Kava is a member of the pepper family and grows on many Pacific Ocean islands. The root and underground stem have been used as a ceremonial beverage in the South Pacific for hundreds of years. It is also known as kava kava, awa and kava pepper. Kava is sold as an herbal dietary supplement and is referred to as a complementary and alternative treatment.
Kava has been used for treatment of asthma, urinary tract infections, colds, arthritis, dizziness and headache. Currently it is primarily used for anxiety, insomnia and menopausal symptoms. Liver damage, which can cause death, has been associated with the use of kava in Europe and the United States. There is not a standard dosage and length of treatment available for the conditions kava is used to treat.
Will I live longer if I take kava?
The FDA has stated the use of dietary supplements containing kava may cause liver damage, which can lead to death.
Will taking kava improve my quality of life?
Scientific evidence is not available to show whether or not taking kava will improve your quality of life.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 25, 2002 issued a warning to consumers and physicians regarding the potential risk of severe liver injury, including hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver failure (which can cause death), associated with the use of kava-containing dietary supplements.
Some drugs that may be affected by kava include, but may not be limited to, the following:
Comparisons of the use of kava to other treatments are not available.
Cost ranges from $23.79 - $33.99 for 120 capsules that are 250 mg each. Kava is also available in root, liquid and tea forms. Cost varies by manufacturer.
The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.
The following are off-site links :
Medline Plus. U. S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. (2011, July). Kava. Retrieved February 13, 2013 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/872.html.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. (2012, April). Herbs at a glance. Kava. Retrieved February 13, 2013 from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/kava.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. (2010, September). Kava linked to liver damage. Retrieved February 13, 2013 from http://nccam.nih.gov/news/alerts/kava/.
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