Kava, traditional and social position

Kava, traditional and social position

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Kava, traditional and social position

Kava drink is central to religious and cultural ceremonies throughout the Pacific Islands. Today, more people are using kava in social settings for recreation and celebrations. Kava plants are native to most Pacific Island nations. The botanic name is Piper Methysticum. It is an herbal plant and kava is obtained from the roots of the plant. Thus far, the belief is the name kava may come from Polynesian word awa. So, it literally means intoxicating pepper.

Ancient travellers

Kava has been in use across the Pacific for many centuries. Some reports state since the 18th century. However, its use may extend back much earlier. Ancient explorers in the Pacific regions reported its uses. Apparently, its use in Fiji was more prominent in those days. So, traditionally kava ceremonies were the time for traditional rituals and kava drinking. These rituals were mostly sacred. It is common for a ceremonial feast to follow kava ceremony. 

Kava ceremonies were happening for special occasions. These may be a congregation of chiefs, a chief or dignitary visiting from afar. It was common for a meeting to start a battle too. Other reasons were to celebrate opening and closing of a public assembly or inauguration of a new chief. Thus far, a more important reason was for a meeting with a god or gods for divination.

Psychoactive drink

While kava drink is non-alcoholic, it is known to be psychoactive. Today, more people are expressing interest in herbal and natural remedies. Therefore many people are turning to such therapies to treat numerous aliments and diseases. So far, it is a well-known for the uses that the islanders have been accustomed to for centuries. Hence, the modern society rapidly adopts this concept too.

Kava drinking a little bit so a mystery outside of the Pacific. However it is becoming popular for its uses. It is mostly for relaxation, social events and celebrations. In fact, today, more people are turning to kava drinking for relaxation and stress relief. Thus far, others are effectively using it to treat anxiety.

Modern uses

The western world is showing great interest in kava today. They are embracing kava as possible cure for chronic stress, anxiety and insomnia. Thus far, few research show kava is effective option to benzodiazepine drugs. However, these studies have limited information on this topic. Although, it is legal to sell kava in the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show concerns about its safety and effectiveness. In the USA, it mostly sells as a dietary supplement. Thus, its promoted as a muscle relaxant including help for deep sleep.

FDA expresses concerns that long term and excessive use may cause adverse effects on the liver. So far, FDA cites reports from other countries of hepatitis, and cirrhosis too. Due to the concerns of its effects on the liver, many countries regulate the use of kava. Hence, as a precaution regulations are in place in Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Setting the trend

United States of America sets the trend with kava bars. People are turning to kava bars to chill out. The kava bar craze is growing throughout the USA. Thus far, many people are drinking kava socially in bars. It is seen as a non-alcoholic option of beer and wine. For instance, Florida itself boasts more than 50 kava bars. There appears to be enormous acceptance in the community. The trend is becoming an option to the usual bar scene. Hence, many consumers claim it helps with anxiety and insomnia management. Many people claim that kava helps them to open up in their social gatherings.

Kava bars are new concept social lounge. It is not a traditional bar. Thus, it is neither a coffee bar nor a alcohol bar settings. It creates a remarkable atmosphere without using caffeine or alcohol. So, it is a peace loving and casual setting. It is a new meetup lounge, and everyone is welcome. 

Key compound 

Kavain is the key compound in kava that bring about relaxation. It works very similar to a sedative. While it does not affect the brain, it relaxes the muscles. Therefore, the consumer is mentally alert while physically relaxed. Kava contains another active compound which is known as yangonin. It is chemical that some people may compare to marijuana. In fact, yangonin affects the same brain receptors as the chemical responsible for marijuana's psychological effects. It is interesting to note, the third compound, desmethyoxyyangonin which drives up dopamine levels in the brain. Thus far, it is this compound that gives the drinker the sensation of euphoria. It possibly explains the incredibly good mood.