Kava and Mood Disorders
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New research from Australia suggests that Kava may be a helpful way for people to naturally treat anxiety and nervous disorders. Kava (Piper methysticum) is a medicinal plant native to Pacific Ocean islands, and is a member of the pepper family. The plant's stem has traditionally been used in herbal preparations to treat pain. In the past, the plant, which is used in social ceremonies on some Pacific islands, has been noted to induce states of heightened mental acuity, memory, and sensory perception.

The study from the University of Queensland, Australia was the first clinical trial which found Kava extract to be effective as an anxiety treatment and mood enhancer. While traditional methods have often prepared the plant as a drink, the study was carried out with water-soluble tablets. In a placebo/control study, researchers noted Kava to be a safe and helpful treatment for individuals with depressive and anxiety difficulties.

“We’ve been able to show that Kava offers a natural alternative for the treatment of anxiety, and unlike some pharmaceutical options, has less risk of dependency and less potential of side effects,” said Jerome Sarris, lead researcher on the project.

In the past, concerns over potential liver complications has keep Kava out of the public's awareness, but it is believed that if the plant's properties are extracted in the appropriate way, Kava's potential dangers should subside. Larger studies to confirm the safety and efficiency of Kava, but as a beginning, the plant seems a promising alternative to the current pharmaceutical solutions for mood disorders.

As this line of research is in opening stages, Kava use is still recommended only under the supervision of a physician. To read more about this Kava and this study, please have a look at the links below:

DSIB: Kava
Science Daily: Medicinal Plant Kava Safe And Effective In Reducing Anxiety, Study Suggests
Psychopharmacology: Study Abstract
Psychopharmacology: The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study(In Full)

 

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