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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?!

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

The 7 Best Places To Enjoy Kava

It’s a long way from the kava nurseries of Fiji to the health stores or supermarkets where you buy your kava from.

But kava is a good traveller. Above you see a Taki Mai kava shot at the Rugby 7s in Hong Kong. Kava can be enjoyed in many different locations, and below are seven places to enjoy kava in shot, capsule, or instant powder form…

In the locker room

Kava is an effective supplement for aiding muscle recovery. Rugby is a popular sport on the Pacific islands and many professional players enjoy kava to help their muscles regain strength and relieve tightness after a game; but anyone who exercises regularly will benefit from kava.

At the airport

Kava is a known stress and anxiety reliever; it acts as a natural tranquilizer, steadying nerves and inducing a feeling of well-being. This makes it ideal to take as a natural supplement to calm pre-flight or in-flight nerves.

At an event, conference, or meeting

Need to make a presentation? Or a speech? Fear of public speaking strikes many people, with nerves affecting performance. You can take kava to help ease nerves without disturbing mental clarity, so it’s ideal to take before a big meeting or presentation.

At the spa

Kava’s relaxation benefits are perfect for ‘getting in the mood’ for a spa treatment like a massage, or even for practicing yoga. It will help to relax the muscles and soothe the mind, ready for pampering yourself a little.

At the beach

What else could be more relaxing than lazing in the sun at the beach? The classic picture of enjoying kava in a hammock is well chosen; kava is associated with rest, relaxation, and getting you in the mood to take a well-deserved nap.

At home

Whether you like to take kava with family and guests, as a sleep-inducer before you go to bed, or just to wind down after a long day’s work, keeping a supply of kava in the most relaxing place of all – home – is a must for many Pacific islanders.

At any social gathering

On Fiji and many of the other Pacific islands, wherever you find a social gathering, you will also find the kava bowl. Kava is never enjoyed more than in the company of friends and loved ones.

Do you take somewhere else? The above places are just a few suggestions – but, with shots, capsules and powder available, you can enjoy kava almost anywhere on the planet.  Let us know in the comments section below…

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Kava: A Legal Anxiety Treatment Across Australia
Kava and Global Wellness
De-Stressing With Kava As We Head Into 2017!
Kava – The Nutraceutical
The 7 Best Places To Enjoy Kava