What is the "Traditional Method" of Preparing Kava?
Traditionally kava was prepared by cutting the root into small pieces, being chewed by several people (often children or young women, because of their perceived reduced bacterial levels!) and spat into a bowl, where it was mixed with coconut milk. It was believed that the chewing procedure blended the root with enzymes in the saliva and promoted the extraction of the active ingredients of the root and generally produced a much tastier brew. The concoction was then strained through coconut fiber, squeezing the pieces of masticated root until all the juices were blended with the water. This was then poured into another bowl for consumption.
Today the ground root is mixed with water and kneaded or agitated to release the beneficial “kavalactones” that have been known to create a different levels of relaxation depending on the strain of kava used.* The kava drink is neither an alcoholic beverage nor a psychedelic drug. Nevertheless, it does have sedative and anesthetic properties.
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