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Kava is an herb from the Pacific Islands that can reduce anxiety, elevate mood, promote sleep. In native countries, it is traditionally used in social situations, serving a similar role to alcohol.
Kava is a strong anxiolytic; it is comparable to benzodiazepines at reducing anxiety . It also has antidepressive effects , reduces stress , and improves sleep . Additionally, kava is able to enhance cognition , increase cheerfulness , and confer neuroprotection .
Kava has a few different mechanisms, the first of which is robustly enhancing GABAA signaling , which explains its strong anxiolytic properties. It also raises levels extracellular dopamine in the nucleus accumbens by 120-150% for eight hours after dosing .
There has been some concern over potential toxicity and side effects with that come with heavy, chronic kava use. However, these claims have largely been dismissed, and there is overall a low risk factor when it is used moderately .
Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concluded kava is at an “acceptably low level of health risk”. They did determine that chronic high doses can cause skin rashes, loss of appetite, and GI problems, but these effects cease upon cessation .
Overall, kava is a safer alternative to alcohol, and may be used for similarly social purposes. It is overall a very effective way of reducing anxiety and seems to be a pro-social drug. However, chronic heavy usage of Kava does appear harmful, so it is best to use it sparingly and at moderate doses.
Kava Dosage Information
When supplementing, it is advised to use the WS1490 extract in doses of 100mg up to three times daily are recommended for its primary benefits.