Benefits of Kava
While there appear to be many benefits of Kava, some are more scientifically valid than others. Kava supplements are often claimed to be beneficial for treating stress, depression, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. However, there have been several reports of severe liver damage possibly due to the supplement. Until more information is available, the risks of using kava may outweigh any possible benefits.
Kava (Piper methysticum) is a pepper-like plant native to the South Pacific. It is a common ingredient in dietary supplements. Kava supplements are often claimed to be helpful for the following conditions:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as bladder infections
- Menopausal symptoms.
Some of these kava benefits are more scientifically valid than others (see Does Kava Work? for more information). As with many supplements, claims for the benefits of kava are sometimes exaggerated, and these claims must be evaluated critically. Most importantly, it is essential to remember that natural products should not be used carelessly, as many natural products can be quite toxic (for instance, many poisons are natural products). In fact, there have been several reports of severe liver damage possibly due to kava, and kava supplements have been banned in several countries (see Kava Safety for more information). Therefore, until more information is available, it seems that the risks of using kava probably outweigh any possible benefits.