Mental Health Channel
Topics & Medications
Related Channels


Kava is a pepper-like plant native to the South Pacific. It is often used in dietary supplements to help treat stress, anxiety disorders, insomnia, and many other conditions. While some evidence suggests that kava may be effective for such uses, the safety and effectiveness of the supplement has not been fully established. Potential side effects of the supplement include dizziness, stomach upset, and severe liver damage.

What Is Kava?

Kava (Piper methysticum) is an herbal supplement often used to treat anxiety, stress, insomnia, and menopausal symptoms. It is a pepper-like plant native to the South Pacific islands, where it is used to prepare a traditional beverage.
(Click Benefits of Kava for more information on what it is used for, including additional uses.)

How Does Kava Work?

It is not exactly clear how it works. There are several different theories involving numerous different brain chemicals which attempt to explain how it works. It seems to have the following properties:
  • Anti-anxiety properties
  • Sedative properties
  • Anti-seizure properties
  • Local anesthetic properties
  • Anti-spasm properties
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.

Is It Effective?

There is some evidence that kava may be effective for treating anxiety, including anxiety associated with menopause. It may also be helpful in preventing or reducing withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines (certain medications used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures).
(Click Does Kava Work? for more information.)
9 Signs You May Have Inattentive Type Adult ADHD

Kava Extract Information

Referring Pages:
Terms of Use
Advertise with Us
Contact Us
About eMedTV
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.