Ceremonial drinks in the Pacific islands typically include Kava kava root extract due to its unique effects in enhancing mental state but with the rise of safety concerns on the extract due to certain liver-associated adverse effects, Kava kava extract has been banned in the field of beverages manufacture. Despite the banning of Kava kava extract use, several manufacturers of health supplements still included the extract in their formulations as the benefits, according to certain studies, generally outweigh the risks. Experts also say that although Kava kava extract may potentially pose risks, it does not necessarily result to side effects when taken within recommended doses among normal adults and with physician’s supervision among individuals suffering from certain conditions.
What is Kava Kava Extract?
The Kava plant, or kava kava, is a very common plant in the South Pacific Islands. The term “kava” is translated as “bitter” based on the taste of the plant. Kava kava extract is isolated from the roots of the Kava plant and is shown to contain high amounts of phytonutrients. It is mainly known for its effects in potentially crossing the blood brain barrier and enhancing overall mental function through oxidative stress reduction and other mechanisms. Kava kava extract, aside from being a health supplement ingredient, is also used in production of topical medications as it is shown to prevent progression of certain skin conditions like leprosy.
The Unique Benefits of using Kava kava extract
The benefits associated with Kava kava extract are so numerous that it overshadows the side effects. Some of the claimed benefits of using Kava kava extract, as sufficiently proven by certain studies, are the following:
1. It reduces anxiety
The mere inhalation or liquid state intake of Kava kava extract is shown to reduce anxiety instantly as the active components of the drug help stimulate production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Kava kava extract health supplementation for long periods of time is associated with chronic relief from anxiety, although it may result to depression when taken beyond recommended doses.
2. It prevents withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms for some medications such as benzodiazepenes are so severe that patients may no longer want to discontinue the drug. Studies show that patients who have been subjected to Benzodiazepene drug use for long periods of time may find relief from withdrawal symptoms with Kava kava extract supplementation as certain compounds found in the extract helps control withdrawal. There is, however, no proof as to the effects of the drug in alcohol withdrawal.
3. It prevents muscle tension or spasm
Muscle tension or spasm brought about by acute stress can cause inflammation and damage to the muscle fibers. In a certain study, it was revealed that Kava kava extract supplementation may help prevent muscle fiber damage by controlling tension and muscle spasms brought about by stress.
Due to the risks associated with Kava kava extract supplementation, pregnant and lactating women as well as those who are already diagnosed with certain health conditions are advised not to take the drug without physician’s supervision.