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Your Quick Guide to Kava

November 11, 2015

Quick Guide to Kava Infographic Image

Noble Kava vs Tudei Kava Varieties

There are over 103 different varieties of kava, but they can all be divided into two easy categories: Noble and Tudei. These two varieties are worlds apart and it is recommended you buy and drink Noble Kava ONLY.

In Vanuatu, the purported birthplace of kava, islanders only consume pure Noble kava on a regular basis. They have gone so far as to ban the export of Tudei kava varieties due to the unpleasant side effects that are associated with them, namely nausea and lethargy. For general information on what kava is read this.

Heavy vs Heady Kava Effects

Kavalactones, (the active ingredients in each kava variety), determine the overall effect you will get from your kava powder. Each of the main six kavalactones are assigned a number (1-6) to make up what is known as that kava’s chemotype. The chemotype lists in order from highest to lowest the amount of each kavalactone present in a particular variety.

Based on their composition of kavalactones or chemotype, kavas are classed as either Heady, Heavy or Balanced.

Heady kavas are mood-boosting. They will make you feel more mentally relaxed, happier and talkative. They are great for socializing and daytime drinking. Kavain, the kavalactone #4 is responsible for the elevated mood kava provides. And Yangonin, #3, is thought to be responsible for stimulating effects. A kava chemotype that has these numbers at the start is likely to be a heady kava that will impart relaxation, but little drowsiness.

Heavy kavas will make your limbs and body feel heavy and relax your muscles and mind. Drink heavy kavas in the evening to unwind after work or a workout, or to get a better night’s sleep. Kavalactones #2 (DHK) and #5 (DHM) are responsible for kava’s sedating effect and are found at the front of heavy kava chemotypes.

Balanced kavas have both heady and heavy effects. You can drink them anytime.

Medium Grind Kava vs Instant vs Micronized vs Extracts

Kava is traditionally prepared using Medium Grind kava. It is made using a muslin straining bag and kneaded in water, (we recommend warm/hot, tap temperature water for the extraction of more kavalactones), for about five minutes. The overall consensus is traditionally prepared kava, using medium ground root, is where you’ll get your most bang for your buck.

Instant and Micronized kava products were developed for ease of use. Instant and Micronized are fine powdered forms of kava that are more concentrated and only need to be stirred into a nonalcoholic beverage, with no requirements for kneading, brewing or straining. They are great to use to create your own kava drink recipes that can be a substitute for alcoholic beverages for social relaxation.

Kava extract is used in kava drinks, pastes and tinctures. Extracts have a variety of uses and are sometimes flavored to help with the “natural” taste of kava. Our Kava Concentrates or cordials, made with extract, and come in three flavors; Guava, Kavarita (lemon/lime), and Iced Tea. Just dilute with water to create a flavorful, relaxation drink.

Kava Drinking Information, Tips and Tricks

  • The effects of Kava are best felt on an empty stomach. It is recommended to consume kava 2-4 hours after your last meal. Typically in Vanuatu, kava is consumed at the end of the workday before going home to dinner.
  • When you drink kava for the first time, your tongue and mouth will initially feel numb. This is a sign of a good kava.
  • Kava can act as an aphrodisiac, especially in women.
  • Kava meets many wellness needs.
  • There is a growing body of research into the benefits of drinking kava

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