Here at Kavahana, we want everyone to love kava as much as we do. But we know that involves building trust and helping you have a great experience when you drink kava for the first time. Here we have created a list of tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are starting out on your kava journey.
Drink kava on an empty stomach:
When your stomach is empty, there is nothing else for the kava to compete with for absorption. This means that the kavalactones (the active ingredients in kava) can be absorbed quickly and efficiently. It’s best to drink kava at least 3-4 hours after a meal or snack. Traditionally, kava is drunk as an afterwork beverage before going home for the day.
Use hot tap water to make traditional kava
There are a few different ways to make kava, but we recommend starting out with the traditional way. It’s the most time intensive, but it’s a great introduction to the culture and preparation of kava. The key is using hot tap water when you mix the kava root. It’s not too hot and not too cool, but just right. For a more detailed description for how to make traditional kava check out our article here
Your tongue might feel funny
When you drink kava for the first time, you’ll probably get a fuzzy, tingling feeling in your mouth and on your tongue. You might even feel a little numb. This is due to the different kavalactones in the kava root. Kavalactones are the active ingredients of kava and have different effects on your nervous system. This ranges from the calming and relaxing kava is known for, to an anesthesic or numbing effect that you feel in your mouth.
The quality of kava matters
The quality of kava you drink can have a serious impact on your experience. Poorly sourced kava may use other parts of the kava plant, rather than the root, which effects the strength of the kava and how it makes you feel. We recommend buying from small, pacific island farmers who produce fresh, high quality kava. This has the added bonus of supporting the cultural tradition of kava, which is important when consuming it.
Kava can give you a reverse tolerance
Most of us have heard of tolerance, when talking about drugs and alcohol. This is when you need more of a substance to get the same effects. Well, with kava it’s the opposite. Kava is a natural adaptogen; it helps support your body’s response to emotional and physical stress. This means that the more kava you drink the less you need to get the same effect. As we drink kava, our bodies learn to manage stress and therefore the effect of kava is less noticeable since we are experiencing less stress. You can find the right strength of kava for you for the long term.
You may not feel the effects at first
For some new users, they don’t feel the effects right away. Don’t lose hope! There are many factors that go into how kava affects us.
Things to remember:
Every body is different. If you are a bigger person, you may need to drink more kava than your smaller friends to get the effects. (Similar to alcohol) . As mentioned above, it’s important to drink kava on an empty stomach so it can fully absorb without competing with other nutrients. Not preparing kava correctly or drinking low high quality kava could also be a factor. It’s also important that you are drinking the right dose for you, so make sure you measure properly if preparing it on your own.
If you follow these simple strategies you are bound to have a great kava experience. And hopefully the first of many.