Kava Kava Root + CBD: What Are the Benefits?
Kava kava root powder (often referred to as just “kava”) is an herbal remedy derived from the roots of Piper methysticum, which is found in the Southern Pacific. This plant is a member of the pepper family. Pacific Islanders use it in a ceremonial drink to promote relaxation (1). Kava has also been used for its myriad of health benefits, including helping relieve anxiety, treating insomnia, reducing pain, and even treating symptoms of menopause (2).
As is the case with all supplements, it must be used in moderation. That’s why we carefully added the perfect amount of kava kava root powder to our calming salve. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about kava and how it can be used with CBD to offer a wide array of medical benefits.
Why do people use Kava?
Kava was traditionally used to produce a recreational drink enjoyed by Pacific Islanders. The Islanders also used its roots for other traditional remedies. However, most people from outside the areas where the plant grows do not know much about its health benefits. But due to recent advancements in science and research, more light has been shed on the benefits it holds for the human body.
Consuming kava kava can cause a calming and euphoric effect. In fact, many find that it can have a relaxing effect that is similar to alcohol.
Fun fact: Did you know that there are even ‘kava bars’ where kava is served as social drinks to help people loosen up and relax? It has similar effects to alcohol, but without the dreaded hangover.
Scientists have found that the active ingredient in this plant-based relaxant, kavalactones (3), are responsible for many of the health benefits. Studies suggest that kavalactones may help:
How does Kava work?
Kava is often used as an herbal remedy to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. It is broken down in the liver before it passes through the bloodstream where it interacts with the body. Kavapyrones, one of the active ingredients in kava, bind to many sites in the brain that are associated with addiction and craving. Does this mean that kava is addictive?
Absolutely not. In fact, studies have revealed that kava kava root powder may help those dealing with addiction. Kava may help quell cravings associated with substances of abuse, including tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin (5). However, it does not affect the brain directly, meaning it is not an actual sedative.
There are many potential benefits to using a product with kava. These are just a few of the conditions that may be helped by kava:
Research suggests that kava may be instrumental in curbing symptoms of anxiety disorders. A 2013 study (6) revealed that continued use of kava alleviated headaches and liver problems, which are common anxiety symptoms.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health states that a fair amount of research has been done on the use of kava for anxiety (15).
Research conducted has revealed that kava does not have the side effects of withdrawal and dependency (7). However, long term use of large amounts of kava may cause side effects like digestive issues, dizziness, and even liver injury. It’s always important to speak with your doctor before taking herbal remedies like kava, especially if you hope to pair it with certain medications.
Overall, kava kava root powder has been used for thousands of years because of its relaxing effects. Many people have reported that kava is effective in promoting calmness and tranquility. It often helps you feel more relaxed and at ease after use. Plus, many report that they feel less stressed and anxious after using kava as well.
Even better, when kava is paired with other calming compounds like CBD, it can be especially helpful. Kava’s effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders continues to be documented in ongoing research, and we will learn more with time.
Many people deal with sleep disorders of some sort. Whether it’s chronic insomnia or occasional sleeplessness, not getting enough rest is difficult to deal with. Because of this, many people turn to sleep-inducing medications. But unfortunately, the continued use of certain medications can result in dependence and other side effects (8). This is why many people opt for more natural remedies instead.
One good alternative to consider is a product that contains both kava and CBD, as both may promote better sleep. A study (9) conducted on 61 patients found that kava extracts were efficient in improving sleep and reducing anxiety. In addition, CBD has been shown to help manage insomnia, making the combination of kava and CBD potentially very beneficial.
We mentioned that kava has muscle-relaxing properties. Kava extracts have been used to reduce several types of pain, including nociceptive pain. This is pain caused when nerve cells are stimulated by harm to the body, including damage to the skin, muscles, bones, or connective tissue.
Its pain-relieving properties have not gone unnoticed by athletes, with some NFL players opting to use it over conventional painkillers. ESPN even wrote about the NFL’s use of kava to treat pain in this blog post.
Researchers speculate that the calming and anti-anxiety effects of kava may play a big part in the pain reduction benefits it carries. Dr. D. Craig Hopp, the deputy director of the division of extramural research at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, even refers to kava as “herbal Xanax.”
Dr. Hopp also says, “If you're more calm or relaxed, if you aren't stressed about the pain you're under, that might help indirectly with the perception of its benefit. There isn't much direct evidence of it as a pain reliever, but that might be an indirect link.”
A decrease in pain can also help promote better sleep and overall wellness – exactly what most people strive for.
Neuroprotective agents help the body in several ways, including reducing inflammation, calcium influx, and glutamate excitotoxicity (10). Research suggests that kava may offer neuroprotection in the body (11). However, more research is needed in this respect for us to get a clear understanding of its neuroprotective properties.
Forms of Kava
Kava can be taken in powder, tea, or liquid form. Although it has its benefits, excessive kava doses have been linked to liver damage (12). It’s important to not overdo it if you opt for a pure kava product that you take orally. However, if you choose to use a salve that has kava as an ingredient, the dosage is likely not high enough to cause any health issues. It’s still important to only use the product as directed.
Things to Note About Kava
There have been cases where some companies use other parts of the kava plant (stem and leaves) instead of the roots to save on cost, at the expense of users who would develop liver complications. This is because the roots and stem of the kava plants are known to harm the liver (13). However, kava products made from just the kava roots are safe.
Another thing that you should note is that certain kava products can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. This makes it important to speak with your doctor before using kava consistently if you take certain medications. Kava is broken down in the liver by the same enzymes used to break down other drugs. This means that it has the potential to tie up those enzymes and prevent them from breaking down other drugs (14).
Additionally, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should speak to their health care provider before using kava or CBD products. Not enough research has been conducted on the effects of CBD or kava kava root powder to know for certain if it is safe during pregnancy or nursing.
How Kava and CBD Work Together
Kava all by itself is very useful. It’s no wonder that it has been used by Pacific Islanders for years in order to promote relaxation. A plant-based relaxant, it is all-natural and generally very safe.
But it only gets better when you add CBD into the mix. When you combine kava and CBD's medicinal properties, the result is a beneficial remedy that can potentially treat various health complications. Both are effective in improving mood and promoting an overall feeling of calm. Here is how they work:
Cannabinoids, which are active ingredients in CBD, work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system that helps maintain balance in the body. It regulates all kinds of processes, including appetite, mood, stress response, and more (15).
By positively stimulating the endocannabinoid system, CBD can encourage balance throughout the body. This may in turn help manage conditions like anxiety, stress, inflammation, chronic pain, and insomnia. Using CBD either orally or topically may help promote overall health and wellness.
Unlike CBD, kava doesn’t interact with the endocannabinoid system. Instead, the Kavalactones (the active ingredients in kava) interact with neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. This makes it ideal for helping manage certain mental conditions and some physical problems.
Although more research needs to be done before we have a better understanding of just how effective kava is, studies have shown that it may help promote relaxation, ease pain, and lots more.
Why use the Calming and Anxiety Relief Salve?
Kava and CBD work great together. We mentioned kava’s role in potentially treating anxiety, reducing pain, and protecting neurons in the body. Similarly, CBD also has several healing properties. Research has shown that CBD may help improve mood, reduce pain and inflammation, and ease anxious thoughts as well.
Combining the two gives users many benefits, with one of the most notable being increased relaxation. That’s why kava kava root powder is one of the ingredients used in our Calming and Anxiety Relief Salve.
Our salve is packed with premium CBD, and just the right amount of kava kava root powder. It also includes a variety of other beneficial ingredients like ylang ylang essential oil, calendula flowers, vitamin E, and more. All of the ingredients were carefully selected to provide the most calming experience when using the salve.
In addition to using only the highest-quality ingredients, all our products, including the salve, are third party tested and marked as safe for use. Third-party testing is when independent companies with no affiliation to the CBD industry conduct tests to ascertain the quality and quantity of CBD products including their ingredients.