Kava: A Natural Alternative to Synthetic Anti-Anxiety Meds
There are no gentle over-the-counter versions of prescription anti-anxiety meds, it’s not a gap in the pharma market, they’re just not tameable — mood altering, addictive, physician supervision required. Fortunately, Mother Nature has some powerful remedies of her own. Over-the-counter alternatives are typically natural stress and anxiety remedies that have been repackaged as powders, pills and tinctures. Non-prescription remedies include: valerian root, ashwagandha, CBD Oil and Kava.
Kava is the most reviewed, tested and trusted of the four. Let’s get into the specifics of what makes this Polynesian remedy the best over-the-counter anxiety medication.
1. Kava is as Effective as Pharmaceutical Medications
Clinical evidence continues to support the observable benefits of kava. This comprehensive systematic review of 24 different clinical studies shows strong evidence supporting kava as an effective method for overcoming anxiety and anxiety-related conditions without the risk of serious side-effects.
Added to which, users can increase or decrease their kava dosage in accordance with their day-to-day needs—clinical strength when anxiety hits hard or a simple relaxant when they just want to unwind.
2. Kava is Non-Addictive with No Serious Side Effects
While antidepressant and anti-anxiety prescriptions can be effective at altering the balance of certain brain chemicals to help treat anxiety and depression, they also often cause a laundry list of side effects including; nausea, difficulty concentrating, confusion, increased heart rate and decreased libido. And then there’s the issue of addiction:
According to the American Psychological Association:
- There was a 64% increase in the use of antidepressants between 1999 and 2014.
- 12.7% of the US population over the age of 12 took antidepressant medication last month alone.
Kava is all-natural, non-addictive and has several advantages over conventional pharmacologic treatments for anxiety. In clinical settings, it has been associated with better tolerability and lack of physiologic dependence and withdrawal. Side effects such as dizziness and headaches are rare and typically mild.
3. Kava Helps Treat Other Serious Medical Conditions
Individuals who suffer from anxiety are often susceptible to other serious medical conditions such as depression. If you suffer from more than anxiety, then you will be pleased to know that kava has been proven effective in the treatment of other medical conditions including chronic stress, depression and sleep disorders.
Kava has also been shown to reduce mood swings in women undergoing perimenopause and menopause and may help lessen cravings associated with substance dependence. Kava is even being described as a promising candidate for future research into improving attention disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
4. Kava is a Safe Long-Term Solution
The big name anti-anxiety meds aren’t feasible long-term. Benzodiazepines (think Xanax) can cause withdrawal symptoms in less than two weeks and as tolerance builds larger doses are needed to achieve the desired results. If that weren’t scary enough, repeated suppression of the central nervous system can lead to withdrawal symptoms including: panic attacks, tremors, headaches, insomnia, and ironically, increased anxiety.
As referenced above, 12.7% of the US population over the age of 12 took antidepressant medication last month alone. Imagine a 12-year old already on the prescription path. Imagine that kid incrementally increasing their dosage. Imagine they live long enough to reach the national average of 78.69 years. That’s 66.69 years of dependance on a powerful drug. Nobody wants that.
Kava restores balance to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems via chemical compounds known as kavalactones that interact with receptors in the brain. There are no lingering effects or withdrawal reactions when kava leaves your system. It metabolizes, does its job and cycles through. Kava is medicine but its harvested medicine—66.69 years viable.
Think Stepping-Stones not Quick-Fixes
Getting better is more important than feeling better. Due to its long-term viability kava can be used as a first step toward a more holistic approach to healing. When combined with diet, exercise and a mindful approach to life, kava has the power to positively affect your mental and physical health for as long as you want to keep it by your side.