Introduction to Kava
Now that this ancient and safe herbal supplement known as Kava Kava is becoming “mainstream” (as we knew it would!), there are the inevitable questions regarding everything from the history of the plant, to where we feel are the Best Places to Buy Kava Kava, to the Best Way to Take Kava, to Hot Tea and Baking With Kava, to the peoples and cultures that have revered this sacred botanical for thousands of years. So, before we go any further, let’s begin with a brief history of Kava:
Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy gave Kava, a member of the pepper family, its botanical name, Piper methysticum, meaning “intoxicating pepper.” Cook was the first European explorer to encounter this magical plant. It’s a bush-like plant native to the South Pacific, and has been used for over 3,000 years throughout the region for its medicinal effects as a sedative, muscle relaxant, pain reliever, diuretic, and as a remedy for anxiety, nervousness and insomnia.
Kava is still used today during traditional and informal social gatherings known as Kava Circles, a relaxing, ritualistic way to communally connect with others. It is also employed in governmental, tribal, cultural and religious ceremonies as well. In many cultures, a person’s ability to “hold their kava” for the duration of a Kava Ceremony directly equates to their level of power. Interestingly enough; Kava is often used as a safe alternative to alcohol!
Kava is used ceremoniously in the South Pacific to celebrate beginnings and endings, such as marriages, births and deaths. It is often used to honor a guest, to enhance communication, to help settle disputes and to assist in the sealing of business and political agreements.
Kava is also known by the names Awa, Ava, Ava Pepper, Kawa Awa, Kawa Kawa, Wati, Yogona, and Waka. The only part of the plant that is used (or should ever be used) is the rhizome (or root). Traditionally, the roots are crushed, mashed, often chewed, then milked and strained to make a mildly narcotic beverage that is comparable to popular cocktails in Western culture.
To learn more about kava, browse our sidebar menu for links and additional information. We pride ourselves being the most comprehensive and easily readable website on the internet for all-things Kava, so any new links, article, additions, and anything else kava-related are always welcome. Send us an e-mail at kava at kava dot com and we will respond promptly. Or, comment in an appropriate category and we’ll typically respond the very same day!
Also, please remember that we do not sell Kava ourselves; we simply do our best to point you in the right direction. Our favorite place(s) to purchase kava root don’t often change, but anything related to our favorite herbal supplement and where to buy it or drink it, please look to the Where to Buy Kava article.
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