Maybe this is the first time you’ve ever heard of kava.
Hell, maybe you’ve even tried it once or twice, when you and your best friend somehow ended up in Fiji on your way to Australia.
No matter what you know (or don’t know) about kava—we got you. This right here is a little thing called a crash course.
So let’s jump in, and learn everything you need to know about kava.
The many names of kava
Before we get too deep, it might be best to get one thing clear: kava isn’t only known as kava. Like anything that spans continents and cultures, it goes by many names.
- Kava kava
That is by no means a full list, but you get the point.
As the popularity of this incredible plant rises around the world, the name “kava” is becoming the norm. So that’s what we’re going with.
What is kava?
Kava is a plant.
Yes, kava is a plant, but it’s not just some weed that grows in your yard. Kava is a psychedelic plant that many believe holds therapeutic properties. More about these later.
It also has a history behind it.
Most scholars agree that kava was first grown on the islands of Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Guinea starting around 3,000 years ago. It spread throughout the South Pacific when these islanders started exploring the ocean in their sailing canoes. Today, kava is part of the cultural and social fabrics across Oceania, from Hawaii to Tahiti.
It’s even Fiji’s national drink.
So, what does kava do?
For thousands of years, kava has been a social drink that produces feelings of relaxation and euphoria. More recently, it’s been used in alternative medicine as a stress-reliever.
Side note: the psychoactive ingredients in the kava plant are called kavalactones. They’re responsible for the effects people feel, and are, in short, what make kava so special.
A few more reported benefits:
- Treats insomnia
- Reduces restlessness
- Helps with muscle and joint pain
- Dulls migraines
- Regulates chronic fatigue syndrome
Despite all of its potential benefits, kava is almost always taken to chill you out and let you explore a new way of seeing things.
You’re on a beach. You’re with a small group of people, sitting in a circle. One of them has a big bowl in front of them, and they’re mashing up the root of this plant and mixing it with water.
The bowl starts getting passed around, and everybody in the circle takes a big sip. It comes to you and you do the same.
Within minutes, stress you didn’t even know you were carrying melts away. You feel calm, relaxed and clear-headed. Then the happiness sets in.
You’re looking around. You’re smiling. Your whole body is buzzing and your mind feels alive.
You just experienced a traditional kava ceremony—pre-COVID, of course.
That’s what kava can do.
The rise of kava
Good news spreads fast, and that’s why it feels like the country’s been taken over by kava. People are realizing just how incredible this plant is.
There are over 180 kava bars in the States right now.
Obviously major hubs like New York City have a bunch, and so do Miami and Portland (no surprise there), but the fact that there’s a kava bar in Montana, Utah, and a few in Missouri, shows just how popular kava has become.
What’s next for kava?
The thing about those kava ceremonies in the South Pacific and the kava bars around the corner is that...well, it’s that the drink doesn’t taste good.
If you’ve ever tried it, you know.
It’s bitter. It’s chalky. It’s sludgy. It’s just no fun.
The future of kava lies in making it delicious.
Kava is amazing—the way it can deliver bliss, the way it can open your eyes and your mind—and the better it tastes, the more people will learn just how incredible it is.
The future of kava rests in making social drinks that combine reliable doses of the psychedelic plant with flavors like hibiscus and lime in convenient formats that help you enjoy the experience before the experience.
Think of it as a new spin on an ancient ritual.