In a recent study, there is more evidence that traditionally-prepared Kava can have a multitude of benefits, including, and this study suggests, the ability to help fight cancer. Strict FDA regulations prevents us from making any claims regarding Kava as a cancer aid, but I at least felt it imperative to report news on topics such as these. The publish date of the study is/was Janury 2017. The title of the paper is “Traditional preparations of kava (Piper methysticum) inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells in vitro“. In the study, researchers used ground Kava roots, prepared in the traditional method by extracting into water, and then tested it alone and blended with sea hibiscus. AS the researchers state:
We obtained ground kava prepared in the traditional way from lateral roots and sea hibiscus mucilage and sap from different sources in Micronesia, and prepared water extracts (unfiltered, as well as filtered, since in traditional use the kava beverage contains a high particulate content) and partitions.
Something interesting with the study, is that Kava prepared in the traditional method was more effective than Kava extracts that were obtained through other solvents such as ethanol. And, what researchers discovered, is that traditional preparations alone, or with sea hibiscus actually inhibited the growth of breast and colon cancer cells. After seeing these findings, I decided to take a look at the incidents of breast and colon cancer in Oceania, specifically in Fiji and Vanuatu, where there is a high percentage of the population who enjoys Kava Kava. (I didn’t include Hawaii because the incidence of Kava drinking in Hawaii has fallen off significantly in recent years, being replaced by the far more dangerous and addictive alcohol.) It was by no means a scientific look, but the results to me were quite startling:
At a glance, I know this proves nothing, but it seems as though it might be worth investigating further. And, the researchers concur; “Our results show that traditional kava, alone or combined with sea hibiscus, displays activity against human cancer cells and indicate it will be worthwhile to develop and further analyze these preparations to prevent and treat colon and other cancers. Our findings suggest it is important to examine the activity of plants in the form that people consume them.”
What was just as interesting to me, is that the less the researchers modified the Kava, the more effective it seemed to be. They went on to say:
And we found that the less we did to it, the unfiltered preparation was more active than the filtered, that what people actually drink has particles in it is more active than the next step of filtering it or purifying it.
So, unfiltered preparations from Fiji were more active than the filtered preparations. Further phytochemical analysis indicated that filtering reduced most kavalactone and chalcone content by a certain degree as well. As an example, the researchers stated that the ratio of dihydromethysticin in filtered/unfiltered kava was 0.01. And, unfiltered and filtered kava from Fiji were more active on malignant than nonmalignant intestinal epithelial cells as well. In conclusion, for some reason, still unknown, although Dr. Einbond said the the extracts used in the study were from Fiji and Hawaii, with those from Fiji most active against cancer cells.