• Kalm down every day! FREE DELIVERY for US orders over $130, and $8 FLAT RATE shipping in the US for orders over $60! Every day, all day.
  • FREE DELIVERY for US orders over $130, and $8 FLAT RATE shipping in the US for orders over $60!

Kava FAQs

Welcome to Kalm University, your go-to stop for kava questions!

What is Kava?

Kava—commonly known as kava kava—is a shrub that belongs to the pepper family. Originating in the South Pacific Islands, kava is famously known for its ability to help promote physiological relaxation. When kava root is harvested, dried, ground down into a powder, and consumed, the plant’s active ingredients, kavalactones, help your mind and body relax.

Kava has been a popular drink throughout Polynesia and Melanesia for centuries. It has gained popularity in the US in recent years as an all-natural way to ease stress and wind down at the end of the day. In the South Pacific, drinking kava is an integral part of their culture, from religious and traditional ceremonies to important village social occasions. Historically, kava was also prepared and drank for medicinal purposes.

Kava plant in a green house

What Does Kava Do?

Kava is well known for its amazing ability to promote mind and body relaxation. In fact, the Latin name for the kava plant, Piper Methysticum, translates as “intoxicating pepper.” The active ingredients in kava, known as kavalactones, are the secret to kava’s relaxing abilities. When consumed, the kavalactones in kava interact with the limbic system of the brain, notably the amygdala. The amygdala helps regulate emotions, so this interaction between kavalactones and the amygdala can produce the sensation of metnal and physical relaxation.

How Do You Prepare Kava?

There are many ways to prepare kava, as it depends on the type of product you choose. For medium grind kava, there are two different types of preparation: the traditional way and the easy way.

In the traditional way, you prepare a drink of kava like you might brew tea. Start by adding the medium grind kava root powder to a straining bag, such as a muslin cloth. It doesn’t matter what kind of straining bag you use, as everything from cheesecloths to pantyhose can be used as straining bags. Then, steep the bag in warm water to begin a kava tea brew.

After the kava root has steeped, you then kneed the straining bag in the water to release the kavalactones from the kava root. Kavalactones are what makes a drink of kava work! The kneading and releasing of the active ingredients turns the water a muddy brown color.

Continue kneading until the tea is brewed, the surface of the water is slightly shining, and all that is left in the straining bag are the coarse fibers of the kava root. Discard these fibers or set them aside for a subsequent rinsing and kneading (second wash( to create a weaker second brew. All that’s left is to chill your kava, consume it, and enjoy the relaxing effects. Kava doesn’t look or taste good, but it feels amazing!

The easy way is just that—easy! Simply add your medium grind kava and hot water into a blender. Blend on high for 4 minutes, empty and strain through a cloth strainer, then chill before drinking.

For more information on how to prepare kava and different kava products, click the button below!

How Does Kava Make You Feel?

When you drink high-quality Noble kava (like Kalm with Kava’s), the first thing you feel is your lips and mouth going slightly numb. Don’t worry—this is normal! One of the active ingredients in kava has analgesic effects, meaning it helps relieve or reduce the sensation of pain. The numbing sensation is a sign you are drinking a good, potent kava.

After you drink kava, you are likely to feel calm and content with a greater sense of well-being, happiness, and, in some cases, even euphoria. Sensations of fear, worry, and stress often diminish, and troublesome thoughts racing through your mind tend to slow down. Your muscles may relax, and, if you are drinking a heavy kava variety, your body may feel heavy and sleepy.

How kava makes you feel will also depend greatly on the variety, quality, and type of kava you drink. High-quality, fresh kava is more potent, meaning more potent relaxation effects. We always recommend drinking Noble kava over Tudei kava, as Noble kava is known to produce good, enjoyable relaxation effects. Tudei kava, on the other hand, can make people feel sick to their stomach and ill. We only sell Noble kava at Kalm with kava.

The effects of drinking kava root beverages are also determined by the variety of kava and its unique mix of kavalactones. The mix of kavalactones is identified by a chemotype which is assigned to each kava variety. There are estimated to be over 100 different varieties of kava, each with its own, unique relaxation effects.

Is Kava like Alcohol?

Opting for kava instead of your nightly glass of wine can be an excellent natural substitute for people contemplating the influence of alcohol on their lives. Although both kava and alcohol provide a pleasurable sense of euphoria and social ease, kava is very different from alcohol. After drinking kava, you don’t have to worry about getting a hangover or getting addicted. Because of its reverse tolerance effect, kava is considered non-addictive when consumed responsibly.

Making kava with the traditional method of a strainer

How Long Does Kava Take to Kick in?

You’ll generally feel kava start to kick in 5-15 minutes after drinking a shell (or bilo) of a kava root beverage. The first sensation you’ll feel is a numbing of the lips, tongue, and mouth. You can then expect to start feeling its signature mental and physical relaxation soon after that. It is recommended that you drink kava on an empty stomach to ensure you feel its effects. If you drink kava on a full stomach, the effects may not kick in.

There are other reasons the effects of kava may not kick in when you first start to drink it. Kava works with your body to produce its effects and, sometimes, that means your body will take time to adjust kava’s kavalactones before it responds. In this instance, you may not feel the effects of kava until you’ve been drinking kava for a few days, or even weeks, consecutively. This is known as reverse tolerance.

How Long Do the Effects of Kava Last?

How long the effects of a kava beverage last depends on the variety of kava root. A good, heady kava variety should uplift your mood and make you feel happier within 30 minutes. The euphoric and uplifting effects of a good quality kava may last for anywhere between 1-3 hours, while the stress-relieving and relaxing effects may linger even longer. Heavier varieties of kava have more prolonged effects. After a few hours, you may start to feel sleepy as your muscles relax and your body may feel heavy.

How long the effects of kava last will also depend on how many kava drinks you have. You can have more than one serving size in a kava drinking session. So, depending on how many servings you have, you may experience the relaxation effects for longer than usual. Read our tips for getting the best effects from your kava drinking experience below!

Is Kava Root Legal in the US?

Yes, kava is legal in the US and in most countries around the world. In the United States, kava is classified as an herbal supplement. For centuries, islanders across the South Pacific—from Tonga to Hawaii—have consumed kava for religious, ceremonial, social, and medicinal purposes.

Kava Root

Is Kava Root Safe?

Kava, if consumed correctly, is very safe. The World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius concluded that kava has had at least a 1500-year history of relatively safe use and that kava as a traditional beverage is safe for human consumption.

Kava consumption is self-limiting. If you drink too much kava, you will start to feel nauseous. It’s kava’s way of telling you that you’ve had enough kava for the night. Excessive daily consumption of kava over a long period of time can lead to minor dry or itchy skin, known as kava dermopathy. This is a completely reversible instance, and the simple solution is to take a break from drinking kava for a while. Also, unlike nicotine, kratom, and alcohol, kava is naturally nonaddictive.

People used to think drinking kava was bad for the liver and health based on research from over 15 years ago in Switzerland and Germany. This led to kava being banned in those countries. However, later studies showed that the liver issues were not from kava itself but from participants using harmful substances or the wrong parts of the kava plant. Germany lifted the ban in 2015, and other countries followed. According to the National Library of Medicine, the chance of kava causing liver issues is very low, less than 1 in a million doses. So, drinking kava is generally considered safe. As with any herbal or pharmaceutical substance, there is always the possibility of an adverse reaction and the risk of a person being allergic to the product. But this is extremely rare. However, anyone with pre-existing liver problems is advised not to drink kava.

Have More Kava Questions? We’ve Got Answers!

Any other questions? Email us at info@kalmwithkava.com for more kava root information. Curious to discover more? Refer to these other online resources and forums to learn more about kava root, its benefits and the best ways to drink kava.

Note: These statements about kava effects have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information and our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before starting a dietary supplement, it’s always wise to check with a medical doctor to find out which is the best kava variety for you. It is especially important for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, chronically ill, elderly, under 18, or taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

None of the information is intended to be an enticement to purchase and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Herbal products contain phytochemicals that are not ordinarily found in typical food sources and may produce physiological effects. Indiscriminate use of any herbal product is not recommended except under the direction of trained health care professionals. In addition, there may be drug interactions that may produce reactions or interfere with the efficacy of prescription medication.

Relax Your Mind & Body Naturally

Now that you’ve graduated from Kalm University, why not try some for yourself?