There are some BIG safety concerns about kava. Many cases of liver damage and even some deaths have been traced to kava use. As a result, kava has been banned from the market in Switzerland, Germany, and Canada, and several other countries are considering similar action. This ban has hurt the economies of Pacific Island countries that export kava.
Kava is used to calm anxiety, stress, and restlessness, and treat sleep problems (insomnia). It is also used for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, psychosis, depression, migraines and other headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), common cold and other respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, muscle pain, and cancer prevention.
Some people use kava for urinary tract infections (UTIs), pain and swelling of the uterus, venereal disease, menstrual discomfort, and to arouse sexual desire.
Kava is applied to the skin for skin diseases including leprosy, to promote wound healing, and as a painkiller. It is also used as a mouthwash for canker sores and toothaches.
Kava was named by the explorer Captain Cook, who chose a name that meant "intoxicating pepper." While Captain Cook may have named kava, he didn't discover it. Kava has been used for thousands of years by Pacific Islanders. Today in the South Pacific, kava is a popular social drink, similar to alcohol in Western societies. It also still has a role in rituals and ceremonies.
anxiety. Up to 2 months of treatment with kava may be needed before you notice an improvement in anxiety.
There isn't enough information to know if kava is effective for other conditions that people use it for, including: stress, insomnia, restlessness, epilepsy, psychosis, depression, headaches, colds, respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, rheumatism, chronic bladder infections, sexually transmitted diseases, menstrual problems, and others.
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Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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