Kava is a traditional drink made from the roots of the pepper plant, Piper Methysticum. The drink and the plant originated in the South Pacific Islands. Drinking Kava is a common practice in the South Pacific where it has been used for both ceremonial and social occasions for over 3000 years. Kava is traditionally served in a coconut shell and the drink is shared in a group setting.
In Fiji, the tradition is to wait to drink until everyone has their shell. Once ready, the person leading the drink will clap their hands once and say “BULA”. Everyone else responds in turn with “BULA” and the group drinks together. Bula means “to long life and good health”, in Fijian. You can think of it as another form of "Cheers."
At Bula Kafe, we honor the Fijian tradition of drinking Kava. You will notice that our bartenders make sure that everyone drinks together and that new customers are educated on the tradition.
It really depends on the type, strength, and how the Kava is prepared. Many Kava drinkers experience a pleasant, slightly stimulating drink that relieves fatigue, relaxes the body, induces deep relaxation, and promotes sociability. Kava clarifies the mind and brings a sense of well-being. Many people find that Kava soothes the temperament and promotes a sense of calm and added patience for hours after imbibing the drink.
Kava can give you a happy buzz like alcohol and is great for social relaxation. However, unlike alcohol, it does not negatively affect judgment or fine motor skills. It does not induce aggressive or risky behaviors. Kava won’t give you a hangover the next day. It gives you the same feeling of relaxation without the negative effects.
The active ingredients in Kava are called Kavalactones. Kavalactones give Kava it's stress-fighting and muscle relaxing effects as well as promotes in some cases a sense of euphoria.
Consuming Kava is best on an empty stomach so that all the kavalactones can be readily absorbed by the body. It has a bitter, peppery taste and varies depending on the strength of the Kava drink. Your mouth will experience a numbing sensation. This is normal and the sensation will pass in about 10 minutes.
Kava has a strong but not unpleasant smell. Its taste can be peppery, grainy and earthy. It has been described as tasting like “bitter earth”. Kava is definitely an acquired taste. It’s hard to find a pleasant tasting Kava; but as we say, “we don’t drink it for the taste we drink it for the effects." After drinking Kava your mouth will tingle and feel numb, this is completely normal! In Fiji it is considered a compliment to make a face after drinking Kava; it means that the Kava is very strong and well made!
Kava is digested in the liver and can increase the effects of alcohol. Alcohol is best when avoided up to 24 hours before and after drinking Kava. It's important to drink plenty of water between each drink.
Kava is better on an empty stomach and a light meal is suggested after a session of Kava drinking.
Kava is subtle and works in harmony with the body and mind. These qualities make Kava highly praised by it’s native consumers, whose lifestyle requires being active and full mental clarity.
Kava promotes peace, cooperation and tranquility. It does not diminish mental clarity or awareness, it can help you to concentrate or overcome mental confusion caused by anxiety or stress. When taken in very large quantities, Kava can negatively affect your coordination skills and make you very sleepy. Unlike alcohol it wont make you aggressive or irresponsible. Kava wont give you a a hangover.
- Kava should not be taken by pregnant women.
- Women who are breastfeeding their babies.
- People suffering from Alzheimer or Parkinson’s disease.
- Kava should not be taken with other psychopharmacological agents that act on the central nervous system
- If you overconsume you should not drive or operate machinery (just like alcohol). Unless monitored by a healthcare advisor.
While Kava is a powerful relaxant, at small medicinal doses it may actually enhance cognitive performance.
In other words, despite its relaxing effects, it does not impair mental functioning at least when consumed responsibly. It has been found that when taken in moderation Kava does not impair driving ability.
Kava has a reverse tolerance and is not physically addictive. Though new Kava drinkers will need to drink several shells of the Kava drink to feel the effects than those who drink it regularly.
We do recognize that any substance taken for recreational or medical purposes has a habit-forming potential. If you take any medications or suffer from any medical conditions, you should always consult a medical professional before consuming Kava.