First off, what is kava? Kava is a tropical herb native to the South Pacific Islands where they have been cultivating kava for thousands of years. Now people all around the world are praising the benefits of kava and using it in overcoming anxiety and other modern ailments.
What does a Kava Kava high feel like?
A kava "high" isn't really a high, it's more like an augmented state of relaxation. If you've never taken kava before and would like to try it, here's an idea of what you can expect.
A Soothing Numbing Sensation
Consuming kava extract or tea will be accompanied with a soothing numbing sensation in your mouth trickling all the way down into your throat. Kava capsules or dry/poor quality kava usually do not produce this soothing effect. The numbing sensation is felt instantly and is a prized characteristic of quality kava. It's an enjoyable feeling, though a little intense if it's your first time.
Kava Provides a Sense of Comfort and Relaxation
Within minutes, you'll feel relaxed and a general sense of well-being, which is why many people rely on it to help them come down from anxiety attacks or moments of extreme stress. The feeling of well-being doesn't feel synthesized as it can with heavy sedatives like Xanax or Ativan, and it doesn't lead you to feel groggy or out of control like with alcohol. The effect of kava is more like experiencing the effects of meditation or exercise —your mind simply feels clearer, calmer, and more optimistic, as if you've been refreshed.
Kava Makes You More Sociable
You will typically feel very open to social interaction and have a general feeling of goodness towards the people you're with. Kava can deepen the bonds of friendship and make people who struggle with social anxiety feel less afraid. It may seem like someone you were nervous around suddenly doesn't seem as frightening, which is probably the way in which kava most resembles alcohol. All in all, you become more social, but in a calm, confident way. There's been an increase in kava bars popping up, and it's easy to see the appeal.
Using Kava Leads to Better Sleep
Kava alone doesn't make you tired or sleepy, but it does help you get ready for some of the best sleep of your life. Have you ever laid in bed, just wishing you could go to sleep, but your thoughts were going 100 miles a minute? Well kava helps calm those racing thoughts, so by the time you jump in bed, you're in a better headspace more suitable for LaLa land.
Photo by Ducminh Nguyen.