Kava is the name given by Pacific islanders to both Piper methysticum, a shrub belonging to the pepper family Piperaceae, and also the beverage made from it.
Piper methysticum can be found growing in abundance primarily in western Polynesia, especially in Samoa and Tonga, and most of Melanesia, including Fiji. It can also be found in Pohnpei Island, in Micronesia.
Kava can be purchased at health food stores as a standardized extract and as a convenient method of anxiety relief as it is quick acting and extremely potent.
Some vendors have packaged high-powered Kava mixtures in convenient mini spray bottles. These are handy to keep in a knapsack or purse and are highly effective for providing a quick burst of relaxation. Just one or two quick sprays under the tongue can do wonders for tension and jitters.
If you plan on purchasing raw root, it is a good idea to purchase whole, top grade lateral root.
According to Michael Tierra L.Ac., O.M.D., Founder of the American Herbalists Guild — “Because of its relative safety, the effective daily dose of kava is wide ranging from 70 mg to 200 mg of kavalactones, which are recognized as the major biochemical anti-anxiety constituents. To promote a deep restful sleep one should take a dose of from 150 mg to 200 mg. approximately 20 or 30 minutes before retiring.”