Yaqona (Fijian); kowa, awa, yaona,
kowa kowa, wati, ava, ava pepper, intoxicating pepper
erect shrub reaching a height of 9-21 feet and a spread of 6-15 feet
with stout rhizomes, fleshy stems and ovate, tapering leaves up to
10 inches across.
Small flowers are produced in
spike 3 inches long.
Native to Polynesian uplands.
well-drained, stony soil with ample water, in shade needing a
minimum of 59-64F. Usually grown of frames.
Propagate by semiripe cuttings in
Remove weak or congested stems in
late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
Roots are lifted as required,
preferably when the roots approach 100 pounds, and used fresh, or
dried for use in decoctions, liquid extracts, powders, and tablets
usage was first observed by Captain Cook and has 3,000 years of
It is used ritually throughout
Polynesia as a means of bringing people together or
It’s recent acknowledgement to
reduce stress and anxiety has gained so much recognition that
harvesting pressure is leading to its endangerment in
resin including lactones, kawahin,
yangonin, methysticin, glycosides, starch, piperidine alkaloid
antiseptic, sedative, diuretic, tonic
pungent, bitter, warm
affected: liver, kidneys
kava lactones have a depressant effect on the central nervous system
and are antispasmodic.
Research sows that kawain, in
particular, is sedative.
The kava lactones also have an
anesthetic effect on the lining of the urinary tubules and the
The results of a clinical trial in Germany
published in 1990 revealed that kawain is as effective as
benzodiazepene in helping to relieve anxiety.
Kava’s analgesic and cleansing
diuretic effect often makes it beneficial for treating rheumatic and
arthritic problems such as gout.
The herb helps to bring relief
from pain and to remove waste products from the affected joint.
Kava is a safe and proven remedy
for anxiety that does not cause drowsiness or affect the user’s
ability to operate machinery. It may be taken long term to help
relieve chronic stress, and its combination of anxiety-relieving and
muscle-relaxant properties makes it of value for treating muscle
tension as well as emotional stress.
With its tonic, strengthening, and
mildly analgesic properties, kava kava is a good remedy for chronic
pain, helping to reduce sensitivity and to relax muscles that are
tensed in response to pain.
It has an antiseptic action and in
the past it was used specifically to treat venereal disease,
Although it is no longer generally
applied in this way, it is a valuable urinary antiseptic, helping to
counter urinary infections and to settle an irritable bladder.
Absorption in the gastrointestinal
tract is remarkably rapid, so the effects are felt almost
used as an intoxicating beverage in certain
South Sea islands.
It can induce lethargy, drowsiness
It is one of the best
4 Tbsp simmered 10 minutes in 1 pint of
water; standard dosage in formulas, 3-9 gms.
To alleviate urinary infections,
drink ½ cup twice a day.
For stress, take 30 drops of the
tincture with water 3 times a day
Deities: Lono, Kane, Kanaloa.
Powers: Visions, Protection, Luck.
kava is used as a sacramental drink, first fermented into a potent
beverage, and taken before important rituals.
It then induces visions and
altered states of perception.
The root is also made into a
potion and this also is used.
Due to the physical action of the
herbe upon the sexual organs, they are stimulated and yet the
sensation is dulled, making kava kava one of the most effective of
It is most used in ritual today,
when sex is being explored as a sacred tool of the gods.
When celebrating the Great Rite,
kava kava can be part of the ritual cup or might be macerated in the
oils which are used as lubricants.
It may be steeped in very hot
water, the mixture then thoroughly filtered through paper (coffee
The resulting liquid may be used
as a douche prior to the Great Rite.
Traditionally the root was made
into a tea.
With its water-soluble components
released, it acted as a mild stimulant and tonic.
the material is first chewed, then spit into a bowl and mixed with
coconut milk, more powerful resins resembling narcotics are released
For maximum effect, mix 1 oz of
kava kava with 10 oz of water (or coconut milk), 2 Tbsp of coconut
or olive oil, and 1 Tbsp of lecithin. Blend until the liquid takes
on a milky appearance.
This amount serves 1-2 persons.
Resins may be extracted with
isopropyl alcohol in a heated bath.
The solvent is removed by
Redissolve in just enough warmed
rum, vodka, or honey.
This is a more potent method
because alcohol swiftly carries the resins into the body’s system.
Driving or operating heavy or
dangerous equipment is not recommended while under the influence of
Kava Kava, as drowsiness is likely to occur. Kava Kava use is
contraindicated during pregnancy or nursing, and in cases of
depression. Do not take for more than 3 months, or more than 1,000
mg. per day without medical advice. Extended continuous intake can
cause a temporary yellow discoloration of skin, hair and nails, in
which case it must be discontinued. Discontinue use if dilation of
pupils or disturbances of coordination between vision and movement
A Compendium of Herbal Magicke,
Paul Beyerl, Phoenix Publishing, 1998;
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs,
Scott Cunningham, Llewellwyn Publications, 1982, ISBN: 978-0
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants,
Andrew Chevallier, Dorling Kindersley, 1998; ISBN: 0-7894-1067-2
The Magical & Ritual Use of Aphrodisiacs,
Richard Alan Miller, Destiny, 1985; ISBN: 0-89281-062-9
Michael Tierra, Lotus Press, 1988, ISBN: 0941-524272
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