Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum also called Awa, Ava, Yagona, and Kava Pepper) plays an important role in the sociocultural life in the islands of the South Pacific. It has been used by Pacific Islanders for over 3,000 years! It is an ancient herbal that was the beverage of choice for the royal families of the South Pacific. The giving and receiving of the root is often involved in life passages such as weddings and funerals.
Kava Kava is an aphrodisiac herb, and a visionary herb. Kava Kava improves access to the subconscious and helps one to remember lucid dreams. (Pacific Islanders say the awareness invoked by Kava brings one into communion with the gods and ancestors) When celebrating the Great Rite, Kava can be part of the ritual cup or might be macerated in the oils which are used as lubricants. (The photo to the right is a Kava ceremony in Fiji)
Medicinal and Other Uses:
A member of the black pepper family, Kava Kava’s active properties stems from the kavalactones found in its roots. "The British Journal of Phytotherapy" states that Kava Kava is one of the few herbs that safely relaxes skeletal muscle. Scientists believe that Kava Kava serves as a mild non-narcotic central nervous system depressant by acting on the limbic (emotional center) system of the brain. Kava Kava is commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety as well as reduce insomnia and improve circulation. It is also used for bronchitis, chills, common cold, cough, cystitis, gonorrhea, gout, insomnia, migraine, myalgia, nervousness, prostatitis, rheumatism, stress, tuberculosis, urethritis, and urogenital infections. Kava has also been used to treat phobias, edginess when quitting smoking, sore muscles, PMS, and menopausal symptoms. It has a strong anti-fungal action. Kava Kava tends to reduce pain, especially of cystitis and peptic ulcers. In recent years there has been much interest from pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., Japan, and Europe to develop medicines from this valuable natural medicinal source. **WC** Kava Kava should not be used by pregnant or lactating women. **GT** If you wish to grow Kava make sure you use a well-draining soil because it develops root rot easily. It prefers high humidity and 80% sun. Sadly, Kava has been cultivated for such a long time by humans it no longer produces viable seed and must be propagated vegetatively by cuttings.
A Compendium of Herbal Magick by Paul Beyerl
A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve (Vol 1 & 2)
Magickal Herbalism by Scott Cunningham
Edible Wild Plants by Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman
Indian Herbalogy by Alma R. Hutchens
Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Coyote Medicine by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D.
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by "Wildman" Steve Brill
The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman
The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Magic and Medicine of Plants by Inge N. Dobelis
Information given on this site is not intended to be taken as a replacement for medical advice. Any person with a condition requiring medical attention should consult a medical doctor. This information is given as reference only.