It is an indigenous plant to Polynesia, the Sandwich Islands, and the South Sea Islands. It is thought that the frequent consumption of Kava is partially why the people of the South Pacific Islands are known as the happiest and friendliest people in the world. This root is cut small, and the pieces chewed by several people, who spit the macerated mass into a bowl, where some water (milk) of coconuts is poured upon it. They swallow this nauseous stuff as fast as possible.
Origin(s): Fiji, Vanuata.
Latin Name(s): Piper methysticum.
Also known as: Kawa, kavain, intoxicating long pepper, tonga, awa, kava pepper, yangona.
Plant Part(s) Used: Root.
Taste: Pungent, numbing.
GMO Status: Non-GMO.
Additives: Free of any additives or preservatives.
Applications / Preparations: Can be put into capsules, teas, smoothies, fruit drinks or infused as an herbal extract. For cosmetic use can be infused in oil for massage oil or topical use.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.
Warning: Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before use in pregnancy or lactation, also if you have liver problems, or are taking any medications. Not for use by persons under 18 years of age. Excessive use, or use with products that cause drowsiness, may impair your ability to operate a vehicle or dangerous equipment.