We at Kalm with Kava strive to provide only Noble and well tested varieties of Kava. There is much debate on the issue and until further research can be established it somewhat comes down to personal preference. With that said, this is our stance.
Historically native Pacific Islanders cultivated Tudei kava varieties sparsely. They traditionally used them for medicinal purposes or special ceremonial drinking only and never for everyday consumption. Once demand rapidly grew for this cash crop some farmers began being planting these varieties more widely for various reasons including quicker growth, higher yields, and higher potency of kavalactones. These cultivars were rarely consumed due to the nausea and lethargy they presented from the very high proportions of the kavalactone DHM (5). These effects were known to last for up to two days hence the name “Tudei”.
Further research is suggesting that lethargy and nausea may not be the only harm of Tudei cultivars though. FKB or Flavokawain B is a chalcone from kava root which has been proven to be toxic to some liver cells. Under normal preparation and consumption of Noble Kava root the amount of FKB is negligible or non-existent. The problem lies in the fact that Tudei cultivars can contain 20X the amount of FKB and if extracted improperly, a product may contain even higher amounts. To complicate things further though studies have recently been done on FKB finding that it may have significant benefits in certain clinical applications.
One of the main issues with all of this is once Kava is dried and ground, Noble and Tudei varieties are indistinguishable from one another. The only way to tell definitively is through HPLC analysis of chemotype, HPLC analysis of FK/KL (Flavokawains / Total Kavalactone content) or possibly Acetonic color testing.
An easy method of doing the Acetone test in your own home can be found HERE. As far as determining by chemotype, Kava is considered to be a Tudei variety if it begins 25 (DHK and DHM) or possibly if it has a higher percentage the kavalactone of DHM than Kavain. More on chemotypes can be found HERE.
Until further research can be done we at Kalm with Kava have opted to only offer Noble varieties of Kava. The core reason being Tudei’s questioned safety but if not for that, for the possible two-day hangover feelings you may get from a non-noble variety. We have all of our Kava HPLC tested both for chemotype and DHM/K ratios and often acetone as well.The Republic of Vanuatu has considered this issue so important they have officially banned the exportation of Tudei Kava. Unfortunately it is still rampantly exported to unsuspecting or uninterested vendors and mixed with Noble varieties. That is why we consider it very important Kava is purchased from a reputable vendor who routinely tests their imported Kava root.
Please visit True Kava, a group of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated providing accurate information about kava including more information on Tudei vs Noble Kava. They also provide further facts on kava’s uses, striving to keep kava safe and available so that all may continue to enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.
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. It is especially important for people who are: pregnant or breast feeding, chronically ill, elderly, under 18, 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 a physiologic effects. Indiscriminant use of any herbal product is not recommended except under the direction of a trained health care professional. In addition, there may be drug interactions that may produce reactions or interfere with the efficacy of prescription medication.