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At least two scientific studies have confirmed the herb's ability to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety. In a third study, researchers rated it as effective as prescription tranquilizers.
Kava Kava, A Remedy For Anxiety -- Insomnia -- Nervousness
In the past, Kava Kava has been taken for a host of ailments on which it has no appreciable effect, including asthma, arthritis, indigestion, cystitis, syphilis, and gonorrhea. For tension and sleeplessness, however, it is now considered a proven remedy.
When first taking Kava Kava, you may notice a slightly tired feeling in the mornings. In rare cases, Kava Kava can cause an allergic reaction, a slight yellowing of the skin, gastrointestinal complaints, impaired or abnormal movement, loss of balance, pupil dilation, and difficulty focusing. Because of the possibility of visual disturbances, drive with caution while using this herb.
High doses of the herb have been known to trigger hepatitis. Heavy long-term use can also cause an unusual scaly rash, and may lead to unwanted weight loss. Do not take this herb for more than 3 months without consulting a physician.
Possible Drug Interactions:
Do not take Kava Kava when using other substances that act on the brain, such as alcohol, barbiturates, or other mood-altering drugs. It may increase their effect. Be especially wary of taking it with the tranquilizer Xanax; the combination has caused coma.
Kava Kava also has an antagonistic effect on dopamine. If you are taking a levodopa-based medication for Parkinson's disease, avoid this herb.
If You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding Remember, Kava Kava should be avoided during pregnancy and nursing.
Do not use Kava Kava if you are pregnant or nursing. Also avoid it if you have a depressive disorder; it can deepen a depressed mood.
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