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:
00. WHAT DOES KAVA DO?
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!
01. WHAT IS THE STRENGTH OF EACH PRODUCT?
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.
01. WHICH FORM OF KAVA TO BUY?
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 Paste that Kona Kava Farm offers. It comes as a 55% Kavalactone Paste as well as a “Full Spectrum” paste. Although the “Full Spectrum” isn’t quite as potent as the 55% Kavalactone Paste, we like it better because it includes all 24-ish lactones that all synergistically, in our opinion, make the kava experience as authentic as possible.
- 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.*
03. HOW TO MAKE KAVA DRINKS/KAVA TEAS
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.