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.