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How to Take Kava Kava to Relieve Anxiety & Stress

author image Tammy Dray
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.
How to Take Kava Kava to Relieve Anxiety & Stress
A cup of tea in a dark cup on a blue table. Photo Credit: DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

Kava kava has long been used to treat anxiety and stress, and scientific trials reviewed by the Cochrane Collaboration show that there may be some truth behind the claims. Kava kava can reduce anxiety in most people and has few side effects. Because its potency is not as high as pharmaceutical drugs, it might take four to six weeks for results to appear.

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Step 1

Choose the type of supplement that works best for you. Kava kava is available in tablet, liquid and tea form. It is also available in a number of different strengths. Vanderbilt University warns on its website that kava kava can cause a number of side effects, including dizziness, nausea, skin and eye irritation and temporary weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, try adjusting the dosage or switching to a different form of the plant.

Step 2

Take kava kava in the evening if you’re only taking it once a day. That way you’ll be ready to relax and go to bed by the time the herb kicks in. For best results, take it at least an hour before bedtime. If you’re taking multiple doses throughout the day, spread them out evenly, with one pill in the morning, one in the afternoon and one before bedtime.

Step 3

Take no more than 70 mg of kava kava at once and no more than 210 mg total for the day, according to Supplements can be taken either alone or with meals, although you shouldn’t be eating large meals at night, as this might interfere with sleep. You can also take kava kava occasionally when you feel stressed, rather than on a regular basis.

Step 4

Take breaks regularly from the supplement, especially if you take it daily and close to the maximum dosage. Try taking it every two days or take it for four days and then take a break. Give your body a week break every month. If you feel kava kava is essential for sleep, reduce the daily doses and keep the nighttime one.

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