The Kava Effect

Before people try Kava for the first time, most are curious about the effects of kava. These range from concern about possible negative effects of kava (or even long-term effects that the drinker should be aware of) to curiosity about what exactly they are going to feel when they first try kava.

Here are some common Kava effects:

When trying Kava for the first time, the first thing you’ll notice is that it tastes earthy. Most will describe this as an “earthy” flavor. It’s not a strong flavor, but the potency is enough that most people don’t particularly enjoy the flavor. Many, however, claim that they don’t care about taste either. This is the first of the kava effects to be aware of: it tastes strange and cleanses your palette of flavors (in the same way that wine or coffee do).

After continuing to drink Kava, be aware of the second of Kava’s effects: minor numbness of the lips and tongue. This is not enough to “block any sensation” on the lips and tongue, but it does mute sensation in these areas. The numbness is brief and goes away quickly.

The third of the effects is physical relaxation. The drinker’s body will gradually relax as she continues to drink, releasing muscle tension throughout the body. This is one of the main effects to look for when drinking Kava.

As you begin to have this kava effect, you may experience a “lag effect” in your vision, which means that when you quickly look at a different object (for example, you look at the person to your left, then quickly look at the person to your right) it may seem like your vision “takes a second” to catch up. Not all people who drink Kava have this effect.

The fourth of the effects of kava is mental relaxation. As the drinker’s body relaxes, so does the mind. This mental relaxation releases stress and worry and effectively counteracts most forms of anxiety. In some countries, this important aspect of kava’s effects is considered medicinally proven, and kava is prescribed for anti-anxiety purposes.

The fifth of the effects of kava is drowsiness. It is not recommended that you drive under the influence of kava, as it is the equivalent of driving without sleep. Most kava drinkers enjoy drowsiness as one of the effects of kava, as the sleep that follows is very restful. In some countries, kava is medicinally proven as a solution for insomnia. In most countries, it is one of the leading homeopathic remedies for insomnia.

The sixth of the effects is euphoria. This isn’t something first-time drinkers are likely to experience, but after repeated use, the buildup of “kavalactones” (the active ingredient that causes these various effects of kava) can cause a general euphoria while drinking.

The seventh of kava’s effects is detoxification. Kava is a detoxifier and can help cleanse the body of harmful substances. I’m not saying this is an antidote to the poison, but it can help flush out some of the other harmful stuff you’re taking into your body!

The eighth of the effects is lasting relaxation. Some kava drinkers report that their relaxation, resistance to anxiety, and overall level of peace is significantly better after drinking kava. Different users report different durations for these effects, from a few hours after drinking, to a few days (or in rare cases, weeks).

Some people are wary of kava due to rumors of kava’s negative effects. Here’s the simple, blunt reality: If the people preparing the kava or kava powder don’t know what they’re doing, you need to worry! If the preparer uses the stems and leaves of the kava plant, rather than just using the kava root, then there is a toxic effect that can severely damage your liver (especially with prolonged use)!

The moral of the story is that the effects of kava are wonderful, but you have to make sure you trust your kava source.