What is it?
Scientifically known as Piper methysticum, Kava is the root of a shrub belonging to the same plant family as black pepper, and has green, heart-shaped leaves. Traditionally, kava is prepared from the plant's root, which contains the active compounds in the plant known as kavalactones.
Where is it from?
Kava Kava is native to the South Pacific islands and has been used there for over 3,000 years as a ceremonial drink to bring on relaxation and sociability. Captain James Cook was the first Westerner to document the native uses of kava as a relaxing, spiritual beverage during his first voyage in 1768.
What is it used for?
Kava helps to relieve anxiety, without impairing mental function, and is also a safe muscle relaxant. Because of its relaxation invoking properties, Kava is an excellent herb for promoting restful sleep, unlike melatonin, which may cause disruptive dreaming. In Europe it is widely used as a mild sedative, and anti-anxiety medication as a safer alternative to prescription drugs such as Valium, Xanax, or Librium.