kava kava
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Kava is native to the South Pacific islands and is a member of the pepper family. Pacific Islanders used kava in ceremonies for relaxation. Today people use kava for anxiety.

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›  Health benefits

A fair amount of research has been done on kava usage. Supplements may have a small effect on reducing anxiety but have also been linked to a risk of severe liver cancer. Differences in dosages, preparation methods and study designs have resulted in mixed conclusions about the usefulness of kava.

›  How much do I need?

The dosage varies depending on age and what it is being used for. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels, and consult your pharmacist, physician or other healthcare professional before using.

In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned about the risk of liver damage while using kava. Combining kava with alcohol may increase this risk. Long-term use of kava has been linked to dry, scaly skin or yellowing of the skin. Heavy consumption of kava has been associated with heart problems and eye irritation.

›  Dietary supplements

Kava can be found in capsules, extracts and tablets made from the root and underground stems, which can also be made into drinks.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.

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