Andrew Weil on Kava Kava
The world is discovering the Kava Kava phenomenon, although building widespread awareness is slow. Among those who are popularizing the knowledge of Kava’s unique properties, Dr. Andrew Weil deserves special recognition. What and how does he speak about Kava Kava?
Dr. Andrew Weil is an American physician, author and advocate of integrative medicine. He is the founder and director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, but his reputation goes beyond the world of science. He is a guest on some of the most popular TV and Internet shows, and his True Food Kitchen anti-inflammatory diet project is supported by Oprah Winfrey, among others.
Probably the most important anti-anxiety natural product
Among other things, Weil was a guest on Tim Ferriss’ 2022 podcast. Part of their fascinating conversation was devoted to the natural properties of Kava Kava. Especially in the context of sleep disorders and anxiety. Below is a transcription of the most important part.
Kava is the major psychoactive plant that is used in Oceania in many islands throughout the Pacific.
It is a very large root of a large plant in the black pepper family. It has a unique chemistry. In many of these islands, people make a beverage from it, originally by chewing the root and spitting it into a bowl and mixing it with water or coconut juice. Or now more often drying it and powdering it and mixing into a liquid.
And it functions as a social stimulant and lubricant but it is a natural sedative and cognitive, probably the most important anti-anxiety natural product out there. Extremely useful and essentially no toxicity. It does not interact with alcohol it does not interact with other sedatives. It’s quite safe and i recommend it very frequently to people.
Do you know what effect, if any it has on sleep quality? My friend has the subjective experience of it helping him to wind down and go to sleep but i wonder what effect it has on sleep quality. Because you look at some sleep aids, like ambien and so on, which help you to fall asleep, but they affect the cycles of sleep and depth.
That’s putting it mildly. You know all of these sleep aids – whether over-the-counter or prescribed: I think are dangerous drugs. First of all they don’t reproduce natural sleep. All of them suppress dreaming which is an essential component of good sleep. They distort sleep architecture. They are addictive and they interfere with cognitive functions. so i think there is really no justification for using them unless for very short-term use, because of situational insomnia. But Kava has none of these ill effects. It can be used long-term regularly.
I don’t know that we have good studies on how it affects sleep quality. But I don’t know of any indications that it has any of those adverse effects that the usual sleep aids do.
Kava: effective and safe
Andrew Weil also shares his insights and thoughts on the effects of Kava Kava on his own social media channels.
Kava is the most effective and safe natural anti-anxiety agent that i know. So you may have to shop around to find a product and those that works for you. But i think it’s great!
Kava is perfectly safe
Kava is perfectly safe. It has no harmful effects on the liver. I find it disappointing that is such a persistent concern – this arose really some time ago from a handful of cases in Germany, that were traced to alcohol extracts of Kava, which are not used anymore. It’s only water extracts that are used and they are perfectly safe.
Also some of the preparations involved made use of above ground parts of Kava in addition to the root and the above ground parts of the plant may have other constituents in them.
Anyway as far as I know all of the Kava products on the market today are perfectly safe and there are no concerns about liver toxicity.
What is at stake in the German paradox in the approach to Kava Kava? What was the famous ban that had to be lifted by the German Supreme Court? You can read our study HERE.
If you want to deepen your knowledge about the properties of Kava Kava:
NOTE regarding the quoted content: we do not recommend mixing Kava Kava with alcohol or antidepressants, as well as drinking Kava by pregnant or lactating women.