Kava and Anxiety

kava and anxietyWe’re getting asked questions like this more and more frequently: Kava.com, please tell me about Kava and anxiety — Is it effective to help fight anxiety?  Will Kava cause more anxiety?  Is Kava one of the best things I can take to help reduce my stress?  What we’ve learned is that people seem to be looking to de-stress, to find the opposite of caffeine injected power drinks that increase anxiety and heart rates.  And, although we’re biased, we feel Kava is one of the best things you can do for both your body and your anxiety.  Let’s talk about why.

First, Kava has been prescribed throughout Europe to help fight anxiety for many years.  It was becoming wildly popular, reportedly rivaling prescription medication prescriptions in the early 2000’s. In fact, Kava was so safe, that it was prescribed to children in Germany instead of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals such as Prozac (Kava is treated as a prescription medication in Germany.)  That is BIG news!  Kava and anxiety have gone hand in hand for decades in the medical world, but in the herbal remedy world, that kind of a story is actually old news.

The bottom line is simply this: Is Kava effective against anxiety?  The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

It’s also a great stress buster, it can help calm frayed nerves, and it can help promote a sense of well-being.  Want to calm down?  Kava will help you accomplish that goal.  This fact has been known for thousands of years throughout Oceania as well.  And, now that you know Kava can be a great choice in the battle against anxiety, what type of Kava is the most effective in that fight?

Kava and anxiety have been old pals for as long as I can remember in my own life.  I often feel like I need to take a step back, to take a time out, and to simply breathe.  My solution? – I thoroughly enjoy the process of making a powerful stress-fighting drink from freshly powdered Kava root.  Yes, I force myself to go through the process of making my own Kava drink when I’m really stressed out.  I measure the root (3 tablespoons), place it into a blender, and add 2/3 cup of coconut milk and 1/4 cup of pineapple juice. I then blend that for 3 minutes, and, without letting it settle, strain it through a muslin bag.  Once I do that, I knead the kava in the muslin bag to squeeze out every last bit of Kavalactone I can.  And, like a stress squeeze ball, my anxiety level already starts to decrease simply because of this ancient, and once sacred ritual.

By the time I get to gulping down my shell of Kava, my anxiety, perhaps in anticipation of the Kava drink, has already started to wane.  Even knowing I have such a powerful tool in my hands helps to melt my stress away.  As I gulp down my first shell, I begin to prepare a second shell.  For me, an experienced Kava drinker, I like the feeling that 2-3 shells of strong Kava provides me.  And, it doesn’t matter how much stress or anxiety I have, it works every single time.

So, to me, plain old powdered Kava root is the best form for anxiety.  But, I know people don’t like the mess.  So, my second choice (and often my first when I’m on the go and stressing out), is Kava Tincture.  And, not just any old Kava tincture, but tincture with a standardized 6% Kavalactone content in it.  The only brand I know of that offers this extra strong liquefied Kava is Kona Kava Farm’s Kava Tincture Plus.  (Yes, that’s a shameless plug for one of the products we carry here — I can’t help it because I love this product!) I place just 4 dropperfuls (not 4 drops) under my tongue, and within a few minutes, I feel my stress melting away, as I realize Kava and anxiety are indeed opposites.  Where there’s Kava, there’s no anxiety.  And where there’s a lot of anxiety, there surely can’t be any Kava.

Customers often ask if Kava Capsules work to help fight anxiety.  To me, it really depends on what kind of stress you’re looking to remedy.  If you have extended, ongoing stress in your life, if entire days can put a strain on your peace of mind, then Kava Capsules (at least 30% Kavalactone Capsules) would probably be the best answer for you.  If you get stressful moments in your life, that happens in random moments, then I would say that Kava powder, Kavalactone Paste 55%, or Kava Tincture Plus would be your best bet.

The reason for this is simple:

  • Kava Capsules work over an extended period of time, and is less of a “kick in the pants” remedy
  • Kava Tincture Plus provides instant relief, but is a short term solution
  • Kavalactone Paste 55% is a middle ground — it can help both short and long term anxiety

So, when we’re talking about Kava and anxiety, it really depends on what kind we’re talking about.  Once you’ve narrowed that down, then the choices become quite easy.

As usual, if you’ve got any questions or need any clarification, please feel free to post in the comments below.  I personally answer every single comment as best I can.  Join the discussion, let’s talk Kava!

Team Kava

14 Responses

  1. Hi!

    I’m new to Kava and so looking forward to trying! I had a question regarding types best for different anxieties. I would say I have prolonged anxiety because of personal circumstances in my life right now, I also have a lot of trouble sleeping and sometimes anxiety is heightened at night. I was thinking of the Kava capsules and also purchasing the tincture, if I take the capsules daily can I also use the tincture at night when I feel heightened anxiety? Thanks so much!

  2. Caitlin,

    You’ve come to the right place! Kava is an excellent way to help manage anxiety and to help you get a more restful night sleep. Thats because kavalactone, the active ingredient in kava, has been shown to function as a mild muscle relaxant and can ease feelings of stress and anxiety which would otherwise leave you tossing and turning at bedtime. The best capsule product for nighttime use is our ‘Awa Calm capsules which you can read about here: https://kava.com/shop/awa-calm-capsules/ Take a couple of these 30-60 minutes before bedtime for best results.

    Tinctures are also a great choice if you are feeling anxious or stressed throughout the day. Using different kava products is fine, just be aware of how much of each you have consumed!

    -Team Kava-

  3. I take 2 full droppers full of tincture without any noticeable relaxation. I waited for 2 hours and took another 2 full droppers full, still remained extremely anxious. I wonder now am I just beyond all herbal help? I have had no results from California poppy or chamomile or catnip or hops tinctures. Doctors don’t give me anything either. I am not depressed but I can only sleep 1 hour intervals twice a day for over 10 years. Any ideas greatly appreciated.

  4. Denise,

    Sorry to hear that the tinctures are not working the way you hoped. I think that you can still use kava and other herbal remedies to manage stress and anxiety, but you may want to consider using them a little bit differently. Here is an article from our kava blog about some of the things you can do to get the most out of your kava:

    Team Kava

  5. I get really bad panic attacks but want to naturally treat it I heard about kava the leaf being bad the root being good so it doesn’t hurt your liver as bad I’m from Oregon and would like advise from a seller or people who have very bad attacks , it’s even took me to the emergency room before and I have tried multiple things I would like something sain and natural. It is here in Oregon but doesn’t seem to work for me at all.

  6. Stacey,

    You are correct to point out that the leaf of the kava plant is harmful and that is why we only use roots in every product we make. Kava has helped many people manage stress and anxiety because it acts as a mild muscle relaxant. One of the best products that we offer is our ‘Awa Calm capsules, which are specifically formulated to maximize anxiety relief. If you would like to discuss our products further, please give us a call at 716-989-5577.

    Team Kava

  7. I have just ordered some kavalactone 30% capsules in an effort to help me become less reactive emotionally, this leads to feelings of fearfulness. I then start to feel fearful even though nothing has happened to actually be afraid of.
    My question is, will I experience feelings of spaciness or any horrible feelings when I first start taking the capsules.

  8. Lyn,
    It is difficult to predict how a person will feel after taking kava for the first time, but I’ve never heard of anyone experiencing ‘horrible feelings’ as a result of kava consumption. Kava acts as a mild muscle relaxant and has few side effects. It certainly doesn’t produce feelings of intoxication or cause you to lose control of thoughts and actions. However it is very possible that you may feel a little bit drowsey so I would recommend starting with a small dose (1-2 capsules) to familiarize yourself with kava’s effects.
    Team Kava

  9. I am in a very stressful, anxiety-producing grad program. I take kava tincture (a different brand), which is great, but the effects only seems to last less than an hour. Will the effects of the full spectrum paste last longer? Also, is the full spectrum paste be too strong for daytime work/school use (as opposed to recreational use)? I want to be calm, but also focused/alert for school. So far, I react very well to kava!


  10. Anna,

    Thanks for reaching out to us. Kava products are a great way to manage stress and anxiety, and our full spectrum paste is one of our very best products. Effects from the paste last for approximately 4 hours. Some people like to simply swallow the paste, but for longer-lasting effects I like to place a small piece of paste inside my lower lip and let it dissolve. The slow dissolution will steadily release kavalactones and prolong the calming effects.

    I use the paste during work and it doesn’t seem to have any negative effect on focus or mental clarity. Some people find that kava makes them a bit drowsy, but this side effect is usually mild. If you have any further questions you can feel free to email us at [email protected].

    Team Kava

  11. Hi
    I got kava capsules today (kavalactone 30%)and was wondering what is the right dosage for me?
    I have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder,but do not want prescription meds
    I have been very stressed the past few years ( bereavement,life changes etc) and 2 years ago set up my own business which ,as well as being physically tiring ( landscape Gardener) is also stressful in itself as I have never owned my own business before)
    Mostly I feel stressed,anxious, irritable and tired,and was wondering what dose would suit my circumstances?

  12. Hi Bernie,

    Yes, life is stressful and Kava is a natural remedy for anxiety. Directions for Kavalactone 30% capsules are 1 or 2 capsules per day. Daily dosage not to exceed 2 capsules per day. Maximum period of daily use is 3 months, and use may resume for 3 months after a 2-week break.

    All the best,
    Team Kava

  13. I just purchased the starter kit and I was wondering if it was okay to drive? I’ve been having panic attacks only when I drive. Would kava help me with this?

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