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By Zane Yoshida

Stress-Induced Insomnia and Treatment With Kava

Insomnia may be caused by a variety of physical and psychological factors but stress-induced insomnia is a particularly common complaint in many industrialised nations.

There is good evidence that kava on its own or in combination with other natural substances may be of use in the treatment of this type of insomnia.

Stress, anxiety, and insomnia

The Sleep Foundation reports that anxiety-induced insomnia affects ‘most adults’ at some point in their lives. But when this becomes a regular pattern, it is more serious and can affect health, performance at work, and ability to carry out everyday tasks.

The types of psychological factors that can interfere with the regular sleep pattern are:

  • Depression
  • Tension
  • Thinking about past events
  • Worrying about future events
  • Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities

These types of factors can cause either trouble falling asleep or waking up during the night and not being able to get back to sleep. Both can deprive you of valuable rest and, if they occur regularly, will likely impact your quality of life.

Kava: a proven insomnia treatment

Though not technically a sedative, kava is well-known to decrease anxiety, which would point to it being of use in treating stress-induced insomnia.

This is not news to people in the Pacific islands, who have been using kava for its soothing, soporific effects for many centuries. In the west, it has been widely reported in respected medical journals that kava may be as effective as benzodiazepines like Valium for treating anxiety.

Then there is a study from 2001 that specifically looked at the use of kava and valerian in the treatment of stress-induced insomnia. In this study, 24 patients with this type of insomnia were treated with kava, then valerian, and finally a compound of both. The following results were very encouraging:

“Total stress severity was significantly relieved by both compounds individually (p < 0.01), with no significant differences between them; and there was also improvement with the combination, significant in the case of insomnia (p < 0.05).”

While it was a small study and further research is needed, kava has no risk of dependence or any major side effects, unlike many of the sedatives and sleeping pills on the market. So, if you’re suffering from stress-induced insomnia, it’s safe to try as a natural, alternative treatment.

By Zane Yoshida

Health Benefits of Kava: More Proof On Its Way

Kava’s health benefits are one of the main reasons for its growing popularity in the West; but kava has always suffered from a lack of evidence supporting its claims. While Pacific islanders have been espousing the health benefits of kava for many centuries, the West has been much slower to embrace the claims.

However, with more overdue proof on its way about the effectiveness of kava in treating anxiety, sentiments towards our favourite root are changing.

More results about kava and anxiety

Radio New Zealand reported recently that, within the next year, we can expect more results about the effectiveness of kava in treating anxiety.

There have been past clinical trials on the benefits of kava, most notably from Universities in Australia; in 2013, the lead researcher in one of the most recent studies, Jerome Sarris, reported that a significant reduction in anxiety was observed for kava users and a more recent study confirmed the benefits of kava for people with chronic anxiety.

Another benefit of kava is that it does not have the negative side effects or threat of dependence that some anti-anxiety medications have.

Sarris is expecting further evidence of the effectiveness of kava in this respect.

Proving kava’s safety

Another major challenge for the kava industry, apart from proving its health benefits, is proving its safety.

With the reputation of kava damaged by reports of liver toxicity in the early years of the millennium, it’s been a long road back for kava to clear its name.

Sarris believes that proof for kava’s safety in the question of liver toxicity is not far away, as current ongoing research (double-blind clinical studies) looks closely at the effects of kava:

“Hopefully the results will be available in the next year or so, and we can see whether kava is truly truly effective, as we believe it is, to reduce anxiety in people with chronic anxiety disorders, as well as being safe or not for people in regards to liver function.”

When asked whether the Pacific Islanders use kava for anxiety treatment, Sarris observed that most of them have never even heard of anxiety.

What does this tell us? (Clue: they drink a lot of kava!)

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

Kava and Global Wellness

Kava is increasingly getting a positive name in the global wellness community as a supplement that can bring a variety of health benefits.

More positive mentions of kava in the first few weeks of 2017 have backed up strong interest in kava last year; all the indications are that the kava industry is on the upturn.

Workshops on kava

The New Zealand press recently reported that a workshop will be set up at the University of Waikato to investigate how kava culture is growing in the country. Interestingly, it is growing not just among the many Pacific islanders who have migrated to New Zealand, but also among other ethnic groups and “non Pasifika groups”.

Over 20,000 people enjoy kava every weekend in New Zealand and so the workshop will look at how kava is being used “as an alcohol substitute, stress reliever or sleep aid.”

Let’s look at each of those a little closer.

Kava as an alcohol substitute

If the number of kava bars opening in the US is anything to go by, then more people are turning to kava as a substitute for alcohol.

In fact, the Business Mirror reported recently in its story 2017 Trends: Wellness in the New Year:

 “As people move away from alcohol in 2017, a new social lubricator is taking its place. Kava root originates in the South Pacific and is still an important social ritual in many traditional cultures. The root powder is made into a beverage, and promotes mild feelings of euphoria, relaxation and happiness. Kava bars, although common in other areas of the world are starting to become trendy in North America, popping up in New York, Los Angeles, Miami just to name a few cities.”

It goes on to say:

“Because Kava’s effects are mild, and the hangover non-existent, it fits with the other trends in 2017 of move more towards an overall healthier lifestyle. It also is a good social lubricator and stress reliever, another plus when we consider the new trends moving towards less alcohol and more sobriety.”

Kava as a stress reliever

Clinical studies have shown that kava is a safe and effective treatment for mild and ‘generalized’ anxiety and more tests are currently underway.

For instance, a study led by Jerome Sarris in Australia, in 2011, found:

“The current weight of evidence supports the use of kava in treatment of anxiety with a significant result occurring in four out of six studies reviewed.”

These results are especially interesting given the harsh possible side effects of some commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of observational reports about the calming effects of kava. This one was included in a recent article entitled Buzzy Beverages: 3 Ancient Libations To Take The Edge Off Modern Times:

“kava lactones give this de-stress beverage its anti-anxiety, muscle relaxing and analgesic qualities. After my second cup of kava, my mouth felt tingly, I had warm, relaxed sensations in my body and was extremely content in the present moment.”

Kava as a sleep aid

Because of its relaxing effects on the body and the mind, kava is often equated with helping people sleep. There was good example of this recently in an article called 3 Natural Sleep Aids that Work:

“The plant’s roots have traditionally been known for their sedative and anaesthetic properties. The plant’s active ingredients are called kavalactones. Studies have shown kava to be effective in the treatment of tension and anxiety. If you take to bed with you the stresses of the day, kava can act as a welcome addition to your pre-bed rituals.”

Kava has an important part to play in global wellness. More positive articles appearing in the press about kava are an indication that the message is finally getting through…

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?!

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Stress-Induced Insomnia and Treatment With Kava
Health Benefits of Kava: More Proof On Its Way
Kava: A Legal Anxiety Treatment Across Australia
Kava and Global Wellness
De-Stressing With Kava As We Head Into 2017!