Photo by Radu Florin
Kava Paste: Concentrated Relief
Kava paste is one of the most concentrated natural solutions available to alleviate stress, decrease anxiety and promote relaxation. In fact, some formulations require only a thimble-sized serving to achieve these desired effects. With that said, getting started with kava paste can be daunting; there are many formulations and concentrations to choose from and new users often worry they'll overdo it. However, if you educate yourself on what kava paste is, how much you need for the desired effects and how to find responsibly sourced kava paste, you can enjoy the benefits of having kava in your pocket whenever you need it.
What is Kava Paste?
Kava paste is kava tea that is dehydrated into a powder. A small amount of water is added to the powder which creates a viscous paste sold in typically small, portable containers.
Advantages of Kava Paste
The biggest advantage of kava paste is convenience; you can carry the power of kava tea with you anywhere you go in a tube. When my day gets filled with impossible tasks and frustrations build, the last thing I want to do is sit down and grind up kava to brew tea. I've found kava paste to be an easy, quick and convenient way to get immediate relief from life's many curveballs.
Disadvantages of Kava Paste
As long as you are diligent with your kava dosages, the only real drawback to kava paste is the taste, which many kava users know all too well.
What Does Kava Paste Taste Like?
Kava paste tastes very earthy and peppery. It is after all, powdered kava. A quick fix for the raw taste of kava paste is simply a piece of fruit, or my personal favorite, a piece of chocolate to go with it.
Which Type of Kava Paste is Best for Me?
There are several different types of kava pastes on the market, all containing different combinations of kavalactones. Kavalactones are the active elements in kava tea that, when ingested, give kava its calming effects. There are 6 primary kavalactones responsible for these effects:
Many kava pastes contain only these 6 primary kavalactones. "Full spectrum" kava pastes, which are pastes containing all 18 naturally occurring kavalactones found in kava tea, are increasingly popular as well. Everyone's body reacts slightly differently to kava; my body responds best to full spectrum kava paste, but ideally you would try both traditional kavalactone paste and full spectrum kavalactone paste to see which one works best for you.
What Strength of Kava Paste Should I Try?
Kava paste comes in a variety of kavalactone concentration solutions. Some of the most common are 12%, 33% and 55%. I stick to the 33% because I feel it better enables me to more accurately control the dosage but again, everyone's kava preferences will vary.
The strength (and dosage) of kava paste is where many first-time kava users go astray. They overestimate the necessary dosage to achieve the pleasant effects of kava and end up with uncomfortable side-effects such as rapid heart-rate, nausea and vomiting. And while one-time kava overdoses are not considered dangerous to anyone with a healthy liver, these first-time users suffer a bad experience and write off kava altogether. Some kava pastes require as little as ⅛ of a teaspoon to have the desired effect. We therefore advise caution when trying kava paste for the first time.
How Much Kava Paste Should I Use?
Another thing to keep in mind is the reason you’re using kava paste in the first place; is it purely for relaxation at the end of the day? Are you trying to manage stress and anxiety throughout your day? The Kava Committee recommends a daily maximum dosage of 300mg kavalactones, so spread out your doses in a way that allows you to achieve whatever your goals are with kava without exceeding the recommended maximum daily dosage.
Where Can I Find Well-Sourced Kava Paste?
The most important thing you can do when purchasing kava paste is to select a paste made with well-sourced noble kava. Noble kava strains are traditionally more difficult to cultivate and produce desirable effects (anxiety relief, stress alleviation, etc). Ignoble or tudei strains are much easier to grow and difficult to distinguish from noble strains; they produce nausea and drowsiness for up to two days (hence the name tudei). While it is illegal to export ignoble kava from any of the Pacific Islands where kava is grown, less-established companies will import it unknowingly, believing they scored a great deal. To ensure you will have a positive kava experience with noble strains of kava, make sure you buy only from reputable sellers with positive online reviews.
Kava paste can be daunting to first-time users. It’s taste, concentration and effects can throw you for a loop if you’re not properly prepared for them. But as long as you’re cautious with the dosage, find paste from well-sourced kava and perhaps throw in a wedge of pineapple to sweeten things up you can enjoy the convenience and benefits of kava whenever, wherever.