Interestingly, there are many substances around us that have been in use for years. Some of them are traditional medicines. Kava is one of such substances which comes from the Piper methysticum plant.

Is this the only purpose Kava is used for? How long does it take for Kava to kick in? Got more questions? This article will get you acquainted with Kava. Begin reading!

What Is Kava?

Kava is a herbal remedy and is known by other terms as well, including Kava Kava, Lewana, Fiji, Awa, and Sakai. It is created from the roots of a plant called Piper methysticum. The term literally means intoxicating pepper.

This plant can be found in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. People who live near the Pacific Ocean especially get benefitted from this. They dry and consume the roots of this plant. Afterward, they mix it with water and consume it. This method is also followed by people living in Tonga and Fiji as it is their tradition to use it in social ceremonies.

Why Is Kava Used?

Well, people use Kava to meet their health-related needs. Since Kava has also been used for years as traditional medicine and ceremonial drink, it is seen that it works quite a bit like alcohol. People say that it helps with some psychological conditions like insomnia, stress, anxiety, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Keeping this in view, Kava is available in health stores and online. It is used as a herbal supplement and can be found in multiple forms like capsules, tinctures, and tablets. 

The soothing properties it holds come due to the substances it contains. These substances are known as Kavapyrones. The plant from which Kava is obtained is also acknowledged as a discomfort reliever, seizure controller, and muscle relaxant. After experiencing Kava, you get a relaxing, calming and happy feeling.

How Long Does Kava Take To Kick In?

Well, it differs from person to person and also on the fact that if you are using it for the first time or you take it regularly. Furthermore, it also depends on your weight, metabolism, and the amount you are drinking. 

Usually, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to kick in. Sometimes it can take up to 30 minutes. You will eventually feel relaxed and relieved. It would feel like all the stress is abandoning your body. Alongside, you will also feel a bit happy. This especially comes in handy for those people who fall victim to anxiety.

How Does Kava Work Inside The Body?

For starters, the first few sips will make your tongue and lips feel numb. When this happens, you must know that you are drinking a quality Kava which is potent. This is just the beginning. However, it does not taste splendid but has an earthy taste. You may feel like you are drinking some muddy water but the results are worth it. 

You can drink Kava in many ways as it has different forms available. You can mix it with water or prepare a tea out of it. Besides, it is also available in the form of liquid, so you can mix it with other juices. It is understandable that not everyone is fond of its taste.

This is why Kava is also available in tablet and capsule form. By eating the capsule, you can avoid tasting it because the powder will be inside the coating. This coating will eventually dissolve inside your stomach, not on your tongue.

What Factors Affect The Mechanism Of Kava Inside Body?

Similar to other substances, there are several factors that affect the mechanism of Kava inside one’s body. Below are some of these factors mentioned.

Other Medications

Some medications will block the pathways and allow Kava to absorb slowly. Therefore, you will encounter the effects later. 

Empty Stomach Vs Full Stomach

As the contents in the digestive tract are in competition, if you take this substance on a full stomach, then you will experience late and short-term results. This is due to the fact that Kavalactones will take longer to absorb in the bloodstream. 

The Form

It also depends on the form that you consume. Tinctures and teas kick in faster than capsules. Capsules usually have gelatin or vegetable covering, which needs to be dissolved first and so, you experience delayed results. 

The Grinding

Amazed? Let us explain why grinding matters. The more finely ground the powder is, the more easily it will mix with the water. Coarse grinding will take time to dissolve and also it will give you delayed results as it will take longer to absorb into your bloodstream.

How Long Does Kava Stay In Your System?

According to many reports, Kava can stay for up to 18 hours in your system. In contrast, its half-life is said to be 9 hours. 

On the flip side, people usually get to try different forms of it to get their desired results. For instance, some people try one brand and find out that it does not meet their needs. At the same time, the other brand does wonders. In the same way, you may try capsules and end up using powder because you love drinking Kava tea.

For How Long Its Symptoms Last?

The duration of its effects differs. In a nutshell, the euphoric effects will fade away after about 1 to 3 hours, but the calming effects and relaxation will last longer. Besides, you will then start feeling sleepy. 

The more servings you take, the more you will feel its effects and they will last longer. Importantly, Kava overdosing is not at all recommended and you should consume the amount prescribed by the doctor. Moreover, you can add water to your Kava to adjust its potency. 

Risks Associated With Kava

There is no clear-cut answer to whether Kava is safe to be used or not. Therefore, you must always consult with your doctor before taking any amount of dose. Not to forget that one must always take the smallest dose and should not continue using it for more than three months.

Early in 2002, a report was published by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where it linked the use of supplements to be the cause of liver damage. This substance was among it. However, it cannot be said with complete surety whether Kava alone was responsible for liver damage. The condition improved with time as people stopped taking it. It might also have happened because people consumed it with other medicines. 

You can easily buy it in the U.S, but you can’t have it if you live in France or Canada. Moreover, it is discouraged to be used if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or if you have bipolar disorder. Still, if you come across symptoms like lack of appetite, yellowing of eyes and skin, or lethargy then you must head straight to the doctor.

As they say for other substances, you must not take Kava with other medications. The majority of health concerns that arise are because people use certain substances with other medications. On the other hand, the side effects of Kava include the following.

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Skin Problems
  • Dehydrated and pale skin
  • Depression
  • Diarrhoea

Is Kava Addictive?

Well, addiction is a term used when someone cannot stop using something regardless of it being harmful to him/her. However, the FDA does not classify Kava to be addictive. On the other hand, according to some studies, it is said that its effects on the brain are the same as alcohol and other substances.

These substances affect the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. Consequently, you form happy hormones and get your stress relieved, mood uplifted and anxiety vanished.


There are many factors influencing the time Kava takes to kick in. Your weight, experience, metabolism, empty/full stomach, medications, and potency all affect the duration. However, for many people, it takes about 15 to 30 minutes for Kava to kick in. 

You must first visit your doctor and discuss it before getting your hands on it. Moreover, you must check out the labels to know the Kavalactone content in the product you are about to consume. By following all the safety measures, you can enjoy a safe experience with this substance.



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