Kava

Issue published March 2019

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Letter from the editor

Piper methysticum, also known as kava, is an herb that has become popularized recently because of its potent sedative property, as well as its narcotic, soporific, and muscle-relaxing effects. It is a traditional herb from the Polynesian Islands and New Guinea that has documented use for thousands of years among South Pacific Island peoples. It is used traditionally to help open up communication, create community, connect to the divine, and ease tensions. It has sociological significance in these communities still, as well as medicinal uses.

Recently, I attended an herbal gathering that happened to have a kava ceremony on the opening day. The ceremony was conducted with freshly dried root collected and processed by a medicine woman, who was a friend of the woman holding the ceremony. The woman prepared kava in a traditional way, by kneading the kava in coconut water for about 20 minutes while singing songs and saying prayers of intention for the kava and the group. She spoke of kava’s ability to open communication and create community, connection, and a relaxed atmosphere. We each were handed and drank from the same clamshell, one by one, and slowly descended into a quiet calm, which evolved into chatting. These chats opened up deeper discussions among us and created a container of comfortable friendship that we would all enjoy throughout the event.

I loved this calmness and warmth, especially since it rained through the entire conference. Although I have experienced kava many times, often in a more medicinal context, I appreciated the ceremony, honor, and respect around it in this particular setting.

Each herb has its own spirit and its own gift to share with us. Kava has the ability to transcend ego and tension, both socially and physically.
Join us on this journey to kava and its uses, and learn how to work well with this plant, supporting community, connection, and ease.

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Articles

Kava Kava Herbal Monograph
Coloring Page by Kristine Brown, RH(AHG)
Sacred and Traditional Uses
Kava, Mood, and the Nervous System
Kava Kava Recipes
Kava Chai
Kava Safety Information

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