Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kava Kava to Sleep Easy

Many people can’t fall asleep easy because of the economy, raising children and trying to keep their jobs. Due to lack of sleep from stress and anxiety people rely on prescription drugs or over the counter medications (OTCs), but they often have many side effects and often lose their potency and effectiveness which create a need for higher doses that result in a dependency. If you want to sample a natural herbal sleep aid without the side effects try Kava kava to sleep easy as it claims to have the same calming effects as synthetically made sleeping pills.

Kava kava (Piper methysticum) a member of the pepper family, has been used for hundreds of years and the effect is comparable to having a glass of wine. In the past it was ground into a pulp and added to cold water resulting in a thick brew used in ceremonies offered to guests and dignitaries visiting the Pacific Islands. In addition to ceremonial uses, Kava kava was used to elevate mood, treat anxiety and produce feelings of relaxation. Kava kava is a tall shrub that grows on the islands in the Pacific and its roots are the part of plant that is used medicinally. In some parts of the world, whole kava roots are chewed for their therapeutic value. Kava kava in the U.S. is available in liquid form, as tinctures or extracts and powdered in capsules or tablets. In 2009, Vanuatu Beverage launched Lava Cola (also called Kava Cola), a soft drink containing a kavalactone additive, marketed for its relaxing properties and described as an "anti-energy drink".

A potent anti-energy kava drink results in a faster onset of sleepiness as the user's eyes become sensitive to light, they soon become drowsy and then they fall into a deep, dreamless sleep within 30 minutes. Sleep is often restful and sleeping through the night depends on the amount and potency of kava consumed. After wakening they don’t experience any mental or physical after effects, however, this sleep has been reported as extremely restful and the user often wakes up more rested than they normally would, unless the drink is too potent which has been known to cause evident sleepiness into the next day. Although heavy doses can cause deep dreamless sleep, it is reported that many people experience lighter sleep and rather vivid dreams after drinking a moderate amounts of kava.

In some clinical studies, Kava kava has been found to be effective in treating symptoms of anxiety. In fact one study reported that kava and diazepam (Valium) causes similar changes in brain wave activity suggesting they many work in the same ways to calm the mind. In 2004, researchers found that using 300mg of kava may improve mood and cognitive performance. What is amazing about their findings is that some prescription drugs used to treat anxiety such as Valium or Xanax tend to decrease cognitive function.

What is Kava kava made of? Kava's active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive. Only six of them produce noticeable effects, and their concentrations in kava plants vary. Different ratios can produce different effects. These chemicals (including kawain, dihydrokawain, and methysticum) have been extensively studied in laboratory and animal studies. They have been found to reduce convulsions, promote sleep, and relax muscles in animals. They also have pain-relieving properties, which may explain why chewing kava root tends to cause a temporary numbness and tingling sensation on the tongue. Herbs have been used to strengthen the body and treat disease, however, some components may trigger side effects when used with other herbs or medications. Kava kava has been linked to liver problems. Kava products have been associated with 25 reports of liver-related injuries including hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver failure and death. It may be that the kava supplements were contaminated with other substances that caused liver damage. Or the people already had liver problems before taking kava in which kava exacerbated the condition or they combined kava with other medications or herbs that damaged their livers. Doses that are recommended by a physician vary as this herb affects people differently. You should only take kava with your doctor’s supervision due to its uncertainty associated with liver damage, dizziness, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and joint pain. If you take kava and experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

The doses listed below are the ones used in most studies. However, given reports of liver damage, it is now impossible to say what dose of kava may be considered safe. That is why it is important to have your doctor determine any dose of kava you may take.

Standardized dosage: 150 - 300 mg, 1 - 3 times daily as needed for anxiety or nervousness, standardized to contain 30 - 70 % kavalactones. Most clinical trials have used the German kava extract WS 1490.

Kava dried root: 2.0 - 4.0 grams as a decoction (a preparation made by boiling down the herb in water), up to 3 times daily.

It may take 4 weeks before you notice improvement. Kava should not be taken for more than 3 months without a 2-week rest period.

Who should not take Kava kava ? People with liver damage, pregnant or breastfeeding women, do not take kava if you are going to have surgery, because kava can prolong the effect of anesthesia. Do not drink alcohol, take other drugs especially anticonvulsants and anti-anxiety agents like Xanax or Valium or OTCs and take kava. Other side effects associated with kava include allergic skin reactions (such as contact dermatitis), long-term use at high doses may cause flaky, dry, and yellowish discoloration of the skin, hair loss (alopecia), partial loss of hearing, and loss of appetite. Like alcohol, kava may have intoxicating effects and should not be taken before operating a car or other machinery. Drugs that help the body get rid of excess fluid (diuretics) effects may be stronger when taking them with kava, raising the risk of dehydration. Kava may also increase the side effects of drugs that treat schizophrenia. Not recommended to mix with levodopa, a medication used to treat Parkinson’s as it may reduce its effectiveness.

Kava kava grows naturally in many of the Pacific Islands even though we don’t recommend it for pediatric care, mother on these islands gave a small dose to their babies to ease their crying. Adults use it for its calming effect, treat anxiety, migraines and even bladder problems. This plants magical properties spread to Europe and Germany used it to treat high blood pressure.

Many physicians recommend Kava kava to their patients as a sleep aid or a way to reduce their daily stress and anxieties. Unlike prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications Kava kava does not lose its effectiveness so the longer you take it you will never need to increase the dosage. People all around the world have used Kava kava for thousands of years which help make this herb a proven a successful sleep supplement. The content in Kava Kava to Sleep Easy is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep disorders and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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1 comment:

  1. [...] Kava Kava to Sleep Easy — A Sleep Easy Many people can’t fall asleep easy because of the economy, raising children and trying to keep their jobs. Due to lack of sleep from stress and anxiety people rely on prescription drugs or over the counter medications (OTCs), but they. [...]