Kava kava is a rhizome-based plant native to the western pacific islands that are used to produce a beverage popular among the pacific cultures in Polynesia, Melanesia, and even parts of Australia.
Kava Kava Herbal Extract Effects
Its chief use is as a sedative that is used to bring about relaxation and a state of well-being. It has been likened to alcohol intoxication, with the noticeable difference that mental clarity and alertness are maintained. The main chemical compounds in kava kava are known as kavalactones. Half of the kavalactones have been found to be psychoactive and are responsible for the effects experienced after kava kava is consumed. Kava kava is commonly available in tablet form as a herbal extract used to treat stress and depression, insomnia and anxiety.
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Direct Side effects of kava kava experienced a few minutes after consuming kava kava include the numbing of the mouth and gums, and sometimes the stomach, which is normally associated with a feeling of nausea.
Kava Kava Herbal Extract Side Effects
Among the Side effects of kava kava, liver damage has been touted as being the most prevalent. Kava kava consumed in tablet form as a health supplement has been proven to lead to severe liver toxicity and even failure. This among other Side effects of kava kava has led it to be banned in various European nations such as Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands. The liver-damaging Side effects of kava kava are only experienced by those who ingest kava kava in tablet form as opposed to taking it as a beverage prepared in the traditional way practiced by native pacific communities. This is because the traditional method of kava kava beverage preparation involved the use of the rhizome only, whereas tablets are prepared from the rhizome as well as the stem and leaves which contain an alkaloid called pipermethystine responsible for the liver damaging Side effects of kava kava. Pipermethystine, first identified by the University of Hawaii at Manoa brings about the liver-damaging Side effects of kava kava by attacking liver cells and leading to their degeneration.
However, the liver-damaging Side effects of kava kava are not experienced among the pacific communities since they discard the leaves and stem. The only liver-related Side effects of kava kava experienced among the native communities are transient and reversible and include poor nutrition and a rise in liver enzymes. These Side effects of kava kava are no longer experienced once the natives stop consuming the kava kava beverage.
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Although the natives do not suffer from the liver-related Side effects of kava kava, they are adversely affected by the skin-related Side effects of kava kava. Regular kava kava consumers normally develop a scaly yellow skin rash that is similar in appearance to the one brought about by vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency. Ingestion of niacin supplements does not alleviate the skin rash, indicating that the problem lies elsewhere.
Another one of the Side effects of kava kava includes eye irritation and sensitivity to light. However, this particular side effect is transient in nature and is quickly corrected once one stops consuming kava kava. The side effects of kava kava that are related to the skin and the eyes are experienced by users of kava kava regardless of the form in which they ingested it.
Other possible Side effects of kava kava include allergic reactions to kava kava, although this is rare. Allergic Side effects of kava kava are normally indicated by the appearance of hives, itching, difficulty breathing, and a tight chest. Other Side effects of kava kava that may be indicators of an allergic reaction include swelling of the mouth, the face, the lips, or the tongue. Any form of swelling or inflammation experienced after consumption of kava kava in any form could be an indicator of an allergic reaction and should be treated with the uttermost seriousness. Kava kava consumption should be halted immediately, and steps should be put in place to safeguard against coming into contact with the allergen (the substance responsible for causing an allergy), in this case, kava kava.
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Other possible Side effects of kava kava include impaired motor reflexes and an increased response time. This makes it dangerous for kava kava consumers to operate machinery or drive since their impaired motor reflexes pose a great threat to themselves and those around them.