First Time with Kava? Here’s What to Expect

Kava tea made from high-quality kava roots it’s an increasingly popular drink for those who feel they need help with stress or anxiety. At the same time, however, it remains a relatively new product in western markets having previously been a closely treasured secret of the Pacific islands. The novelty of kava makes some people a little unsure about what to expect when they drink it.

If you’ve just purchased some quality kava, below are some tips on what you can expect from the experience.

1. First, Be Clear on Your Kava Product

It’s important to know what kind of kava product you have bought. Broadly speaking, kava products come in three forms, namely: ground kava root, micronized (instant) kava, and kava concentrate. 

Ground kava root is the most traditional in its packaging and preparation. It has to be steeped, kneaded and strained to make kava tea. Micronized kata can be added to a number of other beverages to enrich it with kava taste and effect. Concentrate is a cordial where a small amount is measured out and diluted with water.

You should also be clear on whether your kava is “noble” or “tudei” kava. Noble is the superior of the two, offering better purity and fewer side effects. Tudei kava has already been banned in some places because of its common induction of nausea and other nasty effects.

2. How Should Kava Taste?

Be prepared for a somewhat unpleasant taste on your first time drinking kava tea. As effective as some people find it for fighting stress and anxiety, among other things, it isn’t known for its tremendous and moreish taste. The truth is you may never acquire a taste for it, either, as many Pacific Islanders who’ve drunk kava their whole lives might tell you, but it doesn’t matter because almost nobody consumes kava for the taste. Therefore, don’t be disappointed if you don’t find it palatable.

3. What Effects Will Kava Have?

After you start drinking, you might notice that your tongue and lips start to go numb. This is perfectly normal and is the experience most will have, and it should pass after a couple of minutes. The numbness is caused by the kavalactone content kicking in, and no numbness at all is actually a sign that the kavalactone content in your kava product is low. That’s a sign of poor quality.

After about 15-20 minutes — though it could be different depending on your body size and the concentration of kava — you should start to feel a very noticeable sense of relaxation and calm. There may be a sense of euphoria, too, but not everyone gets such a strong feeling. The most common feeling most kava users describe is one of calmness and serenity, as though problems are just disappearing in front of them.

4. How Much Kava Should I Drink on the First Occasion?

We recommend that you use the guidelines for consumption given on your particular kava product as a ceiling. You should feel free to consume however much is recommended, or less, but do not exceed the amount, especially on your first time trying kava. Consumption guidelines on the product are not arbitrary.

5. How Long Will the Effects Last?

The uplifting feeling that kava brings can last anywhere from 1-3 hours, but you can expect a more lasting calming effect, perhaps for the better part of a day. If you’re drinking kava tea after work, it might help relax you through the evening to the point where you can easily and comfortably go to sleep at a reasonable time.

Use kava safely and responsibly, and its rewards can be many! 

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