Effects of Kava

Effects of Kava

May 03, 2023

estimated read time - 14 min

Individuals have diverse motivations for consuming kava, and their experiences with the beverage can vary greatly. Here we have compiled some of our customers' experiences with kava and how it has aided them in the alleviation of their anxiety, stress, and other health conditions.

In the following sections, we will discuss some of these experiences. Please keep in mind these experiences may not be what you experience and your body may not react in the same way as these supporters have experienced.

Furthermore, although anyone may find the practices or understandings to be useful here, it is made available with the understanding that neither the author nor the company are engaged in presenting specific medical or spiritual advice. Nor is anything here intended to be a diagnosis, prescription, recommendation, or ure for any kind of medical, psychoogical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual problem. Please consult with a licensed, qualified physician, therapist, or competent professional.


Kava and Anxiety

…I tend to suffer from high levels of anxiety, which is one of the reasons for my interest in Kava, but I have found that my anxiety levels have been reduced very nicely using this kava…

Kavalactones found in kava have anxiolytic properties that can aid in alleviating anxiety and stress. When kava is consumed, its kavalactones are absorbed into the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier, where they interact with the GABA receptors in the brain. The GABA receptors and their functional health are known to play a major role in regulating anxiety and promoting relaxation.

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that helps calm the nervous system. Kava is found to help increase the activity of GABA receptors which may result in an overall feeling of relaxation and calm(9). With this ability, kava may be helpful for people who are having anxiety as it can help reduce the symptoms of the condition.

In addition to its effects on GABA receptors, kava may also have an impact on the dopamine system in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating mood, motivation, and reward. Kava has been found to increase dopamine levels, which may help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Additionally, kava's ability to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation and better sleep quality may also contribute to its potential to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

Panic Attacks

Kava's and Panic Attacks

..in steps Kava, and my world has changed. This powder stops my panic attacks dead within 1 minute, that's right 1 minute. I have never felt relief from a panic attack that quickly and if you've ever dealt with them you know that that's life-changing…

Panic attacks are a form of anxiety disorder that often result in symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, and a feeling of impending doom. Because kava has been shown to alleviate anxiety, it may also have the potential to reduce the occurrence of panic attacks.


Kava and Fibromyalgia

.…I struggle with a condition called Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, as well as fibromyalgia. My body hurts about 99% of the time and I’ve struggled with adrenaline surges and depression as well.I turned to kava kava as a last resort before I decided to give in to pharmaceutical drugs to manage my symptoms.I just drank it for about 15 minutes and my body was very minimal, my heart rate went down, and I just felt like I was in a good mood..

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body, as well as sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety. The cause of this condition is not fully understood, and there is currently no known cure for it. However, various treatments, including therapy, medication, and alternative therapies, can help manage its symptoms.

Research has indicated that individuals with fibromyalgia may have an increased sensitivity to pain, as the neural pathways responsible for transmitting and receiving pain signals are altered. This alteration can result in chronic pain, where pain signals continue to be transmitted to the brain long after tissue damage or injury has healed.

One way to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia is by controlling anxiety and stress levels, which can trigger the condition and lead to fatigue and pain. Kava, with its anxiolytic properties, has the potential to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and enhance sleep quality, making it a possible remedy for individuals with fibromyalgia.

Studies have shown that kavalactones found in kava can inhibit certain enzymes in the brain that trigger the release of inflammatory responses. This inhibition may alleviate inflammation and pain symptoms, providing further support for kava's potential in managing fibromyalgia symptoms.


Kava and Migraine Relief

…I had a terrible migraine out of nowhere one day, and typically once one sets in, there is little I can do about it, but the kava kept it from getting worse. I did have to take a heavier dose to achieve that effect, but hey, it beat the performance of my usual prescription migraine pill…

Migraine is a recurring headache that can be moderate or severe, often accompanied by sensitivity to light, nausea, and other symptoms. The exact cause of migraines is not known, but it is believed to be linked to changes in blood flow and neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Stress and anxiety are also recognized as potential triggers for migraines, with many individuals reporting feeling stressed or anxious prior to an attack.

Kava may be helpful in preventing migraines by reducing the symptoms of anxiety and stress due to its calming and relaxing effects. Additionally, kava has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial since inflammation is thought to play a role in migraines, and anti-inflammatory medications are frequently used to treat them. Thus, consuming kava could potentially reduce the intensity and recurrence of migraines.

Moreover, kava's analgesic properties can assist in managing migraines by easing pain without inducing unconsciousness. This makes kava a viable alternative for relieving migraine symptoms. However, we do recommend if you are experiencing migraines due to dehydration or loss of electrolytes, to abstain from kava and drink more water with electrolytes. Kava is a diurretic and can worsen dehydration.

Restless Leg Syndrome(RLS)

Kava and Restless Leg Syndrome

…I have Psoriatic Arthritis and Restless leg syndrome, and sometimes, even with meds, can get no relief from pain or the creepy, crawly feeling in my legs. I spend a lot of sleepless nights. My tongue felt immediately numb. In about 20 minutes my legs felt relaxed and I felt sleepy…

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations such as itching, crawling, tingling, and burning in the legs, along with an uncontrollable urge to move them and other body parts. While the cause of RLS is mostly unknown, it often runs in families, and low levels of iron in the brain may also be responsible for it.

Disruption of dopamine levels in the brain can also cause RLS, leading to involuntary movements. Treatment for RLS often involves iron supplements and medications that increase dopamine levels.

Kava contains kavalactones that increase dopamine levels in the brain, potentially correcting imbalances that may cause restless leg syndrome. Additionally, kava's muscle relaxant properties may help alleviate involuntary muscle movements that often accompany RLS.

Focus and Concentration

Kava on Focus and Concentration

…this blend has worked amazingly well with increasing my focus and concentration, as well as, lending to an overall sense of well-being…

Kava has been reported to improve focus and concentration in some individuals. This is believed to be due to its anxiolytic properties, which can help reduce distractions and promote a sense of calm focus. By reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, kava can improve focus and concentration, particularly in those who experience difficulty concentrating due to stress or anxiety.

Research suggests that kava's ability to enhance cognitive skills may be attributed to its ability to inhibit the reuptake of noradrenaline in the prefrontal cortex. Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in regulating cognitive function, stress reactions, attention, and arousal. Therefore, kava's effects on noradrenaline levels may help improve focus, attention, and cognitive performance(6).

Weight Loss

Kava and Weight Loss

…this works amazingly as an appetite suppressant. I am a 38 year old woman and have about 12 more pounds to lose on my weight loss journey. I have been using different brands of Kava for a long time to provide a mood boost and anxiety relief. This is the only brand that has provided the added benefit of being a strong appetite suppressant…

Kava has been suggested to contribute to weight loss due to its impact on stress and anxiety levels. When we experience stress or anxiety, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone known for increasing blood sugar levels, regulating fat metabolism, and suppressing the immune system. These effects can lead to an increase in appetite and fat storage, ultimately leading to weight gain.

By consuming kava, individuals may experience a reduction in stress and anxiety levels, resulting in decreased cortisol levels and appetite, making it easier to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet. Additionally, kava may improve sleep quality, which is essential for weight loss. Poor sleep is associated with increased ghrelin hormones (which stimulate appetite) and decreased leptin hormones (which suppress appetite). By improving sleep quality, kava may help regulate these hormones, reducing appetite and aiding weight loss.

Finally, kava's anxiolytic properties may also help improve mood and motivation, which are crucial for achieving weight loss goals. Feeling good and motivated can inspire individuals to stick to a healthier diet and exercise routine, making weight loss feel more achievable.

Alcohol Cravings

Kava and Alcohol Cravings

…I was a borderline alcoholic and I discovered kava and it kills alcohol cravings for me where I don’t even think about alcohol. It’s so portable so I bring it to parties and I’m just as sociable as if I were drinking alcohol…

Although the precise mechanism by which kava reduces alcohol cravings is not fully understood, it is thought that kavalactones, the active compounds in kava, can activate the same brain receptors as alcohol. This suggests that kava may help reduce cravings for alcohol and decrease the urge to drink by acting on the same brain pathways.

 Researchers have been studying on the chemistry of cravings and it was assumed that addiction can be treated if the neurological process of craving can be interrupted. Kavalactones have been found to attach to specific receptors in the brain that are involved in addiction and cravings. By binding to these receptors, kavalactones can modulate the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and GABA, which play a role in pleasure and reward, as well as anxiety and stress regulation(7). Since stress and anxiety can trigger alcohol cravings, kava's ability to promote relaxation and calmness may help reduce these cravings.

Social Anxiety

Kava and Social Anxiety

… it was so easy to use just mix it up in eight oz of water and here comes a stress free day. It made socializing super easy and I totally hate people…

Individuals who struggle with anxiety or nervousness in social situations may find it challenging to connect with others. Kava's calming effects have been found to be helpful in alleviating social anxiety. It's ability to induce relaxation may help people gain confidence and feel more comfortable during social events.

In addition to its anxiety-reducing effects, kava has also been shown to have mood-enhancing properties. This may help increase sociability and happiness, making it easier for individuals to interact with others and enjoy social gatherings.

Some studies have suggested that kava may increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in cognitive processes such as attention, impulse control, social behavior, and personality development. By enhancing activity in this region of the brain, kava may promote feelings of empathy and connection, making it easier for individuals to relate to others on a deeper level.

Muscle Tension

Kava and Muscle Tension

…I have scoliosis and bulging disks. This stuff melts away the muscle tension that results from what these injuries do to the body, and alleviates other kinds of pain pretty well, too...

Muscle tension is a prevalent condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as physical activity, poor posture, and stress. It can lead to stiffness and soreness in the muscles, making movement painful and limited.

Kavalactones, the active compounds in kava, have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the discomfort caused by muscle tension. By reducing inflammation, symptoms may improve. Kava's ability to alleviate anxiety may also help relieve muscle tension by increasing GABA levels, promoting relaxation.

Another way kava may help with muscle tension is by improving sleep quality. During sleep, muscles relax and repair themselves, and not getting enough sleep can interrupt this process, leading to discomfort and tension. Since kava may reduce stress and anxiety, which may cause sleep disturbances, it may improve sleep quality and allow muscles to naturally repair themselves.

Finally, kava was found to have vasodilatory properties which may help alleviate muscle tension by improving blood circulation to the affected area. Limited blood flow can cause muscles to become sore and tense, but kava's ability to widen blood vessels may increase blood flow and decrease blood pressure, improving circulation to the muscles(8).

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of drinking kava?

Although kava is generally considered safe, it may not work equally well for everyone and not everyone can use it. Additionally, taking large amounts of kava can lead to potential side effects such as dizziness, headache, drowsiness, and upset stomach. It is important to note that kava may interact with certain medications and should not be combined with alcohol.

For further information on the potential risks associated with kava, please refer to our Kava Pros and Cons and Kava Dosage blogs.

How long does kava last?

Generally , the effects of kava can be felt within 15-30 minutes and it can last between 1-3 hours. However, the duration of the effects can be influenced by various factors, such as the dose, method of consumption, and recent food intake. Some sources suggest that the effects of kava can last up to 18-36 hours.

To learn more about the factors to consider on how long kava can last, check out our blog here.

What does kava feel like?

The effects of kava are often characterized as soothing, tranquil, and slightly euphoric, although the specific experience may differ based on the type of kava ingested. Certain strains may encourage greater sociability and chattiness, while others may foster introspection and creativity.

It's worth noting that kava can also produce sedative and drowsy sensations, which is why it's advised to avoid operating heavy machinery while under its influence.


In conclusion, kava has demonstrated potential in alleviating a range of health conditions such as chronic pain, muscle tension, alcohol cravings, panic attack, migraine, fibromyalgia and may even help suppress your appetite. The anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory properties found in kavalactones are known to help increase the GABA activity in the brain, increase dopamine levels, and reduce inflammation resulting to relief from such health conditions. In addition, kavas ability to promote relaxation, calmness and focus may help may also help improve cognitive functions.

However, it is still important to consult a healthcare provider first before using kava for these symptoms to obtain proper guidance.


  1. Fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. National Institutes of Health. June 2021. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/fibromyalgia#
  2. Tzeng YM, Lee MJ. Neuroprotective properties of kavalactones. Neural Regen Res. 2015 Jun;10(6):875-7. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.158335. PMID: 26199594; PMCID: PMC4498339. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4498339/
  3. Bian T, Corral P, Wang Y, Botello J, Kingston R, Daniels T, Salloum RG, Johnston E, Huo Z, Lu J, Liu AC, Xing C. Kava as a Clinical Nutrient: Promises and Challenges. Nutrients. 2020 Oct 5;12(10):3044. doi: 10.3390/nu12103044. PMID: 33027883; PMCID: PMC7600512. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7600512/
  4. Restless Legs Syndrome. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Last reviewed, February 07, 2023. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/restless-legs-syndrome#
  5. E. LaPorte, J. Sarris, C. Stough, A. Scholey. Neurocognitive effects of kava (Piper methysticum): a systematic review. 16 March 2011. https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.1180
  6. Hussain LS, Reddy V, Maani CV. Physiology, Noradrenergic Synapse. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK540977/
  7. Steiner GG. Kava as an anticraving agent: preliminary data. Pac Health Dialog. 2001 Sep;8(2):335-9. PMID: 12180513. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12180513/#
  8. Martin HB, McCallum M, Stofer WD, Eichinger MR. Kavain attenuates vascular contractility through inhibition of calcium channels. Planta Med. 2002 Sep;68(9):784-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2002-34443. PMID: 12357387. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12357387/
  9. Singh YN, Singh NN. Therapeutic potential of kava in the treatment of anxiety disorders. CNS Drugs. 2002;16(11):731-43. doi: 10.2165/00023210-200216110-00002. PMID: 12383029. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12383029/#

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