are some tests that are used, beginning with the easiest - doing it yourself!
Testing for Anxiety Disorders
Many that believe they may have an anxiety disorder either tend to panic or go into a depression. It is far better to carry out a self-test. This anxiety test is very simple: simply tick which of the symptoms below you have experienced in the past six months:
I can't relax
I am always worried about something.
I get headaches for no apparent reason
I frequently sweat a lot and get hot flashes
I have no time for anybody and am easily annoyed
I find it hard to sleep and I often wake up during the night
My attention keeps wandering and I can't focus on anything
I sometimes get so worried I want to be sick or have a lump in my throat
If you have ticked more than three then perhaps you should pay your doctor a visit, or try some of the recommendations below.
b) Doctors' Tests
If you feel you might be suffering some form of anxiety disorder you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have tried the self test above and it indicates that you might be. Your doctor might carry out various tests for your general health, and if it is felt necessary you may be asked about your family history: is there any history of mental problems in the family, particularly with your mother or father.
Other questions may appertain to your own physical and mental background, such as have you been stressed for any reason lately, have you suffered anxiety or panic attacks in the past and what is your normal use of prescription and non-prescription medications and drugs. Do you smoke, drink or take any social drugs.
It is important that you are totally honest: the doctor is not judging you, simply trying to find the cause of your problem. Under the terms of their oath they cannot divulge anything you tell them to anyone else, so be honest and let them help you. Among the tests you will be given will be to declare all your history of anxiety-related symptoms. To achieve that, you will be asked a series of questions while the doctor assesses your mental condition.
Finally, you may be referred to a psychiatrist who will be able to help you more than your doctor. Psychiatrists have a good record in resolving anxiety disorders, but once you are diagnosed positively, what then? Chemical drugs? Or perhaps you would prefer something more natural such as herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Here are the more commonly used of these:
Passion flower contains the active substances maltol and ethylmaltol that your body's biochemistry uses to increase the concentration of GABA (gamma-butyric acid) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms you and helps you to relax and forget anything that is making you anxious. It relieves muscle tension, can lower your blood pressure and some equate its effect to that of Valium: although it is totally different chemically it is similar in its effect. It offers a sedative effect and helps you sleep.
Kava kava root
Kava kava. Generally just referred to as kava, comes from the Pacific and the kavalactones it contains increase the concentration of neurotransmitters in your vascular system, particularly serotonin, the feel-good substance. Its sedative effects have been likened to that of alcohol, and it can certainly give you a lift and certainly helps you worry less as it reduces the negative symptoms of stress and depression.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is a well-known anti-depressant and it can also help reduce the symptom of anxiety. The hyperforin the plant contains helps to improve the brain's content of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make you feel good, and St. John's wort certainly washes away your anxiety. Not only that, but the napththodianthrone in another of its important components, hypericin, promotes a reduction in depression through the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, a pro-depressive enzyme.
An extract of valerian root can help you to relax and sleep well, and this can often be enough to prevent your anxiety attacks. A lot depends on their cause, but if the attacks are mild and don't require extensive medical or psychiatric intervention, then valerian can help, particularly in treating stress-related anxiety. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because valerian can be dangerous if taken to excess.
The four herbal remedies above should between them be all you need to treat your anxiety. One major problem is that, just like any chemical drugs, they only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is something you and your physician will have to work on yourselves.
However, until then, the above herbal remedies for anxiety disorders are generally safer to use than prescription drugs and each has a well proven effect, both on the symptoms of anxiety and on depression.
Herbs For Depression
December 13, 2010 12:34 PM
Fight Depression with Natural Herbs
Before discussing treating depression with natural herbs we should first consider depression itself: what is it and what causes people to become depressed? Psychiatrists and psychologists will suggest a number of definitions although most experts agree that there are two forms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Exogenous depression comes about as a result of external factors such as bereavement, heavy debt, job loss, etc, while endogenous depression comes from within and is believed to be due to biochemical problems, including food allergies, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vitamin B deficiency, and addictions. There are many other reasons for people becoming depressed, some of which can be established by the particular symptoms of the individual.
In many cases of depression the external factors are often easier to treat than those due to internal factors. Many exogenous causes of depression such as bereavement are alleviated through time, while causes such as job loss and debt can be resolved once the cause has been rectified: thus, if the patient is no longer in debt or is re-employed, the depression tends to disappear with the cause.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not diagnosed from a single symptom, but from a number of symptoms that can point to a person being clinically depressed and requiring treatment. Among the symptoms of depression are:
Prolonged periods of sadness or despair
Forms of Depression
Many normal people can suffer one or two of the above systems, and would not be diagnosed as depressed because of it. We can all get mood swings, feel a bit worthless now and again or be unable to concentrate or focus at times, but that does not mean we are clinically depressed.
Depression would not be diagnosed in a patient with just one of these symptoms but five or more likely would be. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deem the patient suffering clinical depression if displaying 5 or more of the bottom 8 symptoms above for a month or more. This is believed to be the case with around 17 million Americans so it is a significant problem.
Manic depression is otherwise known as bipolar disorder, where patients have large mood swings from high and extreme hyperactivity and excitability to very low deeply depressive moods and is a clinical condition generally treated using drugs.
Treatment of Depression With Natural Herbs
The usual treatments are drugs that often have undesirable side effects; so many people are trying natural remedies instead. There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat depression, one of the most familiar being St. John's Wort. However, there are others, and here is a synopsis of each.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is likely the best known herbal treatment for depression. In fact, in Germany it is prescribed by doctors to children and adolescents for the treatment of mild depression and is available over the counter in many countries.
However, it can also be used in cases of severe depression, and a report in the Cochrane Database Review[8(4)] by K. Linde, M.M. Berner and L. Kriston in 2008 stated that of 29 separate tests carried out on a total of over 5,000 patients, the conclusion was that St. John's wort extracts were at least as good in treating severe depression with 5 times lower side-effects as tricyclic antidepressants and twice lower than the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It should be stated, however, that one trial on 340 subjects indicated no improvement over a placebo. However, the anti-depressive drug sertraline (Zoloft) was also shown to be no better than the placebo in this test, so some doubts must lie regarding its accuracy. Of all the herbal treatments, St. John's wort has had most testing carried out and it seems to be effective in treating mild to severe depression although not all experts are yet agreed.
Kava kava root
Kava kava can be used to treat depression and anxiety, largely due its content of kavalactones that are believed to increase the amount of a number of neurotransmitters in the blood, including the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Kava kava root is mildly intoxicating, having much the same effect as alcohol, and can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, it is doubtful if its effects are permanent and so it may be less of a depression cure as a short-medium term treatment. Its effects are also variable on different people, some describing it as making them feel relaxed and 'dreamy', while others find it therapeutic and making them feel better in themselves.
Kava kava should not be taken without your doctor knowing about because there have been concerns about its effect on the liver if taken in excess. A European-wide ban was lifted about two years ago after testing found the risks of taking it to be very low. It has been used for centuries as an intoxicating drink on islands such as Fiji.
Passion flower has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression, its active ingredients believed to be maltol and ethylmaltol that help to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is one of the brain's key neurotransmitters and has been described by some as the brain's own 'Valium' supply.
Through the intervention of GABA, passion flower extract helps in reducing anxiety levels and makes you feel a lot calmer. If you suffer forms of depression that make you hyper or excitable, passion flower will help to reduce this and also helps to cure insomnia. It is a component of many natural sleeping pills.
These are just three natural substances that can be used to treat depression. However, you must inform your doctor or physician if you decide to take them since they may interfere with or change the effect of any antidepressant drug you are currently taking.
Call today for natural remedies for depression
Are Standardized Herbs Better?
June 17, 2005 12:34 PM
Are Standardized Herbs Better?
Standardized is a term to mean that there is a guaranteed amount of a certain botanical constituent. For example St. John's Wort can be standardized to contain hypercin, Gingko can be standardized to contain flavones, Mahuang for ephedrine, and Milk Thistle for its silymarin content. Standardized does not necessarily mean stronger or better. Chemical solvents such as hexane benzene, acetone, and methyl chloride are typically used in standardized extracts. Residues of the chemicals are found in the finished product. Furthermore they may be hazardous to the environment.
The problem with obtaining an amount of a standard constituent is, a plant can contain hundreds of active constituents. By concentrating on one component, we may lose synergistic compounds, which may improve effectiveness and lessen adverse reactions. Often scientists do not fully understand which constituents are beneficial for the clinical results of an herb. For example scientists are unclear whether or not hypercerin, hyperiform, or the interaction of several constituents, that have antidepressant properties in St. John's Wort. Once it was thought that the immune effects of Echinacea were due to echinosides; now it is thought that polysaccharides and proteins may also be immune supporting. In the case of ginseng, ginsenosides are found in ginseng leaves and roots, however ginseng leaves do not have same properties as the roots. In the South Pacific, locals all use Kava kava roots, however German pharmaceutical companies use the stems to make standardized Kava Kava. Another drawback of standardized herbs is the chemicals used to manufacture them.
Advocates of standardized herbs are usually academics with little clinical experience with herbs, or researchers whose work is funded by companies that manufacture standardized products. Traditional herbalists seldom used standardized products for a variety of reasons. One, standardized extracts tend to be more expensive. Two, there is little evidence that they are more effective than the whole herb. For example, I have never seen studies comparing Gingko tea to standardized Gingko extracts; Ginseng standardized extracts have not been shown superior to whole ginseng root. Finally, many herbalists reject the pharmaceutical model of healthcare, which involves costly production techniques and capital investment to make a standardized extract.
Standardized herbs play a role in the drug model of herbal medicine, however traditional herbalists will continue to recommend herbs in more natural state which may include water and alcohol extracts, teas and pills that have not been standardized. (Factors that influence products quality include weather, soil, the time of year the plant is harvested, the age of the plant, the part of the plant being used, and the DNA of the plant, storage and processing.) You can also blend various batches of herbs to achieve a consistent potency; this is commonly done in the wine making industry. Finally you can add an active compound (synthesized) to an herbal product and the DNA of the plant, storage and processing.) The purpose of this article is not to condemn standardized herbs. It may be a good idea to remember that this form of herbal preparation is just one of many forms.