Kava Kava

Kava Kava

by Monique Meadows

Release. Surrender. Relaxation. The central intoxicating ingredient in Kava Kava or Kava Root is Kavalactone. Kavalactone is a compound primarily found in the root of this relative of the pepper plant. The compound is understood to have effects on chemicals that transmit signals from nerve cells to other neurotransmitters in blood such as GABA, dopamine, and norepinephrine. As an example, the interaction of Kavalactone with the neurotransmitter GABA is known to birth the sleep-inducing and anti-anxiety sensations associated with Kava Kava consumption. Kava Kava is also known for its neuroprotective effects, which has been observed (in a small amount of studies) to be beneficial for degenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s) and nervous system conditions.
It is clear that Kava Kava is a supreme homeopathic solution and alternative to prescription drugs for individuals with anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and/or stress. Although Kava Kava is generally a safe and gentle herb, it is important to note that idiosyncratic and rare instances have occurred where Kava Kava has been linked to liver damage. Therefore, it is important to always consult your local herbalist when seeking to use Kava habitually.

Kava Root: Magic in the Ritual

By Monique Meadows

Kava Root is a sacred, unifying herb of the South Pacific Islands. Particularly in Fiji, Kava Root is an integral thread of daily life and the cloak of culture. Typically multiple times a day, tribes o
f the heart (friends, family, new friends) will sit together to embrace one another and add a sense of pause to the day.
The root (in powder form) is strained with water into a large communal bowl. The bowl serves as the centerpiece of a circle of individuals sitting upon the Earth as they drink the earthy and slightly peppery Kava drink out of coconut shells. It is custom to drink the entire shell in one sitting rather than taking slow sips.
Within a few moments, the effects will begin to arise. At first a mildly numb tongue, t
hen a gently numb face, and then unalloyed relief. The sensation is similar to the state of sunbathing on a beach that is just the perfect temperature with a gentle breeze kissing your body as the ocean tides lap up to the sand in a balanced rhythm. Melting into the bliss. The mind is a blank canvas and the body feels completely free of tension. Entirely present and fully grounded, Kava brings you down to Earth. Although a relaxant and reliever, Kava does not rob an individual of full control over mind and body.
While Kava is a magic choice for anxiety relief, pain relief, tension relief, mental chatter relief, and more it is not something to over-indulge in. The Fijians acknowledge this and rather, prepare and consume Kava in a ritualistic and ceremonial fashion. There is an unspoken idea that the Kava would not have similar effects if prepared and enjoyed alone, which is something that is never done in Fiji. Rather, it is about gathering together and letting go of the worries. It is no wonder that the Fijian people operate on “Fijian Time” where 10:00am means 3:00pm and emanate with a kindness that is unparalleled. There is a local saying “Senga na lenga” which literally means no worries and that is exactly what bubbles up to the surface when Kava is ritualistically enjoyed.
Ritual. What about the practice holds such sanctity? What is the distinction between routine and ritual? Perhaps the sanctity of ritual lies within full, intentional engagement and life perceived as celebration. You are invited to relish in the healing gifts of Kava and share the experience with your loved ones. Herbs and ritual go hand-in-hand; two things that certainly lessen the worries of life.

 

 

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