Allergic Reaction to Kava?

Dear Kava Guru,

I’ve been using Kava for over a year but just had an allergic reaction. Is this permanent?

Best Regards,

Another great question; thank you Marc! It’s actually very rare that we hear about allergic reactions to Kava. Most of the allergic reactions to Kava occur after long-time usage, and in amounts that are far far more than the casual Kava drinker. I’ve been enjoying Kava for over 20 years now, and consume, nearly daily, up to 1000mg of Kavalactones (that’s about 4-6 shells of Kava per day). After bi-annual blood tests, and exhaustive self-observation, I haven’t noticed any allergic-type effects to Kava. But, everyone is quite different.

I bring that short snippet up because after looking through all available research on allergic reactions to Kava, it seems that the only documented allergic reactions occur after extensive use, like you, but also with heavy use. You didn’t tell me how much you were consuming per day, but I’m guessing that’s it’s far under the amounts that typically cause allergic reactions. Having said that, though, my best guess as someone who is not a doctor, is that if you discontinue use for a couple of weeks, and then try it again, that you will not have an allergic reaction. There are often a lot of factors that go into allergic reactions, and the only time I’ve seen allergic reactions to Kava in small quantities, is when it’s combined with alcohol.

For me, I can’t consume anything more than a shot a spirits if I am imbibing in Kava, and in all honesty, I can’t really mix the two ever. I get nauseated, and I get itchy skin when I combine the two. The moment I don’t combine the two, I’m fine. And, I know of at least 4-5 friends who regularly combine Kava with alcohol, and they suffer no ill effects whatsoever. It’s really because everyone is different, and different bodies will react to different conditions, and it becomes very hard to predict individual cases.

Just be smart about it, and take a break. When you finish you r break, just try to slowly ramp up your usage and observe carefully. I’m extremely interested to hear how you fare, as stories of allergic reactions are so rare. I’d be happy to share your experience with readers or keep it private; whatever you choose.


Keith @ Kava.Guru