The wide selection of kava varieties and kava products on the market vary in strength and potency. Here we discuss what makes for the strongest kava and give you a rundown of how to select between kava products and preparation methods to help you get the strongest kava and kava that meets your personal potency needs.
The increasing popularity of kava in the United States and Europe has led to a proliferation of kava products, of varying strength, being offered online. This makes it harder to know what the strongest kava is, and similarly, which products provide weaker concentrations of kavalactones, the active ingredients in kava root, than others. Below we discuss your different product options and explain how they are likely to differ in strength and effect and make recommendations for the strongest kava.
For the Strongest Kava - here's our recommendations
Go Traditional: Medium Grind Kava Root Powder
Using traditionally prepared medium grind kava root gives you maximum ability to adjust the strength of your kava to meet your needs.
Medium grind kava root has the most variability in strength. It can be anywhere from 4% kavalactone content up to 15%+ depending on where you purchase your kava from and the strength will also vary depending on how it’s prepared.Medium grind kavas can provide some of the strongest kava. These are the two most important factors:
Quality of Supply - Many kava vendors sell root from large distributors in the South Pacific who buy the cheapest kava available and warehouse it for many months or years. The potency of this kava can start out very weak and degrade over time, leaving you with less than stellar results. Unfortunately, many people who purchase these kava powders are not likely to experience the benefits of kava as the resulting drink is simply too weak to have any effect. Make sure you are purchasing kava powder from a reputable company with fresh, tested Noble kava if you want to get the strongest kava.
Preparation - Because it needs to be prepared correctly to get the maximum amount of kavalactones, people who are new to kava may not be getting the most out of their purchase. We have a guide to kava preparation, but in short: use hot, but not boiling, water and plenty of kneading to make sure you squeeze all the active ingredients out. You can use a blender or you can knead the powder by hand, but make sure to strain the fibrous pieces out before drinking if you want the strongest kava.
What do you have left? A kava drink perfect for any occasion.
The dosage is completely up to you. What might be the strongest kava for one person, may not be the strongest kava for another. You decide how much or how little you want to prepare. Out of any form, this is the one you’ll have the most control with. The only downside with a traditionally prepared medium grind kava drink is that the taste can be difficult to swallow (literally), especially if it’s your first time trying kava kava.
However, over time you will adjust…and come to love it!
Kava Potency: Adjustable (For a strong kava from our shop try the Fijian Loa Waka)
Micronized Instant Kava: For the Person On the Go or Sensitive Taste
Micronized instant kava powders are a great alternative to mixing up a batch of kava traditionally (by hand). They are 100% natural kava powder made into instant form. All you have to do is measure out the desired serving size and stir into any beverage (we recommend juice). Easy! It takes all the guess-work out of preparation and you don’t have to worry whether you are preparing it correctly. A drink made will Micronized Instant Kava will also taste much better depending on what you mix it into. BUT, micronized kava powders still vary quite a bit in potency; again due to supply or how the product was made.
Quality of Supply & Preparation - If you’re looking to buy the cheapest kava available, you’re probably going to get the weakest kava as well. This is because there are over 100 different varieties of kava, and bargain suppliers often use the cheapest (i.e. weakest) available. Also, there are two main differences in how micronized kava is manufactured:
- Whole Root Composition – This is where the entire root is ground up into super fine powder, referred to as micronized or instant. The problem with this method is the products are typically much weaker, because they include the fibrous materials resulting in lower kavalactones. This may also increase the chance for nausea due to the coarse fibers, known as makas.
- Coarse Fibers or Makas Removed – Apart from us at Kalm with Kava, there are only one or two more companies who remove the coarse fibers from their micronized kava products. This creates a stronger product with less chance for nausea.
Kava Potency: Strong
Gram for gram, when compared to medium grind kava powder prepared traditionally, micronized is about 3X stronger.
Kava Capsules, Tinctures, and Pastes
If you’re not a fan of the taste, kava capsules and tinctures are a way to get the relaxation you want without upsetting your taste buds. These products are meant to be swallowed and still absorb into the body naturally, but you have to do your research. Many pills and tinctures could have a very low kavalactone dosage, meaning you will not achieve the effect you’re probably looking for. Out of all kava kava available, capsules and tinctures are two of the least potent forms.
Also kavalactones need the help of our saliva to provide maximum benefits. Obviously, when we just toss a capsule back and swallow, those additional benefits may be lost.
With that said, capsules are a perfectly acceptable way to relax without having to taste the kava.
Kava pastes that have been CO² extracted are also an option. These pastes have very high concentrations of kavalactones, 60-85%, and need to be used cautiously. Often times, one serving is the size of a pea or smaller. Another important factor to consider with kava paste is the source. CO² kava extracts may come from manufacturers who do not test their kava for nobility. If you decide to go this route, always ask the vendor about the kava they used to make the extract.
Kava Potency: Mild - Strong
Kava Tea, Concentrates, or Drinks
Pre-made kava is exactly what it sounds like — pre-made for you. You don’t have to do anything but twist open the cap and drink. These pre-made varieties have a certain amount of kava infused. The flavor is usually adjusted to be more tropical or attractive compared to the authentic taste of kava, which is much earthier.
Keep in mind that pre-made kava drinks are not necessarily the most potent option because you have no control of the dosage amount. Additionally, the kavalactones (the goodies that fight against stress and worry) can be killed when they reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit meaning kava tea may lose its potency if prepared with boiling water.
Kava Potency: Mild to Moderate.
So which is the strongest form of kava?
Our Suggestion: Micronized Kava Powder
Micronized instant kava is perfect for on the go when you don’t have the time up to prepare a batch the traditional way. Additionally, it is quite a bit stronger than traditionally prepared kava root. There are many varieties to choose from depending on your needs and serving size can be adjusted quite easily.
Runner up: Traditional Kava Powder
There are dozens of different kinds of kava powder to choose from (originating from different parts of the Pacific) and you’re in complete control of the relaxation buzz. You may have to get the hang of preparing it correctly but ultimately you can tailor it to exactly what you’re looking for. You create your kava to water ratio and can adjust the dosage to whatever your body needs. Some days may be more hectic than others, so a stronger dose is necessary to relax. Or maybe you just want a strong calming drink to end the night. On the other hand, if you just want to feel less nervous at an outing or event, you may only need a tiny amount to pull it off. When using medium grind kava root powder to make a batch of kava, it is completely up to you how you prepare and mix your drink for potency.
All in all traditional and micronized kava powders, in their natural forms, have the potential for great potency and amazing results.