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Kava is an herb indigenous to the Pacific islands, best known for its psychoactive effects, which most commonly include sedation and euphoria. Kava – piper methysticum is its scientific name – is traditionally consumed as a beverage from the ground kava root of the kava plant. Kava can also be chewed.
Kava – also referred to on the Unwinder as “whole kava root”, “herbal kava”, “kava herb” “kava root”, “kava kava”, and other similar variations – has recently become popular in the West, partly due to the emergence of kava kava bars, where people can gather in public and drink kava in a social setting. Kava drinkers typically find high quality kava to be relaxing and decrease social anxiety. It’s also used for sleep.
Our coverage on kava aims to be comprehensive. Here you’ll find articles that answer common questions about kava such as “what does kava feel like?”, “what is kava good for?” “what does kava taste like?” and more.
It’s important to know that there are two main types of kava—and that you almost always want to go with one of them. Noble kava tends to reduce stress, have fewer side effects, and is shorter lasting. Tudei kava is associated with harsher side effects, and is more sedative. We will almost always recommend taking noble kava.
There are also different ways to consume kava. There is kavalactone (the ‘active ingredient’ in kava) extract, powdered kava root, kava drink mix (or micronized kava), and sublingual kava (kava drops or kava tinctures). You’ll find our reviews, info, and recommendation on all of these, and more, below.