If you’re looking for the best kava supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Kava Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Kava Supplements
If you buy anything using the links below, we get a commission.
|#1||NOW Foods Kava Kava Extract||Get it on Amazon|
|#2||Gaia Herbs Kava Kava Root||Get it on Amazon|
|#3||Natrol Kava Kava||Get it on Amazon|
|#4||Nature’s Answer Kava-6||Get it on Amazon|
|#5||Oregon’s Wild Harvest Kava Root||Get it on Amazon|
|#6||Eclectic Institute Kava Kava||Get it on Amazon|
|#7||Source Naturals Kava||Get it on Amazon|
|#8||Maui Medicinal Herbs Hawaiian Kava||Get it on Amazon|
|#9||Pure Mountain Botanicals Kava||Get it on Amazon|
|#10||Mediherb Kava Forte||Get it on Amazon|
Kava (its scientific name is Piper methysticum) is a plant that’s native to the western islands of the South Pacific. The plant is related to the common pepper. South Pacific islanders have traditionally used the plant’s extracts in a drink used in ceremonies. The drink is also used in social situations, similar to the way alcohol is sometimes used. Its name comes from the Polynesian word for “bitter.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory to consumers regarding the use of kava supplements. Cases of severe liver complications have been reported in people using kava supplements. Other governments, including those of Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, have issued similar statements.
Kava supplements were actually banned in Germany for a time, although the German courts threw out the law in 2014. However, the consumer advisory does not mean that kava supplements cannot be sold in the U.S. The supplements remain available over the counter at most pharmacies and drug stores.
What is a Kava Supplement?
The kava plant goes by a wide variety of common names, some of which include:
- Ava pepper
- Intoxicating pepper
- Kawa kawa
- Kava kava
- Kava pepper
- Kava root
- Long pepper
Usually, the part of the kava plant that is used in dietary supplements is the root or the underground part of the stem.
Serious liver-related side effects of using kava supplements could include cirrhosis, hepatitis, and liver failure. Some of those who have experienced liver failure have required liver transplants. According to FDA reports, these severe liver side effects occurred in fewer than one percent of the people who used kava supplements.
People who have known liver conditions should not use kava supplements. Those taking kava supplements will want to contact their health care providers as soon as possible if they experience any of the following symptoms that could be indicative of liver disorders:
- Brown or dark urine
- Decreased appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin
- Yellowing of the whites of the eyes
Combining the use of kava supplements with the use of alcohol puts one at an increased risk for experiencing negative side effects from the kava plant.
Dry and/or scaly skin has also been reported as another side effect of the long-term use of kava supplements. Eye irritation and heart problems have also been reported as a result of using large amounts of kava.
Those who are taking medicines that suppress, or slow down, the central nervous system should be aware of potential drug interactions with kava supplements. These medications include benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax; sleep medications such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata; and barbiturates such as Luminal Sodium and Nembutal. Kava supplements may amplify the effects of these drugs, causing the user to have increased trouble with motor reflexes. More study is needed on the effects of drug interactions with kava supplements.
Some medications have to be broken down by the liver to be effective, and these medications can be affected by kava supplements. These include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) medicines such as Prilosec and Prevacid as well as the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) and other classes of prescription drugs. A health care provider can help an individual determine whether his or her medication has the potential to interact with kava supplements.
Kava supplements can cause the symptoms of some conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and depression, to become more severe. Those who have these conditions, or who are scheduled for surgery within two weeks, should not use kava supplements. Because kava-containing supplements affect the central nervous system, it is potentially dangerous to use kava supplements before one undergoes anesthesia.
Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should not use kava supplements. Not enough research has been done to show that kava supplements are safe during pregnancy or for young children who may ingest the supplement through the mother’s milk.
Always speak with a medical professional or doctor before taking any supplements. Always read the product label for instructions and directions.
Taking Kava Supplements
Kava supplements are generally available as capsules or tablets. Extracts are also available, and some use the dried, ground root to make a drink out of kava plants. Kava supplements are generally taken by mouth. Always follow the label instructions.
What to Look for in a Good Kava Supplement
When choosing a nutritional supplement, consumers may want to look at the inactive ingredients. Those who are trying not to eat too much sugar, for example, may want to look for sugar-free supplements. Vegans will want to avoid supplements that contain animal-sourced gelatin as an inactive ingredient.