Kava Kava For Anxiety and Insomnia

What Are The Benefits of Kava Kava?

Kava kava (or Piper methysticumis) is a shrub that belongs to the pepper family and is an herb used in natural supplements for anxiety and insomnia. It has also been used for easing menopausal symptoms.

Kava Kava For Anxiety and Insomnia

Kava Kava Image by Forest and Kim Starr

For hundreds of years this plant has been used in the Pacific Islands, mostly for ceremonial drinks.

Its roots were either chewed or ground and mixed into cold water. The mixture had to be thick for it to have a wine-like taste so they could offer this as a special beverage for dignitaries who chose to visit the Islands.

Anxiety and Insomnia

Kava kava extracts are found in many herbal supplements for providing anxiety relief and promoting healthy sleep.

Kava kava contains kavalactones which have been known to affect some neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters include dopamine, nonrepineprine, and GABA or gamma aminobutyric acid.

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Dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating our behavior and mood.

On the other hand, GABA is an amino acid that naturally occurs in the brain which may act like neurotransmitters in order to suppress those nerve impulses that lead to anxiety.

The non-addictive effect of Kava is one of the reasons why this herb is helpful for people suffering with anxiety. Its effectiveness is similar to benzodiazepines which are commonly prescribed to people undergoing anxiety and depression.

However, these benzodiazepines can have unwanted effects such as mental impairment and lethargy.

Kava kava on the other hand, promotes feelings of relaxation while improving one’s memory and concentration.

Promoting Calm

Studies have shown that kavalactones alter our moods because of its relaxing impact on the limbic system. The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for laughter, motivation, as well as other emotional behaviors. Kava kava extract induces sleep, thereby assisting  those people suffering from insomnia. If taken in small doses, it promotes a calming feeling which will help make it easier for you to fall asleep.

Other Uses of Kava Kava

  • These kavalactones found in Kava Kava can relax the muscles which make it helpful for those who are experiencing muscle cramps and spasms. It relieves people from muscle tension similar to the relief provided by tranquilizers.
  • The same herb can be used for people who are having problems with menstrual cramps and vaginitis.
  • Kava has anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects which can be beneficial for people suffering from gout, bronchial congestion, prostatis, cycstitis and rheumatism.
  • Kava can be used as an external liniment because of its local anesthetic and pain reliever effect. These effects can promote faster healing of the wounds especially for people with skin problems.
  • Kava provides mild narcotic and euphoric effects thereby giving you an elevated mood and increased sensitivity to sound. The relaxing effect of Kava may lead to feelings of contentment and peace of mind. These sharpening of senses can contribute to an aphrodisiac effect.

Straight Kava Kava should not be used in large doses for people who are driving, pregnant or breastfeeding.

The roots of Kava kava are being extracted in order to obtain its medicinal properties for health problems such as anxiety and insomnia. Today, the healing benefits of Kava kava can be obtained from herbal anxiety supplements, teas and other beverages. It is also available in liquid extract forms and capsules.

If you are taking any medications, please check with your health care professional first as some herbs, including Kava, can react with some prescription medications. If you are looking to reduce anxiety and insomnia naturally, kava is one of the herbal ingredients found in the doctor approved, clinically proven natural supplement, ProVanax.

References:

http://www.kava.com/?p=190

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About Jennifer Johnson

I suffered with social anxiety and stress for years. I discovered what my triggers were and learned to control them. Hopefully some of the natural anxiety relief techniques I have tried, will also be your solution.

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Comments

  1. We have been getting some nice reviews about Kava. People tell us that it helps them go from a 9 on the anxiety scale down to a 5. The anxiety does not go away but helps it become more manageable in social situations.

    • Hi Steve,

      That’s why Kava Kava is being used in natural anxiety supplements. The fact that it does help with reducing those high anxiety levels along with the added benefit of being natural.

  2. Hi Jennifer – really nice page and thanks for posting such great information. It is funny being out in Hawaii because everyone thinks it is so laid back – although true for people on vacation, the residents face what was rated the 2nd worst traffic in the nation. With all the stresses of a big city (so to speak) high anxiety levels come with that..hoping to spread the knowledge that people are not alone in their search for balanced lives no matter what their chosen remedies may be. Aloha!

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