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What Is Kava?

Kava, also known as kava kava, piper methysticum, and ‘awa, is a small shrub native to islands in the South Pacific. Kava is traditionally made from the root and stem, which is placed in a porous sack, submerged in water, and squeezed into a wooden bowl. People then drink a cup or two, and await the effects of what is said to be heightened attention in combination with feelings of relaxation. Kava is now mass-produced and can be found in tea varieties, as well as establishments similar to hookah bars, but for the sole enjoyment of the shrub.

In terms of recovery, kava is somewhat of a controversial subject. Kava can be mildly intoxicating, so the potential for abuse is there. Often used as an anxiolytic, it can produce feelings similar to benzodiazepine use, and when larger doses are taken, marked signs of intoxication may be present. In fact, driving-under-the-influence tickets have been issued to individuals who drank kava before getting behind the wheel. For those of us who do not want to take anything that could alter our minds or reignite our addictions, kava may be something to avoid.

Before you take anything, consult your doctor who is well-versed in addiction medicine. Some evidence shows there may be a correlation of liver damage and possible death in individuals who consume kava. For those who already have liver damage, this could be a double whammy. Touted as a replacement for alcohol, as is marijuana in a sense, kava should be approached with much caution.

As addicts and alcoholics, the thought of an herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia is exciting for our ears, but almost too good to be true. Add in the fact that it could be mind-altering, and we may find ourselves in dangerous territory. The idea that we can enjoy a fun little tea in a bar like normal people is a scary one. Be careful of decisions that may seem harmless at the start, but can lead you back down the dark path from which you came. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, give us a call. We can get you started on the right path to a life in recovery.

The Serenity Recovery Center stands as a landmark of the Encino Hospital Medical Center offering the best of detox. Committed to providing comfort and care, our private detox program supports the first foundational steps of sobriety. Contact us today for information: 866.294.9401