Kava is a Pacific plant with a peppery taste. The root of the plant has been used in the Pacific region throughout history. It is often used as a tea but some natives would chew on the root. It has been used to treat insomnia, urinary tract infections, anxiety, depression and menopausal symptoms. Kava is not normally smoked but in recent years, some smoke shops have begun to offer kava alone or mixed with a blend to smoke.
Research kava tea. There are some potential harmful side effects. Some countries in Europe have banned the sale of kava root because of possible liver toxicity. Other potential side effects include a rash, nausea, headaches, tremors, restlessness and shortness of breath.
Purchase kava. It is available in many different forms -- but if you want to smoke pure kava, you should purchase it in the powder form.
Put kava powder in a tobacco pipe. You could also wrap the powder in cigarette papers to smoke. The leaves of a kava plant should not be smoked or consumed. In 2003, University of Hawaii scientists studied kava after the reports of liver toxicity. The scientists found that the traditionally discarded stems and leaves of kava contain a toxic alkaloid which is not present in the plant's roots. The stems and leaves were believed to be in some of the extract used in the herbal supplements and caused liver damage.
Smoke the kava in your pipe or cigarette. Take one smoke to start with. People report different effects with kava including muscle relaxation, calmed nerves, and sedation. Until you know how it will affect you, you should start with very small quantities.
- Taste of Kava: Kava Powder vs Alcohol: A Very Different "Drunk"
- CDC: Hepatic Toxicity Possibly Associated with Kava-containing Products
- Insight Journal; "Kava Kava Root"; Jase Donaldson
- Makaira's Kava Kava Blog: Can You Smoke Kava Leaves
- Vanderbilt; "Kava Kava: The Solution to Today's Problems of Stress and Anxiety?"; Heather Brant
- Honululu Advertiser; "UH scientists may have solved kava myserty"; Kevin Dayton; April 2003