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Just a photograph of our beautiful Hawaiian Islands can put you in a relaxed state of mind and cause you to dream of a Hawaii Vacation; it may even get you to take a deep breath and possibly lower your blood pressure. You may imagine swaying palm trees and endless beaches…but Life can sneak up and snatch your tranquility with a quick slap.
Lasting tranquility is possible and you don’t have to live in Hawaii to obtain it. The people of Oceania—made up of some ten thousand islands within the Polynesian Triangle of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia—have been using this dream supplement for more than 3000 years.
Kava Kava, or Kava for short, is an entrenched character in the lives of Pacific islanders. Used for spiritual, social and political reasons, the ground root of the Piper genus (same family as black pepper) is the official drink of the South Seas and Fiji’s national drink.
The benefits of this ancient herb are many. In fact, in 1999 German doctors prescribed Kava to 350,000 patients for anxiety related disorders. An excerpt from Kava by Maggie Greenwood-Robinson, Ph.D, lists Kava’s healing and therapeutic properties:
~ relieves everyday stress
~ significantly lowers anxiety after one week of use
~ effectively manages long-term anxiety
~ is as effective as some prescription drugs in reducing serious anxiety
~ induces relaxation
~ acts as a muscle relaxant
~ has pain-relieving properties
~ may help prevent abnormal blood clotting
~ acts as an anti convulsive
~ may protect the brain
~ may help smokers and alcoholics kick the habit
~ improves alertness, memory and reaction time
~ significantly reduces menopausal symptoms (anxiety and depression)
I like to drink a cup of Kava—or awa in Hawaiian—when I am having a bout with insomnia. The bitter taste is something I got used to and even like. I know it’s working when my tongue feels slightly numb. I sleep hard all night long, sometimes heavy rainfall will wake me, and I wake refreshed and ready for the day. No “hangover.” Kava has no side effects unless consumed in copious amounts.
The missionaries of the 1800s, believing awa was “devil’s juice,” eradicated the herb’s use in Hawaii. It has made a come back and Kava can be ordered online from numerous Hawaii farms.
Photos by Dan Lane.