Taki MaiTaki Mai

By Zane Yoshida

Kava Supplements for a Boost in Sports Performance

You may take kava supplements for a variety of reasons: to relax, to reduce stress, to socialize, or just because you like the taste. But did you know that kava can also help with muscle recovery? So it is a great option for sports and exercise enthusiasts out there…

Challenging the traditional view of kava

Whether kava and sports/exercise mix has been a subject that has been kicked around (excuse the pun) quite a few forums ever since kava started becoming more popular in the west.

The standard image people have of kava is of lying on a beach or in a kava bar sipping from a coconut shell. But that’s rapidly changing with the advent of kava shots, capsules, and powder. Kava is increasingly being taken as a supplement rather than just a social beverage.

Taking kava for sports might seem surprising for many people. But a previous Taki Mai blog post entitled Pre-Match Kava Rituals for Top Sportsmen reported how the Kiwi rugby team drinks kava at training and before a match, with one of the players saying:

“It helps with bumps and bruises, hydration and relaxation, especially after a long trip.”

It turns out that it may help with even more than that and can actually help muscles recover and repair…

Kava supplements and muscle recovery

Kava root is listed amongst the LiveStrong ‘muscle recovery herbs’ along with burdock root and other herbal mixtures.

Muscle recovery is the process by which muscles regain strength and it’s important for anyone who exercises regularly, as well as for more elite athletes. Minor muscle injuries such as strains are common, leading to inflammation and pain.

The website goes on to say:

“According to Xterra Training, kava root supplements are commonly used to alleviate tight muscles after a hard workout. Kava root helps to block harmful acids from forming; this increases the speed of muscle recovery. Kava root has also been used to prevent muscle cramps that are caused by a buildup of lactic acid.”

A number of bodybuilding sites are also starting to notice the benefits of taking kava supplements in the “cool down” post-exercise period. The relaxation benefits of kava help to repair tired muscles that need rest to be able to grow and stay healthy. They also help bodybuilders and other sportspeople deal with muscle tension and post-exercise soreness.

Bodybuilding.com says that the root “acts as a natural tranquillizer, steadying nerves and inducing a feeling of well-being”. More specifically:

“For bodybuilders … Kava might help to negate the symptoms of overtraining and enhance muscle growth via muscle relaxation.”

The same site lists the properties of kava as follows:

  • Alterative: tending to cure or restore to health
  • Analgesic: capable of relieving pain
  • Anesthetic: causes temporary loss of bodily sensations
  • Antifungal: capable of destroying fungi
  • Antiseptic: free of or destructive to disease-causing organisms
  • Antispasmodic: a drug used to relieve or prevent spasms
  • Aphrodisiac: a drug or other agent that stimulates sexual desire
  • Diuretic: any substance that tends to increase the flow of urine
  • Sedative: tending to soothe or tranquilize

Quite a list!

A few words of caution

Be careful with the quality of the kava you choose, the quantity you take, and when you take it, and you will benefit from its effects.

LiveStrong notes that “MedlinePlus.com…recommends that you do not take kava”, presumably based on the reports of liver damage that led to the kava ban in Germany, which was overturned last year. It is thought that these reports refer to an impure form of kava which included parts of the plant other than the pure root, which is what is used in the best kava supplements.

Our recently-announced partnership with Douglas Pharmaceuticals ensures that your Taki Mai kava supplements all use medicinal-grade kava.

Some scaremongers may also refer to an incident a few years back when a New York man collapsed while biking to work, after drinking kava tea.  However, it was found that he was suffering from rabdomyolosis, a kidney condition.

Kava can produce a similar diuretic reaction to coffee or tea, which may cause dehydration and exacerbate kidney problems, so avoid it of you have liver or kidney problems and note that it’s usually better taken after exercise rather than before.

By Zane Yoshida

How Fijian Kava Farmers Benefit From Your Supplements

You probably take kava supplements for the relaxation and health benefits; but did you know that you are also aiding poor Fijian kava farmers in the process?

The kava used in Taki Mai kava supplements (shots, powder and capsules) is farmed from one island in Fiji called Ovalau – where South Pacific Elixirs founder Zane Yoshida grew up.

So the recent formation of the Ovalau Kava Farmers Association was a welcome sight for Zane, as a big step in protecting the livelihoods of the people that grow and harvest the all-important kava.

Taki Mai and Ovalau

When the Taki Mai kava nurseries and processing facility were set up on Ovalau it went beyond simply producing great quality kava. It was a way for Zane to do his part in bringing new opportunities to the island, and in particular the kava farmers.

For this reason the launch of Taki Mai in July 2014 attracted the attendance of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as chief guest and Acting Australian High Commissioner, Glenn Miles.

The Fijian prime minister had said then:

“This is indeed a happy occasion, not only for the people of Levuka and Ovalau, but also for the Government and people of Fiji…The growth of this enterprise also marks growth in employment and income earning opportunities for the people of this island, particularly in the cultivation of kava or yaqona, for which Ovalau is well-known.”

The Ovalau Kava Farmers Association

The association was set up in Levuka, the capital of Ovalau island. You can read more about the place in a previous blog post: The Fijian Roots of Taki Mai.

The stated objectives of the association are education, working together, and sustainability – principles that are central to the way that Zane and the team at South Pacific Elixirs operate.

Ovalau’s Lomaiviti province accounts for around 10 percent of Fiji’s estimated number of kava farmers. We have worked with them to bring higher quality kava that stays disease-free, with shortened growing cycles, and which can command premium market prices.

National kava exports from Fiji are valued at around USD 3 million (2012 figures) and this is expected to be boosted by initiatives like Taki Mai.  The Ovalau Kava Farmers Association is a way of putting the needs of the farmers first as kava exports grow.

By Zane Yoshida

Taki Mai Kava Shots: HACCP and GMP Certification

South Pacific Elixirs Ltd, the makers of Taki Mai kava shots and more recently, kava powder and kava capsules, is the first company processing kava to receive HACCP and GMP certification.

But what do these letters mean and what does this mean to you – someone who enjoys kava for its taste, its calming effects, or its other health benefits?

What is HACCP and GMP certification?

We mentioned in a blog post at the turn of the year how one of the main focuses of 2015 for South Pacific Elixirs was to become fully compliant with all the stringent regulations imposed upon imports of food, beverages, and supplements into the US market.

HACCP stands for “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points” and GMP refers to “Good Manufacturing Practices”.

This accreditation is for primary industry, food retail, food service, food manufacturers, packaging manufacturers, brokers, distributers and wholesaler organisations that need to demonstrate to suppliers and customers that they have implemented a stringent system of Food Safety Hazard controls.

In order to receive this certification the organisation must develop, document, implement and maintain a Food Safety Management System that meets specified international requirements.

We have met these requirements and this means that every shot of Taki Mai you drink, or every capsule you take, has been prepared in the right way.

Assistance from Australia

The certification was achieved with the generous assistance of the Market Development Facility (MDF), which is an Australian-funded initiative that has collaborated with South Pacific Elixirs since 2012, as part of its aim to support innovative business ideas for economic growth in Fiji.

The HACCP and GMP certification places us in a strong position for increasing our presence in other export markets in the future. So you can expect to see the four flavours of Taki Mai shots and the kava powder and capsules not just in the US, but in other markets in Asia and Europe soon. Stay tuned for more news…

By Zane Yoshida

Taki Mai Kava Powder & Kava Capsules Launched at the Fiji Tourism Expo

A few hundred years ago there was only one way that Pacific Islanders enjoyed kava – the relaxing beverage was lovingly prepared and drunk from a coconut shell loaded from the ceremonial “tanoa” bowl.

Since then, technology has thankfully blessed us with many creative ways of acquiring the health benefits of kava – without spending time to prepare it. In today’s hectic lifestyles, it’s not always possible to spend a few hours drinking kava with friends. But people still want the anti-stress and anti-anxiety effects.

That’s why we were proud to recently launch two new products in addition to our Taki Mai kava shots. You can now enjoy kava capsules or kava powder made from the highest quality grade of kava and manufactured to pharmaceutical standards.

For this latest venture, the makers of Taki Mai, South Pacific Elixirs (SPE) Pty Ltd, has partnered with New Zealand-based company Douglas Pharmaceuticals to deliver a new range of kava products registered for sale in Australia, but internationally recognised and destined to be exported to the US Asia, and Europe.

Zane Yoshida from South Pacific Elixirs said at the launch:

“It was a work in progress for the last 12 months for us. We launched in Fiji in November last year with our Taki Mai Kava shots – the flavoured Kava shots so this is a line extension for us but more so towards a pharmaceutical angle – the vertical integration – farm to shelf with the Taki Mai brand.”

The products were launched at the Fiji Tourism Expo 2015, which was held at the Denarau Island Convention Centre from June 16-18. This was a huge event for Fiji with over 150 international buyers present from around the world and the Fijian spirit of community and happiness in good supply. The Fiji Times reported that 2,697 cups of coffee were served over the three days! The daily newspaper didn’t report how many bowls of kava were consumed…

Taki Mai continues to strive to set the benchmark for the Kava industry in Fiji and the South Pacific, delivering the highest grade kava products that meet internationals standards. Manufacturing products to exacting standards is the best way to protect the kava industry, which is part of the lifeblood of the Pacific island community, and a way for Zane and his team to give back something to the islands where he grew up as a kid, drinking kava.

We have already come a long way from the initial idea of bringing kava to the world. Our small Taki Mai factory in Ovalau is set to get very busy. Exciting times ahead for kava growers in Fiji and kava lovers around the world…and the kava powder and kava capsules are the latest addition for you to check out.

By Zane Yoshida

Modern Lifestyles Need Help With Relaxation

If you’ve done even a little research on kava you’ll know that one of its famed benefits to human health is as relaxation supplements.

Pacific islanders have known it for many centuries; that’s why kava has been central to their culture, their religious and welcoming ceremonies for guests and nowadays to their social gatherings.

But why do we need to relax? What benefits does that bring us, physically and mentally? What are the consequences of over-stressing ourselves?

  Read more

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Kava Supplements for a Boost in Sports Performance
How Fijian Kava Farmers Benefit From Your Supplements
Taki Mai Kava Shots: HACCP and GMP Certification
Taki Mai Kava Powder & Kava Capsules Launched at the Fiji Tourism Expo
Modern Lifestyles Need Help With Relaxation