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Do you need help finding the best kava to keep anxiety at bay?
Today we’re reviewing five kava products known for their anxiety-fighting properties. Hopefully the information we provide here will help you decide which kava product suits your needs.
Kava (also known as kava kava) has steadily grown in acceptance and popularity as a plant that treats the symptoms of anxiety. But how does kava work, and is taking it the right thing for you to do to treat your anxiety?
In this article, you’ll discover the five best kava supplements for anxiety. Let’s get to it…
Don't have time to read the entire review?
If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, we've simplified everything. Here is a table to show you a quick rating of the best kava supplements for anxiety.
- Best overall, ceremonial-grade premium and organic kava powder: Drink Root Instant Connoisseur Blend Premium Dehydrated Kava Juice
- Best capsule form, easier dosing: VH Nutrition Kava Kava Piper Methysticum Extract Capsules
- Best kava in powdered form; powder allows for maximum doses for stronger relaxing effects: Wakacon Kava Fijian Waka
- Best kava tea, blended with spices to enhance the relaxing effects of kava: Yogi Tea – Kava Stress Relief – Eases Tension and Promotes Relaxation
- Best kava in candy form; for a dose of relaxation while you’re on the go: Ozia Kava Candy, Ginger
What You Will Learn
- Why Do You Need to Take Kava?
- How to Choose the Best Kava for Anxiety
- The 5 Best Kava Supplements for Anxiety to Create a Calming Experience
Why Do You Need to Take Kava?
Reducing anxiety in your everyday life is an important part of maintaining overall health, as the absence of anxiety can boost your mood, improve your immune function, advance longevity, and help you be more productive. One reason anxiety can impact your health is because your body’s physical reactions to anxiety can slowly accumulate and even go unnoticed.
However, your nervous system is still trying to handle an overload, which may cause you to tense your muscles. This can trigger tension headaches and other musculoskeletal ailments. Further, when anxiety gets the best of you, your risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure increase and you put yourself at risk for developing a range of other diseases.
Not only does anxiety often cause irregular heartbeat and rapid heart rate, it can also lead to more frequent colds and infections due to a depressed immune system. Additionally, anxiety is taxing on your digestive system, as it impacts which nutrients your body can absorb, affects the speed that food is able to move through your body, and can influence your eating habits (whether that involves eating more or less than you normally would). This interference of your body’s natural digestive processes may lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or acid reflux.
Furthermore, hormonal imbalances are common in people with anxiety. Your endocrine system is responsible for the production of hormones that regulate your energy levels and determine your natural response to anxiety and play a role in your emotional state. When your endocrine system is imbalanced, you may experience anxiety, muscle tension, varying moods, depression, irritability, and sleep disturbances.
Your hormones impact your brain in a variety of ways, including regulating your mood. Research has identified a link between abnormal hormone levels and anxiety. Abnormal hormone levels may be a result of aging, endocrine system dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, or hyperthyroidism. The most common hormonal imbalances that lead to anxiety are a deficiency in estrogen, testosterone, or progesterone, adrenal fatigue, and either hyper- or hypothyroidism.
In addition to the physical impacts of anxiety, it can also contribute to mental and emotional issues, such as depression, stress, and panic attacks. This emotional burden can make it difficult to focus or remember things. Anxiety can also lead to irritability, causing frustration and a lack of patience with other people, and can even contribute to relationship conflicts and isolation due to social anxiety.
If you're wondering, “Does kava kava work for anxiety,” let's look at how it can impact your body. Taking kava can help address the problems enumerated above in the following ways:
Kava is an herbal plant that originates in the southern and western Pacific regions. This plant's root is effective at causing relaxation in the treatment of anxiety, and, unlike prescription benzodiazepines, using kava does not pose the risk of developing dependence or intolerance. On the contrary, people develop a reverse tolerance to kava, meaning you require a smaller dose over time to produce the same effects.
Kavalactones, kavapyrones, and glutathione are the active ingredients in kava. The kavalactones found in kava roots are compounds that stimulate the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, which controls your anxiety responses. GABA reduces the firing of noradrenaline and norepinephrine, which causes you to feel relaxed and calm. When there is an increased amount of GABA in the body, your mood improves. Having an abundance of GABA also helps lower inhibitions and boosts self-confidence.
Taking kava root for anxiety is so effective that it has been referred to as “nature’s Valium.” By taking kava, panic attacks can also be kept at bay. Because kava can keep you calm, it also promotes a deeper and better quality of sleep. Additionally, the kavalactones found in kava act as a mild anesthetic and analgesic by suppressing pain pathways, promoting numbing, and reducing pain.
Now that you know the benefits of taking kava for anxiety, let's look at some things to keep in mind when you're shopping for this supplement.
How to Choose the Best Kava for Anxiety
Choose the type of kava that works best for your needs.
Some kavas make you euphoric, which can be helpful if you suffer from social anxiety, while other forms have a sedative effect that can help you get to sleep faster without having anxious thoughts keeping you awake. With over 105 types of kava available, picking the best one may take some trial and error.
Heady kava is best for daytime use because it gives you energy and may provide a euphoric effect. On the other hand, heavy kavas are better suited to use at night because they're more likely to help you relax and make you feel tired. Balanced kava products fall in-between these two types and are good to use at any time. The best way to find out if a kava supplement is heady, heavy, or balanced is to read the product description to see if it specifies the time of day you should take the supplement.
Choose the taste that’s right for you.
Some kavas will be very bitter, while some have a more tolerable flavor. Select the bitterness level that you can tolerate. You want to be able to enjoy taking your kava and reaping its benefits rather than dreading it due to a taste you don't like.
Make it a point to use noble kava for daily use.
Noble kava creates a state of calm without impairing cognitive function. Other types of kava could have adverse side effects known as “kava hangover.” Tudei kava, which is also known as two-day or isa kava, has a higher concentration of larger, double-bonded kavalactones in it than noble kava, which requires more time for your body to metabolize. This can lead to stronger and longer after-effects than the noble varieties.
Avoid “tudei” kava, as it produces a hangover effect that often lasts for two days.
Tudei kava doesn’t only refer to one strain, but rather a group of kava strains that kava export laws have labeled as being “ignoble.” The longer-lasting effects of tudei kava in comparison to noble kava are often undesirable, such as nausea and lethargy. Many find that these unpleasant aspects of tudei kava outweigh the benefits.
Steer clear of cheap kava.
With kava, cheap brands will give you low-quality effects. Pricier, premium brands typically provide high-quality kava that is free from additives and other questionable ingredients. If you find a kava that is being sold at a significantly lower price than what is in line with the normal kava products you see, it is likely spiked with tudei kava, as this type of kava is cheaper than noble kava. High-quality noble kava that will give you the results you are looking for does not come cheap, and it is best not to try to cut corners with your purchase.
Keeping these factors in mind, let's look at some of the best options that are on the market today.
The 5 Best Kava Supplements for Anxiety to Create a Calming Experience
This ceremonial-grade premium and organic kava powder is the best overall option. It comes in individual packets, making it easy and convenient to prepare each day. The company behind this product also offers excellent customer service to its consumers by offering a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
This kava is made exclusively with premium noble roots, which is guaranteed to be the closest kava to the freshly picked version found in Vanuatu. It is made from the pulverized roots of the yaqona plant. The Drink Root Instant Connoisseur Blend is non-GMO and does not contain harsh chemicals or pesticides. It is 100% organic and is sourced directly from the farm in which it is grown.
The flavor profile of this kava is a heavy, earthy flavor with slight spiciness. It offers heady effects such as stress reduction, mild numbness, and slight euphoria. It is a calming kava that will not result in excess fatigue.
Each packet contains two grams of kava, which is the equivalent of one to two ounces of a typical dried kava. When using this for the first time, the suggested serving size is two packets, due to the fact that kava has a reverse tolerance effect.
To prepare this kava, pour a full packet into eight ounces of water and mix it until it is fully incorporated. If the flavor is too strong for your taste, simply add more water. Remember, kava must be consumed on an empty stomach, so make sure to drink this at least two hours after eating or 20 minutes before eating.
- Best overall option.
- Comes in convenient single-use packages.
- Great customer service.
- Results may vary among users.
- Some find this product to have an odd smell/taste.
- May cause nausea.
This is the best option for those who prefer to take kava supplements in capsule form. It is easy to dose, so it takes the guesswork out of consuming kava. In fact, users just have to take one serving of this supplement with eight oz of fluid each day to promote relaxation. VH Nutrition uses ultra-potent kava that is four times more potent than other leading kava brands to create this supplement.
This all-natural product has helped people discontinue the use of over-the-counter and prescription sleeping medications, as it can help you fall asleep easier and stay asleep for the entire night. Plus, while you will get high-quality sleep, it will not lead to drowsiness during the day, and can result in clearer thinking and calm energy. As your body is able to relax while using this product, your capillaries will dilate, promoting increased blood flow to your brain and organs, which will optimize your mental performance.
- Provides easy dosing with a capsule form.
- Works quickly—within 30 minutes.
- Promotes quality sleep.
- May take a week or two for your body to adjust to this product.
- Can cause GI irritation.
- Some users do not experience the effectiveness that others do.
This is the best kava that is available in powdered form. Consuming kava as a powder allows for maximum doses for stronger relaxing effects. Waka-grade kava offers a strong, smooth taste that numbs your tongue using some of the most potent and high-quality lateral roots of kava available.
This product has a strong kava smell, which allows users to know it is a high-quality product. It comes is a fine powder, which makes it easy to strain. Even though this is a high-quality kava, it is offered at an affordable price.
This kava goes through testing at the University of the South Pacific before it is sold to ensure it is of the noble variety. The ingredients consist exclusively of lateral and crown root, meaning the manufacturer does not use fillers such as stems or leaves.
After purchasing this product, consumers receive an email containing a PDF file explaining how to prepare this kava powder. It is best used to make in tea form rather than putting it into capsules.
- Fine powder form is highly bioavailable.
- Works immediately.
- Offers sedative effects.
- You will need to purchase a strainer in order to use this product.
- Some experience nausea.
- Not as finely ground as some would prefer.
This option is the best kava that comes in tea form. It is blended with spices, such as carob, cinnamon, ginger, Indian sarsaparilla, and cardamom, to enhance the relaxing effects of kava.
This tea is made with organic carob pod and is non-GMO. The tea is caffeine free, kosher, vegan, gluten-free, and contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners. The tea bags are environmentally friendly, and users can add them to their compost for their gardens.
Yogi’s Kava Stress Relief tea bags each contain 78 mg of kava root extract. Each box includes 16 tea bags that offer consumers a pleasantly flavored tea that has a soothing and relaxing effect. Users often drink this tea before bed to help themselves fall asleep easily and prevent waking up early due to insomnia. The manufacturers of this tea recommend users drink one cup for general relaxation purposes and three to five cups if a higher level of anxiety is occurring.
- Spices enhance relaxing effects.
- Encourages a quality night's sleep.
- Results are instant.
- May cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
- May lead to headaches, sedation, impaired judgment, and tremors.
- Some find the taste to be strong or unpleasant.
This is the best kava available in candy form. It offers a dose of relaxation while you’re on the go, so you can keep these candies in your bag and eat one whenever you feel anxious.
The formula for this candy was specially developed using the most effective balance of functional ingredients, including kava root, lemon balm, and chamomile, allowing you to reduce stress and anxiety naturally and still remain functional during a busy work day.
These candies are convenient to use any time when you need to reduce tension in your body. They are low in calories and offer a fresh ginger-mint flavor. Those who are experienced with using kava report that eating one or two of these candies can reduce their anxiety back to a comfortable level so they can deal with situations calmly and effectively.
- Provides a mild, mouth-numbing effect.
- Great taste.
- Some find there is inconsistency in their effectiveness.
- Some find the ginger to be overpowering.
- Expensive for the servings it provides.
All of the kava products reviewed today are the top choice when it comes to the best kava for anxiety. However, the clear standout is Drink Root Instant Connoisseur Blend Premium Dehydrated Kava Juice for its premium product made with organic ingredients.
Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce your stress and anxiety, then try writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to live more in the present moment.