How does Kava work?

Kava affects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. The kava-lactones in kava are believed to be responsible for its effects.

Are there safety concerns?

Kava may be unsafe; avoid using it. Serious illness, including liver damage, has occurred even with short-term use of normal doses.

Early symptoms of liver damage include yellowed eyes and skin (jaundice), fatigue, and dark urine.

Do not take kava if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have been told by your healthcare professional that you are depressed.
  • You have a liver disease such as hepatitis.
  • You have Parkinson's disease.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Kava might cause excessive sedation if combined with medications used during and after surgery.
Using kava can make you unable to drive or operate machinery safely. Do not take kava before you plan on driving. "Driving-under-the-influence" citations have been issued to people driving erratically after drinking large amounts of kava tea.

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