A new study from University of Washington researchers suggests that kava is not necessarily good for treating the symptoms of a variety of diseases, but it can help treat the symptoms associated with chronic stress.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, found that people who drank kava beverages daily experienced a reduction in anxiety, depressive symptoms, and irritability compared to those who drank water or water only.
“These findings are important for those considering kava as a supplement,” said study lead author Kristin Coyle, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at UW.
“The evidence suggests that consuming kava has beneficial effects on a variety [of] psychological outcomes.”
“For example, consuming kavalactones could be helpful for treating anxiety and depression and reducing inflammation and inflammation-related symptoms,” Coyle said.
“Kava can be a safe and well-tolerated option for the treatment of chronic stress, especially in people with pre-existing health conditions.”
In the study, researchers recruited 2,000 participants ages 18 to 75 who completed questionnaires about health, stress, and well being.
Those who drank a daily dose of kavalacea, the herb that contains a similar chemical profile to kava, experienced a significant reduction in the number of anxiety, depression, irritability, and anxiety-related behaviors.
The results showed the people who were taking kava experienced similar changes in anxiety and depressive symptoms as those who did not consume kavalac.
“We found that there was a decrease in anxiety symptoms, but no significant changes in depressive symptoms,” Dr. Coyle told The Next Google.
“In other words, people who consume kava actually experienced improvements in their mental health.”
“We also found that participants who consumed kavalaxa had lower levels of inflammation and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”
Kavalac, which is made from a mixture of the leaves of the kava plant, contains a compound known as catechin, which can help relieve stress.
The catechins are thought to help the body relax and help it feel good, helping to reduce anxiety and promote good health.
Dr. Coyne added, “These results support the idea that kavalic acid could help people reduce their anxiety and stress.”
“While these results are promising, the effects of kava on people are not yet clear,” she said.
“More research is needed to determine whether or not kava helps people with stress or depression.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-fifth of Americans suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
While kava products are marketed as a treatment for various health problems, there are no scientific studies that support the claim that kavas anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties help people recover from illness.
Kavalaceas are often prescribed as an herbal alternative to traditional medications such as antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and antihistamines.