Where Do I Begin With Kava?

Kava Instructions

Welcome to our WHERE DO I BEGIN WITH KAVA? guide; one of several helpful articles to start you on a wonderful journey to anxiety and stress reduction.
See the closely-related “Beginner’s Guide to Kava” for more generalized details:



First, Kava is truly one of the rare gifts from nature. Kava has been conclusively shown to help alleviate anxiety, help with pain, especially joint and lower back pain, and taken just before bed, it can be a powerful sleep aid. The main reason people find their way to Kava isn’t any of the above reasons; many just like the pleasant effects that can be felt from the consumption of Kava. It’s not called “The Sociability Plant” for nothing! Kava helps to naturally lower inhibitions, and helps increase pleasant feelings of well-being. Not surprising considering that it comes from sunny Hawaii and elsewhere in Oceania.

We’ve got a TON of articles in the KAVA LIBRARY that explain everything from Kava for Anxiety to What Does Kava Feel Like? to much more. The choices for Kava may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s a lot simpler to understand than you might first think. Take a quick look, find a helpful article, and become a Kava Connoisseur in no time!


It can be difficult to know what is the gentlest Kava root product to start with for those new to Kava, just as it can be difficult to know what’s the strongest for those veterans looking for an extra kick to their Kava experience.  Here’s a simple list, to be used as a general guidelines rather than a hard and fast rule.  The list goes from WEAKEST TO STRONGEST based on the Serving Size on the packages:

  • MILDEST – KAVA ROOT ONLY CAPSULES:  This product is perfect for those who want to experience homeopathic serving sizes of Kava.  It’s the gentlest, mildest form we offer, and in easy-to-ingest capsules.  You don’t have to deal with any messy extractions, no bitter taste.  You can just take a couple capsules and get your first Kava experience.  (Part of the Kava experience is the numbing of the mouth when it’s first ingested, though.)
    • BEST FOR: Those sensitive to Kava. This is an extremely popular item, partly because it’s a great introduction to Kava. The effects are the mildest of any of our Kava products, but for many of our return customers, it’s more than enough. Capsules help ease the release of Kavalactones into our system, so those of us who are sensitive to any herbs find great help with our Powdered Kava Capsules.
  • LESS MILD – INSTANT KAVA ROOT: Instant Kava Root is the gentlest, partly because it has a small serving size.  It’s also the most palatable Kava root we offer, so it’s often a good choice for beginners.
    • BEST FOR: Those who don’t want the messiness of powdered Kava root, but who want something with a little more “kick” than the Kava Root Only Capsules. This is also for
  • REGULAR – POWDERED KAVA ROOT:  This one can be the gentlest Kava’s because the 2 tablespoon serving size, especially when it’s not fully extracted, can make a gentle Kava drink.  But, with any of the Kava products we offer, one can place whatever amount of Kava they want when making an extraction.  For me, I use 4 tablespoons of Kava powder for each drink, just because I like the extra kick it provides me.
    • BEST FOR: Everything plus sociability and tradition. Powdered Kava Root is the bread and butter of Kava.com and Kona Kava Farm. Powdered Kava Root that’s extracted into a drink is at the very heart of Oceania. Not only are you partaking in a 3,000 year-old tradition, you’re experiencing Kava the way countless throughout Oceania experienced Kava for millennia. The effects are right in the middle, but the great thing about Powdered Kava Root is that it can be the heart of any social situation.  Enjoying a few “shells” of Kava throughout an evening can be one of the more pleasurable experiences in one’s day. Our powdered root customers use this particular product for everything from simply feeling the pleasurable effects of Kava, to helping to alleviate stress and anxiety, to helping with mild pain, especially when it’s lower back pain.
  • STRONGER – KAVALACTONE 33% CAPSULES:  These capsules are one of our Top Sellers, by both newbies and veterans alike.  With such a concentrated serving of Kava, you will get the effects of Kava, without any of the mess.  These are a solid first choice for those unsure about Kava, and often what we recommend to those who want Kava without the fuss or the mess of extractions.
    • BEST FOR: Back pain and insomnia. This is the classic “Kava as a Remedy” capsule. Most of our customers who need long-term relief from pain and anxiety look to our Kavalactone 30/33 percent capsules. We all know how easy capsules are to consume, and taking capsules feels natural when we’re hoping to ward off lower back pain, to help de-stress us during difficult days, or to help us gain a restful night’s sleep.
  • STRONGER – KAVA TINCTURE/TINCTURE PLUS: Our tinctures have 3% or 6% of Kavalactone content in them.  On average, good Kava root has about 12% Kavalactone content in it.  So, when 2 dropperfuls of Kava Tincture Plus is taken, you get an effect similar to gulping down an entire shell (glass) of Powdered Kava Root.
    • BEST FOR: Quick pain, stress or anxiety fixes. This is our most portable product. For those who like to enjoy their Kava throughout the day, this little bottle of enjoyment has numerous servings at your fingertips. We have one employee who successfully got himself off of pharmaceutical anxiety medication because of this product. It’s unobtrusive, easy to carry with you, and the liquid form of Kava absorbes very quickly. This is my personal favorite for simply feeling the pleasant feelings of well-being and mild euphoria that Kava has been known to induce.
  • STRONGEST – INSTANT KAVA SINGLES: These little packets can pack a punch, so even though they’re small, they contain a form of Kava that’s water soluble and oh so easy to mix up into something quite Kava.  These are not yet as popular as we expected, but we’re sure that once they catch on, they’ll be a big hit.
    • BEST FOR: Pleasure, in-the-moment anxiety. These convenient singles are for those who really like to feel the punch of Kava. All of the benefits of Kava are still safely experienced with this product, but this product definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. These single-serving packets are completely water soluble, and can be dropped into any liquid of your choice. Can be great for in-the-moment bouts of anxiety. Just drop the packet into some liquid, and feel the relief within minutes.
  • STRONGEST – KAVALACTONE 55% PASTE: This is the strongest Kava product we offer, and certainly NOT for newbies.  The serving size is just 1/8th of a teaspoon, so it doesn’t take much to supercharge your Kava experience.
    • BEST FOR: Strong effects, all the above. This is for those heavy hitters who really like to feel the punch of Kava. All of the benefits of Kava are still safely experienced with this product, but this product definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. Many of our long-time Kava customers enjoy the Kavalactone 55% Paste right out of the jar, while others add a pea-sized amount to kick up their Kava drinks. This is the product we use most often here, but it’s definitely a product for the more experienced Kava Connoisseur.


There are basically several forms of Kava Kava that can be purchased; whole root, powdered root, instant mix, capsules, tincture, and Kavalactone paste.  Which form you “should” buy depends on what you’re looking to get from your Kava experience.  Here is a very general list to help guide you:

  • Easiest way to experience what Kava has to offer.  Then any of the Instant Kava Mixes or the Kavalactone Capsules are a good place to start.  Powdered Kava Root requires an “extraction” process in order to make it into a drink (and explained below), and can take a little time and experimentation to get just right, but it does offer the most “authentic” Kava experience.
  • Most potent form of Kava Kava.  If you’re looking for the most potent form of kava, that would be the Kavalactone Pastes that Kona Kava Farm offers.  They offer a 55% Kavalactone Paste as well as a “Full Spectrum” Paste.  Although both Kavalactone pastes have 55% concentration of Kavalactones, we prefer the Full Spectrum better because it includes all 24 lactones that all synergistically, in our opinion, make the kava experience as authentic as possible. The Kavalactone 55% Paste concentrates only the 6 major Kavalactones, but many customers prefer that as it outsells the Kavalactone Full Spectrum Paste.
  • Most authentic way to experience Kava.  By far, the most authentic way to experience Kava is also the most time-intensive.  Whole Kava Roots that you soak and mash up yourself provide a kava experience that is quite noticably different than the instant kava and the capsules.
  • Kava for stress relief.  Any form of kava can help ease the mind and bring about a relaxing repose that lasts about 1-2 hours at a time.  If you want something that acts fast, then making a cup of kava from powdered kava root and drinking it in a single gulp is one way.  Or, simply taking 1-2 pea-sized amounts of Kavalactone Paste (55% or Full Spectrum) will do the trick.  Instant Kava Mixes can be less potent and work more slowly.  Capsules work the slowest and are the least noticeable if one is looking for the tangible relaxing effects, but they can be a great way to help support the easing of back pain.*
  • Kava to help support the easing of back pain.  Although kava is not a medicine by FDA standards, and we cannot advertise it as a product for pain relief, there are a large number of people with issues with back pain who are very regular customers of kava kava.*


Even though there are many brands of kava kava, most follow the same general concentrations of kava and kavalactones in them.  So, although you need to carefully read each individual product label, there is a general rule that will help you with making a drink.

  • EXTRACTING KAVA POWDER:  Most kava packages we’ve seen, suggest starting with 2 tablespoons of kava powder, extracted into some form of “healthy fats” such as milk, soy milk, or coconut milk.  Since the full spectrum of lactones extract into both water and fats, any of the above are a great choice for getting a potent kava drink.  Our favorite method is to simply put a cup of soy milk into a blender, drop in 2 tablespoons of kava powder (personally, we use 4 tablespoons, but would not recommend anyone else using that much), add some powdered cocoa, and blend it for 2 minutes or so.  Have a bowl waiting as well as a muslin bag or an old clean t-shirt made into the shape of a bag, and pour that blended kava into the filter.  We like the muslin bags at the Kava Marketplace, because it then allows us to tie the bag shut, and use our hands to work the liquid out of the kava mash.  (Eating the root is not dangerous in any way, but it can make your drink a little chalky, so most prefer to filter out the kava root.)
  • MAKING INSTANT KAVA MIX:  The Instant Kava Mix is as simple as it gets; there’s no filtering, as the micronized or pre-extracted kava powder requires no extracting. Simply add an entire Kava Single to the liquid of your choice, or add the pre-set amount of Instant Kava Mix to your
  • USING KAVALACTONE PASTE: This is also a simple option.  If you enjoy the taste of kava roots, then it’s easy to make 1-2 pea-sized servings and simply eat it right out of the container.  It also blends quite easily with any favorite smoothie, as long as it has some sort of milk, yogurt, soy, almond, or rice milk, or coconut milk involved.


I will always vividly remember when I first discovered Kava Kava. It was on my first trip to Hawaii.  It changed my life in ways that would take this entire website to describe.  Twenty years ago, I didn’t have much choice; I found a source for fresh kava roots that I had shipped to me, and simply mashed them and blended them into the drink I can honestly say I enjoy and appreciate even more today.  But now, there are so many forms of this dietary supplement and even more brands, making it difficult to know where to begin. Hopefully this section has helped you make your choice.  If not, ask questions below, and I’ll add onto this section as visitors ask more questions. We pride ourselves on the quality of both our product and the information we offer her. And, we never forget that we wouldn’t have been the success we’ve been over the past 18 years online if it weren’t for you; our loyal customer base.

Mahalo & Aloha,

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Any products we offer are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease.

56 Responses

  1. I got this package of Micronized Kava from a friend with no directions on the package. I’m really not sure what to do with it. You mention it in the same sentence as instant, so do I just take cold (or hot?) water and add a teaspoon or a tablespoon to it? I’m confused! Other directions say to knead it and strain it. But it sounds like micronized doesn’t require that. Does it require any straining at all? Thanks

  2. Vickie,

    It’s difficult to advise without knowing whether it’s an extract or just micronized Kava. So, start slow and assume it’s an extract. Typically, extracts usually require about 2 teaspoons of Kava per serving. That might be a good place to start. If that doesn’t work for you, try a tablespoon.

    And you are correct; micronized Kava has all of the rough, difficult-to-digest tough root removed from it, so it’s easy on your system whether or not you strain it or make a drink without straining. We love the full experience, and a little extra fiber never hurts, so we never strain our micronized Kava here. It’s really up to you and personal preference. Have fun, experiment; that’s what it’s all about!

    Aloha & Mahalo,

  3. Bryan – Thank you so much. I wanted to try it because I’ve had backaches when I wake up every morning. I will start out with one or two teaspoons. I’m assuming room temperature water is OK. This brand is Hiwa from Hawaiian kava. They have no instructions on the package or on the site, so I’m very happy to find your site. If this works, I’ll reorder from you! Mahalo for your kind assistance, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I just bought some Mahakea micronized private reserve and Tuday from Hawaii. It should be here Monday. I am new to Kava but have tried everything from Valarian root to Xanax. Everything else really gives you a withdraw or you feel groggy the next day. I have 55 Full Spectrum Paste from Kona Kava and I like it. Very noticeable and relaxed feeling. I just wanted to experiment with other brands and I heard Hawaiian Kava is very good. We shall see! The best thing I have found is that it REALLY helps me relax and NOT want to grab a drink of alcohol every night. I can ping you back next week and let you know how the Hawaiian stuff is if you like.

  5. Rob,

    I can’t tell you how much we appreciate when customers take the time to post their positive experiences with Kava! Kava has been proven to help reduce anxiety (and is so safe that it’s prescribed to kids in Europe!), even though the calming effects of Kava have been known throughout Oceania for centuries. We always wish we could say more about Kava in relation to alcohol, but we have noticed a lot of customers giving us positive stories about how introducing Kava into their lives has helped reduce their consumption of and reliance on alcohol. This is music to our ears, and I am looking forward to you pinging us back about your further adventures and experiences with Kava.

    Bryan Kava

  6. I put kava in hot coffee. It’s a 30% kavactone powder. Did the coffee ruin the effect because the coffee was too hot?

  7. Drew,

    Good question! Kavalactones don’t immediately breakdown when they touch hot water. In fact, people have baked with kava and it’s still retained its potency. Also, coffee, in your cup, is usually far below boiling; perhaps between 120 – 160 degreee Fahrenheit. Kavalactones don’t start breaking down until thy’re in 140 degrees or hotter, and for more than 10 minutes or so.

    The big question is whether or not you felt some numbing effect of the mouth. Kava is a relaxer, and coffee is a stimulant, so they may have cancelled each other out to some degree. Would like to hear more!

    Team Kava

  8. Aloha Team Kava:

    I know you can’t diagnose or prescribe, however do some people take, say the Kava paste, on a more regular basis if their trying to deal with an anxiety disorder?

    I know the recommended amounts for the pastes are 1/8th teaspoon no more than twice a day and it also says the relaxing effects typically last 1 to 2 hours. So, again do people break up those amounts and take maybe less than the 1/8th more frequently to try to maintain effects longer than 1 to 2 hours?

  9. Dave,

    These are all great questions! Kava is often prescribed in Europe to help fight anxiety. In fact, they feel it’s so safe, that Kava is often prescribed to children. As far as breaking the Kava up; the very obvious effects only last 1-2 hours, but the Kava is in your system and can help support your fight against anxiety for more than just 1-2 hours. The great thing about herbal products such as Kava is that it’s safe for you to experiment with it and see what works best for you. Some may like the larger doses, some may like to split them up; it’s really up to you to try out a few different things and see what’s best for you.

    Aloha & Mahalo,
    Team Kava

  10. Aloha from New York. I just ordered a small amount of your 55% paste and it should arrive today. My only other experience with Kava Kava has been the Yogi tea bags and some capsules from GNC. The tea didn’t work at all, most likely because it was made with boiling water, and the capsules were a dismal failure as well, doing nothing but give me a headache. I’ve heard that the only “real” way to get the proper experience is through natural products such as yours, so I’m excited to try your paste. I’ll ping you back after I try it. I’m struggling to stay off klonopin and xanax, and I’m hoping that this natural method of anxiety reduction will help me. Thank you for offering this site!
    Gentle Breezes,

  11. Maureen,

    Thanks for taking the time to post your comments! Yes, Kavalactones break down in just 140 degree water…so imagine putting them into boiling water! Although we cannot offer medical advice or compare Kava to prescription medication, we can say that we know of a number of customers who have reported very positive experiences with Kava as a very effective means of helping them to reduce their dependency on prescription medication. Stories like yours are truly inspiring to us, so we’re excited to hear how Kava works out for you.


  12. I just ordered the 55% full spectrum paste, how long is it’s shelf life, and how many servings are in the 1 oz container? Does it need refrigeration?

  13. Tina,

    Very good question. We have added this question into our product description. First, the Kavalactone Paste doesn’t need refrigeration, but it certainly will help it to keep fresher, longer. We’ve got Kavalactone Paste from 10 years ago, and it took over a year for the non-refrigerated product to start to show signs of breaking down. The refrigerated Kava we have from a decade ago still has it’s original potency, as confirmed by our in-house HPLC testing.

    As far as doses in the 1 ounce container; the number of servings is on the image of the back label on the product page. For ease for you, there are 96 servings per container if you follow the directions exactly. Most people seem to get about half of that because they like to exceed the recommended daily dosage that was set by the FDA. Everything in moderation.

    Mahalo nui,
    Team Kava

  14. Hello,

    I am going on a journey for 30 days away from my work life, in deep pursuit of life without anxiety. Work has been absolute spiritually crushing. Anyways as I will be travelling a lot I want to try kava but in easy form and that has a lasting effect. This would be my first time trying. Any suggestion? Paste? Or drops? I hear tea doesn’t have the greatest effect …

    Seeking happiness

  15. Dear Seeking Happiness,

    Congratulations and good luck on your upcoming spiritual journey! I think that you will find kava very useful for quieting your thoughts and opening the mind to self discovery.

    Since you will be traveling, I would definitely recommend a convenient form of kava that can be taken on the go. Capsules are my personal favorite because they are available in different strengths and are super quick to take.

    I would also encourage you to consider our kava root powders for making kava drinks. Although it does involve a bit of time and mess, the experience of crafting authentic kava beverages makes it more than worthwhile. Feel free to give us a call at 716-989-5577 if you would like to would like to further discuss our products.

    Kava.com Team

  16. Hey Kava Lovers,
    I am trying kava for different reasons than I see discussed. I take too many prescription meds and I am trying to get away from them. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I need something for pain. I may never get away from all of them but I have to try. I’m tired of being held captive by prescriptions! I am currently going through a lot of withdrawal symptoms and ordered the 3 products you listed first for pain. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? It would be greatly appreciated. I’m sitting here not knowing how to start. Thanks for listening.

  17. Hi Cindy,

    We get contacted by people looking for natural relief from pain and anxiety all the time, and the good news is that many of them have had success in managing their symptoms with kava! Kava works as a mild muscle relaxant and it has been shown to be effective for managing anxiety, including the type of stress that comes from living with chronic pain.

    For people who want to use kava for therapeutic purposes, I always recommend capsules. They are quick and easy to take and fit in a purse of handbag so that you have them available throughout the day. Our kava root only capsules are fairly mild and best for morning or daytime use. For the evening our ‘Awa Calm capsules are a bit stronger and contain a handful of additional natural herbs to maximize stress relief. These can also help with sleep if taken before bedtime.

    Kava affects everyone in different ways, so I would encourage you to try different products and different doses to find out what works best for you. Just remember that if taking prescription medication, its a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting and kava regimen. Good luck!

    -Kava.com Team-

  18. So I’m wanting to start using kava as a sleep aid. I’ve been using melatonin for a few months now but it doesn’t work as well as it used to and it’s gotten to the point where I have to take it every night to fall asleep. I’ve never used kava before but I know I want to use the powdered root, not the capsules or anything. Watch kind of kava should I start out with?
    Also I’d like to say that so far, I’m impressed with the site and it’s answered a lot of my questions about kava. Haven’t bought anything yet but I plan on it soon

  19. Daniel,

    Glad to hear that you have found the site to be informative. Using kava before bedtime is a great way to get a better nights sleep and wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day. Unlike prescription sleep medication which induces heavy drowsiness and can be addictive, the effects of kava are much more subtle. Kava relaxes muscles and quiets the mind making it easier to drift off to sleep, and I’ve found that I rarely wake up during the night after taking kava. The best time to consume kava is 1-3 hours before bedtime.

    The best kava product to help with sleep is our ‘Awa Calm capsules. In addition to kava extract, the ‘Awa Calm also contains hops flower, passion flower, and calamus root which accentuates the sedative properties of kava. If you want to avoid capsules, any of our kava root powders will still be helpful for sleep. The Vanuatu Noble powdered kava root is a good choice and it also produces a great-tasting drink. Happy shopping!

    KavaDotCom Team

  20. I have a question about the shelf life of Kava root powder. I purchased a packet about 2 years ago. It says 100% natural South Pacific (50 grams) of Kava Root Powder. It says to mix 1 tsp with a fatty substance like whole milk or yogurt for full effect. I misplaced it, so that is why I have had it for 2 years, but I have found it and I am wondering if it would still be good. it is in a tight sealed heavy duty plastic packet (clear on one side and an aluminum like plastic film on the other. Would love to hear what you have to say about this/ Thanks in advance.

  21. Beverly,

    Our kava products have a shelf life of about 2 years, so if the bag you have was stored properly (sealed and away from direct sunlight) it should be fine to consume. With that being said, kava is most fresh and enjoyable when consumed soon after purchasing, so if you want to get the most out of your kava drinking experience it may be worthwhile to purchase a new bag.

    Team Kava

  22. I stopped taking my anti-anxiety medication (Xanax) over 6 months ago and am looking for something natural (or just legal) to help me deal with my raging anxiety and frustrating panic attacks. I thought I found an answer in kava after heavy research and ordered the 55% kavalactone paste by kona kava. I started taking the recommended amount and when I found it did absolutely nothing except for make my mouth numb, I started eating much more as the days went on and still nothing. I’m very doubtful about kava at this point. Is it just ineffective for some people or what?

  23. Can I warm my cocoa/kava concoction up slightly? After blending and squeezing thru the mesh?

  24. Tannith,

    Kava is normally consumed at room temperature, but warming it up a little bit is perfectly fine. The only thing I would recommend is to avoid heating your kava to above 140 degrees F. At temperatures higher than this kavalactones can begin to break down and the kava will lose its potency.

    Team Kava

  25. I just did a smidge like 15 seconds in the microwave. I’m thinking I want to try the tincture next as the flavor is not my fav potte and drinking a whole cup is hard. But so far I am loving the product. Works better than I could have hoped.

  26. Good morning Team Kava!! I noticed that Becca posted a comment on 21 May 2016 and no response was given – I’m curious as to why?? I have anxiety too, not raging, but nonetheless it’s anxiety. I too would like to know the answer to her question. I understand that everyone is different and effects could/will be different. I have slowly and properly taken myself off Effexor XR per my docs guidance and oversight. It’s been a wreck on my body and personality; it seemed to have taken the good, fun person who I was and placed me on a shelf somewhere. Well I found me once again and I’m so happy to be off of it, and having no more of the removal side effects. I want to try your product(s) and have heard very great things about Kava….some things I did not know. I also read a piece that there were different types of Kava that could lead to liver issues (both minor and major)….so I can only assume taking the right Kava form is important. Please forgive my ignorance….I just want to know everything: pros and cons before taking Kava….or anything for that matter. Could you please provide answers and guidance on the questions/topics I’ve spoken about? I’d like to order product(s) in the near future to try. Thanks a million!!



  27. Chris,

    Kava acts as a mild muscle relaxant, and it does effect everyone a little bit differently. For instance you may find that kava is more effective when taken in tincture form but someone else may prefer drinks. So it is a good idea to shop around and select 2-3 different products.

    With regard to liver issues, the most important thing you can do is purchase from a reputable dealer. Liver issues in the past have been caused by consuming kava leaves, stems, and other impurities when kava roots are the ONLY part of the plant that should be used. Fortunately most kava retailers today are aware of this, and here at KavaDotCom we take particular care to ensure 100% purity in all our products.

    Team Kava

  28. Hello –

    Can you advise how exactly you ensure 100% purity in your products? Is your source tested and if so, do you provide testing results? I would really like to try Kava, but I am concerned about the potential links to liver damage.

  29. Chris,

    At KavaDotCom we test our products in-house for purity and potency. Our facility is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified which means that we have to conform to rigorous health and Safety standards. If you would like to learn a bit more you can have a look at our blog post that covers everything we do to ensure the finest quality kava for our customers.

    Team Kava

  30. This information is amazing… The questions and answers are so thorough… I I need to quit feeling like I’m jumping out of my skin, get off sleeping meds I’ve been on for 10 years and RELAX…it looks like the capsules will be good… The kava root thing makes me nervous considering I’m not exactly a wiz in the kitchen.. Will read rest of comments for more info and any thoughts you have are welcome… Thank you…

  31. This comment is aimed at Becca and Chris,

    Hi. I am a long time sufferer of anxiety and panic attacks. It was bad enough when I dropped drinking (sober 7 years) that I ended up trying pretty much every anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication out there that is long term… none worked. That is how I ended up on Xanax, which my Doctor (bless her heart) was very careful NOT to get me on too high of a dose. I went from .5mg Xanax once a day to .5 in the AM and 1mg in the PM. Then we moved me to Valium for it’s longer half-life due to my withdrawal while still on the darn stuff.

    As my taper (on-going for almost a year!) slowly goes down, I have started to get that very same anxiety when there’s nothing to be anxious about moments, 3 weeks ago my heart would race 85-130bpm. I am very athletic and my resting rate when I am normal is 50-55bpm and it takes a run or intense bike ride to get to 130+ bpm.

    Last week, I had a very very bad week, real anxiety created an adrenaline storm in my system, the chemicals in the meds and my bodies lacking the ability to deal as I heal sent me into crazy land.

    And then I discovered Kava. I’ve tried pills, non-alcoholic tinctures, you name it. I found the non-alc tincture to be the best, way less dirt water to drink, and I could dose up easily to find my happy place. Once I did that, I knew I had to know more and try other better Kava options.

    I now use products from here and knead my Kava, mixing it into almond or soy milk or coconut milk if possible. I got their starter kit plus a bag of what I was told was their best seller. And I started playing to find the right dose for me vs consuming sludge or 10 shells.

    That is the key, your dose, your body, they are going to be unique to you. So you need to experiment and learn how to feel and enjoy the properties of the Kava. That “learning how to feel it” is especially important. You have to stop, sit still and just let it overcome you. You’ll feel the numb mouth thing easily but the rest, that is opart how much you drink and part your mind letting the experience happen and recognizing it.

    Becca – Don’t give up because one kind failed you. Trust me on this, it took me trying 4-6 kinds in various forms to find the ones that truly worked for me. And I 500% understand your anxiety, I literally live it every day. And when you hit that perfect “krunk” stage as some call it, you will know it because you will feel it. Just keep trying. First thing I’d do is get some standard good quality stuff that’s mid-range in potency and follow the info above and this site’s instructions. Then up the dose and see what happens. For some, they need 1-2 shells in a row and are good. Some do 10 shells over an hour to get the effect. Also keep in mind that Kava is know for many to have a reverse tolerance, so you will have to build up the kavatones in your system possibly as well.

    Don’t give up though. Keep trying, find a good vendor who will help you (like here) find the perfect dose and feeling. Its worth every second you spend and every penny you spend when you feel that relief.

    I aquated my first real experience to being on Xanax like the 3rd time (when you no longer just fall asleep but still feel it) with 1 beer in me. That is what it felt like to me.

    But when you really let it overtake you, its, for me… 1) Mount numbing. Followed by 2) a sense of mellow/relaxation that slowly grows. 3) Ingest a little more to keep it going.

    I have had good luck with one of the non-alcoholic tinctures but I have to have 3-4 full droppers full to feel it. I get much more from hand kneeding and drinking the grog that results.

    Chris, what Kava Marketplace said. And note that many with the liver issues had combined their less then pure Kava with alcohol or had some kind of liver issues to start with.

    The point to this is, I live with anxiety every single day. I’ve literally tried every supplement on the market that has no negative reactions to my benzos, and when I found Kava and the right dose I had a eureka moment.

    Currently enjoying some Kava Root Powder Plus, and using one of their starter kits which has bowls, a muslin bag for kneeding, some soy letchin to help get the goodies out and some lemongrass to help with the flavor. I recommend a little honey, it’s flavor is very earthy and goes great with Kava. And if the taste of Kava isnt for you, honey will take some of that edge off. You can also follow your shells with something like pineapple to cleanse your palette as well.

    Dont give up if you dont feel it immediately, just take the time to find the right blend and dose and you will thank yourself for taking the time to do so.

    Now, instead of a panic attack, I have a cup or two of the Kava I made and I feel like the panic has left the building.

    Kimi – If the capsules don’t do the trick, their instant Kava may instead. And you can mix it into your fave juice or fatty milks to really get it to the potency you want.

    Hope this helps and Mahalo to all!

  32. Just to kind of follow what I said before, as a point of reference. While typing the last reply, I made a batch of their Kava Root Plus with 1.2 cups coconut milk and 2.5 tablespoons root and did the kneeding etc as suggested. I pulse it in my smoothie blender and shake and repeat instead of 10-15 minutes running non-stop to save on blender life. Then I poured into the muslin bag and kneeded (wearing gloves because I dont want to dose myself until Im ready). My ratio was about 1:4, maybe a little stronger. Once filtered, I put it all back into the blender for a few moments and re-kneeded. This resulted in two full bowls (found in their lovely starter Pack for 2) of grog. The coconut milk is a really outstanding compliment to the Kava, like Honey is.

    That was about 20-25 minutes ago when I drank it. I got the numb mouth and then the very beginnings of the “mellow” that follows. Its now, oh I’d say 30 minutes later and I feel nice, but not super overpowered. It feels like I had a Xanax when I first took them, like I said above, after the “puts me to sleep” phase but when you can tell you took it. The difference is the earthy Kava flavor mixed with the coconut milk with I think really brings the Kava alive, and its a root from a place where coconuts are common so I think the two are great together.

    I am about to do my second dose in a bit, same method and liquid. But I could stop now and in an hour do another dose.

    Regarding dosages – like Kava Marketplace said, and you probably know, a dose is just that, a fixed amount that the FDA had to assign to it so it could be certified etc. Think of it like alcohol. The legal limit for driving is a certain number, and for some people that is 2-3 beers or 1-2 glasses of wine, some people can have 3-5 beers or 2-4 glasses of wine and feel the same buzz as some who had the 1 beer. But their internal systems are containing all of the good stuff, even if you aren’t feeling it fully. I call that silent medicine. Not everything has to have an effect, somethings you feel but don’t know you feel them. That is how Kava finishes for me, but I know its still in there even when the buzz has subsided.

    I believe that they say 2 tablespoons is a dose. How much liquid is up to you, do you want to drink thick sludge and get it over, or a more watery grog you drink in 3-4 or more shells? That is all part of the human factor. And I know that more then 2 tablespoons is required for me to feel it proper, but that 1 cup of liquid and about 2.5 tablespoons properly extracting the kavatones (now appearing at your nearest casino) can pack a punch just as much for me as 4-9 does for someone else. Also keep in mind that many people consume smaller doses all day, the good stuff stays in their system, like the half-life of medications, well beyond when you stop feeling it.

    Example of this variance, I use another brand of non-alcoholic liquid that is 30 drops for a dose aka one dropper full. That is around 450mg Kava and they claim 50-75% kavatones, I do 2 of those for a body behind the scenes dose, and 4 on empty stomach for stopping the panic attacks.

    For those off you who dont like the preparation, try an instant, tincture or pills. OR choose to look at it as a long standing tradition with history and a ritual that, when you take part in it, you are literally connecting with the peoples from Hawaii and areas that have used Kava in a spiritual way. It’s sort of lik the Matcha (japanese special powdered green tea) and its ritual. JUST the ritual alone to me is worth the trouble. I feel like I am experiencing what history has, generations back, all doing what I am. I think to some degree, that connection to the history of Kava has it’s own effect.

    The above OP is a GREAT overall primer. And more then enough to get you started. I also suggest checking out Kava videos online, and learning more about its history. Like I said, that history and ritual are to me as important as the effects.

    FWIW, I track all my heart rate data as part of my taper and my health program. And I can literally see my HR calm just as I prepare my Kava traditionally. And even more drop and leveling out when I’ve had some to drink.

    I know it works. I know it helps. And I know it can help you too. Just read the OP, look at their products and give them a call. They will point you in the right direction to getting your Kava mellow.

    If you want to try something similar to their pastes, get some off their instant Kava and some good locally sourced honey. Take your dosage of Kava and measure it out and mix in honey until it turns into a brown gloppy paste. Then, eat a dose + a little extra taking into account the honey. Some places sell this, but its cheaper to make yourself and you can make a small bottle to take with you. If you wish, you can also water it down a little so it can be administered via drops, or poured into iced tea etc.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment. As long as you aren’t using alcohol with it, worst case, you fall asleep and are super mellow and relaxed. Or have to try and different strain or method. Best case, you get what we get and feel 100% better.

    Sorry for the long posts. I hope that the information contained is wiorthy both of keeping in this thread and reading by some of you. If even one of you gets something out of it, I have done a good job.

    Cheers, Mahalo and much love and Kava from a newb who’s learning too. (And just diverted a panic attack by simply making some traditionally prepared Kava and enjoying its benefits).

    Like Kava Marketplace has said, the usual FDA disclaimer goes here. I’m not a doctor, this is just a supplement and should be used responsibly. It feels like our little special secret because what most stores sell is, well, awful and super low in dosages. But don’t be afraid to play, a dose of 2 tablespoons for one may be the equivalent of 1/8th a dose to another and too much for another person. You will know when you hit the perfect spot, trust me. In case my words are hollow – I am sober from alcohol for 7 years, working on tapering off my 3+ year addiction to benzos (thank the Hawaiian Gods and places like this who sell this magical if not “earthy and funky” root. It’s saved my butt many times over the last 2 weeks alone.

  33. Robn,

    Whew, that was a lot of info! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with the community. With regards to dosing recommendations, I couldn’t have said it better myself! Kava really does produce subjective effects that each person will experience differently. The best way to find out what works for you is to dive right in!

    Team Kava

  34. Vadim,

    The best way to consume the paste is to place a small piece (about 1/8 teaspoon) under your tongue or inside your lower lip. While it is in your mouth, the paste will slowly dissolve. You will feel the effects almost immediately and you may also feel a numbing sensation in your mouth and gums. This is perfectly normal. Once you are satisfied you can spit the remaining paste out or swallow it.

    There are some people who prefer to eat the paste directly. It is fine to do this as well, although eating usually produces a milder experience.

    Team Kava

  35. Hello,
    I recently purchased the 55% paste and am not experiencing much for effects, especially compared to how well the instant kava powder has worked for me. I have been mixing the paste with full fat milk, letting it dissolve a bit, mixing it again, then swallowing it all at once. I have tried 1/8 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon with no effects. Should I be trying another way of taking it? Or is it possible that the full kava root just works better with my body chemistry? Thanks for your help!

  36. Hi Marian,

    Yes, there is other forms of intake. Although the most preferred one of intaking the paste and most effective is by taking 1/8th of teaspoon and placing it under your tongue. It’s just going to take some experimenting, because, everyone reacts to kava differently and we want you to find a kava that is best for you.

    Team Kava

  37. I just purchased your Kava Tincture Plus. The directions on the bottle said “take 40 drops per serving up to twice a day.” It does not say how. Do I put the drops under my tongue or do I put in juice etc.? I have anxiety attacks and back pain. I also have trouble sleeping at night. What is your suggestion on taking the tincture?

    thank you,

  38. Hi Marian,

    The Full Spectrum Paste is ment to be ingested alone to be placed under the tongue and then allowed to e dissolved is how the effects take place. But it could possibly be that your tolerance for kava is different because, both of these methods are two very different ways of taking kava.

  39. Just ordered my first sample of Kava. Was just wondering if anyone has successfully been able to substitute Kava for Xanax? I really hate taking them and am afraid of what withdrawals will be like. I have pretty serious anxiety and wold like to find a healthier alternative to prescription drugs.

  40. Does the kava affect driving or other activities? I am just finding out about this and am looking forward to ordering some for my anxiety problems.

  41. Peggy,

    Great question. Used in excess, yes, Kava can affect your ability to operate heavy machinery, including vehicles. Just like anything, though, it’s not difficult to gauge how Kava is affecting you. It would take a lot of Kava to impair your ability to drive, but we do advocate responsible use of Kava.

    Team Kava

  42. Good day,

    I bought some California poppy and some kanna, Im new to this and chose it on the builder for anxiety. Can anyone tell me a bit more about it? What doses should i take and for how long i should take it?

    Thanks in advance.

  43. Hi,
    Thank you for your inquiry. Directions for Kanna are: 4 dropperfuls up to 3 times per day. Do not exceed 4 dropperfuls per serving. Daily dosage not to exceed 12 dropperfuls. Maximum period of daily use: 3 months. Use may resume for 3 months after a 2-week break. And as California Poppy goes, we recommend 4 dropperfuls 30 minutes before bedtime. Do not exceed 8 dropperfuls per serving. Daily dosage not to exceed 8 dropperfuls. Maximum period of daily use is also 3 months. Use may resume for 3 months after a 2-week break.
    Thank you,
    Team Kava

  44. Hi, I will be new to Kava, so I had a couple of questions. I need something during the day for anxiety but I also need something at night because I don’t sleep well at and have insomnia. Do you recommend two different types? I thought that extracts might be good during the day as they are the least intrusive. And perhaps powder at night. I have a lot of problems with anxiety and I use sleeping pills at night (which are becoming increasingly useless). Thanks so much for your help!!!

  45. Thank you so much for all the information here. I am looking to replace my Friday night drinking with this as Alcoholism runs in my family. I have tried a dried instant root from Drink Root (1 pack in water) and an extract (Ojas, no amount indicated aside from “take 30-60 drops). I didn’t feel much more than the numb lips and a headache later.
    I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. What would you recommend?

  46. I absolutely love Kava, it is a gift of nature that big pharmaceutical companies know of, but can’t patient or trademark, but properly measured to standized tests makes it a very valuable part of my medicine cabinate! No other pharmaceutical synthetic can substitute for it for axeity relief! Benzodiapines be damned! I suffered with chronic leg pain and PTSI (post traumatic stress injury) for years until I really rediscovered Kava after over 40 years. Thank you Kava.com for producing a product that actually cares about people..your passion is the cause of success in any business! Your passion assures your success!

  47. Eric,
    Thank you for your heartfelt review of our products. People like yourself are the reason we do what we do. Our passion for helping people through kava, and through nature, will continue for many years to come. We’re delighted you will be along for the ride with us.

    Team Kava

  48. I bought some 70% Hawaiian Kava. I am one of those people that don’t know how much to put into a capsule or how many capsules to try initially. I am looking to be able to take a capsule or however many to be able to sleep.

    I know u can’t give medical advice just a tad bit of info would be awesome.

  49. Hi there,
    Do you know exactly which kava of ours you’ve purchased? Most of our root powders recommend a daily serving size of 1 tablespoon, up to 3 times a day. Our capsules range anywhere from 1-2 a day up to 6 per day. There should be dosage instructions somewhere on the back of your packaging if you did purchase it from us or any other reputable source for kava. Be wary of anywhere that sells kava root powder without a label or dosage instructions! If they aren’t following those rules, who knows what else they could be cutting corners on.

    Best of luck.

    Team Kava

  50. I am a practitioner and would like to try some with my clients. I have a variety from anxiety to back pain. What are the best ones for me to order and gave them some samples to try ?

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