Joy of Kava Coming out of Malaita

buy kavaIs it possible that the export of kava from the South Pacific is moving and growing beyond its current trade centers? It appears as though it might be! North Malaita of the Solomon Islands has sent batches of kava from two of their northern kava farms to Vanuatu for testing, and if the test comes back with the right information then Malaita can become a member of the kava export group [3].

I cannot tell you how much all of my being is jittering with excitement! If Malaita’s plan goes through this means that the kava trade is growing and farmers of kava are reaping the benefits in these regions – places that have traditionally been suffering from a lack of export interest from abroad. Malaita is a mountainous and unexploited tropical island in the South Pacific – with the largest population out of the Solomon Islands. Given the size of Malaita’s populace, export agreements like those surrounding the export of kava could prove to be incredibly beneficial to the island’s people [4].

According to Noel Roposo – the chief field officer of the marketing unit in the agricultural planning division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) – the samples were sent to the Republic of Vanuatu for a potentially valuable laboratory testing [3].

What exactly is being tested for? It’s not quite clear – there is not much information currently available, but the results of the test are to be returned to MAL in the near future – so we will probably have more information for you then! As Roposo says, “At the moment, we are awaiting response from Vanuatu, before we can see whether we can take the matter to the next level” [3].

However, I have a hunch that it has to do with ensuring compliance with “The Kava Act” – a body of law that was enacted to ensure that the safety and other regulatory conditions of kava coming out of Vanuatu are respected [2]. In 2002 the Vanuatan government enacted The Kava Act to regulate the sales and cultivation of kava – it was brought about in response to the accusations that kava ingestion was leading to hepatotoxicity [1].

It’s probably safe to assume then that the Malaita kava is being sent to Vanuatu to ensure that the strains of kava coming from the northern farms are in compliance with those legal standards. Additionally, some strains of kava – such as Tudei kava – have been implicated in the hepatotoxicity cases as a possible cause of the issue [1].   So, it would seem that the Vanuatu laboratories are going to be testing the Malaita kava to ensure its strain is pure and of an export-worthy kind.

Currently the South Pacific regions that dominate the kava export market are Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga – collectively contributing over US $200 million to the South Pacific economies through their well-established kava farms [5]. Thankfully, there is a strong community mentality amongst the islands and they are helping others like Malaita gain their stake in the kava export market as well – over all, contributing to the fiscal health of the South Pacific.

It’s incredible how kava has been pretty much unheard of on the Internet in any major news or broadcast circles and then this story surfaces – a report about the ongoing growth and expansion of the kava export trade. It’s truly wonderful, and I think it was completely worth the wait!

Mahalo,

Kava Guru

Sources:

1. INSIDER T.V. “New Science May Boost Kava Market”.

2. Lebot and Patricia Simeoni. “Identification of factors determining kavalactone content and chemotype in Kava (Piper methysticum)”.

3. Soloman Star. “MAL sends Mala Kava for lab test in Vanuatu”.

4. Wikipedia. “Malaita”.

5. World Trade Organization. “The Pacific Island Nations: Toward Shared Representation

 

Kava for Peace!!

root-of-happiness_BIG

So, this is fun! An article was posted online today titled “Pacific Angels: Building Military Relationships in Paradise” and at first I clicked on this because I thought to myself – “oh dear! What is the military up to in the South Pacific!?” I was immediately worried that there might be some sort of chaos happening, but it turns out it’s quite the opposite!

There is a project underway in the South Pacific islands, currently based in Tonga, which is part of a series of humanitarian missions collectively called “Operation Pacific Angel”. It’s a periodic humanitarian mission that is a joint effort sponsored by the US Pacific Command (USPACOM) [3].   The nations involved have 175 military personnel from New Zealand, Australia, France, the Philippines, Indonesia, Tonga, and of course the United States of America [2], actively involved in various aspects of building and enhancing relationships with neighboring and partner nations [3]. Other aspects of these missions include creating a medical and civil assistance capability in Pacific nations, and  increasing the availability of assistance in times of need [3].

Currently 83 of the US personnel involved in Pacific Angel are fortunate to have been dispatched to Tonga – “The Friendly Island”.  The article in Stars and Stripes describes it like this:

“…a place where gentle waves lap at white-sand beaches, Polynesian princesses dance for guests and giant, tattooed warriors drink kava long into the night [2]”.

And this brings us to the point that I’ve been excited about – kava! As you can see above even this heavily North Americanized news source identifies Tonga with kava drinking and tranquil activities, as the article goes on to say: “the mission isn’t all hard work. During down time they’ve been relaxing at the beach, snorkeling and learning about the effects of kava [2]”.

Actually it seems as though the troops of Pacific Angel that are currently in Tonga are very much enjoying themselves thanks to the open hospitality of the Tongan people and their interest in sharing kava and the knowledge of kava’s benefits and rituals. One of the key features that were highlighted about the enjoyment of kava was how it freed the body of tension and allowed for physical relaxation while leaving the mind clear – allowing ample room for friendly conversation long into the nights [2].

Currently the personnel are in Tonga to help officials – and of course the greater Tongan community – prepare for typhoons and other natural disasters. However they are also providing medical assistance – already serving over 1,200 patients in two days – and aiding in the construction of schools.

For one of the commanders on duty, dropping down and helping out in Tonga while drinking and sharing kava with the locals brought a sense of home – as he mentioned he’s from Hawaii. As we all know and as he stated, kava (“awa”) is quite popular there! It seems as though many of the soldiers had the opportunity to enjoy kava, given that their down time consisted of “snorkeling and learning the effects of kava” [2].

Apparently other nations are keen on building relationships with Tonga as well. Tonga has sent its own personnel out to help in aiding nations in need and other nations – such as China – are actively engaging in programs to build relations with the Tongans [2].

While it can’t be said for certain – I can’t help but think that Tongan kava drinking might have something to do with their world popularity. Tonga is a very peaceful nation, full of joy and cultural tranquility and one of their main activities is drinking kava – which the “Medicine Hunter” has deemed the “The Peace Elixir” [1]. This title is very fitting of kava and the properties it bestows of sedative and mental clarifying quality, making it a very likely factor in the happiness and peace that Tonga exemplifies in the global eye.

While I am so grateful for the aid that Tonga is receiving, I can’t help but pray to the kava spirits and hope that this recent military involvement doesn’t unknowingly attract the wrong kind of attention to Tonga. I dream and believe that it can remain the peaceful, kava-sharing kingdom that it is now for endless centuries to come.

Mahalo,

Kava Guru

Sources:

1. The Medicine Hunter. “Kava, The Elixir of Peace”. Online: http://www.medicinehunter.com/kava

2. Stars and Stripes. “Pacific Angel, Building Military Relationships in Paradise”. Online:http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific-angel-building-military-relationships-in-paradise-1.295178

3.Wikipedia. “Operation Pacific Angel”. Online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pacific_Angel

Vanuatu Ambassador Encourages EU Nations to Lift Kava Bans

Buy Kava

While my kava-loving soul has been lifted of late, with the recent removal of a kava ban in Germany – it still hurts to see that there are places still rejecting the import of kava and its use.   South Pacific islands thrive when their top exports, including kava, are loved and bought around the world. These islands don’t do very well when these exports aren’t accepted – and what’s worse is when they’re accepted and then suddenly rejected on a mass level.

This is what happened with kava out of Vanuatu. When kava was subject to a series of bans back in 2002 throughout several kava-consuming nations, the South Pacific islands were greatly and negatively affected. According to Roy Mickey Joy – the Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union – Vanuatu and other kava producing nations have lost earnings of 3 Billion US dollars on an annual basis due to the decline in kava exports as a result of the bans [3]. This 3 billion-dollar figure is an estimate that was announced by the Pacific members of the ACP – the African, Caribbean, and Pacific states – at a recent Meeting of the Ministers of the ACP held in Nairobi [1].

Mr. Joy is a member of the International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) and clearly someone who believes in the benefit of kava for his nation’s economical wellness and prosperity. The following definition of the IKEC and its practice was taken from the homepage of www.ikec.org – the official home of the IKEC [1].

“The IKEC is an international organization consisting of delegates from the Pacific and the EU, focusing on re-establishing the kava trade between the kava-producing South Pacific Island States and the countries of the European Union.” [1]

They are an organization that is non-governmental and non-profit, rather solely constituted of volunteers who are adamant about progressing the kava trade out of the Pacific to Europe and worldwide. Most of their current focus has been on ban repeal [1] and it is on these grounds that Mr. Joy has made his recent declaration to members of the EU – insisting that they lift their bans on kava. Specifically, Mr. Joy has called upon Australia and New Zealand to consider the lifting of their kava export bans, in hopes that Vanuatu can resurface from the economic downfall caused by the kava bans [3].

According to Radio New Zealand International, Mr. Joy has stated that Australia and New Zealand followed in step with the EU’s ban on kava twelve years ago, back in early 2002, banning the import of kava from Vanuatu and other South Pacific kava-growing regions.   Accordingly, he went on to explain that the German ban repeal of last month had shown that “there is no legal nor scientific basis to justify it” [3].

Unfortunately today there are still countries that ban kava, if not entirely then at least in part. For example, Canada still disallows the sale of kava. However, bans restricting import from vendors outside of Canada – for personal use – are no longer standing. In many nations still, like in Canada, kava is partially banned – whether it be the banning of direct commercial sales or otherwise. Currently there are only two larger nations that have strict laws about kava regulating its use and import – that is Britain and France; their laws are much more widespread and restricting than anti-sale laws like that of Canada’s. In actuality though, it appears as though Poland is the only European country that has full anti-kava laws – ie. it is illegal to sell or cultivate kava and is also illegal to possess it at all [2].

Other countries’ laws regarding kava are so nondescript and elusive that determining the legality of any activity involving kava is incredibly difficult – just by a sheer lack of knowledge surrounding kava’s exact legal status. For example, while Australian officials state that kava isn’t actually illegal – the import of kava into Australia is incredibly difficult. However, when it comes to individual use of kava, the border regulations are a bit loose, allowing individuals to bring up to around 4 pounds of kava into the country for personal use [2].

My kava guru intuition is telling me that a loosening of bans on a global scale is going to continue as nations and individuals become more educated and understand the benefits that this Earth provides – including a better understanding of how to use the Piper methysticum plant, or kava kava, as it was intended to be used. I have faith that officials will come to learn of the many benefits and wonders of the kava plant and will become so entranced by its qualities that they will join in the battle to have kava universally accepted as the natural health contributor that it is.

Mr. Joy’s efforts are part of what is turning into a global movement toward a health-conscious world and the acceptance of kava worldwide. I’m truly so excited to see what nations are next and cannot wait to share the next bit of progress with you – my fellow kava lovers!

Mahalo,

Kava Guru

Sources:

1. International Kava Executive Council. “News”: http://www.ikec.org/?q=node/10.

2. Kona Kava Farm. “Kava Banned Countries”: http://www.konakavafarm.com/kava-banned-countries.html.

3. Radio New Zealand International. “Vanuatu Wants Kava Bans Lifted”:http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/249183/vanuatu-wants-kava-bans-lifted.

 

Yet Another Kava Endorsement!

Rugby Teams and KavaThe conversation about Kava as an alternative to alcohol has been an ongoing one with stable positive feedback. As far as I know there isn’t really any prominent source declaring that alcohol is better than Kava – and everyone knows how terrible drinking alcohol can be on your system! Well, today as I was sipping my Kava I came across a lovely bit of news: Eric Smith – an independent life insurance agent and founder of yourlifesolution.com – has publically endorsed Kava as a safe and worthy alternative to alcohol consumption [4].

As many people know alcohol can damage your liver over time or even in just one heavy drinking session. The liver filters alcohol and breaks it down and if you overpower its ability to do this then – like with anything that is overpowered – it will break down and function incorrectly. But, what many people don’t know is that excessive alcohol consumption can actually lead to a bleeding from the esophagus – the tube that trails from your throat to your belly. Evidently this can make eating pretty painful and daily life tasks a little more than uncomfortable. Swelling and damage of the pancreas can also occur as well as the development of cancer in various parts of the body that alcohol is in contact with [2].

One thing that is a little bit obscure with relation to the negative side effects of drinking alcohol is how it leads to poor nutrition. As many sources indicate drinking a lot of alcohol over a long period of time leads to poor nutrition and just generally poor health, but what often is overlooked is just exactly how that happens. Well, I’ll help you out by clearing up that obscurity! Basically, alcohol inhibits the enzymes in your pancreas that are secreted to aid with digestion and it also inhibits the liver from proper nutrient absorption. So, even if you’re eating all the right foods – but drinking alcohol excessively – you may still encounter nutritional deficiencies [3].

According to the Street Insiders article on Eric Smith and his endorsement of Kava, The Lancet – a medical journal – states that “…alcohol is in the top ten most dangerous common drugs in existence”. Smith believes that Kava can help many people tame their alcohol consumption and even provide an alternative altogether [4].

What a lot of people also don’t realize is that the consumption of alcohol can greatly affect life insurance rates – due to the health problems and complications it can cause. Although alcohol consumption is fairly subjective, insurance companies actually have ways of determining whether or not the consumption is excessive; some things they might look at to make this determination is, medical examination results, driving records or simply asking you some questions [1].

So, insurance companies can actually increase your insurance rates based on your alcohol-drinking habits and this makes it all the more impressive that Smith endorses Kava so greatly! He’s not out there just to brand insurance companies and promote various insurance products – rather, he is also concerned with helping clients promote their own healthy living. The Street Insider also quotes The Lancet medical journal, with regard to alcohol, as suggesting that people should “…look to less harmful sedatives to unwind”. I’m just so happy that people like Eric Smith are starting to realize that Kava is the perfect alternative to make use of in taking The Lancet medical journal’s advice!

Sources:

1. Inweb.  http://www.insweb.com/life-insurance/alcohol-affects-life-insurance.html.

2. Medline Plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000494.htm.

3. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa22.htm.

4. Street Insider. http://www.streetinsider.com

German Kava Victory – Ban Repeal!

silhouette of a happy pregnant womanVery recently there has been a beautiful transition within the kava community! The decision to place a ban on kava kava and kava-containing products was overturned by Germany’s Federal Administrative Court!!

A ban was placed in 2002 on kava kava and products containing kava, throughout Germany. What could initiate such a ridiculous ban in the first place you may ask – well, the answer has a lot to do with studies done by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte, or “BfArM”). BfArM published a series of studies back in the mid 2000’s that propelled a ton of dramatized media and the circulation of misinformation surrounding the topic of kava and liver toxicity. The studies published findings that were said to evidence the claims that kava causes liver toxicity. Sadly, the conclusions of these studies were taken at face value and many countries invoked bans on the import and sale of kava and kava-containing products.

It’s pretty remarkable that these studies did have such an influence, considering the rapidly increasing body of research and case studies that were proving kava to be a wonderful natural option for remedying anxiety symptoms. These negative studies were almost simultaneously surfacing alongside studies declaring the benefit and need for kava in the European world, and yet many bans were emplaced. At the time this odd simultaneity caused conspiracy theories to circulate about the possible influence of pharmaceutical giants who had an interest in suppressing the kava market. While those theories have been neither proven nor disproven, it is certainly very possible considering how very natural, non-chemical and beneficial kava was proving to be; at the time, kava was already starting to put quite a dent in the pharmaceutical money pool.

Of course, many kava enthusiasts were incredibly unhappy about these bans – and doctors, researchers and health practitioners went to work to fight for the restored image of kava kava. One pressing point that encouraged these researchers and enthusiasts was how Vanuatans and other island populations had been drinking daily doses of kava for centuries and had no reported issues relating to the problems that the BfArM studies were declaring. Many studies have been done, and are still being done, that point out areas of flawed research practice and inconclusive evidence within the BfArM and related studies; and thank the kava gods for that – most of the bans that had been emplaced have since been lifted!

I’ve done a bit of tinkering around on the worldwide web and it seems that the ban was partially repealed in Germany back in 2005. At that time Mathias Schmidt, PhD, a kava researcher and scientist, said the following: “We are glad that the discussion is now re-opened, and we hope to finally come to a constructive dialogue with the BfArM”.

So, given all of the recent news circulating about a current repeal of the ban on kava in Germany – this does leave me a bit confused. My guess is that there has been further development in the repeal and that now residual aspects of the initial ban that lingered after the first repeal have now also been lifted; residual aspects that likely made the sale and import of kava quite problematic.

Dr. Vincent Lebot – an author and researcher on kava – states that the battle for the import and sale of kava in the US and EU, which has greatly affected exports in Vanuatu, has lasted twelve years! So, it does seem that this fight for kava has been an ongoing and transitional phenomenon, with the most recent victory happening in the Federal Administrative Court of Germany: “The court found the risk of using kava was not unusually high and mere doubts over a medicinal product did not justify it being banned.”

As Dr. Lebot says, “it’s a clear victory for all of us who know that when kava is properly used with the right varieties cultivated with the right agricultural practices in a reasonable way, we know that it’s not a dangerous product.”

I think it’s probably the grandest victory of all for the South Pacific Island communities, many of whom rely on international kava trade and export to survive.  As product sales in the EU, United States of America, Canada, and elsewhere continue to escalate and become more fluid and less legally problematic, export out of the South Pacific Islands will increase and the island communities will greatly benefit in so, so, so many ways! Not only are the loving benefits of kava being spread worldwide – but also, pressing financial needs and socioeconomic conditions in the island nations will be significantly appeased.

On that note, I will once again send many thanks to the kava spirits and mythical gods for these victories and can only hope for many more to come!!

Mahalo,

Kava Guru

Sources:

Radio New Zealand: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/246963/german-court-overturns-kava-ban

Kona Kava Farm: http://www.konakavafarm.com/kava-germany-banned.html

Richter’s Website: http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=Issues/kava.html

More Evidence Suggests Kava Does not Cause Liver Problems When Used Correctly

KG-Kava Studies 211X300We have all heard of and are plagued by the infamous “German Study”, and others studies, that indicate that kava kava might cause liver problems (hepatotoxicity) – but, I am pleased to yet again offer some new insight into the fallible nature of those studies. Recently, at an Oxford annual conference on the ‘science of botanicals’, a presentation was given on new research findings about Kava that offer further evidence to suggest that pure kava kava, used correctly, does not cause liver damage! And furthermore, that Kava is actually a healthy and desirable dietary supplement, when used correctly.

At the annual Oxford conference – the International Conference on the Science and Regulation of Botanicals (ICSB), hosted by the National Center for Natural Product Research (NCNPR) – Chris Xing, Ph.D, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, gave a presentation on recent research findings with regard to Kava that outlined just how the German studies could have been wrong [4].

In an interview with Steve Myers – Senior Editor of Natural Products INSIDER – Dr. Xing discusses the highlights of the presentation at some length. According to Dr. Xing, it’s possible that those studies used a strain or cultivar called “Tudai Kava”. This particular strand carries a high amount of a chemical that “compromises liver function or detoxification function that may contribute to the observed hepatotoxicity among kava users” [4].

Dr. Xing and his associates, believe that the hepatotoxic cultivar “… got into the market mainly because it grows faster and offered a higher yield” [4], which stands as a warning to all of us to always do research about a product before using it! It is important to realize that, like with anything, companies will always find ways to make money faster and sometimes the ways companies choose to do this might not always be beneficial to the consumer, and can sometimes even be damaging!

According to Dr. Xing the hepatotoxicity reports then, which were very few as it is, are “probably due to a wrong cultivar, not recommended for traditional use” [4].   This information is consistent with other studies and findings on Kava that indicate the failings of the German studies. For example, an article in the Journal of Toxicology – “Liver function test abnormalities in users of aqueous Kava extracts” – discusses how island populations that have been using kava kava for centuries have no reports of problems with liver function directly related to kava use [2].

We are all very fortunate that these findings are surfacing and the reputation of Kava is being rectified, as it does provide many benefits to people, such as relaxation and anxiety relief. As Dr. Xing says, “We believe that Kava, with proper standardization, removing its hepatotoxic species…will benefit humans as an anxiolytic and dietary supplement”.

“Kava kava had a rise and a fall, and right now it looks like it’s coming back”, says Dr. Xing in his interview with Myers of INSIDER [4]. And this is wonderful news for everyone, because kava kava provides a wonderful alternative to harmful pharmaceuticals used to combat anxiety and stress-related symptoms.

Some sources, such as statisticbrain.com and the American Psychology Association (APA), indicate a rise in stress, anxiety and other related symptoms, as well as that over 70% of the United States of America’s population suffers from such symptoms [1]. Many people turn to medicinal means to combat the pain and suffering they experience as a result of mental health problems – like stress, anxiety and related symptoms. In the Western world these medicinal means have traditionally been pharmaceutical or at the very least synthesized chemical solutions. But, these solutions are damaging people’s bodies and minds! There have been reports of pharmaceuticals, like Prozac, causing brain damage that results in the development of tics and other neurological disorders [3]. Yuck, how terrible!

Fortunately, the scientific and medical community is coming to terms with the real problems that pharmaceutical and chemical solutions can cause, and more and more people are turning to natural alternatives like kava kava as an answer to their problems. I am so grateful that a better understanding of Kava is being brought to the forefront of the scientific community by Dr. Xing and others like him, so that people can see and experience just how wonderful Kava is as a healthy supplement option!

Sources:

1. American Psychological Association – American Institute of Stress, NY.  July 28, 2013. Online: http://www.statisticbrain.com/stress-statistics/

2. Clough AR, Bailie RS, Currie B.  “Liver function test abnormalities in users of aqueous kava extracts”.  Journal of Toxicology. 2003. 41(6):821-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14677792

3. Lamvert, Craig. “The Downsides of Prozac”. Harvard Magazine, June 2000. Online: http://harvardmagazine.com/2000/05/the-downsides-of-prozac-html

4. INSIDER T.V. “New Science May Boost Kava Market”. Online: http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/videos/2014/05/insider-tv-new-science-may-boost-kava-market.aspx

Kava kava on the Uprise!

Buy Kava Lately there’s been a lot of very wonderful news circulating the web about kava kava. Overall it seems to be the case that the many wonders of Kava are spreading through North America and are continuing to be a healthy socioeconomic presence in the South Pacific and elsewhere around the world.

In terms of Western Kava bliss, and spreading Kava excitement – the owners of Square Rüt, a Kava bar in Austin, Texas – are proud to announce that they are opening another bar! Scott Pingel – a co-owner of Square Rüt – has announced that they will be opening another Square Rüt location at 51st and Burnet Rd. in Austin. There is some talk that the owners may even consider opening a third Kava bar in the very near future [1]! This exciting announcement is coming just over a month after the news of a Kava bar opening in Boone, North Carolina. What does this tell us!? Kava and kava kava bars are spreading through North America and North Americans are enjoying the many healthy benefits of Kava more and more!!

“It’s going to totally relax every muscle in your body, but keeps your mind alert and focused, so there’s no buzz nor type of impairment, total relaxation”, said Scott Pingel in an interview with Kvue [1].

In terms of Kava news out of the South Pacific, there’s a Vanuatu update that helps to offset the foul taste left in our mouths after receiving the bad news out of Fiji last month. There was a bit of a scare when it was announced that Fijian authorities are attempting to put restrictions on Kava use in the island communities. This is a restriction that will greatly affect the Fijian agricultural population. The Fijian Times recently posted a story about a woman, Katarina Naviri, whose sole income is in Kava farming. Katarina and her family have had great success in Kava farming and should the ban go through it will likely greatly affect Katrina’s family as well as many other Fijian families in a similar situation [3]. It’s still unclear if this Fijian government restriction will be going through, but fortunately there has recently been some good news out of Vanuatu to offset this Fijian scare.

The following quote headlined a broadcast by Radio New Zealand International: “The Vanuatu Government is re-structuring the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board into a more farmer-focused, innovative and transparent institution [2].”

The broadcast goes on to tell us that the Vanuatu Digest – a news platform out of Vanuatu – informs the public that these policy changes are being made in an attempt to totally wipe out agricultural poverty in the island by 2016 [2].

While this is only a couple of years away, it’s not impossible given the incredibly high density of Vanuatu Kava farmers and farmers of other commodities with a high international demand; commodities like cocoa beans and copra [2]. Vanuatu is actually one of the top sources of Kava trade throughout the South Pacific and internationally, so it’s an incredible relief to know that at least some of the South Pacific islands are making an attempt to retain Kava farming tradition and socioeconomic stability.

While I’m still nervously awaiting an update on the Fijian policy recommendations with regard to Kava consumption in the islands, I am nonetheless overjoyed to get wind of the most recent international Kava news. Kava kava is clearly on an uprise around the world, with Kava bars spreading throughout the United States, and the South Pacific islands continuing to traditionally farm and trade the Piper methysticum root – or, the Kava root of happiness.

REFERENCES:

1. Green, Shelton. “Kava Bar Seeing Major Success in South Austin”. Kvue.com, April 30, 2014. Online:http://www.kvue.com/news/editors-pick/257445851.html

2. Radio New Zealand International. “PGN Govt says SDP Board Removal of Govt Representation Illegal”. Last Updated: April 30, 2014. Online:http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/242975/png-govt-says-sdp-board-removal-of-govt-representation-illegal

3.Sauvakacolo, Siteri. “Katarina’s Kava Success”. The Fiji Times, Friday May 02, 2014. Online:http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=267287

Kava Bar Now in Boone

Kava Recipe - Coconut Milk Kava

Kava bars made a landing in the United States of America back in 2002 with the opening of Nakava, located in Boca Raton, Florida [2]. These Kava bars are places where people can go to relax with friends while enjoying a Kava beverage or one of the many other Kava supplement options offered. People who have been invested in Kava culture and want to share the love with others tend to be the people that open and run these bars. And I am pleased to announce that the joys of Kava are spreading!

The proud owners of Vanuatu Kava Bar in Asheville, North Carolina are once again in the mood for sharing Kava love and culture. They’re opening a second Kava bar in Boone, North Carolina! The bar is to be called “Noble Kava” – certainly a very appropriate title for such a noble business [1].

The owner Andrew Procyk testifies to the benefit of Kava over alcohol and explains that he’s on a mission to offer a Kava alternative to students in North Carolina college towns.

“Our target area is 18 to 21 year olds who are adults, but unable to do most of what there is to do in a college town…The community benefits through this swiping out of alcohol, and it gives you a happy, friendly and relaxing feeling,” says Procyk in an interview with Mountain Times [1].

Procyk explains how back when he first got the idea of opening a Kava bar in North Carolina – his idea was triggered by a conversation he had with a college campus security guard. The security guard told him how all of the cases of rape, break-ins and assaults almost always involved alcohol. Procyk realized something had to change and that the students needed a healthy alternative to alcohol [1].

While the bar’s primary focus is of course Kava beverages, it will be offering Gatorade, coconut water and other hydrating options – to balance out the dehydrating effects of drinking Kava. The bar will also offer other Kava options and water-based soluble extracts that are intended  to add to the overall experience [1].

Procyk has been a dedicated advocate of Kava culture for quite some time. He is so dedicated to the spreading of Kava appreciation that he was the sole vendor at an international symposium on the subject in Fiji, and was mentioned in several Fijian publications for his wealth of knowledge on the subject [1].

We can only pray to the Kava spirits that the opening of Noble Kava is the continuation of an ongoing process of Kava love and growth!

Sources:

1. Campbell, Jesse. “Noble Kava Establishes Roots in Boone”. Last updated, March 27, 2014: http://mountaintimes.com/watauga-news/articles/Noble-Kava-establishes-roots-in-Boone-id-025151

2. Nakava. “A Real Kava Bar has arrived in North America”. Online: http://www.nakava.com

Kava Natural Stress Relief

Kava Natural Stress Relief

April is stress awareness month and this is very important news for me to draw to your attention – it gives me the opportunity to tell you about how kava kava is a natural stress relief agent!

According to statisticbrain.com the American Psychology Association (APA) has reported that over 70% of the United States of America’s population suffers from stress and stress-related symptoms [1]. According to Foxnews the APA has also indicated that American teens are actually more stressed out than the adult population [3]! I fear that this might show a trend toward stressful living styles – intensified pressures from school and from parents encouraging the Western conception of success in their children – money, money, money! Yikes! This is certainly something that needs to be nipped in the bud!

Fortunately, for as much of a trend as there seems to be toward stressful living and resultant anxieties and health problems, the world is also finally starting to come to a heightened sense and understanding of century old wisdom about natural remedies, which are becoming more and more widespread, accepted, and appreciated! The world is becoming more knowledgeable about the true needs and limits of the human body and people are turning to natural options for answers to their everyday problems; for example, stress relief options like kava kava root and herb blends infused with Kava.

Kava kava is becoming more and more recognized for its natural stress relief properties and I cannot be more pleased! Kava is not physically damaging when used correctly, is affordable, and absolutely completely naturally graced upon this earth.  It grows from the fertile and nutrient-rich ground that we walk on, and Kava has been used for centuries by the South Pacific island peoples; and South Pacific islanders are certainly well known for their happiness and carefree ways – perhaps we can learn quite a bit from them and their lifestyle!

An article recently posted on petoskey.com tells us about how popular Kava has become for stress relief in the United States.  One health food and herbal remedy store manager – Lee Anne Dunkley of JoJo’s Natural Market – tells us about just how popular kava kava is.  With reference to what people buy to alleviate their stress Dunkley stated: “usually people ask for Kava” [5].

Kava is even becoming popular on more of a mainstream market basis. Recently a “1Hour break” stress and anxiety relief spray has been launched on the market and it includes our beloved Kava along with other natural stress relief herbs, such as lemon balm and passionflower [2].  Although I’m sad to see Kava become so commercialized – I’m overcome with joy that people are discovering its healthy uses and using it to aid their troubled souls and to help with everyday problems. Unfortunately, many people across the Americas and other parts of the world have been using Prozac and other harmful pharmaceuticals to combat their stress and anxiety; these drugs have been shown to have brain-damaging effects and to cause other health problems [4]. I can only hope to one day see a completely healthy and drug free world – and for this I pray to the Kava spirits on a daily basis.

The tragic symptoms of stress can be caused by all kinds of things including debt issues, relationship problems or even something as simple as a bad day at work. But, just because there are stressful situations everywhere doesn’t mean you or your loved ones have to let them get you bummed or stressed out – you can combat them with a Kava lifestyle of simplistic living, happiness, exercise, time with nature, a natural diet, lots of love and of course your daily dose of Kava!

Sources:

1. American Psychological Association – American Institute of Stress, NY.  July 28, 2013. Online: http://www.statisticbrain.com/stress-statistics/

2. Digital Journal. “1Hour Break Stress Relief Spray Doubles Fundraising Goal”. Last updated, April 8, 2014.  Online: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1838943

3. Foxnews. “ US Teens More Stressed Than Adults”. Last updated, February 11, 2014. Online: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/11/us-teens-more-stressed-than-adults/

4. Lamvert, Craig. “The Downsides of Prozac”. Harvard Magazine, June 2000. Online: http://harvardmagazine.com/2000/05/the-downsides-of-prozac-html

5. Parshall, Lorene.  “Stressed out? Area Professionals Offer Relief Options”.  Last updated, April 8, 2014.  Online: http://www.petoskeynews.com/gaylord/news/community/stressed-out-area-professionals-offer-relief-options/article_05712070-bf27-11e3-9c3a-001a4bcf6878.html

Plan to Ban Kava Consumption

Ban on Kava could cause crop loss

This particular news bit that I am about to report, brings me nothing but sheer sadness – if I hadn’t just had my afternoon cup of Kava I might very well be curled up in a ball in a corner somewhere crying!

There is a current policy shift in motion within the Fijian government.   They plan to ban Kava kava in some of the more remote villages of Fiji’s island on a regular Monday through Friday basis – declaring that it is only to be had on the weekends.  Fiji is one of the possible birth homes of domesticated Kava kava, so to hear that it might become less of a regular part of some Fijians’ lives, is truly extremely heart wrenching.

What could this mean on a greater scale? It’s possible that Kava crops and Kava farming might be reduced as a side effect of cutting back on regular Kava enjoyment.  The villagers,  some of whom rely on Kava farming for a livelihood, might be put out of work.  And yet, Commissioner Eastern Netani Rika suggests that villagers start reducing their consumption of Kava kava and begin working on income-generating village projects.  He spoke with villagers from Vanuatu, Komo, Namuka and Ogea on that matter in particular.

The basis of this heart-breaking policy recommendation according to Commissioner Eastern Netani Riki, is that Kava is to blame for the poverty of these villages and the problems with development that the iTaukei people have been experiencing.  But, as I mentioned above and will now reinforce – cutting out Kava consumption entirely five days a week is going to greatly reduce the need for Kava crop production.  Not only is this a source of local income, but Kava is also one of the major trade products coming from Fiji and enjoyed by many other nations.

So, if Kava consumption is reduced on the basis of it becoming less of a part of Fijian villagers’ daily lives – then is it not safe to say that jobs will be lost and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) reduced? This sounds like it will reduce development and productivity to me, not increase it.

It seems unlikely that Netani Rika has ever had pure Kava kava himself, because surely if he had he would understand all of the wonderful benefits and life enjoyment it brings and how all of this will be taken away from the villagers if this terrible ban goes through!

One other thing batting around in my mind is whether or not the people behind this policy recommendation understand that the regular enjoyment of Kava might not be the cause of poverty and stunted village development – but might rather be a healing mechanism.  I would beg for the councils involved to look at the deeper roots of the social problems and not to blame one of the things that continue to add to the happiness of the village people.

I am very much relieved to hear that it is only something in the making and has not yet actually gone through.  Hopefully there is still time for the Fijian policy developers to come to their senses and learn to appreciate and encourage Kava kava consumption for the many beautiful things it has done for the people of the islands.

The Fiji Times – Plan to Ban Kava Consumption