Kava Kava as a Withdrawal Aid
Kava Kava is a shrub, which is an essential part many Pacific Islands including
Hawaii, Fiji. The Latin name for Kava Kava is Piper methysticum, meaning pepper and
intoxicating respectively. It is commonly known by other names too, like kawa, kew,
yagona, sakau. Kava Kava has many medicinal uses; it is known to treat anxiety, sleep
disturbances, menstrual cramps, toothache and nervous disorders. It helps alleviate
opium withdrawal symptoms in people who are on their way to end the addiction. People
who are addicted to opium pain killers like heroin or morphine, generally experience
anxiety, depression, cravings, hot flushes, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, restlessness and
many other symptoms. Kava Kava can have a calming effect on the body and should be
included in the treatment of opium withdrawal detox process.
Since hundreds of years, roots of this plant have been used medicinally. Roots of the
plant are used in both dried and fresh form but leaves and stems of this plant are not
used and can even cause liver damage. Drink made from its roots pulp is a ceremonial
beverage and in many Pacific Islands, it has a status similar to what wine enjoys in
France. Kava is milder than alcohol and it is seen as a substitute for alcohol at many
places. For any occasion like wedding, festivals, holidays, Kava was used routinely. In
ancient times, kava roots were chewed for its medicinal benefits, but these days Kava is
available in powdered form like capsule or tablet or as tinctures and liquid extracts.
Kava Kava is never given to children and in adults, the recommended dosage of
Kavalactones is 70 to 210 mg and it is always better to consult a physician first. The
dosage should be taken in the evening or just before going to bed. Even though it has
many benefits, Kava Kava should always be taken under a medical professional’s advice.
It is known to react with other drugs and medicines and thus should be taken after
consultation. This plant is known to uplift mood and relaxes the muscles. It is useful
for treating patients of insomnia. It is known to create a feeling of well being, improves
concentration and alertness.
Kavalactones and kavapyrones are two of the main active ingredients of the kava
root, which includes chemicals like kawain, dihydrokawain, and methysticum, among
others. Kavalactones relaxes the muscles and have pain relieving properties also; while
Kavapyrones are anti-convulsant. Opiate withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, and
Kava has been found to improve quality of sleep. Alongwith valerian root, chamomile,
Kava Kava can be very effective to treat opium withdrawal symptoms. It can relax body
and mind of the patient and improves the mood, which can help him fight withdrawal
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