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!