kava kava


  • Tea
  • Tablets should be standardised to 70% Kavalcatones
  • Take for no longer that 4-6 weeks on daily basis
  • Induces state of relaxation and goodwill in traditional ceremonial use
  • Enhances mental acuity, memory and sensory perception
  • Sedative and mild euphoriant
  • Treats urinary tract disorders and headaches
  • Reverses secondary effects of anxiety: Kavalcatones release skeletal muscular tension
  • Analgesic strength comparable to cocaine and effective for toothache and pain in kidney and urinary tract
Dangers and advice
  • Tea should be made with emulsifier in order to extract the active ingredients: Kavalcatones
  • Not to be combined with alcohol, anti-depressants, tranquillisers or sleeping pills
  • Do not drive or operate machinery
  • Not recommended for people with severe anxiety and / or depression; constant long term use may damage liver, skin, eyes and spinal cord



  • Use 1 ounce of powder per person (2 tablespoons)
  • The amount of water will vary according to taste but a good rule of thumb is 1 ounce of powder to a pint of water
  • You can add soy lethicin or a fat (like coconut oil) as an emulsifier to increase the extraction of kavalactones, the active plant nutrients

Traditional method

  • Strain the dried kava powder in water. In Hawaii the strainer is often a nylon stocking, cheesecloth, one-gallon paint strainer, or muslin bags.
  • Place the powder into the strainer bag, hold its edges together at the top with your hand so that none of the powder escapes.  Then, immerse the bag into a bowl of cool water.
  • Use your hand to knead the kava under the water or bring the strainer out and squeeze then immerse it again in the water.
  • The kneading is the most critical step in the entire process!
  • The kava should feel oily at first which is due to kavalactone levels. Keep repeating this process until the kava in your strainer no longer feels oily. The water should take on the appearance of mud; the color of your kava brew may range from tan to dark brown depending on the varietal of kava used. That’s it; you are finished!

Modern Hack

These days, the kneading has been replaced by the electric blender

  • Simply add the ingredients to a blender and mix for about 4 minutes
  • Pour mixture into a nylon sieve or cheese cloth, squeeze excess liquid into a bowl
  • Discard pulp and enjoy.


  • Drink slowly. This will allow some of the lactones to be absorbed directly into mucus membranes of your mouth for immediate effects. It will also cause more of the pleasant tingling sensation that kava is famous for.
  • Traditionally, each serving of this prepared ‘awa is swallowed in one or two quick gulps from a coconut shell and always with thoughts of giving thanks.
  • It is a good idea to space serving at least 10 minutes apart as the kavain, the kavalactone highest in most Hawaiian ‘awa varieties is usually felt quite soon after drinking, but other kavalactones effects may not register for 20 minutes or so.
  • Drinking kava on an empty stomach may also reduce the time it takes to feel kava’s effects.
  • Kava is traditionally “chased” with a sweet or savory snack to cleanse the palette. In Hawaii, this led to the creation of the pupu platter, still a feature of many Hawaiian restaurants and resorts.

Storing brewed Kava

  • Kava can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in a sealed container, such as a carafe with a lid.
  • If you really want to stretch your kava, you can also freeze kava drinks: simply measure your kava brew into individual servings and seal the liquid in freezer bags. Frozen kava lasts for up to three months. Whenever you desire a bowl of fresh kava, remove one of your individually bagged servings, run it through a blender to return it to its liquid state, and enjoy!

Never boil kava when making beverages as it will decrease the strength of the drink! 

Adapted from:

Balch, P.A. (2002). Prescription for herbal healing. New York, NY: Avery books

Recipe from Kona Kava Farm



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