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Kava's "Krazy" History (Part 1)

When my friends asked me if I wanted to go to the Kava Bar with them, I politely declined, thinking I was like one of those kids in a “Say No to Drugs” video. However, kava is a perfectly legal substance. It comes from the kava kava root, which grows in the Pacific Islands. It can be used in vitamin-like supplements, baked into food, or can be made into a drink, also known as Kava tea. In any of its forms, kava is supposed to provide long-term calming effects as you continue to take it.

Kava thrives in warm climates with a high humidity content. It also needs to grow in the shade. Because of these properties, it is best grown in the Pohnpei mountains. Even though the country kava came from is unknown, the Republic of Vanuatu is largely considered to be the poster country of Kava’s origins.

Traditionally, sakau, a rare version of the kava pant, is used in ceremonies in the Pacific Islands, specifically as a greeting among guests. In the areas sakau is used traditionally, it is considered rude to decline sakau when it is offered to you. Someone may offer another person sakau if the person is being unreasonable or acting without thinking. In these situations, even the king must take the sakau if it is offered to him.

This plant's calming abilities are due to chemicals in the root that cause muscle relaxation. Unlike other anti-anxiety supplements, kava does not reduce activeness or elongate reaction time, making it a good natural resource for calming nerves. Kava can be used to induce sleep, although you should not try that yourself. Some Pacific Islanders also use sakau as a blood stopper; they squeeze the juice from the plant into the wound to stop the bleeding.

In Part 2, I will be visiting The Kava Konnection, Greenville's kava bar, to interview one of the workers. Stay tuned to find out more about kava's different forms, where you can get some, and more!

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Click HERE for the source of the information.