Hi beautiful friends.
I’m coming at you live from Boulder, Colorado, where I’m hanging out for 10 days, breathing in the mountain air and exploring. There are so many healthy spots in Boulder, it’s almost overwhelming me!! Green juices and local organic food everywhere…it’s pretty crazybrains.
Check my instagram, as always, for my favorite healthy finds in Boulder and all over the world.
Last week I shot a video after finding a kava bar in NYC – the sign outside said “Alcohol is so 2014 — try Kava!”
People had a lot of questions about it, so I promised I’d write a blog about it, so you could learn all about this “alcohol alternative.” It’s been around for thousands of years but it’s growing in popularity in the US as more and more kava bars are opening.
What is Kava?
Kava is a root that’s been consumed in the South Pacific Islands ceremoniously for over 3,000 years. The root has some incredible anti-anxiety, anti-stress and mood lifting properties to it, which is why many people consume it instead of alcohol. The photo above is from when I first found kava in San Diego, at Rooted Kava Bar.
How is Kava served?
The way kava is consumed at kava bars is usually the powdered root mixed with water to create a beverage. Depending on what kava bar you go to, they’ll make it different ways – weaker, stronger, mixed with different flavors, etc. I went to a place in Boulder yesterday called Tonic that served me INSANELY strong kava! I went in like, oh, I’ll have it really strong, no problem at all, I am hardcore. It was so potent I could barely finish it!!
It is traditionally served in a coconut shell, like the one in the above photo.
How does Kava taste?
Kava on its own tastes…not good at all. :) It’s very earthy…which is why many kava bars will give you a piece of fruit to chase it with or mix it with other flavors or juices. I just drink it straight up though, with water. The taste doesn’t bother me. It kind of makes your mouth feel numb for a minute…which is weird, but cool.
What effects does Kava have on you?
KavaSutra Kava Bar (the one I found in NYC) says, “the effect it will have on you is one that must be experienced to be truly understood. Kava is a healthy, safe alternative to alcohol and can provide some of the same relaxing and sedative effects without altering a person’s mind.”
Rooted says, “Kava is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. It has scientifically proven anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and muscle relaxing properties. It is a sacred tea that when taken over time brings a feeling of happiness and well being.”
That’s exactly how I’d describe it – relaxing and calming and kind of euphoric, but without disrupting mental clarity like alcohol does. It’s really pretty awesome.
Is Kava safe?
Kava has been consumed safely for thousands of years in ceremonies, and there are not many very well documented negative side effects. You don’t get a hangover from drinking kava.
The truth is, though, kava has a history of being a bit controversial, and has even been banned in some countries, but many bans are being lifted.
According to this site, the potential for abuse is “low, but not absent.” The article also goes on to state that there have been references to adverse affects to the liver in some people, but these claims are disputed.
Please remember that I am not a doctor and I am not recommending kava to treat anything, I am merely reporting on it. DO NOT mistake this or anything I write for medical advice!!! My intent is for you to use my blog as a starting point and do your own research. So please do that, and make the decision for yourself.
This article states that in 2001, Duke University Medical Center conducted two studies on kava extract. One study showed that kava is safe for the liver, causing no noticeable problems. The other study revealed that kava extract is as effective for the treatment of anxiety as the benzodiazepine class of drugs (Xanax, Valium), without the hazards caused by those medicines.
Is there a Kava bar near you?
Maybe. A quick way to find out is head over to Yelp and type in “kava” near your location.
Where can you buy Kava?
Here’s a kava root powder I found on Amazon that has pretty good reviews. Otherwise, check with a local herb shop.
Here’s my video about finding the kava bar in NYC:
What do you guys think? Have you tried kava? Would you? Do you think it’s safe to consume?! Let me know…learning from you guys in the comments is always my favorite. :)
Lots of love from Colorado, with fingers on the pulse of the wellness word…