Kava has been shown consistently in published studies to be non-addictive. Unlike other substances, drinking kava is not habit forming and you will not build up a tolerance to the effects of drinking kava, causing you to need to drink more each time. In fact, the exact opposite has been shown. That the beneficial effects of a drink of kava can be felt even more when it is drank on subsequent occasions, bringing about cumulative effectiveness over time. This is because of the distinctive way that kava affects the brain.
Noble vs Other Kava Varieties
One precaution to take in order to ensure safety when using Kava is to only purchase and consume lab tested, Noble Kava varieties and to avoid consumption of non-Noble varieties known as Tudei (two-day) varieties. Tudei
kava varieties are traditionally used only for acute medicinal purposes in the islands and are virtually never consumed daily due to their many potential side effects. They are aptly named for these effects that can include feelings of nausea and lethargy that can last up to two days. They also contain certain chemical compounds that are questionable in terms of their safety. At KAVAPLEX we only use lab-tested, premium Noble Kava in our products. To avoid purchasing Tudei kava, it is best to do some research and learn about the reputation of the company selling the kava.
Kava and Potential Liver Toxicity
Anyone researching kava for the first time will most certainly find websites, blogs and articles that claim kava drinking is bad for the liver and your health. The origin of these claims is research that was done over 15 years ago in Switzerland and Germany that led to kava drinking being banned in those countries. And that ban was reversed in 2015 after a growing body of new research has called into question these early research findings. This research has shown that cases of liver toxicity attributed to kava actually occurred only when the person consumed contaminated kava products (toxic above ground aerial parts of the plant), Tudei varieties or Kava extracts that were denatured through solvent extraction. Also, most of these few cases of Liver toxicity occurred when these poor quality inedible Kava parts were consumed in conjunction with other drugs and medications known to negatively affect liver function.
A recent World Health Organization risk assessment of kava products has stated that ”Kava has had at least a 1500-year history of relatively safe use, with liver side effects never having arisen in the ethnopharmacological data. Clinical trials of kava have not revealed hepatotoxicty as a problem. This has
been confirmed by further studies evaluating the toxicology of the kava drink. Based on available scientific information it can be inferred that kava as a traditional beverage is safe for human consumption.” The indigenous peoples of most islands in the South Pacific have always seen Traditional preparations of Noble Kava varieties as safe for daily consumption. In fact, the majority of people of Vanuatu, a South Pacific country, have been consuming them daily for over 3000 years.
Unfortunately the misinformation and health warnings still dominate online and obscure the numerous, and more up-to-date, University research studies that have since played a role in helping to vindicate kava and to gain a better understanding of how kava affects the mind and body. This has revealed numerous important potential health benefits of kava root and how to control for Kava quality and Safety.
Over the last decade or so, a collection of many prominent researchers from the South Pacific and Europe have been working to develop an international quality standard in order to distinguish “safe” Kava from “unsafe” Kava. Their goal is to get this new international standard adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Charged with protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade, the Codex Alimentarius is a joint initiative of the Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations (FAO) and The World Health Organization (WHO). It is likely that governments and regulatory agencies around the world will use these new established standards to make this clear distinction between safe and potentially suspect Kava products. This initiative’s goal is to get Noble Traditional Kava products classified as a food (like coffee) as long as they meet the standards.
After the standards are adopted, this is likely to happen. At KAVAPLEX, our strict quality standards are based on all of the same criteria that this initiative has laid out in their proposal to Codex Alimentarius and The World Health Organization (WHO). However, we even go beyond that with our thorough lab testing for both biological and industrial contaminants.