Kave for Anxiety and Insomnia

Kave for Anxiety and Insomnia

Bev Dunne

I’m sure most have heard of Kava, the root which has traditionally been used for thousands of years in many Pacific Islands as a ceremonial and social drink.  Some of us when visiting a Pacific island have had the privilege (or otherwise!!) of drinking Kava.  Many however may not be aware that Kava is available for sale in our store. No, we are not conducting Kava drinking ceremonies at Go Vita, however Kava has for some time been available in a therapeutic dosage in a tablet.

Kava has over time become known for its therapeutic benefits, particularly in relation to reducing stress and anxiety plus assisting with insomnia. It has been well known for producing a feeling of relaxation, wellbeing and contentment which is why for quite some time, Kava has piqued the interest of researchers.  It has been found Kava influences neurotransmitters in the brain, in particular those affecting mood and sleep.

These calming qualities have instigated a number of studies exploring the effects of Kava extract. An initial study published in 1997 (1) found compared to placebo there was a substantial reduction in the severity of the participants’ anxiety. Following on from this study, other studies found Kava to be beneficial for treatment of anxiety.  A review undertaken by the Cochrane Collaboration of 11 of these studies also found Kava extract to be helpful in treating anxiety. (2)

It is believed Kava may enable a feeling of physical and mental relaxation as well as improve mood and cognitive performance. 

It is also thought Kava may sometimes assist in the management and symptomatic relief of mood swings helping to maintain healthy moods. Interestingly, it may also assist in treatment of anxiety and emotional symptoms related to menopause as well as Premenstrual Syndrome.

As we know insomnia seems to go hand in hand with stress and anxiety, and Kava has often been found to help with sleeplessness. It is also believed Kava may enhance the quality of the sleep plus also reduce the amount of time it takes to get to sleep.

It can be helpful as a muscle relaxant. We know tense muscles once again often go hand in hand with stress and anxiety.  Kava can be used to treat both nervous and muscular tension. 

The Kava tablet is a 100% water extracted kava root, reflecting the traditional preparation of Kava.  Kava should not be taken long term (up to 24 weeks). 

For further information on Kava or any other health question call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, Your Health Shop in 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 4472973. Tune in to Bev on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.30pm for Go Get Healthy.

(1)Pharmacopsychiatry 1997; 30(1):1-5 hp Volz, MKeiser 

(2) Kava extract for treating anxiety (Cochrane Database Syst. Rev 2002)