Is Kava Truly a Liver-Damaging Culprit?
Unravelling the Misinterpretation
Can Kava Damage Your Liver? and Is kava safe? Many Australians are exploring alternatives to alcohol and have heard anecdotal stories about kava helping with sleep, anxiety, and muscle tension. However, many are being put off trialling kava by the flawed reporting on kava safety – by both medical and government websites.
Close to every one of these sources of information are based around the Kava ban in Germany in the early 00’s., They also often cite a subsequent paper titled “Acute Hepatitis Induced by Kava Kava.”, published in the Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology 41 in 2003.
In this blog, we shall examine the misinterpretation surrounding these claims. We shall also shed light on why the question about kava damaging the liver has been inaccurately perceived.
Can Kava Damage Your Liver?
Unravelling the Flawed Report
Let’s start by diving into an informative article titled “Liver Damage From Kava: A Failure in Logic Perpetuated Through Decades“ by the Kava Facts Substack site. This article meticulously dissects a specific case study often used as evidence to support the idea that kava can have hepatotoxic effects.
The case involved a 14-year-old girl who developed acute hepatitis, leading to liver failure and eventually requiring a liver transplant.
Incomplete Assessment of Variables
One major flaw in the study was the omission of considering the impact of a drug called ranitidine, which is known for its potential negative effects on the liver. By neglecting to address this important variable, the study failed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s condition. Moreover, the study did not distinguish whether the patient had kavalactones in their system, a key component of kava.
Causation vs. Correlation:
The assumption made in the study was that kava directly caused hepatotoxicity since the patient was consuming it. However, this correlation does not imply causation. It is plausible that the simultaneous intake of ranitidine could have been the actual cause of liver damage. Furthermore, even after discontinuing kava, the liver damage continued, hinting that kav may not have been the true culprit.
Contrary Evidence and Lack of Repetition:
To determine causation, it is crucial to have repeatable results. Numerous studies have failed to replicate the hepatotoxic effects attributed to traditional kava consumption. If kava were genuinely harmful to the liver, we would expect similar results across multiple studies. Indeed, Pacific Island countries would be awash with cases of hepatoxicity. However, this is not the case, undermining the claim that kava has a consistent liver-damaging effect.
Liver Damage Continuation after Ceasing Kava and Recovery:
Surprisingly, in the mentioned study, the patient’s liver values did not recover even after ceasing kava consumption, whereas the administration of ranitidine continued until the liver transplant. If kava were indeed the primary cause, some degree of recovery or stabilization would have been anticipated after discontinuation. This suggests that kava might not have been the leading factor in the liver failure.
Questionable Research Impact:
Regrettably, this flawed report has become the foundation for numerous other studies and articles that assert the liver toxicity of kava, even when consumed traditionally. Approximately 50 studies have relied on this report as evidence of kava’s damaging effects, perpetuating the misinterpretation. It is essential to recognize that such claims are based on poorly recorded documents with flawed logic and incorrect conclusions.
The Way Forward: More Accurate Investigations:
To reach a more reliable and valid conclusion, further investigations with comprehensive assessments of all variables, potential interactions, and individual patient characteristics are warranted. It is crucial to conduct well-controlled studies that consider kava as a singular botanical product rather than a mixture of different extracts. Only through meticulous and repeatable research can we gather more accurate insights into the potential effects of kava on the liver.
The claim that kava can damage the liver is a misinterpretation, founded on a flawed report. The case study used as evidence failed to take into account crucial variables, drew a faulty correlation without establishing causation, disregarded contrary evidence, and overlooked the lack of repetition in other studies. It is crucial to approach such claims with caution and rely on well-designed investigations that thoroughly evaluate all factors involved. So, while it is always wise to be cautious with any substance we consume, the fear of kava damaging the liver can be laid to rest based on current scientific understanding.
Kava Facts Substack article: Liver Damage From Kava: A Failure in Logic Perpetuated Through Decades
Given that you have absorbed the above, therein dispelling the unsavoury and misleading myths about kava, what follows is more information about the use of kava in Australia.
The bottom line is that more and more people are moving away from the consumption of alcohol in social situations and instead, are drinking kava.
Certification and Packaging
The Kava you buy from Buy Kava Australia is fully certificated in its country of origin and upon arrival in Australia. Additionally, it’s packaged in accord with the strict HACCP conditions as per Australian Government Regulations. Therefore, you can be assured that the Kava that you buy from us online is safe and legal to purchase, with all the correct paperwork in place.
Ordering Kava from Buy Kava Australia is a simple process. Here’s how:
- Select the type of Kava you want to order here, then click “add to cart”
- Choose whether you would like your order delivered by standard or Express Post (NOTE: All orders over $199.50 are automatically sent by FREE Express Post delivery anyway)
- Checkout with your payment method of choice, which includes Visa/MasterCard, After-Pay and PayPal
Our kava is competitively priced. So, you don’t have to break the bank each time you buy some. Whether it’s for yourself, your friends or family members, surely they could use some relaxation too! And don’t worry if you live in a remote area. We deliver locally to every part of Australia (except the N.T.) and we’ll make sure that it arrives on time – EVERY TIME. That way, no-one has to suffer from stress or anxiety while waiting for their delivery.
Australians in particular have taken to this traditional drink, for a variety of reasons:
They enjoy the health benefits such as reducing their dependence on alcohol, reducing anxiety, easing stress and improving sleep;
Additionally, there is the growing ‘sober curiosity‘ factor in our society, that is, seeking viable alternatives to alcohol and drugs while still wanting something that’s a “feel-good” option. If your interest also includes knowing more about kava, check out our link at “What is Kava?“;
Given that kava is 100% organic (no fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides are used in its cultivations), it doesn’t give you an alcohol-type hangover the following morning.
The Pacific Islanders Influence
What you may not know is that there is also a large population of Pacific Islanders in this country. Kava is the cornerstone of Pacific Islander tradition and whilst an acquired taste, it helps connect Islander-Australians with their cultural identity.
Moreover, because the drink is not alcohol, it is a lot less harmful than other substances that are readily available in Australia, whilst also providing some health benefits for drinkers.
Pacific Islanders are often asked – “Why do you drink it?” The reality is that it’s really important to their culture. It is the way they connect and interact when they drink kava that is really good for mental health. In fact, the drinking of kava is well-recognised as a great social tonic.
As a side note, Kava is sometimes used as a treatment for insomnia, stress and anxiety.
Kava Bars in Australia
In the U.S.A, the number of kava bars can be counted in the hundreds. That’s because it’s a relatively mature industry, compared to Australia. The number of kava bars in Australia amount to a handful – so far.
We have no doubt that this situation will change. The drinking of kava in Australia is escalating at a rate that can only be described as phenomenal. As the demand for it grows, so will the proliferation of kava bars in Australia.
How to Make Kava
Kava is a traditional Polynesian drink made from the root of the kava plant, Piper methysticum. For centuries, it’s been used as an important part of social and cultural ceremonies in Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and other Pacific islands.
Kava can be made in many different ways but there are two main methods: modern or traditional. The traditional method involves crushing dried roots with stones or wooden mallets before adding water (or coconut milk) and straining through a cloth bag called a ‘ti’ or ‘iti’. This process produces a cloudy liquid that many prefer to drink straight away because it contains less sediment than the filtered version produced by modern methods which involve grinding up dried roots into powder form before mixing them with cold water then filtering out any remaining debris using cheesecloth or muslin cloths held over sieves lined with fine metal mesh filters such as tea strainers. Our “How to Prepare Kava” blog post covers every aspect of successfully preparing your kava drink.
Of course, no discussion would be complete without pointing out some of the key benefits of preparing and drinking Instant Kava:
- It’s quick and easy to make – simply put into a shaker or glass then stir and drink! Takes about 10 seconds to prepare!
- You only need a half teaspoon per serve
- Great for traveling – take it with you anywhere!
- Made from pure green kava juice – not just micronised powder!