Taki MaiTaki Mai

By Zane Yoshida

How to Lower Blood Pressure the Natural Way

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major health problem in most developed countries, and also in urban populations of many developing countries.

It can lead to heart problems such as stroke and disease, as well as to kidney disease: all leading causes of death in western populations. In the U.S. alone, around 75 million adults have the condition.

This is especially dangerous when coupled with rising rates of obesity, diabetes, as well as poorer diets, and lack of exercise.

With many people over-medicated, the search for natural ways to counter hypertension in place of prescription drugs is becoming more common. Though you should always check with your doctor or other health professional first, here are a few ideas for lowering blood pressure the natural way.

Exercise

No surprise here; regular exercise has a positive effect on many health problems, especially if you are overweight to begin with. A regular exercise program that includes initially light activities like walking should help you lose weight and get in shape, in the process helping to control blood pressure. As your body gets more accustomed to exercise, try stepping it up and getting a stronger cardio workout.

Chiropractic care

Did you think chiropractic care was just for spinal problems? In fact, it has been associated with improvements in a range of health conditions that surprise many people. If you’re looking for an alternative to ‘conventional’ medicine, try a natural approach that has been proven over many years.

Improve diet

No surprises here that diet is mentioned, but I’m not going to include the standard low-calorie, low fat foods. If you’re active enough, you will burn calories, but try to avoid too much processed food and especially highly refined sugar. Eat a balanced diet with more fresh fruit and vegetables and natural, whole foods, as this will help to boost metabolism.

Detox

Detoxing your body can be a great starting point for getting healthier and lowering blood pressure; it makes sense to flush out the toxins that have accumulated before you start to change diet and take up exercise. Find a plan that is focused on long-term health rather than merely short-term weight loss.

Drink more water and freshly-squeezed vegetable juice

If you can get your hands on organic vegetables and a juicer or blender, you have the keys to making delicious and healthy liquid foods. Whether it’s a carrot juice or a concoction of green vegetables you prefer, it can be a great way to supplement meals.  Additionally, drink plenty of water.

Take kava

You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? Kava has been shown in clinical tests to be effective in treating mild anxiety; stress can raise your blood pressure, so a little extra relaxation with some calming kava should have the opposite effect.

As well as kava, you might like to try valerian root; but here on Taki Mai we feel that we probably don’t need it

By Zane Yoshida

Kava: A Legal Anxiety Treatment Across Australia

Great news for Australian kava enthusiasts and for the kava industry as a whole: it’s now legal for use as a medical anxiety treatment across the country.

Previously kava was legal as a medical treatment in all states except Western Australia and the Northern Territories. The restriction there was due to concerns of over-use in remote indigenous communities, where it is often used as an alcohol replacement.

This restriction has now been removed, so that kava is now available to treat anxiety across the whole of Australia.

Anxiety in Australia

According to this report from Ten News, at least one in seven Australians suffer from anxiety. Symptoms include a quicker heart rate, tightness in the chest area, and breathing difficulties.

The usual treatments for anxiety are a range of medications, including benzodiazepine-based drugs. These are tranquillisers that are commonly prescribed for panic and anxiety attacks. While they are generally quite effective in treating short-term anxiety, they also carry a long list of possible side effects and can even lead to dependency. Long-term use of such drugs is therefore not advised.

For these reasons, many people have turned to natural remedies for anxiety treatment.

Kava and anxiety

Naturopaths in Australia have used kava to treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia for the past 14 years; while this is a relatively recent practice in Australia, kava has been used for many centuries in the Pacific islands, where the concept of stress and anxiety is almost unheard of.

In Australia, kava has recently been the subject of several clinical studies led by Professor Jerome Sarris. Results from these studies have shown kava to be safe and effective for the treatment of generalized anxiety; though people with a pre-existing liver disorder should take medical advice first.

All this is further good news for the kava industry in general as word spreads about its many health benefits.

By Zane Yoshida

De-Stressing With Kava As We Head Into 2017!

For many people around the world, it’s been a really testing year. Anxiety-inducing events have arrived seemingly from all angles! De-stressing with kava is a great way to unwind and head into into 2017 with a relaxed, positive mindset, knowing that things will be better in the year ahead.

Let’s face it! There’s been plenty to get pulses racing, debates raging, and tempers rising this year.

From sporadic terrorist attacks throughout the year in Europe to the migrant crisis, the Brexit vote in the UK that still angers many, the ongoing war in Syria, and Trump being selected in the United States. People are voicing a lot of concern for the state of the planet as we head towards the New Year.

Whatever your political viewpoints, or your take on how world events have unfolded this year, there’s one thing certain: worrying too much about it isn’t going to solve anything.

We need to be relaxed, consider things with a clear and calm mind, and then make decisions to make sure that the planet, and all life on it, is better looked after in the coming year and beyond.

So what better time to enjoy kava?

Clarity, relaxation, and de-stressing with kava

Kava has been scientifically proven in clinical studies to help with mild anxiety. Beyond that, just observe the Fijian people in general, or understand how they have used kava for millennia to unwind in social situations, as well as ceremonially, and you get the picture of how kava can help the world.

In fact, just look at the picture above and you’ll get the message

The last thing we need is another energy drink in this fast-paced, heart-thumping, pulse-racing world of ours. Instead, we must head in the opposite direction and calm down.

Most people use various substances to help them relax – from a cup of coffee, to a glass of wine, to prescription medication, to illegal drugs.

The beauty of kava is that it de-stresses you without major side effects. There is no hangover and the mind does not become foggy – you stay sharp and capable of sound decision-making; and, unless you take too much, your motor skills are not impaired, so you can go about your daily business without too much concern.

So, what better way to deal with whatever the world throws at us in 2017 than with a Taki Mai flavoured kava shot or some instant kava made to perfection with Fijian farmed kava?!

By Zane Yoshida

Kava – The Nutraceutical

Kava has been called many things in its time. But the latest term, nutraceutical, can be a little confusing. So it’s time to clear up what that means.

Herb? Drug? Medicine? Natural Remedy?

What is kava?

Well, on the Web you’ll see it referred to as a herb, a drug (often mentioned in the same breath as kratom), a medicine, a drink, a supplement… so many different terms to describe the dried root that we know as kava.

The piper methysticum plant, from which kava is produced, is part of the pepper family (it literally means ‘intoxicating pepper’). It has been used for many centuries down through the ages across the Pacific islands, for recreational, ceremonial, and medicinal purposes.

But it has always been something of a challenge to describe exactly why its use is so widespread around the islands, its precise effects on users, and what category of products the root belongs to.

Kava as a nutraceutical

One of the latest tags to be tied to kava is ‘nutraceutical’.

The concept of a nutraceutical has existed since 1989, when the word ‘pharmaceutical’ was combined with ‘nutrition’ by the Foundation of Innovation Medicine.

It is essentially a pharmaceutical-grade and standardized nutrient or, in other words, a substance derived from a food source that is said to provide extra nutritional and health value. These substances are often associated with health benefits, such as helping with chronic diseases, slowing the ageing process, or increasing life expectancy.

Around the world, neutraceuticals are regulated in various ways by the Food and Drug administrators. Examples of nutraceuticals apart from kava, include chia seeds, turmeric, ginseng, garlic, and various vitamins and minerals.

The reason why kava is increasingly being considered a nutraceutical is because of its proven anxiety and stress-relieving properties. This is reflected in a recent article in the Fiji Times about the kava industry, which said this about kava’s growing reputation:

“There has been great interest in kava as a “nutraceutical”, a herbal alternative to pharmaceutical sleeping and anti-anxiety pills because of kava’s soporific and calming qualities.”

Nutraceuticals may be found in their raw, natural form or as tablets, capsules, gels, liquids, or powders.  As you may know, Taki Mai kava is now available as a shot, in powder (instant) form, or as capsules.

Enjoy your next shot of kava…whatever it’s called!

By Zane Yoshida

Kava: ‘An Alternative Therapy That Works’

It’s not often that kava (or any other alternative therapy, for that matter) gets a truly ‘fair’ write up in the mainstream press.

The focus is usually on the safety concerns of sub-standard kava raised in recent years, rather than the centuries of trouble-free usage, and the proven positive effects of kava on the body and mind.

While medications with some serious side effects often get off without even a reference to their dangers, kava and other ‘alternative therapies’ often get hammered as ‘unproven’, ‘proven not to work’, or possibly dangerous to the health.

This is par for the course – and another example was found in a recent article in the UK’s Spectator magazine.

Kava: an alternative therapy for relaxation

It’s worth summarising the article and including a few quotes here.

It takes what it considers to be a balanced view about ‘alternative medicine’ and begins by highlighting how certain quips about alternative medicine not working may be unfair. The author selects three in particular that can claim to work: tai chi, garlic, and our beloved kava.

The article puts forward positive points about each of these therapies. For instance, it points out that tai chi reduces the risk of falling, and hence could be an important therapy for old people. However, it also points out that more conventional treatments might be “more suitable, cheaper or more available.”

In the case of kava, the author introduces it as “a herbal medicine that, about 10 years ago, used to be very popular for managing anxiety.”

Then the evidence for it working is presented:

“Does kava work for anxiety? The answer is yes. In 2003, we published a Cochrane review of all rigorous studies testing the efficacy of kava as a treatment of anxiety. We were able to include 11 randomised, placebo-controlled trials and concluded that ‘compared with placebo, kava extract appears to be an effective symptomatic treatment option for anxiety. The data available from the reviewed studies suggest that kava is relatively safe for short-term treatment (one to 24 weeks), although more information is required.”

Waiting for the mention of the ‘dangers’…

While reading, you just know the ‘catch’ is coming. And sure enough…

“For a while, many of us thought that kava was safe and effective. When the first reports of side effects emerged, we were not particularly worried — which medication is totally free of them? But then a flurry of reports was published suggestive of severe liver damage after kava intake. At this stage, many national regulators became seriously concerned and started to investigate. The results seemed to indicate that the commercial kava preparations on the market were indeed liver-toxic. Consequently, kava was banned in many countries.”

That’s it. No mention of the overturn of the kava bans; no mention of the likelihood of inferior quality kava being the likely cause. All kava is tarred with the same brush again!

And, what’s more, there is no mention of the serious side effects of some other anti-anxiety drugs like the benzodiazepines (tranquilisers). These can cause addiction when taken long-term and come with a wide range of other side effect warnings, including dizziness, trembling, and confusion.

The author’s conclusion is that he agrees with the quip that ‘alternative treatments are therapies that either have not been proven to work or have been proven not to work’. This, despite specifically stating that kava was an ‘alternative therapy that works’…

What started as a promising article strangely turned on its head and effectively became another ‘hit piece’ on kava in the end!

As stated, this really is par for the course for kava in mainstream media.

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How to Lower Blood Pressure the Natural Way
Kava: A Legal Anxiety Treatment Across Australia
De-Stressing With Kava As We Head Into 2017!
Kava – The Nutraceutical
Kava: ‘An Alternative Therapy That Works’