Kava shows benefits of herbal medicine

Kristen Brainard 

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Editor’s Note: This article is intended for educational purposes only. It should not be referenced for medical advice or treatment substitutes. Always consult a medical provider with questions regarding your health. 

     A root native to the western Pacific Islands has made its way to the U.S., bringing with it helpful medicinal properties.  

     Kava is rapidly gaining popularity due to its physical and mental health benefits. Studies have determined that it can aid in weight loss; help users cope with pain; and reduce anxiety, depression and insomnia.  

     Katerina Clouthier, a PPCC student and Colorado Springs native, said that she discovered Kava from a friend. According to Clouthier, Kava changed her life from that point on for the better.  

     Clouthier said she suffers from severe general anxiety and likes Kava because it is a natural alternative to anti-anxiety medicine, which she was on for her whole life before discovering it. She attributes her ability to socialize in groups and her lessened anxiety to her Kava use. 

     Kava has even taken root right here in Colorado.  

     Nestled in downtown Colorado Springs is Ohana Kava Bar, a coffee shop-inspired Kava joint serving the root in many forms. Ohana serves Kava as lemonade and as a regular ground powder and water mixture. Ohana also serves other wellness drinks like wheatgrass, Kava shots and immunity boosters.  

     Guests usually relax and enjoy the benefits of Kava in the company of others. For those wanting to pay homage to the Pacific Islands, the bar also serves Kava in the traditional ceremonial bowls. 

     In the Pacific Islands, Kava was used as a ceremonial drink, often at weddings and birthday parties, while in the U.S. it is most commonly used for medicinal and social purposes. 

     According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Kava comes from a leafy plant in the pepper family. The root is ground up into a powder and mixed with water to prepare a drink, which is then ingested. 

     Kava is most commonly enjoyed as a drink and elicits feelings of relaxation and numbness, hence the use of the root for pain and anxiety. Its effects are similar to those of marijuana or anti-anxiety medication.  

     College can be a stressful time for many, and Kava could be the solution to the anxiety and stress of classes and exams. Next time you need some relaxation or relief, consider Kava.  

A Kava plant. Photo courtesy of GaiaHerbs.com