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Home / News / Best Kava for Anxiety

Best Kava for Anxiety

Diana Grace image

By Diana Grace

Published July 23, 2021

Reality TV has become very popular over the last several years. Watching the show Survivor has become a tradition for many of us. We grab a bowl of popcorn, pile on the couch, and see who makes it to the next week. And then we criticize their choice if it doesn’t match our own.

These people eat the same food over and over. So searching the island for other food options is just part of it. Who wouldn’t be foraging for coconuts, bananas, tropical berries, and nutritional grubs? 

It’s at this point, we get a little cocky. We think that watching enough Bear Grylls has prepared us for these moments. Surely we would know which berries to eat, right? 

Don’t eat the red, shiny berries with the waxy leaves. Do eat the purple berries with the dark green leaves. Or is it the red berries with dark green leaves? 

Knowing which bugs might make you want to vomit but are high in vitamins and protein is a big deal. Nobody wants to chew the squishy center and discover that goo contains zero nutritional value. It’s smart to know exactly what you’re dealing with and what it will do before you put it in your body. 

It’s true with bugs, berries, and plants … Especially a pretty little plant that grows in the South Pacific islands called kava.

What is Kava?

Piper Methysticum is also known as kava or kava kava. It is a plant that grows in Palau, Melanesia, Micronesia, Vanuatu, Polynesia, and Hawaii. These exotic places are full of people who have been using kava for centuries. (You should probably book a flight to one of these gorgeous exotic places for your own personal research purposes. Make it two. You can’t do research alone, right?)

But seriously. The island natives know all about kava. Their families have been using kava for generations. Many of these people will know there is a ritual surrounding the use of kava. It involves clapping, coconut shells filled with kava, a bit of chanting the word “bula” (which means life), and chugging the kava. 

The islanders are quite accustomed to the taste of kava, but you won’t be if you have working tastebuds. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Keep a glass of water next to you if you’re going to try some straight-up kava because it is beyond bitter.

Oh and don’t worry about that numbing sensation filling your mouth. That is supposed to happen. It will go away in about twenty minutes. 

The root of the kava plant is the part used to create a drink that produces properties of sedation, euphoria, and anesthesia. It is particularly known for its ability to reduce stress. 

Unlike alcohol, kava goes right past your brain and makes its way straight to the nervous system. Boom. It starts to work. This little journey takes us into a state where our body feels very chill while at the same time our brain remains alert. That is a total win.

While it has remained relatively unknown to the American culture, it is gaining in popularity and acceptance thanks to the Pacific Island natives migrating to Florida and Northern California. They brought a bit of their culture with them … and some of that culture is making its way across the country.

As our country continues to search for more natural ways to heal our bodies and deal with ailments, we are also trying to avoid taking medications and putting chemicals into our bodies. So, these same people are seeking plant resources to heal what ails them. This is another reason why kava use is on the rise.

The one drawback to this growing popularity is supply and demand. Kava is a five-year crop. It’s not a crop like corn or beans grown in the United States that can be harvested year after year. And it’s not going to grow in the contiguous US. All of this means you can’t grow kava in a few months and keep up with the demand of increasing orders.

 The Two Principal Types of Kava

The Two Principal Types of Kava. Kava that is slived and sitting on a slate, ready for processing.

There are two principal types of kava: tudei kava (two-day) and noble kava. Kava still holds mysteries for those studying it, but as the industry has studied it, they’ve decided to break it into categories based on the kavalactones present in each plant and the effects they have on our bodies … and the effects are pretty different, so you definitely need to know what you’re looking for!

Tudei kava should pretty much be used with caution, unless of course, your goal is to feel like you’ve been on a bit of a bender. This particular type of kava is better suited for minor pains and muscle cramping. It is known for having a much heavier effect on its users.

You may not have heard the term tudei kava. That’s because it is known by a few other names, isa kava or two-day kava. Unlike noble kava, tudei kava has a much more prolonged effect. In other words, it really lingers. And not in a good way. 

This kava is made up of a greater concentration of bigger, double-bonded kavalactones causing it to metabolize much slower than the noble kava. This fact may automatically make you think it’s a better kava because it’s going to last longer, but keep reading.  

A longer-lasting effect is not the safest goal when it comes to kava. So, tudei kavas must be taken sparingly. Otherwise, users will basically find themselves with an ongoing kava hangover. Just one use of tudei kava can leave you with a two-day hangover. 

Mmmhmm. A two-day hangover that you can’t get rid of … sounds lovely.

Something else to point out is that tudei kava is not a singular strain of kava; it is an entire grouping of those kava strains labeled as “ignoble” by the export laws. It’s this whole group of kava that leaves people feeling nauseated and lethargic after use. 

Noble kava has a much less dense concentration of kavalactones and a better reputation. It does not give its users a kava hangover. Instead, noble kava gives its users a feeling of calm and relaxation without impeding their cognitive abilities. It defeats the purpose of taking kava for relaxation and focus if you can’t actually think straight enough to stay on task and carry on a proper conversation.

What’s more, you can drink noble kava on a daily basis. If you were to go to a kava bar, this is the type of kava that should be served there. When you drink noble kava, you’ll realize that it isn’t a heavy feeling and the effects do not linger like those of tudei kava.

Rather than slamming you over the head with its effects like tudei kava, noble kava brings a gentler approach, giving you a touch of euphoria while reducing your anxiety. That combination makes it the perfect social cocktail. You can feel happy and relaxed without completely forgetting how to maintain any kind of social decorum. 

Nobody wants to actually be friends with Chatty Kathy or SNL’s Annoying Man in real life. Nope. Those are the people we avoid like the plague and pretend not to notice because we never ever know what they’re going to say or how they will behave. 

Stick with a high quality noble kava drink and you don’t have to worry about bringing out your inner Kathy. (If you act like that while drinking kava … well, you’re on your own.)

Noble kava is less toxic than tudei kava and has been studied far more in human consumption. It’s just a much better choice than tudei kava. 

You Get What You Pay For

Cheap kava is more than likely not going to be high quality noble kava. Cheap kava equals cheap effects—not effects that make you feel good and leave you without nausea or a headache.

Watch out for inexpensive kava because it is cheap for a reason. It probably has tudei kava in it. You can expect that the higher-quality noble kava that gives you those wonderful results will cost you more money. 

Those extra pennies will be worth it!

But Is It Safe?

But Is It Safe? Two men, toasting kava drinks.

In the US, many people see the FDA as king when it comes to approving edible or ingested substances. Kava goes to even further lengths for its approval. And it is known for being non-intoxicating, as opposed to cannabis and alcohol. 

Kava has something called reverse tolerance. This is the opposite of drug tolerance. Drug tolerance is when your body becomes used to a substance and it takes more and more of it to get the desired response from your body. Reverse tolerance means you need less of a substance to feel the effects.

And that simple little fact right there? The part about reverse tolerance? That is exactly what makes kava so great. Its gentle calming effects can be achieved safely with regular use when taken responsibly.

Our bodies recognize the presence of noble kava pretty darn fast. Within ten to fifteen minutes, kava starts to work. That feeling lasts anywhere from four to six hours. Realistically, it’s going to maintain the effect for four wonderful hours. 

People report feeling energized and clear-headed even though kava is not a stimulant. Another bonus is that even though it may seem like a psychotropic, it doesn’t have the side effects of true psychotropic substances. Psychotropic substances can cause drowsiness, weight gain, sleep issues, fatigue, changes in appetite, dizziness, and cardiac issues.

You’ll just want to make sure that you are consuming the root portion of a noble kava plant to get the best health benefits from it. It has been used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, muscle aches, migraines, attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety. 

Noble kava is not considered medicinal by the FDA. However, several studies support the idea that it functions really well in a capacity to reduce stress and feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety is a fairly major problem in the US—especially after experiencing a pandemic. Over 18% of the adult population deal with anxiety on a deep enough level to be considered a mental ailment. Many of those people regularly take medication to function. 

All you have to do to find out how people typically deal with stress and feelings of anxiety is log in to your social media account and start scrolling. Many people turn to alcohol to unwind their tension. Many moms proudly boast of her nightly wine routine to relax.

If you’ve convinced yourself that drinking wine is helping you, pay attention to how you feel the next morning, how you feel when you wake up and try to get out of bed. Then take a few days without drinking wine and see how your mind and body feel in the morning.

Because guess what? Wine doesn’t truly help you sleep soundly through the night. And wine most definitely doesn’t do your morning-after routine any favors. 

Fortunately, the growing familiarity with kava may very well convert a good number of those people because kava is a great resource for people who experience anxiety.

Using Kava to Relieve Anxiety

Using Kava to Relieve Anxiety. Woman sitting under a tree with her head in her hands, anxious and depressed.

Excessive stress and chronically feeling anxious can be the culprit of many issues that rear their ugly heads in our lives. These things affect us emotionally and make it hard for us to manage normal day-to-day tasks or challenges. Everything feels overwhelming and unachievable. Crying at the drop of a hat may just happen. 

Coping with regular stress and anxiousness gives us brain fog and it brings to mind the image of a hamster endlessly running on a wheel. Your brain just keeps spinning and focusing on anything but how your mind and body are feeling seems impossible. It takes us longer to accomplish tasks and causes serious inefficiency in our work life and home life.

And physically? Well, our bodies absolutely hate too much stress. Our jaws may be horribly tense causing pain in our jawline and neck. Our shoulders hurt. Our backs ache. And our heads ache. We get sick. We lose weight. We gain weight. 

The effects of stress and anxiety creep up on you and just compound over time. Our bodies are not meant to carry a heavy burden of stress and anxiety within them every single day. It is very important to reduce that stress and anxious feeling for the health of our immune systems, our minds, and our bodies.

Carrying so much stress basically causes the nervous system to attempt to operate on overload. Nobody can last forever with an irregular heartbeat, a poorly functioning immune system, frequent illness, high blood pressure, digestive issues, heart disease, and the overwhelming fatigue caused by chronic overwhelming stress and feelings of anxiety.

When your digestion is negatively affected by anxiety, you can develop constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, or acid reflux. Not to mention all of the other chronic problems that require medication because your anxiety has been wreaking havoc throughout your body.

Guess what else? Your hormones may also be totally wonky if you have regular severe stress and anxiety. As if all those feelings aren’t enough on their own, now your moods are going haywire and your brain feels like it belongs to someone else.

Clearly, extreme stress and long-standing feelings of anxiety need to be managed or they will take control of your body and kick you right on out of the driver’s seat. That is your driver’s seat. Are you okay with that? You shouldn’t be.

So, the question remains: What is the Best Kava for Reducing Stress and Feelings of Anxiety?

Let’s just get the main answer out of the way right now. Yes. Yes, kava can absolutely help to reduce your stress and feelings of anxiety. Keep reading to make sure you know how to use kava to deal with this persistent millstone you’ve been wearing around.  

The root of the noble kava plant effectively relaxes its users and reduces stress without causing substance dependency or tolerance issues. When kava is used regularly over time, it requires less of it to produce its relaxing, stress-relieving effects.

Glutathione, kavapyrones, and kavalactones are the active components of kava. The kavalactones from the roots are responsible for stimulating GABA, the inhibitory neurotransmitter that regulates your stress responses. 

GABA decreases the firing of norepinephrine and noradrenaline. By doing this, it results in the body feeling calm and relaxed. That’s right, take a deep breath. As a bonus, more GABA means more happy moods. And who doesn’t want to feel happier?!

This same happy, euphoric feeling works beautifully with the other bonus effect of kava. Release those chains of inhibition and grab hold of more self-confidence. Yep. Natasha Bedingfield may be singing right to you … “Release your inhibitions. Feel the rain on your skin.” 

What?! Yep. Kava can bring out your inner diva without unmasking your Chatty Kathy waiting in disguise. 

Kava has often been called “nature’s valium” because it works so well for people suffering from extreme stress and those crippling feelings of anxiety. What’s more, it can ward off panic attacks. In keeping with the overall feeling of calm, our bodies are also prepared for a good night’s sleep. 

Sleep? What is sleep? That is probably what you just asked yourself if you deal with long-term stress and anxiousness. Kava doesn’t just help you drift off to sleep, it helps you to sleep more deeply. That means a quality night’s sleep for you. And that, friends, can utterly change your life.

Along with this beautiful feeling of calm, the kavalactones present in kava double as a mild analgesic and anesthetic because they suppress the pain pathways and reduce pain. (Some of you may be thinking, Wehoo! I can take kava during labor! Nope. Don’t do that. There are not enough studies as to the effects on your baby.)

Which Type of Kava Will Work for Your Stress and Anxiousness?

Which Type of Kava Will Work for Your Stress and Anxiousness? Woman sitting at a desk, stressed out from work.

To answer this question, you need to understand your own stress. If your stress affects you in social situations, then you will want to drink some kava designed for feelings of euphoria. On the flipside, if you struggle to sleep because your anxious mind won’t calm down and let you sleep, then you may want your kava to have more of a sedative effect.

There are heady, heavy, and balanced kava solutions. Heady kava will give you energy and happy vibes, so it is best for daytime usage. Heavy kava does the opposite—it literally makes you feel heavy and sleepy, so it’s best for nighttime. Then, you have a balance of heavy and heady kava. Balanced kava is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a balance of heavy and heady, so it can be used at any time. 

If you have regular, daily feelings of anxiety and stress, then a balanced, high-quality noble kava is the best choice for you. You can drink the right kava for this every day. Do NOT attempt this with cheap kava or tudei kava. You’ll find yourself with a kava hangover for the next couple of days or just less-than desirable effects.

Cheap kava will not work to help you effectively cope with all that stress plaguing your mind and body. Premium brands will do a much better job positively affecting your anxiety. A higher-quality kava like our Ü Relax is made with better ingredients and does not have unnecessary additives or junk ingredients that have nothing to do with reducing your anxiety.

Cheaper kava probably has tudei kava snuck into it along with the noble kava. This is your health you are dealing with, do not skimp on quality. Expect to pay a bit more for a kava that safely reduces your anxiety.

If you try Ü Relax to reduce your stress and feelings of anxiousness, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that it only takes a few minutes before you can feel the kava settling in throughout your body. It’s as if your body is breathing in calm and exhaling tension. With every bottle of Ü Relax, it is as if you are drinking in a little bit of mental clarity and breathing out chaos, inhaling perfect relaxation and exhaling the anxieties of life. 

Ü Relax is quite literally the perfect all-natural solution for melting the stress from your body and taking you from a state of anxiousness to a state of action. That action should be your choice because you can feel well enough and can think clearly enough to move through life while breathing in all the positive feelings it has to offer.

Ü Relax will bring you four hours of a better mood, better focus, and better sleep. 


 In Conclusion

This simple island plant holds treasure within its roots. The Pacific Islanders discovered the secrets of kava many generations ago and continued to pass down those secrets until they reached us. 

Even though there are over one hundred types of kava, they can be broken down into two main types of kava: noble and tudei kava. Be sure that you stick with noble kava and avoid tudei kava. And remember, when it comes to kava, you get what you pay for!

There are several conflicting stories floating around the internet about the safety of kava. The current news about kava is positive because the myths and misinformation have been debunked. 

When you choose a high-quality noble kava like Ü Relax, you can’t go wrong.