Kava kava is a medicinal shrub that has been used since ancient times to stimulate neurotransmitter production in people that suffer from anxiety or depression. The primary active ingredient in kava root is kavalactone. Kavalactones are a class of lactone compounds that are thought to have psychotropic effects in the human brain.
The use of kava kava as a medicinal herb originated in the South Pacific region. Although the evergreen shrub once grew wild on countless islands, it is now cultivated for a variety of medicinal purposes. The plant features thick rhizomes, heart shaped leaves and small spiked flowers, but it’s the kava kava root that makes the plant special. The Latin name for kava kava is Piper methysticum, or intoxicating pepper. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that kava kava has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for depression. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center indicates that the kavalactones found in kava may possess the ability to elevate the production of serotonin and dopamine, essential neurotransmitters that have been linked to feelings of well-being and happiness. Research related to the medicinal benefits of kava kava is ongoing.
It is widely accepted that kava kava is similar in structure to GABA, a natural neurotransmitter. The herb is frequently recommended by alternative medicine practitioners for the treatment of the following conditions:
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
• Premenstrual Pain
• Urinary Tract Infections
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Common Colds
• Respiratory Tract Infections
• Bladder Cancer
• Venereal Disease
Treating Stress and Anxiety
The word kava not only refers to the medicinal shrub, it refers to a ceremonial drink that was historically popular among south sea natives. The drink is still used during special ceremonial events. Kava connoisseurs worldwide still relish the sense of calm and mental clarity that the drink provides.
Unlike alcohol, kavalactones introduce an empathetic effect in the human brain. Researchers have identified anxiolytic, analgesic, amnestic, notropic, anticonvulsant and sedative effects on the central nervous system that may prove useful in the treatment of depression and anxiety related conditions. A total of 18 kavalactones have been identified in kava kava, 15 of which are considered to be active. Among The active kavalactone compounds that have been identified in the kava kava plant are dihydrokavain, yangonin, demethoxy-yangonin, dihydromethysticin, kavain and methysticin. These chemical agents work synergistically to deliver the medicinal effects of kava.
Overcoming Anxiety and Depression
Kava kava is considered to be effective for the treatment of temporary stress, feelings of apprehension and nervousness. Nevertheless, treatment options for persistent stress should be discussed with a qualified medical professional. Constant stress and consistent feelings of anxiety can be harmful to people of all ages. The benefits of kava are also available in the form of a prescription medication. When used as a temporary remedy for stress and anxiety, kava doesn’t seem to present any negative side effects.
Kava root supplements and medications may offer hope for those suffering from temporary anxiety caused by the uncertainty of daily life. Kava seems to have the ability to reduce feelings of stress and depression, but without the negative side-effects associated with alcohol consumption. Kava supplements are available in many forms, including pastes, powders, concentrates, tinctures, gels, capsules and elixirs. If you’re searching for relief of anxiety or depression, we can help. We have extensive experience helping individuals and families deal sensibly with stress related problems. Please call today to schedule an appointment. You don’t have to live with the agonizing effects of stress and depression. We can help.