Ever so slowly…in a relaxed, kava-like way…the world seems to be waking up to why it needs a good supply of kava.
A recent press release by the American Botanical Council announced the ‘adoption’ of kava by Applied Food Sciences National Center on Sleep Disorders Research(AFS), an Austin, Texas-based company.
The Adopt-an-Herb program is an ABC initiative to provide a valuable resource for consumers, students, and members of the herb and dietary supplement community. It links to an online database with comprehensive scientific and clinical research data on over 250 herbs.
South Pacific Elixirs (makers of Taki Mai) have partnered with Applied Food Sciences to start educating people around the world about the need for high-quality kava; and we hope that through this partnership, we can help the world wake up a little more to why it needs kava.
As Mark Blumenthal, ABC’s founder and executive director, says:
“Kava is an herb with a long ethnobotanical history in Polynesia, and it produces clinically-documented anti-anxiety benefits.”
The great work of Applied Food Sciences
AFS specializes in the research and development of functional botanical ingredients for use in foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements.
They recently released KAVOA™ – a kava extract that helps with relaxation, stress relief, and sleep support. As you will know, plenty of evidence exists linking kava to these three beneficial effects, amongst others.
The company’s partnership with the American Botanical Council will help to clarify concerns about the safety of kava and communicate more about its benefits. Chris Fields, vice president of scientific affairs at AFS, said:
“Kava’s long history of use in the South Pacific islands demonstrates that it is a safe, effective, and useful tool with many important health benefits when used in the right form and when the correctly identified cultivars are used,”
“Applied Food Sciences is fully invested in working together with farmers, agronomists, and the research community to provide the entire supply chain with the appropriate tools to bring sustainable, safe, and high-quality kava ingredients to the market.”
The company has been heavily involved in educating farmers about cultivating noble kava cultivars and best practices for harvesting and processing kava.
As you will be aware if you have been reading this blog, this is very much in line with our own direction: advocating the raising of standards of kava quality and producing elite varieties that are disease-free and that produce consistent, predictable, known effects from their kavalactone content.
Addressing safety concerns
There is growing awareness around the world that kava is safe but only because of the efforts of those helping to address concerns.
An article from AFS, which appeared on PS Newswire details how the company has identified five main reasons for safety concerns with kava production. These are:
- Use of Non-Noble or incorrect chemotype cultivars(s).
- Unstandardized harvesting practices (yielding byproduct contamination to the kava before processing).
- Use of the incorrect parts of the plant, namely the peelings and stems (instead of the root and rhizome).
- Inadequate methods of manufacturing for producing standardized extracts (low quality, unstandardized extracts).
- Lack of scientifically validated methods for measurement of actives (kavalactones and chalcones).
Growing demand around the world
The above-mentioned article also highlights how there has never been more of a need for kava in the U.S.
The Director of Marketing for AFS explains:
“Individuals spend their day searching for ways to increase energy trying to get more done during the day …combine that with the ongoing stimulation from technology at night and we are left hardwired, unable to unwind.”
With the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research stating that around 70 million Americans report having sleep problems, and this problem being mirrored in most urbanised populations around the world, news about the relaxation and sleep benefits of kava are making a timely resurgence in the media.
This will undoubtedly help to increase demand around the world – which is great news for everyone concerned.