KavaSociety.nz

The Kava Blog

Welcome to our blog!

 

We will use this space to post stories and articles about kava culture, science and various kava experiences. Feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions for new posts.

 

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not meant to be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. What we present here is the literature we are familiar with and our own experiences related to the consumption of kava as a traditional beverage. If you do suffer from an illness, take any medications, require treatment or health advice, or have any other health concerns, you should consult your qualified health professional whether you can safely use kava.

By The Kava Society, Feb 18 2017 01:38AM

People often ask us how much kava powder they should be using per session. This is a really difficult question to answer. While the commonly published "maximum recommended daily dose of kavalactones" is 250mg, this is much less than the amount traditionally consumed. Why is there such a discrepency between the Western recommendations and the practices of kava's traditional consumers? In this post we will try to explain the rationale behind different kinds of recommendations and share our own perspective on the question of kava dosage.


By The Kava Society, Jul 31 2016 06:06AM

A couple of weeks ago we went to one of the Pacific islands that lost its kava culture 150 years ago with the arrival of the European missionaries. But while nobody drinks kava there today, we have good reasons to believe that their forests still have some of the ancient local cultivars and hence we wanted to try to find them. We weren't very successful (i.e. didn't manage to find the actual plants), but found people who might be able to assist us with future searches and/or even send us some samples. On the way back to Auckland I had a bit of time so I finally managed to read a series of articles by Kirk Huffman, a prominent anthropologist and a respected expert on kava's history, culture and modern use. Kirk presents a very interesting overview of kava's history and effects as well as a thought-provoking account of the developments that led to kava's increasing popularity and the so-called "ban" in Europe (now lifted).


I thought you might find some of his observations interesting, so I've collected a few longer quotes:



By The Kava Society, Apr 26 2016 12:22AM


Last week one of our members travelled down to Hamilton to visit Dr Apo Aporosa, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Waikato who is one of the leading kava scholars and a true enthusiast and promoter of the kava culture. Apo also runs the Waikato University Kava Club and an informal network of local kava drinkers who meet regularly around Hamilton for relaxed kava sessions. Our member had the opportunity to participate in one of their sessions at Apo's place on Sunday and also got a chance to chat about his research projects. He's asked him a few questions that could be of interest and relevance to many other kava drinkers:



By The Kava Society, Feb 17 2016 03:16AM

A couple of months ago a group of travellers from around the Pacific organised (probably) the first kava session in the Vatican (see picture below). While this could have indeed been the first kava even in this tiny country, let's not forget that popes and bishops are no strangers to kava. John Paul II famously had a big shell of kava in Fiji back in 1986 and countless other church members have consumed it both around the Pacific and in other places inhabited by various Pacific islanders.



Drinking kava in the Vatican (source: http://350pacific.org)
Drinking kava in the Vatican (source: http://350pacific.org)


This reminds us of an interesting article on kava drinking and Christianity published a few months ago online. Check it out to learn more:


Peter Vandever: Jesus Would Drink Kava

By The Kava Society, Mar 19 2015 03:08AM

Many people wonder whether there is any connection between the Kawakawa plant (Piper excelsum) and Kava (Piper methysticum). The two plants do not only have similar names, but also look similar. Is this just a coincidence or are the two plants related and their similar names tell us something about the Maori knowledge about kava?


Dr Vincent Lebot, the author of "Kava: The Pacific Elixir: The Definitive Guide to Its Ethnobotany, History, and Chemistry" (a truly excellent book) argues that in all likelihood the kava plant was known to the first settlers of Aotearoa. It is also possible that (just like the Polynesian migrants that settled in Hawaii) the Maori explorers brought some kava with them. Unfortunately, most of New Zealand is simply too cold for growing kava and hence the Maori settlers lost their connection to the sacred plant. However, some traces of the memories of kava drinking have survived.


According to Dr Lebot: "In New Zealand, where the climate is too cold for kava, the Maori gave the name kawa-kawa to another Piperaceae, M. excelsum, in memory of the kava plants they undoubtedly brought with them and unsuccessfully attempted to cultivate. The Maori word kawa also means "ceremonial protocol", recalling the stylized consumption of the drug typical of Polynesian societies".


Kawakawa is related to kava, but unlike its tropic cousin, it doesn't have the famous relaxing properties. However, it has traditionally been used for various medicinal and practical purposes. According to Te Papa Museum: "Kawakawa has been recorded as being used internally to tone the kidneys and help with stomach problems. Externally it was used for cuts, wounds, boils, abscesses, and nettle stings. It was also used for rheumatism and other aches and pains including toothache. When kawakawa is thrown on a campfire and burnt it reputedly keeps mosquitoes away."



Kawakawa leaves (source: Wikimedia Commons)



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