Taki MaiTaki Mai

By Zane Yoshida

Who Should Avoid Kava?

Most of you reading with this will enjoy the occasional Taki Mai shot or even regular kava sessions with friends, without having to worry about safety or whether you need to avoid kava.

But there are still the ‘naysayers’ out there who continue to focus on the isolated negative incidents involved with kava rather than the millennia of safe kava use in the South Pacific.

Now kava is becoming more global and is taking its place alongside other herbal supplements and beverages in health stores and supermarkets across the world, it is inevitable that kava is coming under more scrutiny.

This is a good thing – let’s consider it a way for kava to clear its name.

But there are some people who certainly should avoid kava. Below we briefly consider who should NOT be sitting by the kava bowl.

Avoid kava if you…

Let’s first make it clear that kava is non-addictive, has proven ability to relax and de-stress you, and has been used safely for millennia to treat a wide range of ailments and at social gatherings and ceremonies in the South Pacific.

Kava is well-known for its treatment of mild anxiety but those with severe depression should avoid taking it.

While it is worth noting that no study has ever proven a link between liver toxicity and kava, rare cases of liver problems have been reported, as you are probably aware from the so-called ‘European kava ban’ from previous years. Kava is best avoided totally if you have pre-existing liver problems.  It is not known precisely why the cases of liver toxicity in Europe occurred, but it is suspected that sub-standard kava was used.

Putting this problem into context, the amount of people with liver problems as a result of kava usage would be a dot on the landscape of those who suffer liver problems from alcohol usage.

…which brings us to another category of people who should avoid kava. It’s best never to mix kava with alcohol, benzodiazepine, or SSRI usage. It’s also best avoided if you are taking prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Pregnant or nursing women are also advised to avoid kava altogether, as are children under the age of 18 and anyone who is due to have surgery.

Kava is sometimes associated with dry, yellowish, scaly skin, but this is usually only in users who take large amount of kava, or indulge in particularly strong, low-grade strains of kava.

A few shots of elite Taki Mai kava are very unlikely to cause any problems. So enjoy!

By Zane Yoshida

Can Kava Improve Your Sex Life?

Has the bedroom been a bit of a barren desert recently? Things not going ‘bump’ in the night? The answer to sprucing up your sex life may be quite close to home: up the kava!

Aphrodisiacs have been sought ever since Man first walked the earth and met Woman. Many of these have been used and abused, both natural and man-made. But kava is rarely mentioned.

In fact, the whole topic of sexual dysfunction is often treated as taboo; this in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of sex on TV and in printed media, in advertisements, from online services to movies. It’s enough to make us fall a little inadequate when we are constantly presented with beautiful, sexy people from all angles, yet we can’t even get it on with our partner!

It’s time we had the discussion to see whether kava can, indeed, help.

How can kava help in the bedroom?

There could be many reasons why one’s sex life is not exactly bouncing along –physical, mental, and relational issues abound. That’s what makes us human and interesting. But some believe that kava is the aphrodisiac you need to add some much-needed ‘zip’ to your love life.

Kava WON’T necessarily make things happen instantly, like some well-known pharmaceutical remedies (especially those small blue ones, I’m told). But it WILL calm you down and chill you out, and that may just be the tonic you and your partner need; it’s important to be relaxed, de-stressed and anxiety-free in the bedroom.

Stress and tension are major contributors to loss of libido in both men and women. Eric J. Leech from Planet Green puts it like this:

“The mind is a very powerful tool for improving health, but it can also be a factor in our own self-induced sexual dysfunctions if we let it.”

Kava produces this relaxing effect without the drowsiness or mental ‘fogginess‘ that can come with some sedatives. This could mean that indulging in a little kava before indulging in a little love-making may be beneficial.

Some people use alcohol to relax, remove tension, and to shed inhibitions before getting romantic, and kava could be a great replacement for this – without the negative side effects of alcohol (I think we all know what that can mean, gents – shall we just call it ‘performance anxiety’?)

It’s also worth noting that in South Pacific folk medicine, kava was an important treatment for genito-urinary infections. Because of its antiseptic qualities, it was used to treat a variety of conditions from gall bladder problems to vaginitis and sexually transmitted diseases. So, kava has traditionally been used to help restore sex lives after health problems.

A natural solution to an age-old problem?

Sexual problems are far more common than people admit; whether it’s erectile dysfunction or females failing to reach orgasm, few relationships can honestly claim to be immune to problems in the bedroom.

With kava being 100% natural, there is no risk of unpleasant side effects like some people get with the erectile dysfunction pills. This includes shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and sudden hearing and vision loss, for instance.

There are also none of the stigmas attached to buying or taking kava, which some people experience with the pills.

The bottom line? The effects of kava may work as an aphrodisiac for some; but there is really only one way of knowing…

By Zane Yoshida

Is Kava Addiction Possible?

There can be an assumption in the west that kava is the South Pacific equivalent of alcohol or coffee. But there is an important difference:there is no such thing as kava addiction.

In fact, if we think about many of the commonly taken substances in the west, there is an addictive component to many of them – not only alcohol and coffee, but tobacco, marijuana, and even prescription drugs; in the US, over 6 million people used non-prescription drugs non-medically in 2011, for instance.

Kava: not addictive

In contrast to the above mentioned substances, kava is not physically addictive. There hasn’t been a single documented case of anyone developing a physical dependency on kava. This didn’t stop it being classified as a narcotic back in the late 1970s and 80s, but this is inaccurate.

In his book The Origin and Distribution of Kava Dr. Vincent Lebot explains:

“By pharmacological standards, kava is not classified as a drug, as its consumption never leads to addiction or dependency”.

In fact, kava is often associated with the “reverse tolerance” phenomenon, which is the opposite to the effect of most narcotics: new users require greater amounts of the plant to feel any effects than those who drink it regularly.

As Dr. Lebot notes in the book, kava has been used safely for many centuries in the South Pacific and, indeed, it is part of the “wisdom of Pacific islanders”.

The safe and soothing effects of kava

Rather than being a hallucinogenic or stupefacient, kava has a relaxing and soothing effect, and drinking it is known as a sociable experience that helps people bond and communicate. All around the South Pacific kava brings people together on a daily basis – both for informal social gatherings and more formal greeting ceremonies.

This is not to say that kava cannot ever create problems when it becomes part of a habitual routine. Most people take it recreationally and have no problems, but a tiny minority experience problems when it becomes habit-forming.

Taking Taki Mai kava shots, capsules, or powder provides measured amounts of kava each time, with predictable effects. So you can take it without any fear of addiction, or overdose.

By Zane Yoshida

The Kava Alternative: No Hangover…No Addiction

One of the reasons for kava’s growing popularity in the west is that is provides a natural alternative to two drugs that have become ‘mainstays’ of modern culture: alcohol and diazepam.

People who have either given up alcohol, don’t enjoy it, suffer from bad hangovers, or who would just rather not drink it can enjoy a similar social buzz from kava.

And those who have been taking Diazepam, Valium or any of the other spin-off benzodiazepine family of drugs that produce the trademark calming effect can find similar relief from kava; but without the same potential for addiction that the little pills carry.

The kava alternative to alcohol

As suggested by the growing popularity of kava bars in the US, large numbers of people enjoy the social side of meeting up with friends in a bar, but they don’t necessarily want to drink alcohol.

The notorious side effects of alcohol (we all know what that pounding headache and nausea feels like), not to mention the inability to drive home after consuming it, makes alcohol particularly hard for many people to justify.

In a kava bar, you get the relaxing and calming effect of kava, together with its slightly euphoric effects, while also enjoying a social experience; and with no hangover afterwards.

The owner of the Krave kava bar in Carrboro, North Carolina puts it this way:

“It gives you a sense of well-being, you feel generally good, you become less anxious, more social, relaxed.”

And some of the drinkers at her bar say:

“I like bars, I like talking to people. This provides the same environment.”

“It’s a fun alternative to going out.”

“It makes you feel really relaxed and less stressed out.”

The kava alternative to diazepam

In 2006, Valium addiction sent over 19,000 people in the US to ER; in 2010, over sixty million Valium prescriptions were written. It is one of the most used drugs in the world, both recreationally and medically (in particular for those who suffer from seizures, muscle spasm, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, or anxiety).

The active compounds in kava (kavalactones) bind onto the brain receptors in the amygdala, which regulates feelings of fear and anxiety in a similar way to diazepam or valium; but, unlike with these prescription drugs, with kava there is no threat of addiction or other unpleasant side effects when taken in normal doses. These include driving impairment, memory loss, heart attack, hallucinations, and coma.

Consequently, there is great interest in the power of kava as a safe and natural treatment for depression, stress, restlessness, and anxiety.

Why not try kava if you are suffering side effects from your prescription anxiety medicine, or want to kick alcohol? What’s the alternative?

By Zane Yoshida

Choose Your Relaxation Elixir

Perhaps it’s a measure of the stressful lives that many people lead nowadays, that there is such a demand for relaxation beverages, come the evening time.

Work and social lives means many of us are running around with barely enough time to throw a meal together, so it’s no wonder that stress levels are through the roof and diet-related health conditions are on the up. What’s the answer?

  Read more

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Who Should Avoid Kava?
Can Kava Improve Your Sex Life?
Is Kava Addiction Possible?
The Kava Alternative: No Hangover…No Addiction
Choose Your Relaxation Elixir