We get many questions about kava dosage. Understandably, if you are new to drinking kava you want to know how much kava is the right amount to take.
The truth is, there is not an exact answer to this question. You need to take into consideration many factors when deciding a kava dosage, or serving size, (the term we prefer). We discuss these factors below to give you a better way to understand how much kava to take and how much kava is too much.
Firstly, the quality of the kava you are drinking and how long ago it was harvested are factors that affect potency and dosage. For example, a small dosage of a high quality kava will provide better relaxation effects than the same dose of a poor quality kava. You certainly don’t want to drink a kava that has been sitting in a warehouse for months, degrading in strength and with the potential for mold or contamination.
So, first and foremost, learn about the quality of the kava you are drinking. Always buy kava from a reputable online vendor. One who has direct connections to the source of kava root they are selling and who consistently tests for quality.
Different varieties and products
Secondly, consider the type, strain or variety of kava as you think about how much kava to drink.
There are two main types Noble and Tudei. The latter is pronounced Two-day and gets its’ name from the fact it can have negative side effects like nausea and lethargy that can last up to two days. We recommend drinking Noble kava varieties only. That’s all we sell in our online store.
On top of that, each variety, e.g. Vanuatu Borogu, Tongan Pouni Ono etc., has different effects. Some are stronger than others. For example Pouni Ono is a very uplifting daytime kava which does not produce strong sedation. On the other hand Borongoru is a very “heavy” evening type kava that produces strong relaxation effects and not the same uplifting effects “heady” kavas provide.
Different types of kava product also vary in strength and potency. The strongest kava product is fresh, green kava. This is the juice of freshly harvested kava root diluted with water. Up until recently, you’d only find this kava in a kava bar in Vanuatu or Hawaii.
Now with some very exciting innovation, we are able to offer bottled fresh kava, Pacific Roots Kava.
Next, in terms of potency would be a traditional kava brew made with medium grind kava root powder, using a strainer bag. After that, the next strongest, would be micronized or instant kavas. This is finely ground kava root that doesn’t require brewing or straining, followed by a kava extract-based beverage, such as our concentrates. Kava tea bags, such as Yogi Kava Tea, are a weaker potency product format. So are many kava capsules. Product type influences kava dosage.
Kava dosage: servings and sessions
Now let’s focus on serving sizes. A good rule of thumb is to adhere to the recommended serving size for the kava product you purchase. Pay attention to the instructions on how to prepare and use use the kava you buy.
Generally speaking, 3 Tablespoons of traditional, medium grind kava root powder, brewed using 8-12 ounces of water makes a single serving of kava. That’s one drink for one person. If you are brewing a batch of kava for multiple servings, or more than one person, then adjust the amount of kava powder and water accordingly.
For our Micronized Instant kava, that is finely ground kava powder that doesn’t require brewing or straining, then the serving size is to mix just 1 Tablespoon of kava into 8-12 fluid ounces of a nonalcoholic beverage of your choice. To make a flavorful kava drink using our concentrates, dilute 1oz of concentrate with just 5 oz. of water.
For our Pacific Roots Kava, (that is green kava made by squeezing the juice from fresh kava root and diluting it with water), the recommended serving size is half a bottle. Keep in mind though that this kava product packs a punch. Think of it as equivalent to two servings of the traditional kava drink prepared using dried, medium grind kava root powder referenced above. Dose or serve yourself accordingly.
Enjoy multiple servings to relax
The majority of people drink kava during the evening to unwind and relax. They will drink and enjoy more than one serving in an evening. Just like when you head out to the pub or bar with friends, you have more than one glass of wine or pint of beer while socializing. That’s how it is with a kava drinking session. However, with kava there is even more reason to pace yourself when drinking.
The effects of drinking an initial serving of kava may take 15 -30 minutes to kick-in. So wait till you experience the effects before enjoying another serving or two. How many servings to drink will depend on how long you are socializing – the length of your kava session, and the effects you are feeling.
Personal preference dictates how much to take
Again, much like with alcohol, your individual reaction to kava and your tolerance level will also influence the dosage and number of servings you drink in any given session.
The best way to get a specific answer to the question of kava dosage or how much kava to take is to experiment with varieties, serving sizes and products, mixing up a brew of different strengths, trying more than one serving in a kava drinking session etc.
Eventually, you’ll work out how much is right for you. Take time to discover your own personal kava drinking preferences – what kava gives you the effects you are looking for. Ultimately, personal preference dictates how much kava to take.
Check out these tips on how to have the best experience.
Reverse tolerance is real
When it comes to kava dosage, know there is such a thing as reverse tolerance. Reverse tolerance is where you don’t feel the effects of kava initially, but only after drinking it a few times. Sometimes over the course of a few days or even weeks drinking kava, the effects finally kick-in. Your body takes time to adapt and respond to the kava and once it does, only then do you feel its’ effects.
How much kava is too much?
The good thing about kava is that it has a way of letting you know if you have drunk enough in a session. Often times after multiple servings you’ll start to feel tired and ready for bed. Sometimes after a number of servings people can feel a little nauseous. That is kava’s way of telling you, you’ve had enough for the night.
People who really over do the amount of kava they are drinking, who drink too much kava over a sustained, long period of time can develop what is called kava dermopathy where their skin becomes dry and scaly. Don’t worry, you have to be drinking large amounts over a prolonged period for that to happen, and it’s not permanent. The skin problem goes away quickly once the person stops drinking kava for a while.
Lastly, questions about kava dosage, and how much kava to take, are often also asking ‘is kava safe?’ There has been a lot of misinformation about kava safety and side effects shared in the past.
Today, thanks to scientific research, we have a much better picture of the safety and beneficial effects of kava. Kava got a reputation as being unsafe and bad for the liver many years ago when a study was published linking kava drinking to liver toxicity. That study resulted in kava being banned in many European countries. The findings of that study have since been refuted. The toxicity issues were found to be linked to participants in the study consuming the leaves and not the root of the kava plant, (kava plant leaves are toxic, while the root is not). And to them drinking other products known to cause liver damage at the same time, or them having liver problems prior to the study.
If you have a history of liver problems, drinking kava is not advised. Similarly, do not combine drinking kava and alcohol. Don’t drink kava if you are taking any anti-anxiety prescription medications or natural remedies. This can lead to negative side effects. And always consult with your doctor before introducing any herbal or dietary supplement to your daily regime.
Overall, with regard to how safe it is to drink kava, you can read what the World Health Organization concluded here.
The bottom line is that the incidents of any health problems associated with kava have been very, very few in comparison to its widespread consumption. Kavas’ track record is much safer than that of most drugs and even alcohol. Thousands of people worldwide have been enjoying the effects of kava and its’ natural mind and body relaxation properties for centuries. And if you carefully research and choose the right kava vendor and products, follow preparation instructions and experiment with products, varieties, serving size and number of servings you should enjoy it too.
There’s a lot to it – but hope this answers your question about kava dosage. We hope you come to love drinking kava for social relaxation, and wellness needs as much as we do.