Because of the many potential side effects of kava, many people who are into natural healing opt for an alternative. The history of the kava root traces back to ancient cultures who used this powerful herb for various medicinal purposes.
Kava, or piper methysticum, is a member of the pepper family whose name translates loosely to "intoxicating pepper."
It is native to the South Pacific and has been used for centuries in kava tea and other drinks for its calming effects and aphrodisiac qualities.
Today, the herb is used in a similar fashion, as a treatment for anxiety disorders, usually in conjunction with St. John's wort and other herbal remedies, as well as ADD, insomnia and irritability.
Although it can be quite therapeutic, unfortunately there are many side effects of kava kava to contend with, which might make an alternative a better option for you.
Gastrointestinal disorders, drowsiness and dizziness are some common kava side effects that you may encounter.
Some of the other potential adverse reactions are: eye problems including movement, focusing and dilated pupils as well as headaches.
If you do choose to take kava, you are advised not to use it for a period greater than three months, due to the long term side effects including dry flaky skin, discoloration of the skin and nails, reddened eyes and liver toxicity.
The history of the kava root also shows that it should not be used with other anxiety/depression medications, as it could interact adversely.
If you do choose a kava tea or drink, make sure you use the recommended dosages and be sure to consult your physician before doing so. A kava calm effect can be beneficial, but might come with a cost to your overall health.